Andrea Kaye, owner of Alta-Sask Wellness, reminded me earlier this week of a very basic change in phone communication that has a big impact on her business. In her busy clinic she encounters this phone behaviour daily, and it’s possible you do, as well.
Here’s what Andrea shares with her staff: “If someone has taken the time and effort to find the number, pick up the phone, dial the number and you are on the phone with them, they want something. They are not just testing the waters. They might be testing the experience they are getting before they commit to anything, but by the time someone is on the phone calling, they need us.”
Of course! Everything else … hours the clinic is open, services provided, locations … all of that is available elsewhere, through search engines and on the website.
Today, the majority of the time your business phone rings, the customer at the other end has already done their research and is already considering working with or buying from you. What happens next depends on you.
What is the impression you create when you answer the phone? How quickly and efficiently do you respond to customer requests? What are you doing to begin building a relationship with that customer?
Every business should have a policy about how the phone is answered, and how both customers and potential customers are treated. If you don’t, there’s a possibility you’re sending revenue opportunities to your competition.
Two Quick Tips For Answering the Phone
- Answer your phone between the 2nd and 3rd ring. Why? Because every phone call interrupts you. You are not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. If you answer too quickly, you will “throw” the sound of being interrupted at the caller. They will “hear” that you are too busy to work with new clients or customers, or that their call is an annoyance. Instead of instantly grabbing the phone, use the first ring to stop the work you are doing and remind yourself that you want to welcome this caller to your business. (Of course, if the caller has already encountered an auto attendant and pushed several numeric choices in order to get to you … answer immediately.)
- Smile. No matter what has happened in your day, how rushed, or stressed, or cranky you are feeling, if you put a smile on your face before answering the phone, the person calling will hear warmth and welcome.