The phone is a very powerful tool for business. It is a medium of communications that can make or break business deals regardless of where you and your customer are located. Any successful businessman will tell you that handling all kinds of business calls properly and courteously in an efficient manner is the first step in getting your business where it wants to be. There are some instances when customers or business partners will call you up at the worst possible time. This could be at a time where an important meeting is scheduled or this could be a time when you are about to go to the bathroom to relieve yourself. Regardless of the situation, knowing how to accommodate these calls and wrap them up quickly is a very critical aspect of business success.
Here are some pointers on how to handle business quickly and efficiently.
- Plan your schedule. A great way to avoid getting business calls during the worst times is to plan your daily schedule ahead of time and consider moving important meetings, tasks, and personal events to the hours of the day when the phone is not ringing as much. Doing this can greatly reduce the bad timing of certain business calls.
- Take a call during a meeting. In instances where it is vital for you to answer an important business phone call during an equally important business meeting, excuse yourself from the meeting in a respectful manner before going out of the room to accommodate the call. When you return to the meeting after the call, make sure to apologize for the interruption.
- Be polite but straightforward. When you answer the phone call, state your name readily. It is the fastest way to let the person on the other line know whether they have reached the right person. If you do not know who the person on the other line is yet, make sure to ask them in a friendly manner as well.
- Always have a pen and a pad ready. It is always practical to have a pen and a pad or a piece of paper ready whenever you take a call. This will allow you to jot down important notes from the conversation. Practicing this often will alleviate you from having to fumble around for something to write on and write with during the call. Make sure to notify the person on the other line that you are listening by producing some kind of response like “yes”, “uh huh”, and “I see” while you are jotting notes dow.
- Control the length of your conversation. It usually takes a minute for a caller to state his name, the company that he is representing, and the purpose of his call. Sometimes, he may ramble on with stuff not relevant to you or your business. If he is taking too long, then consider asking directly for what he wants or what you can do for him. This should be done firmly but politely. If the call is received during an important meeting or task and you think that it will take awhile for the person to get straight to the point, consider telling him that you will call him back to handle his needs. Set a specific time for a call back and check if he is available. Don’t forget to take down his contact information should you opt to do this.
- Be courteous when placing a person on hold. If you must put the person on hold, ask first for permission before doing so. Other people may not have time to hold and would instead arrange for a callback.
- Make arrangements if you are out of the office or unavailable. Should there be times when you are out of the office or unavailable, make sure to arrange someone or something to handle your calls. You can opt to have another person in the office cover for you while you are gone by taking the calls meant for you or you can choose to use an answering machine so that any caller can merely record a message for you. This will give the caller an image that you are professional and do care for your customers or business partners.
Business calls are treated with the same touch of professionalism that characterizes a personal business meeting. You should be able to answer your phone quickly and efficiently in order to achieve the level of success you want. This is the whole philosophy of true customer service.