A lot of small business owners grossly underestimate the importance of the telephone when it comes to building a business.
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Proper phone etiquette and good phone habits can grow your business significantly.
Local online ad network Yodle.com offers these helpful phone tips for small business owners.
Answer the Phone
It seems obvious that small businesses should always answer the phone when it rings, but, believe it or not, small businesses only answer 36% of their incoming phone calls!
If you can't always grab the phone when it rings, hire a receptionist or have calls forwarded to your cell phone.
Build Trust And Comfort To Close The Deal
Once you have a customer on the phone, your goal should be to build rapport and understand their needs.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Be friendly – you're happy to hear from new leads!
- Listen to what the callers' needs are and be ready to describe how your service can help.
- Ask questions about their situation (be interested!). Then, be patient with their responses.
- Be as accommodating as possible. Sometimes consumers value convenience over cost – and customer service goes a long way.
Recording notes from your call is very important.
Suppose your schedule calendar only goes out three months, but the caller needs help for an event four months from now? Write it down elsewhere and follow up.
Maybe the caller wants a morning appointment on the 5th but you're already booked? Let them know when you DO have a morning appointment. Keep a list of desired appointments so you can call them back if something opens up.
Buy a Good Voicemail Solution
Missed calls happen. When they do, make sure you've got a professional voicemail.
These tips will help you make the most of voicemail:
- Have a personal greeting – not a computerized one
- Your greeting should be exclusively for your business.
- State the name of the business.
- The call should not connect to your home or personal voicemail.
- Be sure to sound professional and appreciative.
And remember - response time is an important factor as well – if you don't get back to customers who leave messages, they're likely to go with one of your competitors.
Write Down Three Ways To Improve Your Phone Service
Now that you've received a good primer on best practices for small business phone use, take a moment to write down three phone-related things that you can improve at your business.
Make a decision to fix what's broken within three weeks from today. The results will speak for themselves. As you see more new customers and improved customer loyalty from existing customers, you'll be glad you took the time to improve your phone usage and maximize telephone-powered business building.