Answering the phone: “Hi, you’ve reached Acme Company, I’m Jacob, how may I help you?”
There are 3 main things you want to assure the customer gets: a- Name of company b- Your name and c- That you are willing to serve.
When folks start a new conversation, especially by phone, if they don’t have an expectancy of what you’re going to say, they are automatically not going to hear you. For example; you go up to someone on the street and out of the blue ask them, “What’s the temperature?” without first establishing a connection, although you may have asked the question in 100% perfectly clear English or whatever your tongue may be, the first response is going to be “huh?” or “what”?”… you caught them off guard. So you generally, walk up to them and first say, “Excuse me”, this let’s their guard down.
On the phone, you don’t have that much time nor face to face contact, so your “Hi” is that point of establishing the contact and after that “Hi”, here’s the key… you have a second pause. This puts the listeners’ mind in to listening mode and ready-to-receive-the-rest-of-the-sentence mode.
The same thing applies when you state your company name or your own name; pause briefly afterwards. This allows what was just said to sink in for a moment. It seems 90% of the time if I make or receive calls, I have to ask the person to repeat their name, because they didn’t clearly enunciate it and make sure it had a moment to float a bit in the air and then land on good ground.
Giving your name and giving it clearly is a point of sales. It shows willingness to be known and help the customer. It shows that the connection is getting deeper and allows the customer to have another point of contact within the possible company that may be serving them.
When calling an individual small business or organization and getting the gatekeeper, it seems the person answering the phone starts screaming the question before the phone is actually up to their mouth. So instead of it sounding like, “This is Acme, how may I help you?”, it comes off sounding like “mrfble, mrfble, mrfME, MAY I HELP YOU?” They don’t give their name, each syllable gets progressively louder and huffing in such a way as to say, your phone call is a bother.
Because of the lack of enunciation and rushed sound of the answer, the caught-off-guard customer has to say, “Is this Acme?” and the person answering is annoyed and says in a sing-songy voice “Yeeees..this is Acme” as if to say, “I already told you that goofball why are you asking again?”
This can all be a turnoff for a potential client and make them consider if doing business with the company is their best option. At the moment, it’s one strike against the ease of doing business with this company.
Not only does the customer feel like a bother but you’ve made them to now be in a subservient position by having to ask who you are and to repeat yourself.
You want to avoid this. In customer service always avoid the customer having to feel like they’re coming “hat in hand”, you know, coming in a bothersome way. Don’t answer the phone in “hey, I’m really rushed and really having a busy day” sort of way.
Answer the phone in more of a cool-cucumber format and that you have all the time in the world to handle the need of whoever is calling. Answer the phone expectantly as if the next call is the next big thing.
Don’t make the company name something the potential client has to confusedly ask about; “IS THIS Acme?” It’s now become a bad taste in the customer’s mouth and now valuable time is starting to feel lost.
Being that 1st point of contact, make the company name a banner you’re proud of and hold it up in clarity.
In today’s quickie world, customers, for manifold reasons, already dislike having to phone businesses, so don’t just not be rude and semi-polite to your customers, but use their phone call as an opportunity to let your professionalism shine.