Phone conversations with clients are not always easy. Lack of eye contact and inability to use gestures make it difficult to express what we want to convey. A few simple phone etiquette rules will surely come in handy.
First of all, smile!
Are you calling your client for the first time and you don’t know where to start? Introduce yourself and smile. Make sure your voice is calm and keep the pitch even. Do not show any nervousness. Remember: whether the interlocutor is smiling is audible over the phone.
– After the first 30 seconds of a phone call I can already tell if my interlocutor is tired, nervous or if they are amicable towards me. If I feel the other person is bored, then I see no reason to talk to them. Smiling during a phone call is really important – says Marta Kamińska from Solutions.Rent.
Did you know…
Your voice will sound better and the words you say will be more intelligible if you perform some face and tongue exercises before the call. You can start with a few simple ones:
- Say “ah” and “oh” alternately. Try to open your mouth as wide as possible.
- Say “ee” and “oo” alternately. Try to do this faster and faster.
- Massage your teeth with your tongue. Massage the inside of your cheeks as well.
- Alternately puff out and draw in your cheeks.
- Massage your cheeks with your fingers. A few circular movements are enough to warm up the speech apparatus.
Now take a couple of deep breaths and call your client.
Second, be prepared
Draft a conversation plan before you dial the number. Think about what you want to say but also what information you would like to get from the client. Always have a notepad and pen ready. Write down the most important matters – that way you will not miss anything. The client will also certainly be pleased if you email them a short summary of your arrangements after an important phone call. This is to your advantage as well. You now have in writing what has been said, which is really important in business.
Third, show respect
Focus on the recipient during the call. Let the person on the other side feel taken care of. Do not look for documents or notes, do not browse the Internet. Your interlocutor will certainly notice if you are distracted. Treat the client as you would like to be treated yourself. Adjust your communication to them. If your interlocutor does not comprehend your industry at all, use simple words and explain terms they may not understand.
Ask questions during the call. These will help you learn more about the recipient and you will be able to understand them better. Pay attention to your speaking habits. If you often use negative expressions, such as “unfortunately”, “I cannot”, try to substitute them. Instead of saying “I don’t know” and showing incompetence, you can say “I will check that and get back to you with an answer.”
Read also: How to dress for a client meeting?
Fourth, show good manners
Do not call before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. about business matters. If you are speaking with a director, use their title during your conversation. Do not address them informally and do not use their last name. You can indicate at the start of the conversation that you will take no longer than a couple minutes (and state a realistic number). This is to show that you value the other person’s time.
Do not pester your client with calls if they do not pick up the phone. Wait for six rings and then hang up. Wait patiently until the client calls you back. You can also leave a message.
Was the connection broken during the call? The rule is simple. The caller calls again. This is to avoid two persons dialing numbers at the same time and getting a busy signal.
Each client is different. It is important to sense the person on the other side of the phone and communicate in a manner that results in a pleasant atmosphere for a business call. The “practice makes perfect” rule works best in this case. More phone calls equals more experience, less stress and a higher chance of success.
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