Proper Customer Service Phone Etiquette

How many times do you answer the phone only to hear either a recording or a very scripted message from someone trying to sell you something?  How about when you call in to have services reviewed for whatever reason, only to also receive a very scripted message from the person you talk with? 

Here are some tips on proper phone etiquette when working with your customers:

  1. Answer all incoming calls in an upbeat tone.  Even if it is your 53rd call of the day, be happy.  You chose this job, and it is yours for the making…so make the best of it!!  Be upbeat and positive, and you will be better positioned to dispel any angry or upset customers before they even speak a word to you!
  1. Know your product/service line.  Any incoming call is likely about products/services offered.  Make sure you know your product/service line well enough to answer any questions the customer may have.  If you are new to your job, try to have "cheat sheets" available so that you can refer to them throughout the course of your conversation.  Also—since you may be new, let the customer know that.  They will be more patient and kind when they know you are new as long as they know you are trying your best to resolve their problem quickly.
  1. Avoid putting people on hold for more than 30 seconds.  30 seconds is a lifetime to an angry customer on hold.  If you believe it will take longer than 30 seconds to help your customer, tell them so and offer to call them back.  When you call back, give a specific time and date in which you will call so they can know when to expect an answer.
  1. Pay attention to your customer—not your co-workers.  Co-workers can be very distracting, especially in a cube environment.  Make sure you focus on your customer, and keep your co-workers at bay until you are off the phone.
  1. Try to resolve issue(s) immediately.  If at all possible, resolve your customer issues while you have them on the phone.  This will help them gain confidence in your company and its ability to fix bad situation quickly and effectively.
  1. Take good notes and repeat.  When listening to the customer, make sure you take good notes on their issues and repeat them back.  This will help the customer know you were listening, and will help you to better resolve their issues quickly.
  1. Always end call with resolution.  Even if you have not solved the problem completely, make sure you have resolution in terms of follow-up action.
  1. Stay friendly, polite, and honest.  Regardless of how angry the customer is, remain calm.  Your calmness and demeanor can diffuse even the worst situation.

Proper phone etiquette is critical in keeping customers for life.  Using some of the above-mentioned tips will help you get on the right track and stay there.  Good luck!

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.