5 Tips for Sounding Professional on the Phone

5 tips to sound professional on the phoneThe art of conversing professionally for effective communication.

Taking a call from a client is quite different to chatting with a friend. Just like how body language is important in an interview setting, the way you handle a phone call matters to the party at the other end. Communicating in a courteous and professional manner at all times is essential. Being patient, listening to and answering all your customer’s queries coherently leaves your customer satisfied and impressed with the service received.

These 5 tips will help you improve on your business phone manner –

2) Announce  Company Name And Your Name

When answering a business call start off with a polite greeting followed by announcing your company’s name and then, your own name. Back in the day it would have been considered informal to give just your first name but that doesn’t seem to hold as much weight today and is definitely acceptable. Also, announcing your company’s name is a good idea as it confirms to the caller that he/she has got through to the right place. Another good practice is to invite the caller to initiate the conversation with a “how may I help you today”.

 

2) Take The Occasional Pause

 

Brief pauses during a conversation give you time to collect your thoughts and compose what to say next. It also dictates a slower pace so the customer doesn’t feel rushed off his feet. Don’t finish your customer’s sentences. Assuming what they want to say can by annoying. Avoid any form of slang and remember to use complete sentences during the conversation. Avoid filler words such as ‘like’, ‘um’ etc. in your conversation as they make the conversation sound informal.

 

3) Watch Your Tone

 

Many people don’t know how they sound on the phone. Some of us are way too loud while others barely speak above a whisper. Sometimes, and quite possibly unintentionally, you may use an abrupt or impatient tone when dealing with a troublesome customer. Or, you may sound distracted if you have a heavy workload that day. To ensure your call stays professional you should strive to speak in a calm and conversational tone. To help you achieve this here are a few suggestions:

  • Stick up a post-it or two to remind you to breath and stay calm.
  • Try speaking from your diaphragm rather than your throat.
  • Take a moment to record yourself speaking on the phone. The best way to make improvements is to listen to yourself.
  • Ensure you pace yourself and speak clearly.

 

4) Always Be Prepared

 

A great way to practice your telephone voice is to write down a list of common customer queries and corresponding answers. Practice reading these out aloud. The more you familiarise yourself with answering frequently asked questions or explaining how something works, the better chance you will have at sounding authentic during a call.

 

5) Remain Positive During The Conversation

 

As a professional, you should keep every phone conversation positive. Don’t take the caller’s comments personally. If you’re dealing with an impatient caller, do not lose your cool. Remain calm and positive and give the caller the facts as they are without being belligerent in anyway.

Answer every question to the best of your knowledge, and if you are unsure about something either put the caller on hold temporarily (until your get the information), or ask them if you can call them back. Never leave a customer on hold for much longer than a minute or two, this can be very off putting.

In Conclusion

Speak to the person at the other end as you would like to be spoken to. Be clear, calm and as helpful as possible. Never interrupt your caller mid-sentence and similarly, take your time to explain/answer questions. Some people are a natural and have a wonderful and reassuring phone manner while others (like with anything in life) just happen to need a little more practice.

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