By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor
The recent email we received below gave us some good ammunition for an article. While the industry, as you can see, is in the legal profession, believe me, it can happen in every industry. Read on: It’s from an attorney:
Around 1:00 p.m. today I returned opposing counsel’s telephone call from this morning. The first person that answered the phone took my name and asked me to hold while he checked to see if she was back from lunch. After a short hold he came back on the line and transferred my call. At that point opposing counsel’s assistant answered the phone. She took my name for the second time and put me back on hold. After holding a couple of minutes, opposing counsel’s assistant came back on the line and asked if I could call back in twenty minutes! I am sure that her assistant is telling opposing counsel that I am a jerk because I answered, “No, I am calling her back now.”
It’s a well-known fact that the first voice you hear and what they say when you call a company sets the tone, makes the first impression and welcomes the caller. It starts the rapport-building process. Few will argue that point.
While there are several “faux pas” in the above email we received, which do you think is the MAJOR one? Our answer is at the end of this article.
Here’s an easy four step process for handling a simple incoming call.
1. Use the Telephone Doctor 3-part greeting:
A buffer (Thanks for calling, etc.)
The company name (Steinberg Law)
And then your name (This is Nancy.)
STOP! “How can I help you” is NOT necessary in initial greetings. You are there to help. That is why you answered the phone.
2. Putting a caller on hold. “Hold on,” CLICK is not effective. Neither is “Hang on a second.” Learn to ask callers if they are “able to hold” and then WAIT for a response.
3. Monogram the call. If the caller gives you his name, use it immediately. It speeds the rapport building process. And if possible, use it once again, in closing the call.
4. Leave a good lasting impression. Seems as the opposing counsel’s office didn’t do that. Remember, more people will tell you about a bad experience than a good one.
And the biggest faux pas?
Asking a caller to call back! Never ask anyone to call back. That’s like kicking a customer out of the door at the store.
When someone calls us, it’s our job to return the call or have it returned on our behalf. Asking someone to call back is just RUDE.
Give your team the tools to master these communication concepts:
- 4 steps to handle & defuse angry, upset and irate customers
- Recognize & capture cross-selling opportunities
- How to compose an effective customer service email
- Business communication for phone, email, face-to-face & chat
- How the power of attitude helps resolve challenging situations
- Essential office etiquette & workplace manners strategies
- Effectively managing differences between the generations
- Replacing Five Forbidden Phrases® w/ Positive Alternatives
- Best practices for email subject lines and address fields
- Handling ethical dilemmas the moment they appear
- The six cardinal rules of customer retention and loyalty
- The importance of delivering Business Friendly℠ service
- How to respect & communicate effectively with co-workers
- Contrasts between passive, average & proactive service
- 6 ways to improve listening skills and deliver better service
- The personal philosophies of six service superstars
- How service after the sale builds customers for life
- When to use open-ended, closed-ended, probing & echo questions
- Deploying the Power of You during interviews & appraisals
- Why bringing an ‘observable level of enthusiasm’ is so important
- The distinction between features and benefits
- To be truly sensitive and empathetic to customer needs
- Management skills to better lead, coach and mentor others
- How to conduct more effective & engaging meetings
- Avoiding weak, wimpy words in business communication
- The relationship between internal & external customer service
- plus hundreds more skills, strategies & techniques!