Top 10 tips for answering business phone calls


Not everybody is great on the telephone. In fact, many people avoid answering phone calls entirely, especially when the incoming call is from an unknown number.

To guarantee a great first impression for your business you must ensure that the person answering the phone conducts themselves in a professional manner. To help you master the art, we share with you our most effective phone answering advice.

Business call answering advice from our professional virtual receptionists

1. Smile. We can’t recommend this enough – you can hear the happiness radiate down the phone line.

2. Greet with your business name. Callers will know they have reached the correct company and not misdialled. If you are your own brand, answer using your own name instead.

3. Keep your greeting snappy. If your company name is exceptionally long or if there’s a tag line you like to use, don’t use both. The purpose for answering is to hear why this caller is phoning your business and to determine how you can help them. Long greetings can sound clumsy and scripted and encroach on the space where your caller wants to speak. Be mindful of listening to the caller.

4. Be consistent. However your phone is answered, make that part of your branding and make sure it is the same every time. Ensure that all staff members are familiar with your desired answering style too.

5. Be alert and on point. Listen to what your caller has to say and give them your full attention. Repeat names, phone numbers and email spellings to ensure they’re correct and that you can make contact again.

6. Speak clearly. This is especially important if the line is bad and there is distortion. By speaking clearly you eradicate a lot of repetition and wasted time on the phone and avoid potentially frustrating your caller.

7. Answer within three rings. This is standard expectation in business and shows that you’re available and eager for more work.

8. Always have a back-up plan. When you’re not able to answer within three rings it is important to have an alternative solution to answer your calls. Meetings, appointments, family time or even calls in the middle of the night require an effective solution to capture all your potential customers. Your voicemail should be professional (that is, not a recording of your favourite music track or even the standard mobile greeting that’s supplied as standard by your provider). Your callers need to know they’ve reached the right person or company and have confidence that their message has been received. Record a clear greeting yourself or ask ReceptionHQ to arrange a voicemail account for you. Even better, why not get yourself a virtual receptionist to answer the phone when you can’t? ReceptionHQ offers live receptionist cover 24×7 every day (and night) of the year, with a seven-day answering service free trial available to try us out.

9. Return calls when you say you’re going to. If you say you’re going to call back, then do it. Even if you don’t have the right information yet – just phone your client to say you don’t have an answer yet. This shows them that they’re valued, important and that you’re thinking about them. Remember too that some of your callers who haven’t embraced mobile technology may wait at home for your call. Keep that old fashioned etiquette alive.

10. Enjoy speaking on the phone! We are blessed with a plethora of means of effective communication, which as well as giving us a 24×7 international audience and keeping us all busy around the clock, it also means we can always be in contact with one another.

If any of your business clients contact you via telephone, then enjoy it. These are the people who will keep you in business and tell their friends about you and there is no better marketing tool than happy customers!

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