6.3 10 steps for practicing a professional telephone greeting

1.Respond by the third ring

It is courteous to swiftly answer the phone to prevent keeping callers waiting. Instead of allowing a call to continue ringing, try to answer it by the third ring or send it to voicemail out of consideration for the caller’s time. Thus, you will be able to assist customers and clients in a timely manner.

2. Extend a greeting

While the conventional “Hello?” greeting is ubiquitous and occasionally appropriate in business settings, you may like to deliver a more customized greeting when answering the phone for your firm. For example, you could announce the name of your firm, identify yourself by name, and inquire how you can assist the caller.

Example: “Good morning! We appreciate your call to Dr. Zulu’s office. Mpho is currently speaking. How may I help you today?”

3. Speak while smiling

As bizarre as it may sound, when you smile while speaking, your tone often alters dramatically. Monitoring your tone throughout a call can be difficult, especially if you are juggling many responsibilities, as is common for front desk agents. Try to smile when greeting the caller. This technique can help you retain a professional, courteous, and upbeat tone while answering the phone.

4. Be precise

Clearly pronouncing your words can help you serve callers in a professional and timely manner. On the phone, you may encounter poor mobile reception, background noise, and muffled speech. These circumstances can occasionally result in unclear calls. If you talk slowly and clearly, callers will be able to hear you the first time, preventing you from having to repeat yourself.

5. Avoid slang

If you want callers to understand you, don’t use slang or buzzwords from your industry. Instead of saying “cool” and “no problem” on the phone with clients, you should use more professional phrases like “very well” and “thank you.” Even more, try not to use words like “um,” “like,” and “jah” as filler words. Instead, focus on using professional language.

6. Positivity is the key

Callers will feel welcome and at ease if you keep a positive and upbeat tone. Try replacing “I don’t know” with more helpful phrases like “Let me see if I can figure that out for you.” As the receptionist part of your job is to help callers by taking their questions and getting them to the right people or departments. Make sure you take this seriously and are kind and respectful to the people who call your organization.

7. Ask permission before putting someone on hold.

If the organization is busy clients may have to wait a long time before their call gets to you. This is especially true if your organization uses automated systems and menus to screen calls before people talk to a person. So, it’s important to show your caller respect right from the start. You can do this by asking the person before putting them on hold, for example. Tell them why you need to put them on hold, and then thank them. This is a simple way to improve your phone manners that can make a big difference with the callers.

Example: “I know what you’re worried about, Ms. Sithole. I’ll have to talk to my manager to find out if we can change your appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice. Could I put you on hold for a moment?”

8. Pay attention to messages

If your organization doesn’t have voicemail, you might take messages for co-workers or bosses from time to time. When you do, make sure your messages are correct and include everything you talked about on the calls. This can help your co-workers pick up with a caller right where you left off, without them having to repeat information. In general, getting messages right can help your organization better serve its customers or clients.

9. Know how to switch and where to switch to

It can be hard to figure out how to use phone systems the right way. So, before you try to answer calls, you should get used to using all of the features of your organization’s phone system.

It’s especially important to know how to use the transfer function well, since you’ll probably use it every day to send calls to colleagues who can better help clients with their needs. Knowing how to use this function correctly and keeping an up-to-date list of your co-workers and what they are responsible for will help you make sure that calls are sent to the right person.

10. Finish on a good note

When you’re about to hang up with a caller, try to end the conversation on a good note. You can do this by saying “thank you” or “have a lovely day.” This can make clients feel good about your organization and make them more likely to call you again with other requests, questions, or problems.

Example: “**Thank you for your call Mrs Naidoo. I hope the rest of your day is great.”

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