The Lowdown on Good Telephone Customer Service

With national Customer Service Week happening in October, I’ve been thinking about the different aspects of customer service. One of the skills most applicable across many fields is the ability to speak on the phone in a comfortable and professional manner. Yet, this is one area in which people seem to find themselves most uncomfortable. I’ve listed some helpful tips to boost your confidence in your telephone skills for your next call!

  • When answering the phone, identify who you are, and the location they’ve reached. To avoid confusion, it’s important for the person calling to know right away that they’ve reached the right place. Giving your name lends the call a personal touch.
  • When you’re calling someone else, be sure to identify yourself as well. Giving your name and the name of your company lets the caller know who they’re speaking with and often gives them an idea of why you might be calling.
  • Smile! Your tone of voice reflects your expression, and a smile is an easy way to convey a positive attitude over the phone.
  • “Is it okay if I place you on a brief hold?” No one likes to be put on hold, but asking for their permission, and waiting for it to be granted, is often an appreciated courtesy. When picking up the phone for a caller who has been on hold, be sure to thank them for waiting as well.
  • Use the caller’s name whenever possible. This lets the caller know that they’re important to you and creates a personal connection. Write down the initials of the person you’re talking to when they give their name. This helps you to remember their name to use later. Don’t be afraid to clarify pronunciation, either. Most people appreciate that you’d make the effort to get it right.
  • Employ verbal nods to demonstrate empathy. Using phrases like, “I understand,” or “I know what you mean,” tells the caller that you are listening to them and understand where they’re coming from.

Practice these to be better prepared next time you pick up the phone!