Can You Hear Me Now? The Basics of Business Telephone Etiquette

Phone calls are an integral part of marketing and business in general.

Approximately 32 percent of customers, especially baby boomers, prefer phone support. With the growing popularity of online communication, it’s easy to forget proper business phone etiquette.

Whether you’re calling a potential client or another company, it’s essential to make yourself understood.

No matter your industry or type of business, you’ll contact vendors, customers, and prospects over the phone. What you say and how you say it can make the difference between closing a deal and missing an opportunity.

Up to 50 percent of phone calls convert to sales or leads. A successful phone conversation can increase customer retention rates, increase brand awareness, and put your business in a positive light.

Make sure that both you and your employees master business telephone etiquette. Remember, every call counts.

Follow these rules to improve your communication over the phone.

Be Prepared

If you’re the one making the call, have any necessary papers and materials nearby.

Let’s say you’re calling a vendor to inquire about prices. Make a list of products you’re interested in or access the supplier’s website so you can exchange information more easily.

Check your phone service and Internet connection before holding teleconferences. Keep your headset at hand. Contact all attendees beforehand and send out materials to be reviewed.

Introduce Yourself

No matter who you’re calling, you should always introduce yourself.

While it’ true that most phones nowadays have caller ID, the person who’s picking up the phone may be rushed or caught in a traffic jam. If that’s the case, they may not realize who’s on the other end of the line.

Speak Clearly

Keep the conversation short and to the point. Speak clearly and do not use slang. Your tone should be professional and inviting to the caller.

From your pronunciation and articulation to your pitch and tone of voice, every detail matters. Remember, the other person cannot see you. If you fail to express yourself clearly, your message will be lost or misunderstood.

Act Professionally When Putting Callers on Hold

Sometimes, life gets busy and you can’t talk on the phone right away. Or perhaps you need to transfer the call to another number. Either way, always ask the caller for permission to put him on hold and wait for him to respond.

If you need more than a minute or so to have the conversion, ask when you can call back. Don’t leave people on hold — it’s rude and unprofessional.

Another option is to use a phone answering service, especially if you’re dealing with a large number of calls. Receivr telephone answering service, for instance, is backed up by real-life receptions. They can answer the phone and take messages on your behalf, transfer your calls, and notify you by SMS or email.

Business Telephone Etiquette Still Matters

Customers and business partners who contact you over the phone don’t have the time and patience to deal with long wait times or vague answers. Use proper business telephone etiquette to make a good impression and prevent misunderstandings.

Listen to the person on the other end of the line. Focus on the conversation and refrain from multitasking. When ending the call, do it in a professional matter without giving the impression that you’re rushed.

Phone communication can make or break your business. Check out our post to see why it matters so much!