Why making a great first impression over the phone is vital in business?
The significance of first impressions are as important over the phone as they are in person – in fact because ending a conversation is so effortless over the phone it could be argued they’re even more important than face to face first impressions.
With the latter, you have a whole range of ways in which you can conduct and present yourself including body language, eye contact when you talk and listen, friendly rituals (e.g. handshakes), the way you’re dressed, plus many more.
Over the phone you aren’t so lucky. You have your voice to portray the way you wish to come across and that’s it. Therefore, the way you answer a call is crucial because it can set the tone for a whole phone call and determine how customers perceive your business.
For most businesses it is their shop window, so getting it right is important.
Be polite: answer each call with “Good morning/Good afternoon” as it gives a warm first impression
It sounds obvious, but you’ve got to remember to be polite. You might be having one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong, and the last thing you need is your phone ringing. Then, before you know it, off it goes.
Get your pronunciation right: it is key to ensure you have the correct pronunciation of the company name and that you’re able to pronounce it clearly
Making sure you are pronouncing names – whether it be a business name or a person’s name – or any other important detail is crucial for communicating effectively. Speaking using a wrong pronunciation is likely to result in misspellings, which in turn can have serious repercussions if invoices, bills or other important documentation is sent to the wrong person or address. Besides this, mispronunciations simply cause other complications and don’t reflect an image of professionalism.
Perfect your tone: tone of voice is one of the most important things when answering a call
It may be a cliché, but “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” has a lot of truth to it. If you or an employee answers a customer’s call hurried or rushed, this will come across in your tone and make the customer feel uneasy and like their call is inconveniencing you.
Having an accent is not the issue. However, you can still sound focused and engaged on the matter in hand, which is providing a friendly and helpful service; after all a call could be a new business opportunity.
Speak at the right pace: never mumble, speak clearly in a pace that is neither too fast nor too slow
By mumbling it’s likely that important information or details could be misheard or lost in translation during a phone call. It’s also important to speak at a pace that is neither too fast to the point that it is going to cause a customer to feel overwhelmed and confused, while also avoiding speaking too slow.
Talking too slow doesn’t paint yourself or the organisation you’re representing in the most professional manner and may even insult a customer who could think they’re being patronised.