If we told you that how you answer the phone can make or break your business, would you think it’s melodramatic? The fact is, the way you greet callers on the phone – or the way you don’t greet them – can undermine or support your success. It’s entirely up to you.
If you’re finding that more and more often, you don’t have time to pick up the phone or are doing so in a hurry, it might be time to consider hiring someone to cover the phones for you.
How you answer the phone can make or break your business because for many customers, it’s the first point of contact they’ll have directly with your business. Even if they’ve visited your website before calling, the phone call will be the first time they’ll directly communicate with your company.
The impression you make during this time is critical to landing a customer.
How You Answer the Phone Can Make or Break Your Business
Answer the phone as quickly as possible
Picking up the phone before the third ring is the general rule, but if you can answer on the first or second ring, that’s even better! Be ready to pick up the phone and offer a friendly greeting to each and every caller.
Answer the phone when you’re away from the office
How can you answer the phone when you’re not in the office? If you don’t want to be on-call on your cell phone at all hours, you’ll need a virtual receptionist to answer your calls when you can’t come to the phone. You can set up your service to only kick in when you plan to be away from the office, or you can rely on a virtual receptionist to answer all your phone calls whether you’re available or not.
When you don’t answer the phone, what happens?
When you don’t answer, your caller has a few options. None of them help your business. A caller can either leave a voicemail, call the next company on their list, talk negatively about the experience to others, or feel unimportant to your business. When you don’t answer the phone, you lose the opportunity to develop a lead or strengthen a relationship with a current client.
Don’t answer the phone as you would for a personal call
A personal call doesn’t demand much of you – picking up and saying “Hello?” usually does the trick. But for a business call, you need to answer the call professionally by giving some identifying information to the caller. For example, you may wish to state your company name, your name, and a greeting. “Good afternoon, you’ve reached Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam. How may I help you?” Saying hello is not enough and doesn’t appear professional.