Contents: Telephone etiquette | Answering machines | Home based business issues
The most commonly used piece of technology in business is the telephone. However, because we also use the telephone to chat to our mates, we have developed a very casual approach when using this technology.
Remember, when using the phone in business, you must use it differently.
There are a number of ways to answer a telephone. Follow these guidelines;
- give your name
- give the name of the business
- give a greeting — which can be your slogan
- be friendly and helpful
- never sound stressed or in a hurry
- "Hello, ‘Jane’s Babysitting Service’, Jane speaking. How can I help you?"
- "Good morning, ‘Gally Enterprises’, Bill speaking. How can I be of assistance?"
- Hello, Bob speaking for ‘Lawns are Us’. What can I do for you?"
Remember to take the following steps;
- Have notepaper beside the phone with a pen that works or you may have some forms prepared to guide you when taking a call.
- If you say you will call back, make sure you do, in a reasonable time frame
- Try to ensure that you do not have loud background noise
Voice Mail/Answering Machines
More and more owner operator businesses are using voice mail or an answering machine to assist them in the running of their business. Many clients find this very annoying, and will hang up rather than leave a message. Therefore, if you use this form of technology, ensure that it is as ‘user friendly’ as possible. Consider the following;
- make sure your message is clear and concise
- do not leave ‘funny’ messages
- do not mix family messages with a business message
- follow up on all messages as soon as possible
If you feel you have to combine a family and business message, keep it simple:
- "Hello. You have contacted the Smith family. If you wish to leave a message to a member of the family, or for ‘Jane’s Babysitting Service’, please leave your name and phone number, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you."
- "Hello. Unfortunately no one is available to answer the phone. If you wish to leave a message for ‘Grolly Enterprises’ or anyone in the Grolly family, please leave your name and phone number after the long beep. I will return your call on my return. Have a great day"
It is more professional to simply leave a business message:
- "Hello. Your call is important to me. I am unavailable at the moment, but I can return calls after 6pm this evening. Please leave your name and number after the beep. Bye."
- "You have rung ‘Lawns are Us’, but I am unavailable at the moment. You and your lawn are important, so please leave your name and number, and I will return your call promptly."
Home-base business issues
Problem: Many HBB find it very difficult to answer the phone with a professional approach when there may be a dog barking, a baby crying, or something is boiling over on the stove.
Solution: An answering service which answers in the name of your business, then gives you the message, enabling you to choose the best time to call back, could be a solution.