Developing good phone etiquette can help build better relationships with new and existing customers and increase sales. In addition to maintaining a courteous and pleasant demeanor, the following basic rules will put callers at ease and keep them coming back for more.
- Use your first name when answering the phone
- Use a standard greeting such as “good morning” or “how can I help you?”
- Be as helpful as you would be if the caller were there in person
- Leave a friendly, concise and helpful message on the answering system
- Eliminate as many background distractions as possible
- Keep callers on hold for as little time as possible
- Promise to phone people back if you can’t help them immediately, and do it on time.
- Smile as you talk to people. They hear the difference in your voice.
- Do not act rushed.
- Provide additional information such as directions to your location or parking options.
Furthermore, it’s important to sound genuinely interested. To do this, be clear in your message, have energy behind your voice, use proper volume, and be well modulated in your tone.
The advent of email has revived writing as a viable and useful method of business correspondence. As email has become more common and less formal, people have slaughtered normal writing conventions and etiquette protocols. Remember, the structure and syntax of every email reflects on the sender’s personal qualities, good or bad. Here are some quick tips to improve your netiquette.
- Get to the point.
Don’t drag out your message. A long email can be very discouraging to read. It also has a greater chance of the customer just skimming through it or deleting it all together.
- If you are replying to a customer, answer all questions asked.
If you don’t answer all of the customer’s questions in the original email, rest assured you’ll most likely receive more emails regarding the questions you left unanswered! This wastes your time and the customers time. Also, it could frustrate your customer and you may possibly lose them.
- Try to anticipate questions in advance.
Offer a little more when replying to your customer’s questions. If a customer asks if you accept credit cards and which cards you accept, in your reply answer both questions and add how they may order from you. Not only will your thoughtfulness and customer care be appreciated, you will have shown you are willing to go beyond just the basics.
- Use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
This is definitely important. What’s worse than trying to acquire a customer through an email full of typos, bad grammar and even worse punctuation? Your email message will go straight to the trash bin. Bad punctuation will not only make your email hard to read, but may also change the meaning of your text too. Run a spell checker and re-read your message before you send it.
- Personalize it.
Personally address your email message, if possible, and customize the contents to be as personable as you can make it. This puts the customer at ease and you’ll greatly increase the chance of having your email read more thoroughly and landing the customer.
- Use correct tone.
Style and tone can impact an email’s message. For example, short or abbreviated language may convey anger. Informal emails may be seen as unprofessional. Consider the recipient when writing your message so as to avoid any misunderstandings.
- State a clear and concise subject
Include effective subject lines with your messages to help recipients identify the email’s relevance and priority. Use email features such as “urgent” indicators or “follow-up needed” flags — they help recipients respond accordingly. Be careful to use flags only when necessary. If you are known for sending urgent messages that are not actually critical, you may not be taken seriously.
- Send compatible attachments and only when necessary
When attaching files be sure to use a format that translates to your recipient’s system. Avoid sending large files or numerous files in one message. You don’t want to be the cause of a system crash. Ensure all attachments you send are virus-free. And most importantly, never send an attachment that can be included as text in the e-mail itself.
- Keep e-mail formatting simple.
Don’t be tempted to use bold, italic, underline, colored text or other formatting features. If everyone used the same e-mail program, then light doses of formatting would be helpful. Unfortunately, what you see on the screen when you’re writing an e-mail message is not at all what the people on the receiving end will see when they open your message. Turn HTML formatting off. Don’t use special font faces or sizes. Don’t use fancy signatures (sign-offs). Resist the temptation. Over the long run, you’ll be better read for it.
- Always use a signature
Just as with regular business correspondence, you should always sign your e-mails with your name, company name and other contact information. The easiest way to do this is to create a signature and include it on every e-mail you send.