It might not seem like a topic for Marketing Monday, but how you handle yourself over the phone is at the top of the list of great marketing tools. In fact, there was even a time when "Ma Bell" used to do classes for business clients on phone etiquette. I remember being sent to a class in my Customer Service days at Polaroid and thinking how stupid it was to suggest I didn't have the skill set to answer the phone. But it wasn't about answering the phone, it was how to use the phone as a customer service tool.
A few months ago I had one of the worst calls trying to reach a friend at a manufacturer I've known for years. His operator disconnected me twice. Then when I got a little irritable and sarcastic, she attacked me for calling at lunch time, when they're "short on staff". Honestly, does any customer care about what's going on in your life when they call? Do any of us care about how busy a company might be when we're trying to contact somebody?
Well, that set me off on a quest through Cyberspace and I found a great site with a ton of information to help you with a refresher course on your phone skills. Check out phonepro.org. I found so many outstanding tips.
"If you could hear the sounds customers make when attempting to navigate through your company’s IVR, (Interactive Voice Response) would it sound like a haunted house filled with agonizing, blood curdling screeches, moans and groans? …that could be scaring away both your new and loyal customers."
I've got two issues I hope you'll think about today:
First, how's your overall system of communicating with your clients? Don't rely on just a contact form for them to fill out on your website and then click "Send". If a client is excited about your work they want to talk to you, NOT fill out a form. When they do call, make sure your system is working right, so you get the call or at least the message quickly. Then, make sure you call them back promptly, because if you don't, one of your competitors will.
Second, no matter what bizarre things are going on in your day, smile when you're talking to people on the phone. This is all about being cheerful and having a great attitude. Believe it or not, you can tell when somebody is smiling on the other end of the line. Getting a phone call from a client is an opportunity for you to show your personality.
Good old personal customer service is going to win out every time and sadly in today's market, so many people forget about it. The good news is that it gives you a chance to shine!
Sorry, got to run, the phone's been ringing for ten minutes - wonder why my voicemail isn't picking up? LOL
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