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In my line of business, I would use the phone more than most, and, I have to say, that businesses have a lot to learn about making this tool work FOR them, NOT AGAINST them.
 How often have you called a business, and you do this not for a social chat- you might actually want to engage their services or buy their product, but you are met with one of the following frustrating scenarios
• The phone just rings, and rings, and rings, and rings- finally someone answers (if you’re lucky) with a garbled greeting, said in a tone that makes you cringe
• The phone diverts to a voice mail message bank which does not confirm the ID of the company or the person who should have answered the phone.
• The phone is answered by a “robotic” answering device directing you to Press this number and then Press that number etc and finally in desperation, because none of their options fit your need, you Press any number at all in the hope of finding a human being.
• The phone is answered by “someone” who just happened to be near to the phone but really didn’t know much about who did what and when and really doesn’t care because “it is not their area”
• The phone is answered by a receptionist, you ask for a person and before you know it, you are being greeted by that person’s voice mail- without being given the courtesy of being told that they are not available!!!!!!!!

WOW!!!!! And they are only a few of the possibilities that might be happening within your business- Do you know how your phone is answered, in what manner and, are most, if not all, of your staff enabled to assist with any caller’s need?

A lot of the problems stem from the fact, simple as it may sound, that a lot of staff are not confident in their ability to deal with the questions that they might face, or the possibility that there might be an unhappy customer on the other end. 

The first of these issues can be solved by ensuring that all staff has a thorough knowledge of your product or service – not just their area of responsibility, knowledge gives confidence and development – you would be surprised at the changes in personnel by being armed with knowledge.  The second issue is not an easy one, because no one likes conflict and, if you are a loyal employee, you tend to take criticism of the company personally, but, again, being given training and a set of procedures to follow will provide your team with the professionalism that your customers respect and expect.

What potential clients really love to hear when they take the trouble to call a business is a cheerful greeting (no matter how you really feel), with the company’s name clearly stated (not rushed) and when asked to be put through to a person, please consider the caller- if you know that the person is not available, tell the caller and don’t just put them through to the voice mail – this consideration really leaves a lasting impression on your callers- one that can impact on their decision to do business with you.

The phone can be a powerful tool when used professionally!!

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