Your first contact with a customer is often over the telephone as they call to get more information about the store or your products. This is your opportunity to discover and meet a customer’s needs and build a relationship that can help your business grow.

Use these 7 important telephone tips to help your entire team make a great first impression:

  1. Smile! It’s amazing how well a smile (or a bored or stressed expression) transmits across the phone lines. It’s almost as if the person on the other end of the line can literally see the expression on your face. I recommend putting a small mirror by the phone to remind your staff to smile when they answer the phone.
  2. Answer with both your business name and your name. “Thanks for calling Kid to Kid. This is Shauna.” That ensures the customer that they’ve called the right place and starts building the relationship.
  3. Avoid slang and expressions that are too familiar. You’re not speaking to your “hun” and products aren’t “awesome and cool”. It’s difficult for a customer to develop trust and confidence in someone who speaks like an uneducated teenager and doesn’t use proper English.
  4. Speak clearly and articulate your words. If they can’t understand you, what’s the point of the conversation?
  5. The customer in front of you takes priority. If you must pick up the phone when you’re working with another customer, ask permission to answer the call. Tell the caller that you’re with a customer, and ask if you can call back. Get their contact information, and let them know approximately when you’ll get back with them. If you’ll be finished in less than a minute, ask if they’d mind holding – and then don’t forget to pick it back up.
  6. If you don’t know, offer to find out. It’s not unusual to get a request for information that you don’t know off the top of your head. Find someone who can provide the answers they’re seeking. If you need to take their number and call back with the information that’s fine. They’ll be impressed at your efforts to meet their needs
  7. Finish up strong. Ask if there’s anything else you can do to help them, and thank them for calling.

Remember that the telephone is another important tool to make your interaction with customers special and memorable.