Phone Answering Etiquette: Essential Tips for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
If you answer business calls with a simple "Hello,” it's time to rethink your phone answering strategy. On the other hand, if you always send calls straight to voicemail, it’s time to implement a strategy in the first place.
Use these tips to ensure every call that your business receives is answered professionally so that every caller is left with a great impression of your company.
Make sure calls are answered in the first place
A whopping 80% of callers won’t bother to leave a voicemail if their call isn’t answered. The reason? They assume no one will ever call them back.
In business, it’s clear that missing a call can quickly lead to missed opportunities.
But who has the time to pick up the phone every time it rings? If you’re like most small business owners and entrepreneurs, your schedule is already booked up with other obligations and responsibilities. Answering the phone takes you away from the task at hand and makes it hard to stay on track.
Fortunately, there’s an affordable solution — virtual phone answering services. Virtual phone answering is a great alternative to hiring a full-time receptionist, and you only pay for the minutes you use. If no calls come in, you won’t be billed. It’s as simple as that.
Never use an auto-attendant
No one wants to press 1 for a company directory, 2 for the sales department, 3 for accounting, 4 for marketing, and so forth and so on. When someone calls a business, they want to reach the person they’re calling as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If you absolutely need to use an auto-attendant, make sure the automated message is short, sweet, and to the point. Otherwise, you risk losing callers (and the business they would have brought to your company).
Choose a standard greeting
Your company should have a standard phone answering script that never changes, regardless of who answers the call. It could be something like, “Thank you for calling Company, this is Jackie. How can I help you today?”
Reception etiquette is key because this initial experience can make or break a caller’s perception of your company.
Make sure that everyone who answers the phone understands how calls should be answered and which script to use. Or, stick with a virtual phone answering service. It’s the simplest way to standardize the reception experience.
A note on choosing the right virtual phone answering service
If you’re thinking about hiring a virtual phone answering service, you should know that the type and quality of service you can buy varies dramatically from one provider to another. That’s why it’s so important to do your homework and learn as much as possible.
Use the following resources to learn more about virtual phone answering so that you can make the best possible choice for your company:
- 4 Things to Look For When Choosing a Phone Answering Service
- How to Get the Most From Your Phone Answering Service
- How Virtual Phone Answering Helps You Screen Calls More Effectively
- Pros and Cons of Small Businesses Taking After-Hours Calls
- How a Virtual Assistant or Receptionist Can Replace Your Office Secretary
Once you’ve done your research and chosen a provider, you’ll have peace of mind that the phones are being handled professionally and competently.