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With so much business today being conducted over the phone, effective phone communication is a must both for employer and employees. When we are on the phone, we cannot make use of non-verbal cues like shrugs, so it is important to know the potential pitfalls of phone communication and to strengthen your company’s phone skills in order to avoid miscommunication.

Whether you are dealing with clients online or in person, it is important to maintain professionalism and treat clients with respect at all times. Making that good first impression through respectful communication can go a long way to retaining clients and improving customer loyalty.

These three tips for effective phone communication, when used consistently, will put you on the right road to building strong relationships with your clients and other potential customers.

1. Be Consistent

All phone calls should be answered, and they should be answered within three rings (before your client is sent to voicemail). When phones are not answered, this sends your callers a message that tells them you do not value them or their time. If every employee must answer the phone in three rings or less, employees will have more accountability and company productivity will increase.  It is also important that everyone who answers the phone answers it in the same way. Developing a simple and friendly phone script is important so you avoid unprofessional greetings. For example, “This is Dan, DSM. What’s up” is likely not the way to answer the phone. This is a much better alternative: “Good morning. Thank you for calling DSM. This is Dan speaking. How may I help you?” Consistency in your phone answering will provide your customers with the high quality service they need to stay loyal.

2. Uphold Professionalism

When clients call to speak with someone at your organization, there should be a professional response in place for how to handle this situation. If an employee is sick or away from the office for personal reasons, those reasons do not need to and should not be shared with callers. Sharing too much personal information blurs the lines of professionalism. It is enough simply to say, “Dan is not available right now. May I assist you in some other way, or may I take a message so he can get back to you at his earliest convenience?” This is much better than sharing where they are or the fact that perhaps you are frustrated because they are out of the office. Working together to maintain the company’s professional image is of benefit to everyone involved.

3. Manners Matter

This may seem like common sense, but it is simple and true. Phone manners are important, whether you’re speaking with family or future customers. For example, when placing a caller on hold, it is important to explain what you are doing and ask them if this is okay. Using polite words like “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis also communicate that you are focused on the caller and not on yourself. At the end of every call, it is also very important that you thank the callers for calling and ask if they need anything else before hanging up the call. The simple and basic phone manners are essential for effective business phone communication and will benefit your company overall.

Read lots more blog posts from DSM on the DSM blog.

DSM Tel is a Halifax-based phone company with telecom solutions for business. With service in Halifax, Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton, DSM Tel offers Digital Phone which eliminates the hassle of purchasing and managing an on-site telephone system and phone lines. Digital Phone is a fully managed, hosted phone system using a secure, private data connection to ensure excellent voice quality. All that’s required at the customer site is IP phone sets – DSM Tel offers a wide range of state of the art phone sets. For a quick demo please go to: www.dsmtel.com/demo