Telephone manners are very much a part of customer service. They say a lot about you and about your company. They build and maintain solid business relationships, establish and enhance your professional image and the corporate image. The caller develops an impression—positive or negative—not only about the person who responds to the phone call but also about the company. US consultant Joy Fisher-Sykes advises the following:
● Answer calls in a timely manner. When the phone rings and you are not in your desk to take the call, any employee should pick up the phone at first ring or, at most, the third ring.
● Be prepared to receive calls. Have always beside your phone a pen and paper. Do not let the caller wait while you look for any of these.
● You must return a call as soon as possible if you were not around to take it. Apologize for not being able to respond.
Voice Mail. Your voice mail represents you in your absence. Check your voice mail periodically throughout a work day. If you are not around to answer calls, leave a message for callers to leave their name and phone number and inform them when you are going to call back, or provide a specific future date when they can contact you.
Have a mirror. Fisher-Sykes advises that you look at yourself on a mirror when answering a telephone call. This lets you see what the caller hears. A warm smile can be heard over the phone through your tone of voice. She further advises that if the phone rings and you have just had a bad moment, its better to allow the caller to leave a message than risk talking and having your frustration sensed through your voice tone.