Great Ideas for your Small Business: Listen to the Telephone Doctor
Nancy friedman, known as the “telephone Doctor,” is one of my favorite customer service experts. She’s an energetic, intelligent woman who teaches people how to make the most of their most valuable business tool—the phone—via seminars, books, and tapes.
Unfortunately, many people take their telephone for granted. They answer it without enthusiasm, half-listen to what’s being said, and take poor, incomplete messages. We may carry cellular phones around and worry about missing calls, but Friedman’s contention is that we don’t appreciate or make use of the telephone’s real power.
If you teach your employees to answer the phone properly and place calls in a professional manner, it will boost sales as well as morale.
She was gracious enough to contribute a few great ideas for this book:
- Teach your employees to smile before they answer the phone. Even if it’s forced, smiling brightens your voice and boosts your energy.
- Keep important numbers handy. In all print correspondence, type the addressee’s phone number directly under the city and state in the opening part of a letter. This makes it easy for you to call the person to follow up.
- When you are out of the office, call your staff at a specified time. When you check in, ask them to tell you exactly what’s been going on that day. No business owner or boss ever wants to hear “nothing’s going on” at the office.
- Learn to love voice mail. No matter how annoying you might think it is, voice mail is here to stay. Learn to swear by it, not at it. If you don’t want to hear that robotic, annoying “thank you for calling…,” hit the “O” and most of the time you’ll reach a live operator. If you don’t want to go into someone’s voice mail, return to the operator and ask if you can leave a personal message.