Bob Janet
Bob Janet

Don’t assume your customers cannot see you when you talk to them on the telephone.

Okay, they can’t physically see you, but they can see your attitude. They can see how important you think they are. When talking with a prospect face-to-face, your voice accounts for only 33 percent of your effectiveness. On the telephone, your voice accounts for 84 percent of your effectiveness.

Your customer service representatives — in fact, everyone who answers the phone at your business — must understand this.

There are three steps that let your customers see how important you feel they are:

1. Understand why the prospect is calling. A prospect does not call just to chitchat. They call because they have a problem. The problem can be a need to purchase your products or services, or they may have a problem with something they purchased from you previously. No matter how small their problem may seem to you, since they took the time to call, it is a big problem to them. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of their problem. The seller who solves the customer’s problems the easiest for them, gets the sale and subsequent profit.

2. Make the customer feel as if they are the most important person in your life. This is being customer-centered. The customer must perceive that everything you do is for their satisfaction. Answer the phone on the first three rings or less. Use a nice greeting (good morning, good afternoon). Give the business name and your first name (people trust familiarity), and ask how you may help them. A good example goes like this: “Good morning, Janet Heating and Cooling, Bob speaking. How may I help you?”

3. A smile makes all the difference. Now since you understand why the customer is calling and what to say when you answer the phone, all you have to do is say it with a “smile” and your first impression on the customer will be a good impression, which is soothing, accommodating, encouraging, and reassuring to the customer. It will be a customer-centered contact that will be profitable to you, because you will make a very positive impression upon the customer.

Make no mistake about it. The “smile” in your voice is the difference that makes the customer feel you are there for them, that they are the most important person in your life, and that they can trust you. Practice it. You cannot sound anything but pleasant and customer-centered when you smile while you are talking. You will have constant comments on how nice, how cheery, how pleasant you sound on the telephone. But most of all you will have customers being greeted with a helpful voice they can see.

Publication date: 5/5/2014 

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