What impression do outsiders get when they call your business?
Is it a welcoming greeting such as "Thank you for calling The Office Organiser, this is Lorraine", or do they hear:
"Lorraine's phone" "Hold the line" (before you even speak) "Hold the line please" (before you have even opened your mouth) "Lorraine speaking" (doesn't even mention the name of the business) or they speak so fast you miss the name of the organisation and have to check you rang the right number. Sometimes the initial contact has been positive only to be let down when the person has said:
"Hold the line for a tick/sec" "I need to find a piece of paper to write your message down" "Can you hold on while I find a pen" "Just a tick, I'll pop you on hold" "Alright, I'll see if she's available" How to Effortlessly Lose Business Recently my 22 year old had three weeks off from her job as a flight attendant. She wanted to book into a health retreat for a few days.
As her mother, I was very excited by this, as it’s not often you hear of someone so young, invest their own money…and we’re talking around $2000 plus, who would do something so positive for themselves.
Anyhow, we spoke about her options and she decided on a well-known retreat in Queensland (where else?). On the two occasions she spoke with the receptionist and sales person, Tia (my daughter) was treated with indifference. The staff were not enthusiastic or very helpful…a major turn–off.
Tia had never been to this retreat yet the impression she gained indicated it was very disorganised and not professional. Her thoughts were – if this is how they respond to potential customers, what would the actual experience be like?
In the end she decided to go to Camp Eden which both my husband and myself have experienced. When she made her enquiries and consequently her booking, she was treated with respect and they made her feel special.
She’s spent the past 5 days at the retreat and has rung me to tell me how much she has enjoyed it.
Who Answers Your Phone? The person who answers the phone automatically conveys to outsiders an impression of your organisation. So what impression is your phone answerer/answerers, receptionist or Director of First Impressions conveying to the world?
You can have the glossiest brochures, presentation kits, business cards, employ polished sales people who drive fancy cars and have flash premises, however if your physical image isn't backed up with a professional image in the office, then you could lose credibility and even business.
On occasions I have spent my money elsewhere because of the treatment I received from the receptionist.
Whose Fault Is It? Can you blame your people? No. The buck stops with the owner or manager of the business. Often they are too busy to pay attention to the customer service side of the business and avoid investing time and money into their most important asset…their people.
Here are some simple, yet very effective solutions to shape up your phone image.
Top Telephone Tips
•Train your people in how to answer the phone.
•Place a script next to each phone so they cannot forget what to say. Smile and stand up each time the phone is answered. The smile projects down the line and standing up gets you off your butt!
*Ask some of your clients and a few outsiders (could be possible prospects) to ring into your organisation and provide you feedback as to what they experienced i.e. welcoming greeting, professional manner, etc.
• Have a system for taking messages that everyone adheres to. i.e. use duplicate message pads, message boards or email. (Tie pens to the message pads).
•Answer the phone as quickly as possible, ideally on the third ring. If it takes too long to answer then the caller may think no-one is there and may take their business elsewhere. If you answer too soon it may appear you have nothing to do.
•Learn the words" "Please" and "Thank You".
The Final Word It's always the little things which count. The simple, basic, nitty gritties of life.
Ignore them and you risk losing business, credibility, respect, and who knows what else? Pay attention to the details because if you don't, other people may not pay attention to you!
Lorraine Pirihi may be contacted at http://www.productivityqueen.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorraine Pirihi is the founder of productivityqueen.com and creator of “The Productivity and Profit System” the complete one-on-one training program for solopreneurs and small businesses. Lorraine is also the celebrated author of “The Productivity and Profit Home Study System” the proven 6 step system guaranteed to help you free up your time, organise your systems and master your marketing so you are much more profitable and have time to enjoy life. This is available at http://www.productivityqueen.com/profit.html She's a productivity expert, leading business coach, author and speaker with straight-shooter, no-fluff strategies that really work. Get your COMPLIMENTARY audio CD “How to Boost Your Productivity and Profits and Enjoy More Time Off” VALUED AT $47 for a limited time only. *** Go to www.productivityqueen.com