1. Shorten their waiting time.
Nothing irks callers more than waiting for someone to answer the phone (or worse, not getting any response at all). Pick up the call immediately, preferably within the first three rings.
2. Get rid of background noise.
Having a quiet atmosphere and using noise reduction tools can eliminate distractions and enhance your company’s professional image.
3. Use a professional greeting.
Establish a “script” for greeting callers. Your opening line may start with a “hello” or a greeting relevant to your time zone before stating your company name: “Thank you for calling (company name).”
4. Speak with a welcoming tone.
Try smiling when you answer a call to sound friendlier and more inviting. Even if your callers can’t see you, they can envision “hear” you smiling through the sound of your voice. However, ensure your language stays polite and aligned with your company’s brand voice.
5. Verify the caller’s identity and reason for calling.
Is your caller a prospect seeking more information about your company or service? Or is the person a long-time client needing a solution to a problem with your product? Clarifying the caller’s motive sets the direction of your conversation.
6. Be an active listener.
Callers want to be heard and understood. Be patient—avoid interrupting them. At the same time, ask questions to ensure you understand their needs.
7. Match your caller’s pace.
The average speed for spoken English is 150 words per minute. Talking fast may intimidate slow talkers, especially non-native English speakers. In such cases, reduce your pace a little, and repeat what they said for understanding and confirmation.
If your caller skips chitchat and goes straight to the point, give short answers while remaining pleasant.
8. Empathize, inform, and ask permission.
Show empathy by saying: “I apologize for the inconvenience,” more so if the caller waited a long time to reach you. After they finish telling you about their problem, define your next steps clearly and state a longer time frame than necessary for you to provide a solution.
Most importantly, get their permission before putting them on hold or connecting them to your colleague. “What I can do right away is to consult my colleague about your problem. May I put you on hold for two to three minutes?” Should the caller have a challenging attitude from the outset of the call, read our best practices for handling difficult customers.
9. End the call properly.
Be as courteous when you end the call. Say thank you, wish your caller well for the rest of the day, and wait for them to hang up first.