In business, phone calls are indispensable.
English in Management
ALTHOUGH a telephone, especially a smartphone, can perform multi-functions nowadays, the fact remains that its most common use is verbal or oral communication.
When we speak, we don’t need to prepare our text beforehand. We just speak naturally or without preparation. As speaking is fast and convenient, it conveys messages instantly.
Thus urgent or immediate messages are best conveyed by phone. Just imagine the ease of saying “Okay, I’m coming for the meeting” rather than the trouble of inputing the text as a short message or e-mail. In addition, people normally speak better than they write, so speaking is more quickly done than writing.
A telephone communication permits conversations to be carried out between people separated by almost any distance, even where one or both parties are on the move or travelling.
The telephone enables the exchange of information in all areas of human activities. And in business, phone calls are simply indispensable.
A client’s first impression of your business comes from a call, so saying the right thing at the right time is essential in projecting a favourable image. Proper telephone etiquette makes callers feel welcomed, respected, listened to and understood, and tells them that they are being well served. Effective phone calls draw clients in as well as keep them for good.
When greeting clients, identify the name of the business and your name, then ask how you can help: “Good morning, this is Mobile International. I am Stanley Wong, may I help you?”
Such a greeting pleases the caller, while asking what you can do to help shows that you are ready to serve.
To make a caller feel welcomed, you must answer the phone promptly and in a courteous manner. A caller can sense if you mean business or have ill manners. A rude response immediately puts him off.
Do smile when you answer the phone, as according to psychologists, although the person on the other side of the line does not see your facial expression, he can sense that you are smiling or showing a sour face. Thus it is good to smile each time you pick up the phone, as if the caller is just in front of you.
If a call needs to be redirected to another individual, politely request the caller to wait for a moment and then transfer the call. If you do not know the answer to the caller’s question, let him know you will get the necessary information for him.
At the same time, take down his particulars and follow through with the required material for him. Brushing off a client by saying, “We’re very busy right now,” or “Could you call back? The person in charge is not in,” is annoying. Instead, make the client feel that he is important by taking a message and getting back to him as soon as possible.
Always listen carefully to what a caller has to say before redirecting the call or making a verbal response. To make sure the caller knows you are listening, repeat the information he has given you, then proceed with the next step.
If a caller is too emotional, listen and then respond calmly by directing the call to the appropriate source. When taking messages, never be afraid to ask for the spelling of names and places, as well as the exact quantity, sum of money or date and time – it is much better to take the trouble getting everything right than to have problems reaching the client later on.
Please refer to the table for some typical phrases that you can use in a telephone conversation.
■ Yong Ah Yong is a lecturer at the main campus of UTAR in Kampar, Perak.
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