First, I’d like to share a minor victory with you. Because I have a business phone line, that line is not protected from the Do Not Call List which is reserved for personal phones. I have been flooded with robot calls usually trying to sell me something. These robot calls used to drive me crazy and there was nothing I could do. But even for personal phones, this Do Not Call List is not always honored.
No More Robot Calls!
There is a free service you can get which stops over 95% of those robot calls. I discovered it in The New York Times and decided to try it out. I could not be happier with it.
Check it out at NoMoRobo.
I’m always surprised when I see websites which don’t make it easy for customers to call a human being. We expect that kind of treatment from places like Amazon and PayPal, but a small local business can’t afford to treat its customers the same way. So put your phone number on a common footer of your website so it appears on every page. Invite your customers to call you, even if they have to leave a message. You want customers to call you, right?
Smile when you answer your phone. The caller can hear it in your voice.
A lot of people are trying to do all their business with a cell phone. That’s understandable, but the connection and sound quality can hurt your business. It’s a good investment to also have a land line or a Vonage line. The reliability and audio quality of Vonage surprised me when I started using it. See Vonage.com for details.
Here are some other phone tips excerpted from the book “The Essentials Of Business Etiquette.”
1. Announce your name when picking up the phone. Use your first AND last name rather than just one of them.
2. Be considerate of others who will hear your phone conversation. I had to leave a pizza parlor recently when a patron was practically yelling into his phone and didn’t get the hint that he was bothering other people. Don’t be oblivious to those who will hear your side of the phone conversation. Many businesses now post signs warning against using cell phones in public areas.
3. Got a meeting or a meal with others? Turn your phone off and put it away. This shows respect for the person you are meeting with. When you answer a phone in the middle of a meeting, you are telling others they are not important. The worst is taking a phone call when you’re in a car with another person. If you leave your phone on the table, this too sends a message that you don’t think the other people are as important as what might come over your phone.
4. Choose a normal ring. Others may not want to hear your latest ringtone. Think about how others will react.
5. Always tell a person that you have them on speaker phone. If you must use the speaker phone, let the other person know who else is in the room with you. There are many horror stories of people dissing someone else in the room.
6. Keep voice mails short and to the point. The person you are calling may not have time to listen to a long message. If you leave your phone number, speak slowly and clearly. Repeat the number.