Phone calls. Millennials are notorious for avoiding them, older people tend to prefer them, and toddlers practise making them on Fisher Price rotary phones that they will never see a working version of. My toddler is fascinated with the cordless phone at her Grandma's house, but panics and runs away when it actually rings. If you tend to do the adult version of this when the phone rings - here are some tips and tricks for answering the phone like a professional, be it for personal or business reasons.
Picking up the phone within 3 rings starts the call off on the right track. The caller doesn't sit there for 7 rings, wondering if a voicemail is ever going to show up. If answering for a business, it's a good idea to have an auto-answer after a few rings - the ol' "your call is important to us, please stay on the line" is much better than a continual ringing.
Use an answer phrase
If you're answering your personal phone, it's fine and dandy to start with a "hello?" but if you're currently job hunting, a professional, or answering your work phone, it's a good idea to use a personal answer phrase. "John speaking", or "ABC Roofing, Amelia speaking" work well.
If answering for a business it's essential to use an answer phrase, usually with the business name included along with "how may I help you?". You can get creative with this, like "It's a great day at Mr. Plow!" or "Los Pollos Hermanos, where something delicious is always cooking!"Gus Fring had his flaws, but he was darn good at answering the phone for his business.
Mind your P's and Q's (please and thank you), use your caller's name (people love hearing their name), and be generally pleasant, even if you're having a bad day.
Don't use slang or use a word over and over again
Have you ever had to explain a complicated story over the phone, and had to listen to the other person say "uh huh" several times over? Other words to say to show that you're listening without being a uhhuh or okayyy zombie? How about - I see, I understand, Right, Okay, Absolutely. Repeating parts of what your caller is saying back to them to confirm understanding is good, too. "I see, Sandra, so if I'm understanding right, [repeat/consolidate what they're saying] - does that sound right?"
Confidence is key
Sounding professional, in control and interested are all part of confidence. If you need to, hold your head up high, stick out your chin and smile. You know what you're doing, you understand your business and your caller and you are more than capable of handling whatever problems they may have.
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Ready to test yourself (or your employees)? We also have a free business phone call score sheet!