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Three Part Business Phone Call: Professional Telephone Greeting and Closing
Greeting your callers
So many call centers and businesses spend a lot of time worrying about what the body of their calls (or meat and potatoes of a call) sound like, that they don’t often give a lot of attention to their greeting or closing of their calls. Both the greeting and the closing are uniquely important to the life of the call and to the customers overall impression. The greeting sets the tone for the entire call, and as we all know first impressions are lasting impressions. For similar reasons, the closing of the call is equally important, because it is the last thing that the caller hears before they hang up the phone and are left with a final impression of the interaction that they associate to the company. Now that we have established why these elements are important to a call, let’s discuss how to formulate an effective greeting and closing.
The greeting of the call needs to be pleasant, informative and brief. So many times I have called a company and get a representative on the line where their greeting script is so long, I have forgotten why I called in the first place. When I say that the greeting needs to be informative, do not mistake this for wordy, I am simply implying that you should announce your company to the caller, so they know they have reached the correct company. However if the person answering the phone simply says “ABC Inc.” the greeting may be brief, but it is not pleasant at all. An effective greeting for any company should have three elements: a pleasant salutation, the name of the company they have reached, and the name of the person answering the phone call. For a company that works in a primarily localized area an effective example would be “Good [morning, afternoon, or evening], [company name], this is [name].” For example: “Good morning, ABC Inc., this is John.” Whereas for a company that works across multiple time zones an effective greeting would look more like, “Hello, [company name] this is [name]” or “Hello, ABC. Inc., this is John.”
The theory behind the person answering the phone giving their name is that it prompts the caller to give their name back. This would give you a great segue into the rest of the call, as you could then say, “Hi [caller’s name] how can I help you today?” A company with multiple divisions could use this same formula and input the name of the corresponding division into where the company name would typically go. This method would look like, “Good morning, IT, this is John.” Multiple divisions within a company adopting this method would streamline their telephone greetings, so no matter what department of a company a caller is reaching, they are being greeted with the same pleasant, informative, brief greeting.
As I had previously stated, the closing of the call is equally important, as it leaves the caller with a final and lasting impression of not only this single interaction but of your company as well. Again the closing, just like the greeting, should be pleasant, brief and also sincere. This is a great way to make the caller really feel like they matter to your company. That being said, the closing is not just how you say good-bye to your caller, but it encompasses the entire ending of the call. This means that you want to confirm that you have addressed all of the callers needs or ask if there are any other concerns the caller has prior to ending the phone call. This can be accomplished by simply asking, “Have I addressed all of your concerns today Mr. Smith?” or “Mr. Smith, is there anything else that I can help you with today?” By asking the caller if they have any other questions or concerns, you help eliminate repeat phone calls. Often times a caller will remember a second question as soon as they hang up with a company. If your representatives ask the caller if there is anything else, it prompts them to think, and often times they realize they do have another question.
If the caller says no they have no further questions, that’s it, you can end the call with a simple “Thank you for calling, have a nice day” or your representatives can personalize it a little more to the situation, “Thank you for calling Mr. Smith, have a nice rest of your day” or even “have a nice weekend” if it is a Friday. However, if the caller should think of another question, once you address their question, I would suggest going through this process another time, asking once again if there is anything else that you can help them with, prior to ending the call.
Following these suggestions will help your company result in more positive phone call experiences with your callers. Remember, a first impression is a lasting impression.
© 2009 Cara Noelle Guzman