The best practices for using the phone in your small business

12th April 2018

When running a small business, it is naturally wise for you to endeavour to get as much return as possible from every penny you spend. To this end, you might have thoroughly oiled your company’s online operations to ensure that they run smoothly and reliably.

However, have you taken the same approach to your company’s phone system and strategies? If not, this could be a significant missing link in your corporate communication efforts.

Answer each call promptly

Once your office’s phone starts ringing, you or another member of staff should pick it up as soon as possible. Otherwise, your firm could come across as unprofessional to the caller hanging on the line.

A customer who has gone as far as calling your business instead of a rivals is valuable. Therefore, don’t just direct them to your company’s website when they are on hold; this irritates 28% of customers, according to watchdog research cited by smallbusiness.co.uk.

Always speak in a professional manner

There are clearly many implications of taking a business call which do not strictly apply when you are casually talking to a friend over the phone – and vice versa. However, those implications even extend right down to the rudimentary language that you use.

For example, you shouldn’t use such slipshod terms as “cheers”, “mate” and “uh-huh”. The tone you should strike is friendly but businesslike; don’t fail to enunciate each word.

Don’t have the answer? Look for it

On occasion, a caller might ask you a question for which you frankly don’t know the answer. However, rather than simply utter “I don’t know”, explain to the caller how you can help them find the information that they want.

For example, you could say to them: “I’ll be happy to find this out and then call you back.” Furthermore, give them an idea of when you will call them back, advises UK Business Forums.

Recognise the worth of analysing phone data

Your company might already habitually source a wealth of data through its online channels. It might, for example, learn not only how traffic arrives at its website, but also the search terms that have led this traffic to it and which sites these people visited before and after yours.

However, your company may not be analysing phone interactions to the same extent. This would be tragic, as such analysis can help you understand your customers as they actually agree to a purchase.

Find ways of trimming international call costs

In a bid to attract as much custom as it can, your business might have expanded its promotional efforts across the globe. However, making phone calls to addresses beyond the UK’s borders can trigger disconcertingly heavy charges. Can you really cut the costs?

Yes, you can. At Planet Numbers, we allow your business to phone overseas customers far cheaper than calling direct. For example, when you make cheap calls to India with a Planet Numbers online prepay account, the per-minute costs can fall to as little as 1.5p.

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