Florabundance News

Tom Bowling 2013 > Phone Skills Make or Break Your Business

September 24th, 2013

I recently ran across this article and would like to share it with all of us in retail. It helps reiterate some of the necessary skills that are often overlooked or even forgotten. Few things make a customer angry than to deal with a staff person that has poor phone skills. It is often viewed as a disrespect of a customer’s time. In this day when we are doing everything it takes to attack and keep our customer base intact, these few simple tips can make all the difference in a positive experience for your customers.
Phone answering skills are critical for florists. The telephone is still a primary point of contact for customers, and the way you answer your company’s phone will form your customer’s first impression of your business. Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering, even on a “down” day. Keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly when answering the phone so your caller can understand you easily. The phone answering tips below will ensure that callers know they’re dealing with a winning business.
1. 3 RING MAX
Don’t let the phone ring more than 3 times.
2. THE VOICE THAT SMILES IS THE VOICE YOU TRUST
Believe it or not, the customer can see if you’re smiling, even over the phone.
3. INTRODUCE YOURSELF
Wouldn’t you like to know who you’re talking to.
4. RECOGNIZE THE MOOD SWING
Every order has a different mood associated with it, pay attention and be aware of the occasion the customer is ordering flowers for. For example, you would naturally speak with a different tone on a sympathy order than on a new baby or birthday order.
5. PREFERRED PHRASES AND INAPPROPRIATE SLANG
Control your language when speaking on the phone. Don’t use slang or jargon. Instead of saying,”Ok” or “No problem,” say “Certainly” or “Very well.” No fillers when you speak, such as “Uh huh” “Um,” or phrases such as “Like” or “You know,” train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone. Make a list for your employees of preferred phrases and inappropriate slang! It will HELP!
6. REPEAT ALL ORDERS SLOWLY
Never assume you know how to spell someone’s name, a street name, city etc. Always repeat the order, slowly, to ensure all spellings are correct, as well as the delivery date and time, card message, etc.
7. “May I place you on a brief hold” AND MEAN IT!
Always ask the caller if you may place them on a brief hold when answering the phone, and don’t LEAVE people on hold. Provide callers on hold with progress reports every 30 to 45 seconds. Offer them choices if possible, such as “That line is still busy. Would you like to continue to hold or can I take your phone number and call you right back?”
8. BE CONSISTENT AND CREATE A SCRIPT
Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way, including other family members if you’re running a home-based business. Check on how your phones are being answered by calling in and seeing if they are answered in a professional manner.
9. ENABLE & EMPOWER
Consider allowing your agents flexibility to solve a situation on the spot. Customers these days have a shorter fuse and want to speak to someone who can make a decision. The more you put them on hold, the more frustrated they get.
With these great tips in place, watch to see how your phone sales increase your bottom line! It is a skill that can truly set your business a part from your competition.

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