The way in which a telephone call to a company or an individual is answered by the switchboard operator has an important psycho logical effect upon the caller. A cheerful voice and inflection, plus careful enunciation, make the caller feel immediately that he is dealing with an efficient, dynamic company. Just the opposite impression is given by the voice that sounds bored and tired and that slurs its greeting so that the caller isn’t sure he’s made the right connection.
Answering the Phone
When you answer the phone calls you have to do your best not to keep the caller waiting. This is very important and make the caller realized that he has called a professional and reliable company.
The Phone Greeting
The greeting you give have to be accurate and be according to the correct time and also the company name. This helps the caller understand that he has dialed the right number without having to ask. For example, “Good morning, The Palisades Company,” or, “Good afternoon, Bryant 9-8000.” Knowing that he has the right number, the caller merely has to ask for the individual he is calling. When your company requires a special greeting on holidays, sound as though you mean it when you answer a call with, “Merry Christmas; Palisades Company.”
If you work in a small office—perhaps a one-man company—and answering the phone is part of your job, give the company name and your own. For instance, “Briarwood, Incorporated—Miss Dunn speaking.” You may precede this with “Good morning” or whatever is appropriate to the time of day. But when the name of the company is a long one, it might be best to omit the greeting and just give the company name and your own.
The Case of the Vanishing Operator
Don’t annoy callers by doing a disappearing act the minute you answer the call, then coming back on to ask who the caller wants, and disappearing once again just as he is telling you. No one likes to be left talking to himself.
Also, when you ask someone why he is calling, listen until you’ve heard the answer—even though it is a long, complicated story. It only irritates callers if you ask them the reason for the call and then seem not to be paying attention because you are answering other calls.
Frequently company policy requires that the switchboard operator ask the name of the person calling. A very busy switchboard operator is permitted to use the somewhat brusque, “Who’s calling?” or “Who’s calling, please?”
Should a caller refuse to give his name, the operator may connect him with the secretary of the man he has asked for and leave it to her to find out the reason for the call.
Having the Caller Hold the Line
When the caller gives you the name of the person he wants to speak with, thank him and connect him.
If the line is busy, tell the caller, “Mr. Brown’s line is busy. Will you wait?” If he answers in the affirmative, say, “Thank you.” Re turn to him every minute to keep him posted; no one likes to feel he’s holding on to a line that’s been forgotten. You can say, “Mr. Brown’s line is still busy.” And don’t forget to say, “Thank you” when he says he will continue to wait.
When Mr. Brown hangs up, say, “Mr. Brown’s line is free now. Thank you for waiting.”
Should a caller decide not to wait when Mr. Brown’s line is busy, be sure you get his name, number and extension. Write them down, and say, “Thank you. I will tell Mr. Brown you called.”
Handling Problem Calls
When you plug in a call from someone who seems vague about what he wants or who he wants to speak to, or who is obviously a crank caller, don’t cut him off abruptly while you answer other calls. The problem here is not to let a caller of this type take up so much of your time that the switchboard lights up like a Christmas tree while he tells his tale. Listen to him closely to see if you can help him by referring him to a certain department or individual. If you must interrupt him to answer another call, say, “One moment, sir. I have another call to answer.” If you decide it is pointless to connect him with anyone, suggest that he write a letter to the company, explaining his problem.
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