Business Greetings are extremely important regardless of your impressive facilities, extensive credentials and fantastic equipment. Greeting your customers with a genuine smile and sincerity holds the key to setting a foundation for a positive customer response. The customer calling you want to feel connected and cared for. They want to feel like they can trust themselves in your hands so it is important that customer greeting is correct at the very initial step. If you don’t get it right, it raises questions in the customer’s mind whether or not your services will be reliable.
Naturally, if staff are on the phones all the time they probably talk to a lot of people every day, so it’s important to guard against becoming hard and careless to the problems of the people and general conversation. Customers need to feel and hear that we care first. So we have developed an “I CARE” method to help you with greeting customers in the most appropriate way.
- I - Initiate warm, personal greeting
- C - Confirm their appointment
- A - Answer their questions
- R - Repeat their name
- E - Explain next steps
The “I CARE” Method
The following steps will help you send a positive message to your valuable customers. The essence of I CARE method is to make your customers feel that they are your top priority and you are glad that they have called. Practices like this will help you develop a base of loyal customers who can’t wait to tell their friends about the great experience they had with your business.
1. Initiate a warm, personal greeting - Be empathetic towards your customer and pay 100 percent attention to what your customers have to say. Understanding, being sensitive and aware of the feelings, experiences and thoughts of your customer is the most essential element for developing a great service mentality.
It is wise to address customers by their preferred name if you know them. Try and create a bond which would send a clear precise message - You are my first order of business here and I am here to serve you.
2. Confirm their appointment - Next important step is to confirm the appointment. Confirm the date, the time and the reason for the visit or call. Particularly for someone who has an appointment and this should be the time to let them know whether there may be a delay and if the person they seek is available or not.
3. Answer their questions - Now it is time to answer all their queries one by one. Assume the customer wants to know about your product or service offerings - “How can I purchase your XYZ service/product?” Or “Is Mr X available?”
4. Explain the next steps - As you bring your transaction to a close, repeat the customer’s name to personalise the full process. If you have conducted a business transaction, so summarise what you will do and explain what they need to do from here.
The Forbidden Phrases You Should Never Use
- I don’t know - Use of such negative statement is a terrible approach and will inevitably frustrate the caller. You cannot afford to use such statement if you represent the organisation. While it is almost impossible to have all the information at your fingertips at once, it is better to use phrases like ‘I’ll try and find out’ as it shows that you are willing to go that extra mile for him/her. The best solution to such problem is, using positive words & phrases - “That is a good question, let me check.”
- We can’t do that - You should always avoid such negative statement. Don’t tell your customer what you cannot do instead turn the tables and tell them what you can do to help. The best solution to this problem is - “Let’s see what we can do for you.
- It is a company policy - Customer doesn't care about the company policy, rather they would ask for an exclusion of such stratagem. It is better to use an alternative statement such as “Mr X we have a better scheme or place we can offer. Would you like to see or hear about it?”
- That’s impossible - Another negative that will cost your organisation may be even losing you, potential customers. Portray the positive side i.e. what service or product can be available for that particular customer. The valuable client didn’t call you to solve your problems but they expect you will resolve his, do not overburden them with such negative phrases.
Courtesy Rule - Telephone Skills
- Answer the phone promptly within three rings if possible.
- Remember to ask for the caller’s name and address them by their name.
- Use clear positive messages and remember not to use any sort of slang words.
- No insider jargon words such as Res no. - Reservation Number, ASAP - As soon as possible. Sometimes a shortcut takes a long time to explain.
- Avoid monotone and adapt to varying tone when possible.
- Don’t hurry or speak too fast. Garbling hinders audibility and customers will lose track of the topic.
- Stay focused and avoid distraction like looking at your phone, chewing gum etc.
- Listen to your customers attentively and do not interrupt the caller - respond only once they have finished and then make your suggestions.
- Repeat back information to avoid misunderstanding.
- Be specific while providing the information. Ask for detailed information which would help to determine their needs.
- Acknowledge the transfer requests.
- Let transferee know what to expect so that it helps prepare your colleague before receiving the call.
- Let the caller speak before you place them on hold.
- Offer the caller a choice before putting them on hold or ask them whether they would love to leave a message.
- Always remember to take a thorough message.
- Listen, empathise, apologise, solve the problem and follow up.
At last but not the least, remember to take a coffee break because you deserve it.
The first impression is everything. Remember to develop a rapport and treat your valuable customer like you want yourself to be treated. Don't build your relationship with products or services but with the customers and clients that lead to trust and long-term fruitful relationship.