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Rules For The Wireless: From Answering The Phone to Leaving Messages

Business Business Communication Essential Business Etiquette Rules For The Wireless: Offline Strategies For An Online World
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Transcript

Hello, I'm Linda Ramsay, president and founder of manners Excel. Today we're going to be talking about rules for the wireless. Unfortunately, we got the technology before we learned how to use it correctly and appropriately. So today we're going to focus on the rules for voicemail, email, cell phones, Speaker phones, all the ways that we communicate so that we can do it not only in the most appropriate professional manner, but in a way that helps us to build business relationships and to sustain them Talking about telephone courtesy, I have conducted something of an informal survey of my clients. I've asked them what are their pet peeves about the telephone? Now, first of all, everyone wants to say that the phone rings.

Well, that's a given the phone is going to ring. It's how people handle the telephone, in business and in the professional environment that actually influence their success and the success of their business. So on the list of pet peeves, the number one pet peeve among most business people is being put on hold and they go even farther and say it's being put on hold without being asked permission. It doesn't matter how many telephones are ringing, how many people are standing in front of you, when another call comes in, you must ask the caller to please hold with the caller mind holding, and then you wait for the caller to give you permission. Sometimes the person can't give you permission, there may be a reason why that person cannot hold. So you need to wait to hear yes I can or no I can.

Nine times out of 10 the other person will will gladly hold if you ask them in the right way. When you do put your callers on hold, make sure that you don't leave them there for longer than 30 seconds. It may be very difficult and it is difficult to track 30 seconds unless you have that device on your phone. But be aware of the other person and get back to them as quickly as possible. If you let someone stay on the phone on how long within 30 seconds, when you get back to that person, you're liable to have to do some damage control when you come back on the line, be You thank the caller. Thank you for holding, and then proceed to ask the person how you may help him or how you may help her.

If you have to come back to your caller again to ask that caller to hold for another 30 seconds, offer to take the name and the phone number and call that person back. They may prefer to have that option. Just remember people like to have choices. Number two on the list of pet peeves is transferring phone calls. Everyone despises those words. Let me transfer your call.

The minute you hear those words you envision being transferred from one person to another telling your story over and over again, to someone who's going to end up saying I'm sorry, let me transfer your call. Or I'm sorry, I'm not the person who can help So let me give you some suggestions for having happy customers and happy clients when you want to transfer a phone call. When you can't help the customer yourself, find out who came. If you think you know the person who's going to be able to help the customer, then check to see if that person is actually in the office before you say, let me connect you with so and so who can help you with your issue. And by the way, do avoid using the word transfer. The moment people hear transfer, they begin to go into some sort of meltdown.

So tell your client or tell your caller that you're going to send their call to someone else or you're going to connect them with someone else, but find another word or phrase to use in place of transfer. Now, you've made sure that the person to whom you're going to send this call is in the office because you don't want your caller to be sent into someone's voicemail. That caller is going to call you back be extremely unhappy at this point, make sure the person is in the office. Verify that this is the person who can help your caller. Tell the person what the issue is that the caller needs help with, and make sure that he or she is going to be able to help. Then go back to your caller.

And tell your caller who you're going to send the call to give your caller the name of the person, that person's phone number and extension and say if anything happens, this is who you need to speak to. Better yet go one more step and give the caller your name and the telephone number to call back. If something goes wrong, or if the customer is not completely satisfied. Nothing will make a customer happier than realizing that there's somebody that they can go to when things aren't going well, knowing that they have a life preserver. Number three on the list of pet peeves is people who do not identify themselves. Always identify yourself, whether you're the caller, or whether you're the one who's answering the phone.

It's important to let people know to whom they're speaking. When you call in, immediately give your name. And then you ask for the person you want to speak to, or for the departments you want to be connected to, or to talk about your issue. But always identify yourself. Don't assume the other person knows who you are, recognizes your voice, or that they don't care what your name is, we all want to know to whom we are speaking. Right along with that is number four people who do not speak clearly on the phone.

Some people speak very rapidly. Some people aren't paying attention to what they're saying and they're not really aware of maybe issues on the other end of the phone with the person to whom to speak. So speak up and speak clearly. Number five is a sign of a times people do not like to speak to other people who are doing several things at the same time. We all want to have the other person's full attention. And you may think because they can't see you working at your computer, or shuffling your papers or filing your nails, or whatever it is, that the other person doesn't know that you're busy doing several tasks at one time.

Put down those papers. Put down that nail file, turn away from your computer and focus on the caller. Number six on our list of pet peeves is mouth noises. Mouth noises refer to eating, drinking, chewing, smoking, yawning any of those things that other people can hear magnified on the other end of the line. You might think that the caller can't see you eating your sandwich or see you drinking your coke or crunching your eyes, but they can hear all of that. So when you're talking on the phone, focus on the caller not on your lunch not on what you're eating or drinking.

And just remember if you try to slip something in your math even as simple as a lifesaver, the caller will hear that. Number seven is speaker phones. Nobody likes to be put on speakerphone. If you have a good reason that you need to put someone on speakerphone. The rule is to ask permission first. Say May I put you on speakerphone and explain why explain that you might need to be taking notes and you want your hands free.

Or explain that there's someone in the office and tell the caller who is in the office that you want to include on the telephone call. Now when you find that you're on speakerphone and it's always very easy to tell when you realize that the other person is puts you on speakerphone is not told you why or ask your permission. simply say to that person, excuse me, I can't hear you very well. Would you mind picking up the handset if I'm on speakerphone, and in that case, the other person has no choice but to do that or tell you why he can't do it. Last on our list of pet peeves is hangups. No one likes to be hung up on.

However, in today's world, there's a greater risk when you hang up the phone without explaining that you've dialed the wrong number. With caller ID, you're going to be identified. So be aware of that. And if you do get a wrong number, just a simple I'm sorry, wrong number and hang up. We'll take care of it. Let's talk for a moment about that antiquated machine called the fax machine.

Just a few years ago, we were very dependent upon facts, facts game on this in a big hurry, and it's almost disappeared from our offices. It's been replaced for the most part by email. But occasionally, a client or someone will ask you to fax something. So you need to pay attention to your fax etiquette. In sending faxes when someone does request effects. Find out if you need a cover sheet.

Ask some cases you will not need one. But be sure don't send it to someone who possibly works in an organization with 5000 people and all the faxes. Go to one mailroom, ask Do you need a cover sheet. Also, if you're going to be sending a lengthy document, let the person know just how lengthy that document will be and make sure that their fax machine can handle that that you're not going to be tying it up when other people might want to use it. And also that there's enough paper in the fax machine. So ask permission, give the information about the length of your fax before you send it and then finally Your fax is just as much a representation of you professionally as those letters that you write as any of your other business manners.

So make your fax look professional. Just because it's a fax doesn't mean you can just scribble anything on a piece of paper and send it over to someone else's office. voicemail is another wonderful new communication to voicemail allows us to communicate with other people sometimes have complete conversations go back and forth several times without directly speaking to the person. voicemail saves business money because you don't have to have someone sitting by the telephone. always waiting To answer, we've come to accept voicemail as a fact of life. But there are still some people that don't understand the appropriate use of voicemail.

There's some key things that we all need to think about with voicemail. Number one is the greeting on your voicemail. Be sure that you record that greeting in your own voice. No one wants to get the canned voice that comes with a voicemail program. Make sure that you pay attention to your voicemail greeting, and you make sure that it sounds professional. Make sure that it gives the information that your caller is looking for.

They will want to know if you're not in the office, when you'll be in the office. They might want to know when they can expect a return phone call if you are out of the office. I recommend that people go in and change the voicemail message from time to time to freshen it up so that people calling don't hear you say the same thing over and over again, after years of having answering machines and voicemail, most everyone knows to leave the message at the end of the beat. So we don't have to say that anymore. But what everyone is now doing in business is saying, This is Mary Smith. I'm sorry, I'm not available to take your call, because I'm either on the other line, or away from my desk.

How many other choices are there? And do people need to know that can't they already tell that you're not available, that you're either on the other line or away from the desk? You don't need to say that anymore. Identify yourself and ask your caller to leave a message and indicate when you'll be calling that person back. And if you're away on vacation, and you want to tell people who are calling you, your customers, your clients, co workers, that you'll be away on vacation. for several days or a week, and you give them the date of your return, just make sure when you come back to the office and you're swamped, trying to catch up with everything that you go in and you change the greeting on your voicemail message.

Don't have people calling your office in July, only to hear that you're out of the office until June the 15th. your voicemail message is extremely important as well. First of all, the whole purpose of voicemail and the value of voicemail is the fact that you can leave a complete message for another person. So be prepared. Know what you're going to say how you're going to say it so it's brief, and it's to the point, but by all means, leave a message. Do not call and leave your name and phone number only.

You need to let the caller know why you're trying to get in touch with him or in touch with her so that when the person is returning your call, that person is prepared to discuss whatever you wanted to talk about. And when you leave your name and your telephone number, make sure you leave your name and phone number at the beginning of your message. And again at the end of the message, if you wait until the end of the message, and then do as most people, which is to get sort of panicked that you're going to run out of time, and you slip into fast forward, giving your phone number in some unintelligible fashion, the person for whom you left, the message has to play your message over and over again, in order to get the telephone number correctly. Say it at the beginning, say it slowly and then repeat it at the end.

That way if the person you are calling does not get the phone number right by the end of the message, all the other person has to do is play the first part of the message back to get your phone number. One of the great advantages of voicemail is the fact that you can do your work uninterrupted without those constant phone calls. If you've got a big project to finish, if you've got a deadline to me, if you've got a good reason to focus and you can't be disturbed, use your voicemail, but don't hide behind your voicemail. Don't use voicemail all day long just so you don't have to talk to other people. Pretty soon people will come to understand that you aren't answering your phone during the day. They'll stop calling you and they'll take their business elsewhere.

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