Things Not To Do When On The Phone To A Client
There is a lot of advice out there on how to have good telephone skills but there isn’t much advice that tells you what NOT to do, even though it can be just as helpful. Guest author Adrian Johnson has compiled a list of 5 things that you should definitely not do when you’re on the phone to a client.
They may sound like common sense but you’ll be surprised how many people forget simple manners when on the phone!
DON'T - Eat, Drink Or Chew Gum
There is nothing worse than being on the phone to someone who is smacking their lips when chewing gum, crunching in your ear or gulping so loud that you have to pull the phone away for a few seconds. Imagine calling up a business to find that their secretary or PA is doing exactly that, you’d probably hang up, wouldn’t you?
Not only does it show unprofessionalism but it’s also just unpleasant. Always avoid eating, drinking or chewing gum when on the phone to a client.
DON'T - Talk To Other People
If you’re on the phone to a client the last thing that they want to hear is you having a conversation with your colleague, even if it’s related to work. It’s confusing and it isn’t good customer service.
If you need to ask your colleague a question then it’s best to put your client on hold (it’s also important to tell them that you’re putting them on hold – they may think you’ve hung up otherwise) or to cover the phone so that the client cannot hear your conversation. If you're going to be away for a while then make sure you check back in every thirty seconds to ensure that your client doesn't think you've forgotten them and always apologise for the wait.
DON'T - Be Blunt
Never answer the phone with “Yes?” It isn’t very welcoming to your client and they may not feel comfortable talking to you after such a rude introduction. Always be polite and friendly so that the client feels comfortable to call back if they need to.
Practice your telephone voice as much as possible so that you can always give the best service possible, and if you run a home business, you may want to consider getting a second line put in that you can use purely for that. This avoids the problem of having another member of your family (who hasn't practised their best telephone voice) answering the phone to your clients!
DON'T - Swear
It’s pretty obvious that you shouldn’t swear at your client but you should also not swear while on the phone to your client. Firstly, it’s unprofessional and secondly, they may find it offensive: some people have a real dislike of swearing and you don’t want to accidentally offend your client.
DON'T - Hang Up Without Saying Thank You Or Goodbye
Even if your client has not been particularly pleasant you should still never hang upon them. Always thank them for calling and say goodbye. It shows your client that the conversation is finished and that it’s ok for them to hang up. Be sure to ask if they have any further questions before you end the call. If you hang up before the client is ready to then it’s likely that they won’t call again.
These are all simple things that should really be second nature, but it's amazing how many people who have to answer the telephone as part of their job don't always get it right. Most people will have their own examples of bad customer service over the telephone; don't let your home business or freelance career become another statistic!