Independent Retailer Advice on Answering Store Phones
Tip #424 - Callers Are Customers Too
Dear Tip of the Weeker,
Answering phone calls in the store seems like a simple thing, but unless you've thoroughly trained your staff to answer the phone correctly your customers may not be getting the service they deserve.
This week's Tip is an excerpt from the Retail Mastery System's Customer Service Kit. It's the introduction to an entire section about giving great customer service on the phone.
People calling on the phone are likely to be your best customers or hottest prospects. Treat them to the same great experience they would get if they walked into your store...
On the phone, your first contact with the customer is always your phone greeting. People want to talk to a friendly, helpful person, so when you answer the phone, don’t do it anonymously OR absent-mindedly. A caller can sense if you are doing something else and can certainly hear carryover conversations as you bring the phone to your face—that’s so unprofessional! Stop what you’re doing, smile, and say…
“Good morning, Acme Sewing Center, this is Bob.”
With this greeting, there are three key elements:
- Say some pleasant “buffer” words like good morning that give your caller a moment to refocus their attention on the call. Like you, their minds are busy and even in the space of a few phone rings their thoughts will have drifted away from the call they just placed.
- Your store name, stated clearly and slowly enough that the caller can understand it. The caller wants to know they've reached their intended number. Make sure you aren’t saying it like... “GoodmorningAcmeSewingCenterthisisBob!”
- Your first name, clearly pronounced so the caller can respond “Hi Bob, I’m interested in ….” Providing your name also shows you aren’t afraid to be accountable to the caller.
Notice there is no fourth element where you say, “How may I help you?” These are unnecessary words that only make your caller wait longer to tell you what they want. Also, any words stated after your name effectively erase your name in the caller's memory. You want your caller to remember your name as they build a relationship with you and your store.
A greeting with these three elements should be the standard in your store for everyone who answers the phone.Wishing you great sales and lots of fun,