It's easy to underestimate the importance and difficulty of answering the phone consistently. Learn the three basic elements of a professional phone greeting. Evaluate your own phone greeting and practice your ability to greet customers consistently. Learn how to develop the perfect greeting that sounds good on the first or the fiftieth call of the day.
I'd like to show you how to develop the perfect phone greeting. A greeting is our first impression with the customer. It can start things off on the right foot or convince the customer they're about to receive poor service. Now, many people think the greeting is too basic to bother practicing. But be careful, it's more difficult than it looks. Especially after a long day on the phone when you're feeling tired. Many phone reps unknowingly sound robotic, bored, or unfriendly because they don't work on developing this basic skill.
A good greeting generally has three basic elements. A greeting, such as Good morning or Thank you for calling customer service. Your name, so the caller knows who they're speaking with. And an offer of assistance, such as How may I help you? These are just guidelines, so I encourage you to come up with a terrific greeting that works well for you. The key to delivering that greeting is to use positive body language and tone. Let's listen to a couple of examples. - Thank you for calling customer service, this is Kristin, how may I help you? - This was a poor greeting.
The rep didn't seem truly interested in helping out. Let's watch the rep as she delivers that greeting. Try to observe how the rep's body language influences the way she sounds. - Thank you for calling customer service, this is Kristin, how may I help you? - What did you notice? You may have seen that the rep was slouched in her chair and looked either tired or bored. And she definitely wasn't smiling. Body language influences our tone of voice.
So if we look tired and bored, we'll probably sound that way. A great way to display positive body language is to imagine your customer can see you. This reminds you to sit up straight, focus on your customer, and smile. Let's listen to what that rep sounds like when she uses positive body language. - Thank you for calling customer service, this is Kristin, how may I help you? - What did you observe this time? You may have noticed that she was sitting up straight, she was smiling, and she appeared focused on the customer.
All of this helped her sound positive and friendly when she answered the call. Now, you might be wondering about using scripted greetings. Just between us, I'm not a big fan. Scripts can easily make us sound robotic or inauthentic. But, sometimes a script is necessary or it's just a decision that's out of our control. If you must follow a script, do you best to make it your own. Let's listen to a couple of examples. - Thank you for calling customer service where every day is a wonderful day, this call may be monitored for quality and training purposes, this is Kristin, how may I make your day wonderful today? - Okay. That wasn't a great greeting.
The rep displayed negative body language and allowed the script to get in the way of making a positive first impression. Let's hear what she sounds like when she uses more positive body language and really tries to make the script work. - Thank you for calling customer service where every day is a wonderful day, this call may be monitored for quality and training purposes, this is Kristin, how may I make your day wonderful today? - That time was much better. I still don't think that greeting was as good as the unscripted greeting, but the rep did her best to make it work.
Okay, now it's your turn to practice. Here's an exercise you can try. Start by downloading the Perfect Greeting Worksheet. It contains some reminders about making your greeting sound great. Next, record your best greeting. You can call your voice mail, or just use the record feature on a smartphone. Finally, use the worksheet to evaluate your greeting. Repeat this process until you feel good about how you sound. Then, it's time to use that greeting with real customers. Some reps put a mirror in front of the phone to remind themselves to smile and use positive body language when they answer every call.
I like to briefly pause before I answer the phone so I can focus on making my greeting a great one. Whatever you choose to do, developing a consistently positive greeting can go a long way towards making a great first impression.
- Developing the perfect phone greeting
- Filling dead air
- Managing holds and transfers
- Expressing empathy
- De-escalating angry callers