A Structured Approach to Successful Telephone Calls

Why do we need training to talk to people?

The number of people who do not have a structured approach to making and taking successful calls – their lack of basic skills required to answer the phone is surprising. This includes making sales calls or assisting someone who needs information.

Making successful telephone calls STL courses London
A Structured Approach to Successful Telephone Calls

They forget the basics of

  • What message needs communicating
  • Who we need to communicate with
  • The reasons why a call is being made
  • Am I building rapport by reading the callers behaviour and mood properly?
  • What behaviour I am displaying and is it designed to create trust?
  • Am I spending more time listening than talking?

These basics can be learnt and practised quickly, even in the busiest offices.

Using a set of rules on how to answer the phone, demonstrates that you’re taking them seriously and are therefore building trust and rapport early on whilst displaying professionalism.

These simple things make the caller feel you are handling their query intelligently;

  1. State the name of the company slowly so the caller knows they have the right number
  2. Greet them and state your name
  3. Ask ‘how may I help you today’?

Yes, it’s common sense yet we still hear flippant or throwaway remarks which hardly explain anything to the caller. “Hello, John speaking” doesn’t really cut it.

A structured approach saves time in the long run

Let’s say you need to transfer a call.

There is a polite set-method in our course which will ensure you offer the very best customer service, will save time in the long run and show the customer that you’re interested in him and his business.

With correct listening skills you know how the person will respond by asking if you need to place him or her on hold. How you handle angry people will tell them lots about your confidence and assertiveness: it should be neutral but engaged.

Asking the reason for the call means that you can prepare the third party and comes across as efficient and professional. As a receptionist or call centre agent, you may have to deal with 3rd parties regularly and this is a polite filter.

The basics of telephone skills such as the careful spelling of words, place names and taking telephone numbers for call-back are crucial, especially when dealing with people from different cultures.

Practise enquiring about the caller while you are transferring them. Allow something they’ve said or the tone of their voice to impact you. The degree depends on the rapport you have managed to build with them, but it keeps your interest so that you don’t leave them dangling “on hold” or forget their name (two of the worst errors to make.)

How it looks on both sides of the telephone

Always make sure you ultimately do the right things to minimise misunderstandings and reduce conflict. Forbes lists the 5 best things to do. And knowing that you handled them correctly goes a long way to building your confidence. You are the main ‘face’ of the company, and the first impression the customer gets.

3 tips to cope better with stress at work

Coping with stress

Stress defined? ‘When the demands placed upon us at work exceed our resources, and we feel we can no longer cope’. You’ve had a stressful day – there’s too much work, deadlines are tight and you’re worrying constantly if it’s not done. Perhaps your manager will blame you? Not a pleasant situation, and the last time was horrible. Now you’re also imagining what the next time will be like. It’s the end of another working day, and you feel exhausted, irritable and on edge.

Stress Management coures in London
3 tips to help you manage stress at work

If you are stressed, you spend your day in a state of anxiety. Basically, you’re stuck in fight or flight mode, that wonderful caveman survival instinct designed to assist us whenever we feel threatened or in danger. You perceive a threat, and fight or flight is switched on, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. There are physical effects (increased heart rate, raised body temperature, sweaty palms, butterflies in the tummy), but the main problem is the amount of nervous energy it gives you, which you are supposed to use to stay alive – either fight back or take flight! But you’re in the office, not about to engage a sabre-toothed tiger in mortal combat!

Here’s the thing: once you have dealt with the threat, the fight or flight mechanism is supposed to switch off. It’s only meant to be used in temporary, short-term bursts. The problem is that stressed out people see threats around them at work all of the time, so they go into fight or flight mode and get stuck there. The nervous energy within them builds up throughout the day, and at some point it will have to be released!

What can you do?

Let’s talk about coping networks. It’s all about finding an appropriate outlet for the pent up nervous energy, emotion and frustration generated during a stressful working day. These networks are very important, because if we can’t find an appropriate way of releasing our nervous energy, it will definitely come out somehow! This might take the form of an outburst – we’ve had a hard day, and someone says something we don’t like. Suddenly we start raging at this poor unfortunate person!

Here are some popular coping networks:

  • Exercise – ever wondered why people go to the gym after work, or go running? Obviously a healthy pastime, but also an effective way to burn off the nervous energy accumulated at work. Any form of sporting endeavour can be useful here.
  • Talking things through with family, friends and colleagues. Perhaps after you’ve played sport, it’s time for a drink in the bar? Over a nice glass of something, the conversation usually starts with ‘you will not believe the day I’ve had…’
  • Hobbies and pastimes – any activity which allows you to relax for a while!

There are no hard and fast rules here – it’s each to their own! Some people like to take the dog for a walk in the countryside, or learn to play an instrument, or wallow in a hot bath, with essential oils, scented candles and whale song on the CD player!

Conclusion

During a stressful day at work, nervous energy accumulates within us. That energy is going to find a way out at some point, and it’s better for everyone if we can control how and when that happens. As discussed, there are a number of possibilities available so find the coping network that works for you. After all, we all need a bit of ‘me’ time!