Best ways to answer the phone

Answering the phone in the best way possible isn’t always simple. After all, you never get a second chance at a first impression. And if your first interaction with a customer goes south—you may not get a second chance at all.

Often, a potential customer’s first experience with your business will be over the phone, and that first impression starts from the moment you answer. To help ensure you’re putting your business’s best foot forward, we’ve put together a quick rundown of the best ways to answer the phone and build trust with every caller. Let’s jump in!

When answering the phone, make sure you’re…

Greeting graciously!

It may seem obvious, but offering a sincere, friendly greeting is crucial.

Humans are incredibly attuned to the sound and tone of another’s voice, easily distinguishing the mood and emotion of the other speaker. Indeed, studies show a voice can convey as much or more emotion than a person’s face!

So that greeting—and the tone with which it’s delivered—is your opening move in the game of customer loyalty. It’s the all-important first step to making a meaningful connection.

Whoever is manning your phones should be trained to answer with a pleasant and confident expression such as “Thanks for calling” and the name of your business, followed by an engaging but unhurried “How may I help you?”

Ready for common questions

Anticipate the most common reasons why customers are going to call—questions about your products, services, prices, discounts or promotions, hours of operation, location and directions, parking, etc. They might even call looking for a specific person or department to speak with.

Assemble a list of FAQs and/or a customer support matrix to refer to. Ensure that whoever answers your calls has easy access to these questions and answers so they can respond efficiently and consistently.

Connecting with bilingual customers

Roughly 42 million people speak Spanish as their first language in the US, and over 15 million use it as their second language.

With so many bilingual potential customers, it’s smart to be able to connect with them in their preferred language. That’s why, at Ruby, we offer bilingual virtual receptionist plans to help companies expand their reach.

Utilizing the right team

Speaking of virtual receptionists, one of the primary benefits of using a service like ours is that our agents are trained to make outstanding first impressions. We turn every conversation into a business opportunity!

And make sure you’re not…

Just saying “Hi”

Simply saying “Hi” or “Hello” is wasting an opportunity to make a much stronger first impression.

It’s not as bad as Janine the receptionist’s “Ghostbusters, what do you want?” But it can send the wrong message to the caller, who may perceive it as unprofessional or just plain lazy.

The key is picking up promptly, but then taking enough time to offer a pleasant, professional greeting that doesn’t make the caller feel rushed or like they are inconveniencing you. Nothing alienates a caller quicker than a rushed greeting that sends the signal that you’ve got other things to do.

Make callers feel like they are your top priority.

Multitasking or working on other things

Building on the above—if you or one of your staff picks up while slurping coffee or chomping on a snack, what does that tell the caller? Maybe it says you’re not operating at the level of professionalism they expected.

Presenting a professional image is key, as well as remaining present and actively listening to your customer’s needs. No one likes repeating themselves due to the other person not paying attention!

Letting the call go to voicemail

These days, customers are impatient. And if you work in an area with several other businesses offering similar products or services as yours, then a caller who gets your voicemail is probably just going to go down the list and call the next business.

A missed potential customer contact equals potentially lost revenue—and that’s only one of the negative aspects of what happens when your calls go to voicemail. So unless you’re making money hand-over-fist and can afford to ignore new customers, we suggest never letting a call go unanswered.

Leaving your callers hanging after hours

Out of 25 million calls, around 1.34 million come in after normal business hours. Most of those calls come from prospects and leads, as well as known contacts (vendors, partners) and existing customers.

Even if you have a full-time in-house receptionist, odds are they have to go home at some point!

However, that doesn’t mean you have to leave your callers hanging after your business closes its doors for the day. If you’re in need of after-hours support, our virtual receptionists are available 24/7 to ensure your customers always connect with a real person.

Delight more callers and win more business—with a little help from Ruby!

Putting these tips into practice should be easy for most small businesses.

Having the bandwidth to do it all yourself—or the budget to hire and train the right team to handle it for you? That’s the hard part.

Fortunately, Ruby makes it simple for small businesses to level up their over-the-phone service. Our virtual receptionists are trained to leave lasting impressions and deliver exceptional experiences that help you win more business and retain more customers. Best of all, we do it for a fraction of the cost of an in-house hire—leaving you with the time and money you need to grow your business.

Reach out to learn more about our service plans and how we can support your business today!