Creating a Phone Policy in Your Business
Having good phone standards and etiquette is essential to any business and so it pays to have a proper policy to maintain excellent communication. This includes running customer service training courses, as well as regular appraisals by seniors, peers and management. Getting this right means going back to basics. Here are some useful things to consider in developing a professional and effective phone policy.
It’s very worthwhile to convert to a phone name for your business as 1800 and 1300 numbers can reinforce your brand and help customers to remember your phone number.
First impressions are important so you should answer the phone no later than the third ring with a warm and enthusiastic greeting. Introduce yourself and the company/department and then ask, “How can I help you?”
These are commonly used for businesses or help desks that take many similar calls and include regular responses to frequent queries. This makes calls more prompt due to repeated dialogue and improved service.
When putting calls on hold, let the person know and say, “Please hold” or “Just a moment while I check for you and put you on hold”. If they are holding for a long period, check back on them every 30-40 seconds if possible and ask if they would like to continue holding. Also, thank them for holding and their patience.
To ensure accurate and prompt transferring of calls, all staff members should familiarise themselves with everyone’s names, roles and departments across the company where possible. Before transferring a call to a colleague from a caller, inform them of the caller’s name and why they are receiving the transfer.
Call redirection can be used as it automatically reroutes calls to your mobile phone or other phone that has been received when you’re away from your normal phone at your desk. This can be used for employees who travel for work or work from home. This system will help more calls to be answered instead of always going through voicemails.
Messages and voicemail
When taking messages, get all relevant details of the caller and their reason for phoning; then make sure the message is sent to the right recipient. When recording your voicemail greeting, include your name and your role in the company, and directions to leave a message. Also, thank them for calling and inform them that you will call back.
Conference calls are great for connecting colleagues or more than two other people on the phone. This is useful for collaborating and discussing projects and issues together at the same time when not everyone is physically present in the same room.
Individual handsets to consider include hands free headsets to help employees type and write while on the phone, phones with microphones and speakers for conference calls, and cordless phones commonly used in retail stores.
Company mobile phone policy and personal calls
A specific mobile phone policy should be enforced for employees who travel and are eligible to have a company mobile phone. The policy should state that these phones must only be used for work purposes and not personal calls. It should also include occupational health and safety precautions such as using the hands free set when driving.
For those who often go on business trips on behalf of the company, it’s also worthwhile to provide the latest smart phone or tablet with new functions and programming like Windows 8. This will help them to always have Internet connection on the move and also have access to business documents.
You may choose to record calls that employees make and receive for training purposes. You can contact your telephone system’s supplier to enable options for monitoring and recording calls. For privacy reasons, callers must be informed their phone calls may be recorded and can choose not to be done so.