Phone Etiquette for Your Bail Business
- March 14, 2011
- by AboutBail Staff
Why Phone Etiquette Matters
Your telephone is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your office. You often make your first contact with new clients on the phone. Therefore, it is the place you must make a good first impression. Much more personal than email, the telephone also allows you to infuse far more care into your relationship with your clients.
The way you answer your phone reflects on your company and affects the ways that others view you. When you answer a phone in a professional, warm manner, you place your clients at ease and express a genuine concern. Your customer is scared, embarrassed and maybe confused. When you are professional and friendly on the phone, your clients – who may be facing a very difficult time in their lives – feel better about having phoned you. And that is precisely what you want.
Having good phone etiquette effects both new and repeat business. When you are consistent, it sends a professional message. People want to go back to businesses who have earned their trust and presented a professional image.
Answering the Phone
Answering the phone may seem like a basic task, but it is a skill overlooked by most businesses. Many customers are surprised when they call a company and get to speak with a real person. Unfortunately, in many cases, companies drop the ball when it comes to something as basic as answering the phone properly.
If you are spending money and putting the effort into branding and marketing your company, it is likely that the goal of your efforts is to get the phone ringing with new leads and clients. However, it doesn’t help you if the phone rings – and you have no idea how to maximize those phone calls.
If you want your phone calls to become actual clients, you need to ensure that there is someone there to answer the phone. Many clients dealing with sensitive or time-pressing issues will simply hang up and try a competitor if they get a busy signal or voice mail.
Answering the phone is especially tricky if your business cards advertise “Open 24/7.” Business cards that state this are advertising access to a real person around the clock. If you make this claim, you need to make sure that no one gets voice mail or busy signals when they call you. You may want to hire an answering service to ensure that all calls are answered professionally and promptly by a live person. If you cannot do this, consider toning down the claims you make on your business card.
Answering the phone is not enough – you also need to answer your phone in a professional, yet friendly way, so your potential client feels supported right from the start. Shouting “Bail Bonds!” into the receiver can literally drive away clients. Unfortunately, many people do not even know what they sound like. Call your own home voice mail system and say whatever you say when you answer your business phone. Really analyze your voice and message. How does it sound? Ideally, you want to use a pleasant and well-modulated voice and say something such as “Hello, Acme Bonds...how can I help?” This identifies your business and emphasizes that your role is to make the client’s life easier. This will motivate the client to do business with you.
Some people think that using a busy-sounding voice or an assertive tone is important for establishing credibility, but a polite, professional manner can convey the same thing – only in a way that makes your clients much happier and much more willing to work with you.
Today call waiting is so inexpensive and simple to use that there is no reason not to have it. Call waiting allows your voice mail to pick up calls when you are on the phone and it prevents potential clients from getting a busy signal. When your clients call you, they may be a little confused, scared, and embarrassed by their situation. Nothing is more frustrating for them than a busy signal, so make sure that is not what they hear when they contact your business.
Forward Calls to Your Cell Phone
If you are on the go quite often, you may be missing calls and opportunities simply because you are not at your desk to pick up the phone. One simple solution that saves you the money spent on an extra office assistant is to simply have calls forwarded to your cell phone. You can be out and about and still pick up calls from clients. Just make sure that your cell phone is consistently on and you have pen and paper to take down customer information. While cell phones have Caller ID, make sure that you pick up any unknown numbers on your cell phone with the same professionalism you would use with your office phone. Forwarded calls mean that you never pick up with a “yeah?”
Make sure you are giving off a first impression that will make potential customers want to use your business. Using these tips on phone etiquette will give your business a professional edge on the competition.
If you would like more information on phone etiquette, or if you are interested in getting listed on the AboutBail.com directory, please contact us or call us at (866) 411-2245.