Proper Way to Answer a Business Phone Like a Professional
- Last Updated: 29 Nov 23
- 15 min read
Are you worried about fumbling for the right words when answering the phone at your business?
From simple queries to crucial business deals, more than 92% of business conversations are still done on the phone and are preferred over the web. So, answering a business phone is a high-stakes game, and professionalism really matters for the win.
Therefore, don’t let unprofessional phone interactions hold your business back. From ideal greetings to ending the call on a positive note, this article has all the solutions to cover your back and transform your phone calls into a seamless and professional experience.
Why is it Necessary to Answer the Business Phone Professionally?
The less unprofessional your voice, the deeper your business will sink.
Don’t believe it? Statistics don’t lie, right? According to Zippia, businesses tend to lose about $75 billion dollar every year due to poor customer service. Additionally, 78% of customers quit purchasing because of negative customer service.
In order to lie beyond those statistics, every person, including the business owner and the employee, must know, how to answer incoming phone calls in a professional manner.
Answering calls in a professional way makes customers feel valued and respected, which can lead to better customer satisfaction and loyalty. It helps to build up a strong first impression, which could possibly be the customer’s last if you don’t answer it professionally.
Professionalism while answering phone calls helps to maintain streamlined communication, builds trust and credibility, and improves the brand’s image ensuring an effective workflow.
What consequences may arise while answering the phone unprofessionally?
Suppose a customer calls you, and you are neither aware of the business phone etiquette nor have knowledge about answering the phone professionally. In that situation, these might be the possible consequences, you and your business will most likely face.
1. Degradation of Business Reputation
The reputation of your business is directly associated with your customer service. Maintaining professionalism means maintaining the brand’s image.
The more you sound unprofessional, the less is the customer’s trust. So, unprofessional calls may be one of the reasons for the downfall of the business’s reputation.
2. Loss in Business
Showing unprofessionalism like rude behavior, frustration, and not being able to solve the required queries can possibly result in the loss of the customer’s trust and interest towards your business.
Once the trust is lost, it is very difficult to regain, which might possibly lead the customer to choose the competitor’s service over yours. So, with the loss of the client’s trust and your business reputation, your business will be not far from a financial downhill
3. Bad impression on the first caller
Most of us have definitely heard the quote, “You never get a second chance to make the first impression,” by Andrew Grant. And this quote holds true for most of the time. Studies have shown that there is a maximum chance of converting a potential customer to a regular customer in the first interaction than the later ones.
Therefore, showing a professional impression with customers for the first time may be crucial for maintaining the retention rate. Unprofessional gratitude and behavior towards the very first caller might give them a bad picture of your company. This could possibly result in the never-coming-back mentality of the client.
4. Creation of a hostile workplace
Unmanaged and amateur phone calls lead to an annoying and hostile environment for the team members. Non-professional sounding calls can create misinterpretation of words. This results in a ton of misunderstanding between customers and the service provider.
Likewise, failure in effective call routing, forwarding, and other miscommunications could make the working environment toxic and less productive.
5. Termination of Contracts
In business, processing and finalizing contracts is a very hassle-full task. Even an inch of miscommunication can create some time-consuming wrangles and disagreements.
In those kinds of heated situations, non-professional sounding calls with rude behavior could potentially lead to the termination of business contracts with the other party.
6. Decrease in Employee Morale
Failure to meet the client’s expectations and preferences can give the employer a poor image of the employee. This can also result in increased stress and anxiety and decreased self-confidence and morale.
Moreover, unprofessionalism can not only damage the business’s reputation but also damage the employee’s reputation, giving them fewer chances of opportunities and referrals.
How to professionally answer a phone call in a business?
To steer clear of the above consequences and prevent the downfall of your business, you can follow these instructions to answer a business call and sound professional –
1. Speak Clearly & Fluently
When it comes to communication, how can someone forget clarity and fluency? Speaking clearly and fluently without any hesitancy eliminates any sort of misunderstanding and confusion between you and your client. It also ensures self-confidence, which is particularly essential in leadership roles, like solving a customer’s problem.
To maintain your fluency and clarity while on a business call, it is recommended to practice with a pre-written script that fits most of the scenarios. You can write down what you want to talk about and rehearse it beforehand.
2. Answer the Call within Three Rings
Letting the customer wait for too long immediately creates an unprofessional vibe and makes them feel undervalued. Therefore, always remember the “Third Ring” rule. Answer the phone call within three rings, max. This will give a strong sense of priority to the client.
Even if you or your team members are unavailable for the call, make sure to use a professional voice mailing system with a warm message. This will help to keep your client connected even when the lines are busy.
3. Identify Your Business & Yourself
Make sure to identify you, your role, and your business to the client right after the greeting part. This will build up a feeling of credibility and create a professional image towards you.
State your company’s name clearly, for example, “Good Morning, this is XYZ speaking from ABC company.” This will let the callers know they’ve reached the right place.
4. Be Helpful
The best way to show professionalism while answering calls is to show your willingness to help. It makes the customer feel like you really want to help them.
Ask politely if you can do something for them, you can say, “How may I assist you today?” or “Sir/Ma’am, Is there anything I can help you with?”
If the customer requests some queries, let them believe you can do it and try as much as you can to meet the customer’s expectations.
5. Always Smile
Believe me or not, clients can sense your mood from the phone call. So, smiling while you’re on the phone can create a positive environment and transfer the same good mood to your customers.
Scientific studies have shown that smiling releases chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which tricks your brain into feeling good. This will help to release the tension and handle the customer’s queries more appropriately.
6. Greet Customers
Greeting the customer with a “Hello,” “Good Morning,” or “Glad to hear you” with a smile can make them focus on good things. This will trigger a positive attitude in the conversation. Sometimes, a mere “Good Morning” can really make someone’s day.
If you know the client’s name, then greet them with their name, this will build a great short-term personal bond and draw their attention immediately.
7. Use Positive Language
Never ever have a pessimistic thought while you are with your client. Always be positive and use positive phrases. Avoid saying phrases like “Don’t do this”, instead, you can use, “Sir/Ma’am, please do this”.
Likewise, use complimentary phrases more often, like, “That’s a great question” or “Thank you for bringing that to our attention.”This cheerful and complimentary tone will help to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty while maintaining a friendly environment.
8. Avoid Slang and Jargon
Slang, Jargon, and humor can easily be misinterpreted, decreasing clarity and increasing communication misunderstandings. Using unfamiliar language with the customer can make them feel uncomfortable and less likely to do business with you.
Slang and Jargon are most often used in informal communication. They are culture-sensitive, too, what is common in one culture can be inappropriate in another. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid those things in order to maintain clarity, avoid miscommunication, and keep up professionalism.
9. Be Attentive
Being attentive demonstrates respect for the callers and their precious time.
It is also crucial for problem-solving, enabling you to ask probing questions, gather necessary details, and work with the caller to find solutions.
Likewise, don’t hesitate to repeat names, phone numbers, emails, or any other details to ensure that the information is correct. This will make the customer feel engaged, and also, you can connect with them later with their contact details.
10. Prepare Yourself Beforehand
Be prepared with some notes, pens, and required details. This will erode the hassle of searching for things in the middle of the conversation.
Preparing yourself before answering any calls lets you be more calm and less anxious. You can also take a deep breath beforehand to release stress and relax your mind to start an engaging conversation.
What are the common mistakes to avoid while answering a business phone?
So far, you have learned the things to keep in mind while answering a business phone like a pro. Along with those things, it is also important to avoid some blunders to sound more professional.
Here are some common mistakes that every professional should be aware of while answering a business phone.
1. Putting the Caller On Hold
Nobody wants to be on hold, especially if they are searching for quick fixes and running out of time. Putting the caller on hold without their assent can feel frustrating and annoying to them. Most people start raging after being on hold for more than two minutes. So, avoid putting the customer on hold as much as you can.
However, there might be some situations where you can’t avoid placing them on hold.
In those situations, you can gently ask them to transfer the call to an appropriate department or provide a call-back option.
2. Transferring Caller without their Permission
Transferring the calls can be annoying for both the parties, the employee as well as the customer. In that heated environment, transferring the call without their permission could be an insult to the injury.
So, always make sure to ask for the client’s permission before transferring the calls. Instead of saying, “I will transfer the call to ABC”, ask, “May I transfer the call to ABC for your help?”.
Moreover, you should always ask if there is anything else you can help with before transferring the call. This shows that you are really willing to help them and not just get rid of them.
3. Being Rude
Being rude is not acceptable, either to your mental health or to your customer. Showing rude behavior, like using loud voices and rude-sounding phrases, immediately makes the person answering lose interest in you.
Here are some tips for sounding less rude:
- Don’t try to win with your customer
- Guide your customers rather than control them
- Don’t use rude-sounding phrases like, “I don’t see any account information of yours,” instead say, “Would you mind me giving some minutes to double check your account details”
- Taking inaccurate notes
4. Showing Frustration
No matter how much you try to be a professional, once your frustration shows up, the client will most likely be disappointed and discouraged by your service. It may lead to misunderstanding, conflicts, or escalation of the issue rather than their resolution.
Therefore, even if your clients are in a rage, avoid showing them your frustration at any cost.
5. Eating or Chewing while on Call
The background noise of someone chewing or eating while speaking on call can be easily heard by others. These noises can easily irritate anyone, disrupting the communication flow.
Moreover, it makes it difficult for the client to concentrate and gives them a rude and “I don’t care much about your queries” type of feeling. Eating and chewing are also seen as a breach of etiquette and manners, so it is highly recommended to avoid them while answering a phone call.
6. Amateur Voicemail
Unprofessional-sounding voicemails might be one of the reasons why your potential customer never calls back. It creates a poor and unprofessional image of your business.
Make sure to set up a professional voicemail message that can guide callers on what to expect and how to leave a message effectively. An amateur message may not provide this guidance, which makes clients question your ability to meet their expectations and needs.
7. Dread Bringing End
A survey from Salesforce Research shows that 94% of consumers are more likely to make a second purchase after a good customer service experience. And what’s a worse experience than keeping the phone with an awful end?
Therefore, keeping the business calls on a positive note is very crucial for customer retention. Use phrases like, “Thank you, ABC, for your call! Have a nice day!” to avoid dread bringing ends.
To sum up, everyone who is involved in a particular business should know how to answer a business phone. Not only, employees of the customer service department or the employee who are supposed to be on the call. There might be some cases when those people might face some difficulty and you have to step up to answer the call. So, it is better to be prepared than sorry.
If you would like to take your business phone system a level further, don’t forget to check out KrispCall. It is a cloud-based telephony service that helps large and small enterprises to manage and answer business phones.
Its exceptional features like interactive voice response, availability of virtual numbers, virtual receptionist, call analytics, and integrations, make the overall business communication effective and well-managed. Trusted by more than 2000 companies in over 100 countries, KrispCall can definitely benefit you in answering business phones.
1. How can I answer my business phone professionally in any situation?
To answer a business phone professionally in any situation, first, take a deep breath, this will help to release your stress and anxiety.
Now, greet the client by identifying your business and your role with a smile on your face. Be attentive and helpful throughout the whole call, and ask for permission to transfer calls if in case you are unable to solve them.
At last, end the call on a good note to make sure the client is satisfied and wish them a good day.
2. What should you say when you answer a business phone?
Firstly, you should greet your client by identifying your business and your role. You can say, “Hello, good morning! This is [your name] from [your company] company. How may I help you?”.
After greeting, be attentive while the client explains the problem and the situation. Try to solve the problem on your own, without keeping the client on hold or transferring the call. In the end, you can thank the caller for their time and ask them not to hesitate for further assistance. Say something like, “Thank you for calling [Your Company Name]. It was a pleasure assisting you, Have a great day. “, and “If you have any more questions in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out. Goodbye.”
3. How do you answer a business phone call professionally with examples?
When answering a business phone call professionally, it’s important to be polite, clear, and concise. Here’s an example of how to answer a business phone call:
“Good [morning/afternoon], [Your Name] speaking from [Your Company]. How can I assist you today?”
In this example, you start by greeting the caller professionally with the appropriate time of day and your name to establish a personal connection. You then express your willingness to help by asking how you can assist the caller. This response is professional and sets a positive tone for the conversation.
4. What is the proper way to answer the office phone?
The proper way to answer calls, especially the office ones, consists of the following four fundamental phone etiquette.
- Greet the caller: Answer the phone politely with a greeting. For example, “Hello” or “Good Morning/Afternoon”
- Identify your business: Provide your and your organization’s name, to maintain identity. For instance, “This is [Your Name] from [Your Company]”
- Ask for assistance: Express the willingness to help. Use phrases like, “Sir/Ma’am, how can I help you today?” or “How may I assist you”.
- Listen Actively: Pay attention to the caller’s responses and be prepared to engage in a professional and informative conversation.