Communicating on the Telephone
Although the telephone is an increasingly important medium of communication, the problem with it is that less communication takes place than when you are talking face-to-face:
you can’t see what the people you are talking to look like;
you can’t see the expression on their faces;
you can’t see what they are doing while they are talking to you;
you can’t see what is going on around them;
you can’t ‘read’ their body language to judge how they are reacting to you.
This means we have to compensate by working a little bit harder when speaking on the phone than we do in face-to-face situations.
No matter what your role at work, there will be times when you need to speak to people on the phone.
The people you speak to may be:
• Ringing with an inquiry (external customers)
• Workplace employees (internal customers).
The attitude you adopt on the phone should not be based on the importance of the person you are talking to. You must always be consistent with your telephone techniques and remain positive and helpful at all times.
Every telephone call, whether incoming or outgoing, is an opportunity for you to promote good public relations. Your aim should be to treat each call as a unique experience.
Rightly or wrongly, we judge people and places based on our first impressions. Your workplace spends a lot of time and money in promotional activities creating a good image of its operations and products, and of the services it sells.
First impressions can destroy or confirm the image that promotional activities portray. When a customer calls the organisation, it is part of your job to make sure the impression they receive is a good one. Customers will judge you and the organisation by the sound of your voice and what you are saying. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Your workplace will have set telephone standards and procedures. By following these you will be well underway in making a positive first impression.