Proper Phone Etiquette Still Viewed as Critical Business Tool

Proper Phone Etiquette Still Viewed as Critical Business Tool

In this age of e-mail and Web sites, it's easy for kitchen and bath specialists to forget about the humble telephone. But, the fact remains that the phone is, and will continue to be, the way most of our customers and prospects will reach kitchen/ bath retailers in the coming decade.

Attitude is everything. Customers and prospects deserve to speak to someone who's positive and cheerful. Many of the people who call will be calling you for the first time. An indifferent greeting, whether by a person or machine, is as bad as having a dirty showroom or a rude and ill-kempt receptionist. You'll lose potential clients immediately.

Bouncing people around is also bad. Do you enjoy talking to three or four strangers just to obtain basic information? Of course not, and neither will people who call you. Your employees should not simply pass callers from extension to extension. If the person who answers doesn't know the answer to a question, they should find that answer out quickly and professionally.

Don't let your employees leave people hanging. Your callers should be offered additional help or information. There should be an active attempt to find out who is calling and what can be done for them. 

Another telephone-related issue is your telephone book listing. Many dealers use their Yellow Pages listing as their only advertising, but few use it effectively. Spell out your services, be sure you have a street address in your ad and be equally certain you list your business hours. 

Finally, don't forget to turn off the telephone you're carrying when consulting face-to-face with a client or prospect. Taking an outside call conveys the message that the client or prospect is not important.

If the call you're expecting is urgent, be sure the person you're talking to knows about it. Say something like: "We may be interrupted by a call I need to take, but I promise to make it brief so it won't take up your time." Then excuse yourself again if the call comes, and keep it short.