What to say when you do answer (Part 2)

Ask how you may direct the person’s call, unless you can answer his or her questions

One thing a lot of companies do that frustrates callers is asking, “How may I help you?” when really what they mean is, “How may I direct your call?” Those greetings give two entirely different meanings to the caller.

The first says: “I’ve reached someone who can bridge between myself and this company, probably looking into any records the company has about me or my purchase, and can probably make a decision regarding my concern.” If that’s truly the case with whomever answers the phone at your business, then including, “How may I help you?” in your script is great.

However, more often than not, when we hear that question, all the person is really authorized to do is transfer your call to someone else who does in fact have the ability to find you in her computer. Do you see the difference? When you hear someone answer with, “How may I direct your call?” you instantly know that this person won’t be the one helping you solve your problem, or answering your question, but she very likely will be a big help in getting you to the right person. The more obscure your question, the more you need this person’s help and knowledge of the inner workings of the company in order to transfer you to the right person. “How may I help you?”, if spoken by someone who really just wants to transfer the call, will cause customer frustration!

So pay attention to these minor word differences when crafting your phone answering script…they can make a big impact on the service you deliver over the phone.


Keep a Notepad Handy

Always keep a notepad and pen handy near your phone. When you use it every call, you’ll begin capturing really important information. Start with the name of the caller as soon as he gives it. This way you can use it during the conversation. Use it to refer back to the call, or when transferring the call to someone else.

If you use a flip-notebook, you’ll easily be able to go back and find a name, phone number, or detail that you need later.

One of the things that is really neat about Click and Clack, the Car Talk Guys, is that they use the caller’s name quite a bit, and they deal with a tremendous amount of information on each call! They don’t just remember all that stuff…they’re writing it down as the call happens!

Start doing that yourself and you’ll sound like a hero to your callers!

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