We all know the importance of making a great first impression. Whether it’s forging new professional relationships or interpersonal ones, the first few moments are crucial to projecting an image of ourselves that could last several years, if not a lifetime and beyond.
The tips for impressing in person are common knowledge around the world: look good, smell good, be polite, be confident, open with a joke, show up with flowers, etc.
But what about making a good first impression over the phone? Without the being able to use body language or physical appearance, many Customer Service Receptionists find themselves at a loss on how to properly communicate what they’re all about to someone on the line.
Luckily, it’s still quite possible to properly transmit a sense of confidence, kindness and professionalism on the phone, just as easily as you would face to face.
Ask any radio personality or voice actor, and they’ll tell you that sadness or happiness isn’t just a set of facial expressions. The smile on your lips or the frown across your cheeks does indeed come through on the phone, so being upbeat when saying hello and being legitimately sympathetic in times of crisis is very apparent to the caller.
No matter what you’re saying, the way you say it does matter. But don’t pretend! The caller will be able to tell if you’re patronizing them, and frankly, the only thing worse than indifference is insincerity.
Once you know to bring the right attitude to the call, everything else is just fine-tuning the details. Whether it’s talking to a client, a customer or a potential employer (or employee), sometimes more is less. Engage the caller, give them time to speak their mind, and listen without interrupting. Asking the right questions, while giving people the time to respond, means a lot in any situation.
And perhaps most importantly, be human. In this industry, the most sought-after asset is people skills. While we often have a certain level of professionalism to maintain, taking the time to indulge in some (reasonably brief) chatter with the caller is the main reason companies look to answering services over answering machines. So take a moment to discuss last night’s game, and go ahead and chuckle when the caller tells you about their kids.