As a business owner you know that communication is vital. Whether that communication takes place electronically, face-to-face or over the phone makes no difference; you want all your correspondence to be clear and effective. Communication via phone can be extremely efficient because it’s much like a face-to-face meeting where you’re able to manage issues in real time. However, it also poses some significant challenges; for instance, you can be easily distracted by something completely unrelated to your phone conversation.Phone conversations also enable you to build stronger relationships with clients; what you do on the phone can make or break your professional image. In order to sustain a positive reputation as an accountant you need to practice good phone etiquette. Here are some things to remember when making and taking calls:Making a CallSometimes you won’t get through to the person you intended to reach, but you’re still required to make those interactions as purposeful and polite as possible. Here are four things to remember:
Identify yourself, your business and the purpose of your call. Whether you’re talking to a receptionist or the intended party, you want your communication to be clear and effective, and that requires you to identify yourself and your purpose upfront.
Remove all distraction. As previously mentioned, it’s important that your listener feel that you’re focused on the conversation at hand. This means you shouldn’t work while talking. You should also ensure that other family members won’t be interrupting you while in the midst of a phone call.
Speak slowly and clearly. In order to be successful you must be understood. Whether you have a natural inclination to rush through presentations or you become nervous and speak quickly, you must practice achieving a good pace, one that enables you to annunciate your words well enough that your party doesn’t have difficulty understanding you.
Estimate the length of your business. You should prepare the listener for the length of your business. Don’t tell your party it will only take a minute if it really requires 20. That will end up frustrating your business associate, making it more difficult for you to accomplish your purpose. Be honest, and if necessary, reschedule a time that will better accommodate your schedules and your objectives.
Answering a CallWhether you or your secretary manages this task, you should never underestimate the importance of taking calls. The way in which your business phone is answered speaks volumes of your professionalism. Consider the following when tackling this important responsibility:
Identify yourself and your business. Each time you or your secretary answers the phone your business must be identified. This orients the caller and assures them they’ve reached their intended party.
Watch your tone. It’s important that whoever answers your phone speaks with a friendly and approachable tone. The more personable your answering service, the more approachable your business.
Ask for permission to put someone on hold. If you must put someone on hold, ask for their permission first and estimate the length of their wait. This demonstrates respect for the caller and his/her time.
Using a Cell Phone These days most business is conducted over a cell phone. While people tend to be more understanding when catching someone on a cell, it’s still important to be courteous when using a mobile phone. Here are some 5 quick rules to remember.
- Respect cell-free zones.
- Don’t take personal calls when doing business.
- Maintain a safe parameter when carrying on a conversation in public.
- Wear an earpiece to better hear your caller and gauge your voice level.
- Avoid loud and annoying ring tones.
You’d be surprised at how much impact your phone etiquette can have on callers. Not only can it help promoe your professional reputation, but it’s the perfect start to a good track record with customer service. You’re promoting retention when callers feel as if their needs are being met.Financial ConsultingIncrease your professional appeal by helping clients prepare those formidable small business loan packages as a financial consultant. Our manual, Becoming a Financial Consultant, includes clear instructions and terrific resource materials that will simplify the creation of a loan application package. Using the sample loan package included as a model, you can easily help clients apply for a valuable business loan. Within hours you can begin offering your services as a financial consultant. Order your copy now!