Whether it is by text, social media, email, some basic communication skills are so important to get your own message across.
How good are your telephone skills? Yes, telephone!
You are the first line of communication with your customers. You hear the questions, the problems, sometimes, the complaints first. You can deal with the request in person. If you have not been trained to give the best possible service at this crucial point, when the customer is on the phone, you are missing out on future sales.
These techniques apply to both a receptionist or to you in the event of a one-person studio.
9 steps to better communications
- Repeat the caller’s name and ask how she or he spells it.
- Get the caller’s company name.
- In the case of a regular client, ask the caller the reason for the call, or in reference to what project she or he is calling about. It gives you time to prepare mentally.
- Listen carefully to what the caller wants.
- Answer queries in a polite and direct manner, don’t try to bluff or cover up things. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell them you will find the information and call back shortly. Then DO IT!!
- In the event that the person called is not present, ask the caller if she or he wishes to leave a message in the appropriate voicemail box. Invite him/her to press xxx button to talk to you again if necessary.
- Check the voicemail boxes of the people in the studio so that they are not overloaded, and new messages cannot be added.
- If the caller wishes to wait on line to speak to a staff member, recheck often so to see if he/she still wishes to wait or would rather leave a message. A minute is very long for someone waiting on the line.
- Take the time to repeat messages, names and telephone numbers to prevent errors and wasted time.
Yes, a telephone answering system is a must but when the client calls during working hours there should be a “REAL LIVE” person available. That person can then redirect the call to the appropriate voicemail if that is what the caller wishes. People are so tired of being given the runaround by answering machines. Press 1 for… Press 2 for….
Photography is such a personalized service; it is crucial you show your difference at the first contact.
That’s not all!
Listen carefully and efficiently
How are your listening skills? Are you really listening or are you thinking about what you are going to say when the person stops talking? This is a very common problem and it often leads to communication breakdowns.
6 Steps to help you listen better:
- Don’t talk – really listen to what the person is telling you.
- Make sure you are completely concentrated on that person, try to eliminate distractions or interruptions.
- We often say “Read between the lines” but here it is “Listen to the words”; what is the person really saying, listen to the tone, inflection, body language. All these things can help you to tune in more efficiently.
- Do not assume or jump to conclusions based on your own experiences, attitudes or beliefs. They may differ greatly from those of your caller.
- Show interest and curiosity.
- Do not rush or cut off the caller’s conversation.
Don’t think it is old fashion to talk to people.
It’s your new connecting advantage over the competition.