Sounds Good

The other day I was phoning around for information on computer repair when I happened upon a sales associate who seemed to lack the initiative to handle my simple inquiries. The person who answered the phone slurred her words and sounded bored, as if she didn’t have the energy to move her tongue and force the words out.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what information she gave me because I couldn’t end that call fast enough. It was obvious that the woman on the other end really didn’t want to talk to me.

The experience made me think about how phone manner skills can determine a customer’s overall impression of a business.

Florists spend a good deal of their time taking calls, making how you come across on the phone absolutely essential. Customers may be taken aback by an employee who sounds bored or distracted, is hard to understand, or doesn’t seem interested in helping them.

Since it is difficult to know how you sound when you are the one talking, you need to record your conversations for a self-critique. Have an employee use a cell phone to video you on a few phone orders as you take them. You only need your side of the call. Do not record your customers without their consent, as this may be illegal in your area.

Make videos for all of the employees who answer the shop phone. Play the recordings to everyone during a staff meeting. Applaud the right stuff and offer constructive criticism to the problems.

You could also try phone role playing. Have one employee act the role of the customer as another employee practices his or her phone techniques.

Granted, you are usually in a hurry or in the middle of serving other customers, but you don’t ever want to sound as if the phone caller is adding to your stress. Before you answer, learn to manage your voice so that your tone sounds like someone who is pleased to help the caller.

Another problem can be noise. Some shops are so noisy that it interferes with sales conversations. Eliminate as much background noise as possible near the phones so that you and your callers can have the clearest connection possible.

Generally people will mirror your manners and tone of voice. Set a good tone and you will win and keep customers.

All the Best,

Dan McManus