New technologies have significantly changed the business environment in the past few decades. Computer literacy is a given in developed countries, and the majority of young people are used to touchscreens, instant messaging and social networks being an integral part of their lives. Younger employees have mastered technologies and skills that some of their older coworkers might not even have heard of, such as software for photo and video editing and sharing and smartphone apps.
All of this new technology results in one traditional business discipline falling by the wayside – the humble phone call. While this is not a problem in some areas of business that benefit from quick and convenient email communication, a phone call is obligatory in professions that require a human touch and personal rapport. Employers are increasingly often faced with the problem of a young workforce that simply isn`t experienced with conducting professional phone calls. That’s why companies are investing more and more money and time to train employees in telephone etiquette.
Types of phone training
There are various types of phone training available, depending on the company`s needs. The most basic and fundamental type of training is essential telephone etiquette. This training can be beneficial to all employees, regardless of their level of customer interaction. Other types are meant to boost department-specific goals. For example, customer service employees who respond to complaints work on problem-solving telephone skills, while training for sales professionals is more service-oriented. Individual coaching sessions are also available for all staff members, ongoing employees, new hires, as well as for senior managers with advanced training for sales executives.
Significance of phone training
For customers to understand that your company values their business, it is important that your employees address them properly during phone calls and conferences, taking the time to understand their needs and concerns. A phone call is significantly more personal than an email and it shows customers that you value their business enough to take the time to talk to them and address their needs. A friendly, personal and effective phone conversation is a sure fire way of gaining customer loyalty. On the other hand, if employees fail to connect with customers or leave an impression of an unprofessional or incompetent person, it can drive customers away and cost the business money.
Benefits of proper telephone etiquette
There are many business benefits to proper telephone etiquette. The most apparent one is that employees with good phone skills are profitable for a business, be it in manufacturing or service oriented fields. Answering the phone properly is a crucial part of forming or strengthening a positive brand image. Customers are more likely to do business with you repeatedly if their telephone communication is pleasant and effective, and they feel that their needs are valued and being taken care of. Just make sure you have the right equipment for conference calls and the correct kind of headset for daily tasks – like Polycom for their conferencing products and Plantronics for their headsets – because a lot of communication flaws are based on the quality of connection equipment.
Phone skill training can be fully customized to the specialty field of your company and to the specific role of every staff member. Depending on what the company needs, there are various specialized courses. Call center sales employees are trained in so-called relationship selling. “Coach the coach” training is meant for training mentors, team leaders and supervisors so they can provide ongoing support and training even after the telephone training is over. Stress busters phone skills are invaluable to employees who interact with fussy or demanding customers. Training can also be based on the personality type of the customer, weather they just want the facts or if they require more interaction and a personal touch.
When trying to account for declining profits, business experts are likely to look at a company`s customer service sector. It is more than likely that the source of unfavorable business results is in human error. When the wrong people are answering the phones, it creates a negative company image and makes customers unwilling to work with you. Therefore, be sure to give the good, old phone attention it deserves – it will certainly pay off in one way or another.