The pandemic has forced many of us to undertake various corporate responsibilities from our humble homes – and those responsibilities could include, in your case, answering phone calls.
Even though the person on the other end of the line can’t physically see your home office when interacting with you on an audio-only call, you could still find it surprisingly easy to mess up how you handle it. Here are just a few things you should be especially careful to do whilst answering business calls remotely.
Answer any business calls quickly
This means answering any incoming phone call before the third ring, as The Balance Small Business explains. It’s crucial not to forget that, even in an age when many businesses display their email addresses on their websites, the phone remains most companies’ primary point of contact with customers.
If you manage a family-run business from home, there might be other people there who can take a call when you are too preoccupied with something else – in which case, they should take the call in the same way you would have done.
If no-one else in your house is a member of your business and would thus be authorised to take a corporate call on your behalf, you should implement an inbound call routing solution. That way, any calls originally meant for you can be smoothly redirected to one of your co-workers – perhaps one working from their own home.
Don’t forget the essentials of business call etiquette
Remember to answer with a warm, enthusiastic and professional tone of voice while immediately identifying yourself and your organisation. Don’t simply say “Hello”, as the caller shouldn’t have to ask for confirmation that they have reached your business.
You should also enunciate your words clearly and avoid slipping into slang or buzzwords like “OK” or “No problem”; “Very well” or “Certainly”, for example, would make more suitable respective substitutes.
Make sure you will be able to make notes while on the phone
As you set up your home office, you should leave a notepad or paper, and pen or pencil, right beside the telephone. This is because it would be advisable for you, as the person answering the call, to write down a range of details from the caller as you do so.
Those details include the caller’s name as well as the problem that led the caller to reach out to you. With such details written down, you can more easily refer back to them periodically during the conversation.
Keep background noise and other potential distractions at bay
As you chat with the caller, you want them to feel as though you are still in a very slick, corporate setting. Few things are likely to ruin the professional image you are attempting to convey quite like, say, the rustle of a crisp packet as someone else in the house fetches themselves a snack.
Hence, you should keep your home office largely secluded from the rest of the house – especially as other, non-verbal distractions could hamper your focus to the caller’s annoyance, as ToughNickel warns.