Good telephone technique is important to all businesses,
but in particular it is key in sales and customer service
areas. Why is it so important? There are two main reasons:
- First, it is the primary contact point with
customers, clients, suppliers and prospects: Some 80% of
all contact with these groups is via the telephone. The
reason for this is simple: it is by far the easiest way
to discuss matters person-to-person. The expansion of
telephone use through business over the 20th century has
dramatically improved productivity. The importance of
a good telephone manner by those who answer for an
organisation should never be underestimated.
- Secondly it is considered cost-effective. This
cost-effectiveness comes down to 3 factors: speed,
interpersonal spoken communications, and the low cost
compared with the alternatives. The speed factor comes
from being able to link with anyone in the world after
only a few seconds delay without the time delay of
travel. The interpersonal factor means we can still be
there in person to discuss in a dialogue (a
2-way conversation) the key issues to be agreed and
decided upon, whilst differentiating ourselves from our
But using the telephone also has difficulties. The main
- The awkward lack of visual contact with the
person/people we are talking to
- The potential for
- The (increasing) likelihood
of not getting through to the person we wish to speak to.
- The reduction in communication effectiveness vs.
face-face speaking, making it more difficult to determine
how well the conversation is going.
A bit like going from
two-way communication to “1.5-way” communication.
Areas of Advice
Developing this idea of reduced communication, it is
important to realise what we can tell about the person on
the other end of the call vs. what we can partially tell or
not at all.
We coach those people in an organisation whose key role
it is to answer and make calls. We help outgoing callers
with telephone manner, tone of voice, presenting their ideas
in a persuasive way, and handling of questions. For those
primarily dealing with incoming calls, we cover similar
topics, but in addition cover the handling of customer
complaints and offering information.