What’s the most important part of a phone call? If you listen to the majority of phone trainers, they’ll say the intro; after all, a caller’s initial impression is formed right away. If you wow them in the first 10 seconds, you’ve got it made, right?
Well…not exactly. There’s a saying in courtrooms that definitely applies here: first impressions count, but last impressions count more.
I’m not trying to release your inner legal eagle, but it’s important to realize that your ‘closing argument’, if you will, is critical. No matter how sharp your greeting, a poor close will leave a bad taste in your caller’s mouth. That can be the difference between success or failure for your business.
Start strong, but finish stronger with these five steps to success:
People love to hear their name, especially in customer service situations. That type of personalization sets you apart from the hoardes of nameless, faceless automatons that take most client calls. Using someone’s name in your close shows you were paying attention to their caller’s needs.
“It’s been a pleasure speaking with you Mrs. Jones. I truly enjoyed our talk today.”
Callers hate confusion, and nothing is worse than spending time explaining yourself to someone and not knowing if they understood what you were saying. By summarizing what the caller told you, and layout what they can expect from you in the future, you take control of the situation while setting their mind at ease. It’s an impressive flourish that will stick in their mind when they think of your company.
“Just to summarize what we discussed Mrs. Jones, you recently received Invoice #46752 on November 13th and you need clarification on some of the charges. Therefore, I will make sure the billing manager takes a look at the invoice and calls you back within the next 24 hours to go over it in detail. Is that correct?”
After your summary, find out if the caller has anything else to say. It’s always polite to make sure someone’s needs are attended to, and makes you stand out as a stickler for detail (a good trait in business).
“Have I answered all of your questions Mrs. Jones?”
Make sure you have an email address on file, always. It allows you to send personalized follow-ups after the call completes, and you’ll also build your client database for future marketing communications (with their consent, of course).
“Mrs. Jones, can I please have your email address so that I can send you a follow-up email after the call?”
Anyone that takes the time to call your business needs to be thanked, period – regardless of the motivation for the call. Each closeout is a great opportunity to show your appreciation to your callers, so don’t miss the opportunity! Always end on a happy note with a well wish or two; remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.