HOW TO TAKE PHONE CALLS
Receiving phone calls is different from making calls. Incoming calls can take you by surprise and interrupt you when you are unprepared. Develop techniques to reduce the time wasted and enable you to deal with callers when you wish to do so.
Making Time for Calls
Phone callers have the upper hand in deciding when they want to call, but modern technology is shifting the balance of power between a caller and called. To some extent you can now dictate the time when you receive calls, enabling you to arrange your working day as you prefer. If you have an answering machine or voice mail system, leave a short note on it saying when you will be in your office, and that callers should ring back at that time. If you have a secretary, route all calls via him or her, with instructions regarding to whom you wish to speak and when it will be most convenient.
Dealing With Cold Callers
If you have a secretarial staff, brief them not to transfer cold callers through to you. If a persistent caller does succeed in getting through, politely but firmly inform him or her that you are not interested in what they are offering. Remember that, however annoying it may be to have interruptions from cold callers, they are only doing their job and you should always treat then courteously.
Use a recorded message on your answer phone or voice-mail system to influence the replies you receive. A crisp, brief message invites a crisp, brief reply. If your machine allows you to limit the lengths of incoming messages, use this feature to force callers to leave short messages. Messages will then take you less time to listen to, and this will free your time. Set aside a convenient time each day to playback and make a note of all your messages.
Points To Remember
It is easy to decide if a person should call back by making your first questions: “ How long is this conversation likely to take?”
People you would like to ring back should be asked to do so at a time that is convenient to you.
It is impolite to take an easy way out. “is this an inconvenient time?” invites the answer “yes”.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Do be polite.
Do keep an open mind. Cold callers may have information that is useful to you.
Do suggest someone who may be interested in the product or proposal being offered
Do get a phone that shows the caller’s number as they ring. If you do not know the number, you need not take the call.
Don’t ask cold callers to call back. They will, and it may be at a less than convenient time.
Don’t say you will call back if you have no doing so.
Don’t ask a caller to send details unless you are genuinely interested.
Don’t answer questions with long rambling sentences. Keep to the point.