- Mar 13, 2018
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Telephone Use for Business: What you should know
Keeping businesses running involves face to face and wired communication with customers. Most organizations use telephones to communicate with partners and customers. Certain things should be understood about telephones in order to keep the relationships with customers and stakeholders intact.
Telephone problems experienced during phone calls include buzzing sounds, static sounds, dead air and low voltage.
Buzzing sounds occur during calls when there is an incorrect wiring or the phone wires touch a metal. This can be rectified by checking for proper wire colours and connections. This sound could make a decoder on the other end of the phone get a wrong message. This could be very dangerous in a business environment. The distributing officer in an organization could misinterpret geisha for butter and twenty-one for ninety-one. The demand of a customer will be met with a wrong item and a wrong amount on the long run. This will lead to a loss of capital and waste of resources. This is because the wrong items will be returned to the company. This can tarnish the image of an organization.
Statistic sounds occur when the telephone wires are wet or there is a loose connection. The wire and the phone jack should be checked for moisture. The distribution point for the telephones in an organization should be properly covered from the rain. Static sounds are unpleasant to the ear. It could turn off a customer and encourage approaching other organizations for services.
Dead air means no sound on line. This occurs when the phone wire is broken, crossed or shortened. It could occur during a very important call. This can be avoided by awarding maintenance contracts and upgrades to professionals.
Low voltage occurs when the current facilitating the phone service becomes low. This could cause the encoders speech to be faint and hardly audible. This can be avoided by having a steady power supply as well as back-up for undue interruption of power supply.
Some organizations use mobile phones during their business operations. Mobile phones also have problems such as flat batteries, poor reception, network busy prompts and call withdrawal.
Flat batteries imply that a mobile phone was not well charged or the battery is dead. The phone user would have seen signs before it occur. The battery should be replaced with a new one and charged properly before use.
Poor receptions occur when the phone is out of a network coverage area. The caller’s voice would become faint. The call would then be ended abruptly. It is necessary for organizations to consider the telecommunication companies with network masts around before they choose a business location.
Network busy occurs when the network is overloaded. This is experienced when limited masts are serving numerous users. This could be as a result of power failure in some secondary network supply areas. Persistence would eventually bring about a connection as some users will definitely hang up.
Call withdrawal occurs when the prepaid or post paid agreement between a telecommunication company and an organization is terminated. This will lead to a cut call and can occur at a bad time. Bills should be paid regularly to avoid such embarrassment.
BASIC TELEPHONE RULES
- Be brief during calls: It is necessary to go straight to the point while making business calls. Going off point can turn off a customer and lead to the suspension of demand of a product. The customer should also be precise and concise. This will help the decoder to get the purpose of call accurately and respond to it accordingly.
- Be courteous during calls: Courtesy goes a long way to show how important a customer is to an organization. They should be treated with great respect during calls. This includes appropriate greeting and compliments.
- Pick up phone promptly: A lot of big contracts have been diverted because of delayed call response. Some customers are not patient enough to accommodate a delayed ringing process. Calls should be picked promptly in an office environment to avoid such.
- Always be ready to take a message: Most callers are not patient enough to be left on the phone. It is a bad phone manner. This could be avoided by having a writing material or data input device on standby at all times. This is to ensure that the communication goes on smoothly.
- Alternately screening calls: It is necessary to be observant while picking calls. Calls should be screened. Unwanted calls should be ignored. This is to avoid unnecessary lies and unproductive discussions.
A switchboard operator is a telecommunications professional who manages a telephone switchboard. A switchboard is used to handle phone calls in a variety of environments. Most emergency response phone numbers route to a switchboard where an operator decides where to send the call. Switchboard operators manually process calls hence they need a great deal of mechanical knowledge. Recent switchboards are highly computerized. This restricts the services of a switchboard operator to ensuring calls and routing them to the correct destination.
Some switchboard operators serve as receptionists and they approach visitors who come into an organization. Good communication skills are needed to work as an effective switchboard operator.
MAKING A CALL
Making a call involves certain protocols. This includes:
- Planning a mini agenda
- Using a three point introduction
- Being cheerful and accurate
- Knowing how to end a call
- Avoiding telephone tag
- Leaving complete voice-mail messages
Planning a mini agenda is important. It should be done before making a call. This is to avoid embarrassments like forgetting purpose of call or who to speak with. A brief documentation of such information before a call will help to avoid such situations.
It is ethical use a three point introduction. These include naming the person you are calling, identifying yourself and your affiliation and briefly explaining the purpose of call.
Cheerfulness and accuracy helps to establish a good interactive relationship. Giving a customer or a client a good reception during calls helps to keep the efficiency and image of an organization in their heart.
It is necessary to know how to end a call. Some clients may tend to go unofficial, keeping an employee on the line. This will get the callers attention off their job and also increase the company’s phone bills. This reduces productivity. Phrases like “Nice talking with you” should be used to close a call.
Telephone tags should be avoided. Give appointments for next calls and follow up accordingly. It is bad to keep a client expecting your call while you have forgotten.
Leave complete voice mail messages to avoid passing wrong information across. It is better to avoid leaving a voice mail than to leave an incomplete one.
GATHERING INFORMATION BY TELEPHONE
Information could be gathered during phone calls manually or automatically. It could be done manually by recording a client’s demand on the company’s log book. This can be done with a biro and official record book. It is therefore necessary to have these materials readily available by the phone in case it would be needed.
Information can be gathered automatically by using electronic devices like personal digital assistants, laptops, notebooks and desktop computers. This will be more convenient when the call is made via a blue tooth ear piece or a speaker enabled phone.
Developments in information technology have led telecommunications service providers to activate in-call recording options. This allows an employee to record a client’s complete message during a call. It allows the employee to conveniently listen to the call all over again and document necessary information for further processing.
ANSWERING THE TELEPHONE
Telephone calls can be an efficient and productive work tool if the right telephone manners are applied.
This involves identifying yourself immediately. The first thing a phone receiver wants to know is the identity of the person on the other end of the phone. It is therefore imperative to properly identify yourself immediately a connection is established.
A lot of people will actually hang up when they are unable to identify a caller.
Being responsive and helpful makes the communication process go smoothly. A continuous feedback will encourage the cooperation of a client. The silence of the caller could be seen as an insult to the client. When a client is confused about some things, it is necessary to help out with some suggestions that could give them a clue about the words they are looking for.
It is necessary to be cautious while answering the phone for others. Confidential information should not be shared with a stranger as this could cause a broken marriage relationship or business relationship. Take messages carefully. It is important to take information such as name, title, phone number and demand details carefully. Acting otherwise could tarnish the image of an organization. Actions should be made known to callers while transferring their calls.
Voice mail links a telephone system to a computer that digitalizes and stores incoming messages. Some systems make automated attendant menus available to the callers. Interactive systems allow callers to receive verbal information from a computer database.
Voice mail is mainly used to store audio messages. Voice mail services also allow customized greetings to study how many seconds it takes the voice mail server to start recording a message. The organization could save an audio message such as “this is MTN telecommunication we can’t take your message now. Please leave a message after the beep” .
The stored message should be brief, and have a warm as well as informative greeting. It is necessary to test the message for errors before activating it for public access. This can be done by calling the phone with an external line.
MOBILE PHONE MANNERS
- Avoid talking too loudly.
- Avoid holding inappropriate conversations in public
- Avoid rudely interrupting conversations
- Avoid texting while driving
- Avoid texting while talking
- Avoid loud and annoying ring tones
- Avoid picking calls or using phones during live performances
- Avoid relationship calls in office environments.
Talking too loudly is not good for the ears of the listener. It also constitutes a nuisance in the public. Talking too loudly to the senior representative of an organization may be seen as a form of disrespect.
Inappropriate conversations like sexual relation discussions does not speak well of a person. It should be done when in a quiet place. Talking about a violent or catastrophic occurrence is bad for the health of patients in a hospital environment. It can cause high blood pressure and eventually death. Interrupting a conversation rudely when getting to the climax of an important story or information is bad. This can hurt the emotion of the receiver.
Texting while driving could cause accidents and eventually death. Texting while talking can cause divided attention. This could make the encoder send wrong information simultaneously.
Loud and annoying ringtones turn people off. Using mobile phones during live performances can distract a performer and stir up the wrath of the public. Informal calls should be avoided in an office environment as much as possible.
Telecommunication is an important asset to big and small organizations. It helps to reduce amounts spent on transportation and promotes maximum profits in a business environment.
Good telephoning helps to establish good interactive relationships with a customer. This allows such organizations to grow.
The continuity of an organization is tied to customer relationships. This is because a manufacturer will not use all his products. Good telephoning helps to keep in touch with old and new customers.
It helps to take the orders of a client and also note the opinion of clients about the goods and service of an organization. Technology developments have brought about new communication devices and gadgets. These facilities will be useless if an organization is not well trained to use it.
Good telephoning involves good verbal communication knowledge to keep the process running smoothly.