One of the things that we learned from the pandemic is that people need human-to-human interaction. By confining people to their homes, the pandemic made face-to-face interactions and customer engagement a major challenge. That’s where phone calls come in. Even with digital modes of communication like live chat and email, phone calls continue to be relevant because they allow for human interaction. Telephone calls are used to conduct job interviews, for collecting quantitative survey data and to converse with managers, colleagues and clients. Converting recorded calls into text files with the help of a business transcription company will preserve the conversations for future reference.
However, making business calls can be unnerving for many people. Handling business calls professionally can go a long way in building robust relationships with people and achieving the desired goals of the interaction. Here are 10 tips for handling business phone calls:
- Prepare for the call: Preparing for the call is paramount to success.
- Have a clear idea about the purpose of the call: Business calls are made for different reasons such as to provide instructions, get information, follow up on a meeting, give feedback, ask for assistance, discuss an idea, sell something, etc. Make sure you identify the purpose of the call before you pick up the phone – that will help you plan accordingly. For instance, if you want to discuss something, you can send a message in advance about this. This will help promote a fruitful conversation.
- Make notes: Jot down the things you want to talk about in proper order. Making a roadmap for the call will help you avoid forgetting things. If you are talking to a customer, have a call script at hand.
- Do some research: When it comes to business calls, researching the other side is an important preparation step. Make an effort to learn about the person’s position/department in the company. Look up their social media profiles, see if you have anything in common – this will help break the ice and make the conversation easier.
- Introduce yourself: Introducing your company and yourself is a key element in business call etiquette. After you say ‘hello’, start off with your first and last name, designation and company’s name. Then state why you are calling and exchange pleasantries.
- Get to the point right away: Once the formal introductions and small talk are over, politely explain the reason for your call. The idea should be to get to the purpose of the conversation without wasting any time. Giving focus and direction to the discussion will help you hold the person’s attention.
- Speak clearly and avoid overusing filler words: In the absence of body language cues to guide you, enunciation is crucial to get the message across in a phone call. Speak clearly and keep a steady pace and maintain a moderate voice volume. Be warm, positive, enthusiastic, and professional. Avoid buzz words and slang as well as overuse of pauses and filler words such as “um”, “ah” and “you know”. These words can diminish your credibility and divert attention from your message. Proper preparation for the call can help you minimize the use of these filler or crutch words. However, keep in mind that filler words, when used sparingly, can be effective to highlight key points. This could explain why Google built its human sounding talkbot Duplex with fillers like “hmm”s and “uh”s and voice inflections.
- Listen actively, focus on having a dialogue: A business call must be a two-way conversation, not a monologue. Listen attentively and let the person know you understand what they’re saying. At the same time, make sure you got your message across. Ask open-ended questions to clarify anything you did not understand and encourage your counterpart to do the same.
- Embrace silence: Embrace the power of silence – it will give you time to gather your thoughts. If it’s a sales call, silence on the other end could be a sign of engagement rather than disengagement, according to business communication expert Ariel. For instance, silence could indicate that the client is taking notes or thinking about what was discussed.
- Stay clear of distractions and noise: Make sure you’re making the call in a quiet, private space. Choose a place without noise and distractions. Turn off desktop and mobile phone notifications. Avoid chewing or eating when you’re on the call.
- Avoid the speakerphone: If your business call is a private communication, avoid using a speakerphone unless you can secure the conversation. Using a speakerphone can give the person the impression that you are giving your full attention to the conversation. If you want to keep your hands free to take notes or for some other purpose, consider a headset instead of a speakerphone. If it’s necessary to use a speakerphone get their approval first.
- End the call the right way: End your business phone call politely and professionally, whatever the reason. Before you end a phone call, make sure the business portion of the conversation is complete. Be assertive and professional and polite when you’re ending a conversation that isn’t progressing. If they want to contact you again, offer options like mail, texting, or webchat.
- Practice: If you are looking to master business calls in English, practice. All business calls don’t follow the same pattern. So make sure you know how to conduct the conversation based on your purpose. Get familiar with the key phrases and vocabulary to use in various scenarios. Practice doing business in English on the phone.
- Record and Transcribe Business Phone Calls: Call transcription involves converting the conversations that take place on VoIP or traditional phones into text files. Today, call transcription tools have automated the process. The software will transcribe the conversation in real-time after the call has been recorded. Recording and transcribing business phone calls will allow you to:
- Focus on the conversion instead of taking notes
- Keep a record of the conversations for future reference
- Review the conversations to make improvements in future calls
- Search the records for specific information using keywords and phrases
- Use the records for training purposes
- Maintain transcripts for legal reasons
Getting your automated transcripts reviewed by a reliable provider of telephone transcription services can review ensure accurate records of these conversations in quick turnaround time.