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The Phone : The First Impression - June 2010

The Phone: The First Impression

by Tammy Taylor

phone impressionsThis might seem too simple to be important, but it could be the difference between getting a new potential customer or not getting a new potential customer…"We never get a second chance to give a first impression.
Have you ever over-heard someone talking on their cell phone too loud, or rudely, and it makes you cringe? With so many people using their cell phones as both their business and personal phone, it is very easy to come across as being unprofessional.
We seem to have gotten very casual when we answer our phones; but, this could be the first impression we make with a new potential customer, especially if it is a cell phone, we use for business and personal calls.
Remember: When customers perceive a person or business as being professional, they will trust them more, and be willing to pay more for their services and products.
Customers do not want to deal with an answering machine, especially if they have a problem or a question. When someone calls a place of business, they expect the person who answers the phone to be cheerful, professional, and knowledgeable.
A little note on customer relations: When you are in your salon or your place of business, you should not be taking personal phone calls while you are with a customer. You need to give 100 percent of your attention to your customer with no distractions, as the customer is paying for your time along with the service or product you are providing.

Here are some very simple "Phone Etiquette Tips" which will help you make a fantastic, professional, first impression:
• Have a smile on your face when you answer the telephone – your smile
shows in your voice, and projects a friendly, ready to help attitude.
• Answer the telephone by the second or third ring – most customers find
it annoying, waiting for someone to answer their call. In fact, this might cost you a paying customer.
• The best way to answer your cell phone, when using it for personal and
for business, is to answer with a greeting and your name, for example:
"Hello, this is Tammy," or... "Hello, Tammy speaking."
• The best way to answer your cell phone, when using it only for business, is answer with a greeting, the name of your business, your name, and
a courtesy, for example: "Hello, Tammy Taylor Nails, Tammy speaking, how may I help you?"
• Always focus on the call; try not to get distracted by people around you. If someone tries to interrupt you while you are on a call, politely
remind them you are on a customer call, and you will be with them as soon as you are finished.
• Do not talk loudly. Keep your voice down and do not discuss sensitive matters.
• Turn the ringer volume down or use the vibrate mode.
• Keep personal phone calls short and few. Customers will get irritated when you are taking personal phone calls.
• Do not use slang words or poor language.
• At the end of the conversation, do not just hang up. End the call with a warm "Thank you for your call."

Many times, it is the simplest things that can make our businesses more profitable or less profitable.

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