Good telephone service is a plus for business |

Good telephone service is a plus for business

staff reports

How is your customer service on the phone? Take this quiz and see how you do.

Pick True or False for each statement:

1. It’s OK to let the phone ring 4 or 5 times before you answer, especially when you are busy.

2. Automated answering systems are the best and fastest way to manage calls and most customers like it because it saves time.

3. Most customers don’t mind being put on hold for just a minute or so.

4. You receive a call at your extension, 640. The caller, however, requested extension 460. You should transfer him back to the receptionist immediately.

5. It’s acceptable to use a speakerphone when answering a call to your office.

6. It’s OK to say “no” when the customer asks you to do something that isn’t company policy.

7. A customer calls and requests a meeting for this afternoon with your boss. You know she’s booked solid all day. The best response is to tell the caller she’s too busy today and ask him to call back tomorrow when she’s not so busy.

8. Your vocal tone accounts for about 30 percent of your message on the phone.

9. If you don’t know the answer to a caller’s question, you should give him the number of the person who does know the answer.

10. The best way to handle a difficult caller is to interrupt him immediately so that you can save time and find the right answer for him.

Give yourself 1 point for each False answer and 2 points for each True answer. If you scored 10 or less, give yourself a gold star!

The statements are all false. If you have a score of 11 to 14, you just need to polish your skills a little more. If you scored 15 to 20, you may want to take the “Telephone Courtesy and Customer Service” seminar offered Jan. 28 by the Nevada Small Business Development Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The three-hour seminar will be offered twice on Jan. 28 from 9 a.m.-noon and again from 1-4 p.m. to allow businesses to send half their staff in the morning and the rest in the afternoon.

The fee is $45 per person or $35 per person if three or more attend from the same company. To register call 784-1717. For information, you can call the course instructor, Roz Parry, at 329-1041.

Parry, a national consultant and trainer in customer service, notes poor telephone customer service can mean thousands of dollars lost for a small business.

“Eighty percent of the business you lose are customers who are turned off by a rude employee. Everyone at your business should know how to answer a phone professionally, not just the receptionist. Callers want to be treated as a welcome guest, not another inconvenience,” said Parry.

Parry said people on the phone can establish trust very quickly with a caller simply by vocal tone and attitude. A positive, friendly, upbeat greeting can do more to establish trust and credibility with a caller than anything you say after that.

“Callers first listen to the sound of your voice before they even hear your message. Studies show vocal tone accounts for 87 percent of your message. To your callers, the wrong tone means you just don’t care,” said Parry.

The seminar is open to anyone who wishes to improve his or her telephone skills.