Saturday, September 8, 2012

Professional Phone Practices

Happy September everyone and welcome to all of our new team members.  It’s a great time to get started with Avon because we are headed into the holiday selling season, and as those of you who attended the Come Home for the Holidays last month it’s going to be a very profitable season.

As we are getting out more, and more customers are looking for Avon to make their holiday shopping easy we’ll be getting more and more calls from our existing and prospective customers. Now is a good time to take a look at your phone practices from your customer’s point of view and see if they present you and your business in a positive and professional light?  Here are some tips on how to present a professional image over the phone.

  1. Answer live whenever possible, and always with a smile.  While the person on the other end of the line can not see you smile they will be able to hear it in your voice. Consider having set office hours a few times a week when you will be available to answer all calls so that your customer can call at that time if getting you in person is important.
  2. Have a professional, friendly outgoing message on your machine or voicemail to greet your customers when you can’t pick up.  Be sure to identify yourself and your business even if it is your family phone.  You want your customers to be sure that they have reached you and that you are still in business when they call.  Remember the messages or songs that would be entertaining for your friends may not be appropriate for a line that you are using for business.  
  3. Taking advantage of caller ID to selectively answer calls allows you to remain available to family and friends when you are taking time off and ensures that you only answer a call from a customer when you can give them your full attention.  If you are in the middle of shopping, cooking dinner or spending quality time with your family allow yourself that uninterrupted time away from your business and let it go to voicemail.
  4. If you do answer a call at a time that you really can’t accommodate the caller, offer to call them back at a better time rather than asking them to guess when a good time for you would be. You could say something like: “Sue, I’m away from my desk right now and I would hate to forget part of your order, can I give you a call back in a couple of hours to get that from you?”
  5. When you miss a call from an unfamiliar number and there was no message, be sure to identify yourself when calling back. The person answering may not be the person who called you, or they may have made multiple calls that day that weren’t answered. I usually say “Hi this is Chris with Avon and I missed a call from this number earlier today”
  6. Return calls in a timely manner, within 24 hours if at all possible.  If it takes longer, apologize for the delay and offer a brief explanation if appropriate.  If you will be taking time off or otherwise unable to answer or return calls for more that a day or two consider changing your outgoing message to let people know when they can expect to hear back from you.  For security reasons don’t mention out of town trips or anything that implies your home will be empty. Instead try something like “if you are calling for Avon, I will be out of the office for a few days and I will be returning all calls by Tuesday the 11th.”  Give yourself an extra day after your return to get to those calls.  It’s better to promise a later date and get back to them sooner than expected rather than make them wait longer.

If you would like further examples or help choosing wording for your particular situation, please feel free to call me or your direct Unit Leader any time.  

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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