Hello?’ Research by Moneypenny PA suggests that the greeting is business turn-off
– Time of day, company name is most popular greeting, 46% of small businesses use this
– 26% of small businesses answer their calls with Hello
– Company Name is the third most popular greeting with 14% choosing this
– Followed by Hello, company name with 11% businesses opting for it
A business’s phone greeting can have an impact on whether the caller will want to work with them.
Small businesses could be putting off potential customers simply by the way they answer their phone, according to research by Moneypenny.
The telephone answering service found that a quarter of small business owners (26%) are answering their business calls with a curt Hello, which can actually deter potential customers from working with them before they even begin a conversation.
In a survey of 300 micro businesses (0-9 employees), Moneypenny found that those surveying the calls thought the one-word salutation used on its own was ‘unprofessional’, ‘off-putting’ and even ‘rude’, meaning that thousands of small businesses could be losing out on potential customers at the first phone call.
Joanna Swash, Managing Director of Moneypenny said,
“It’s small but significant. The last thing a business wants is to blow a possible opportunity from the second they answer the phone,” “How a business answers its calls is hugely important, but so many small business owners overlook this.
A telephone call is often the first contact a person has with a business, so to make an impact that first impression has to be spot-on.”
The most common telephone greeting for small businesses is the time of day e.g. Good Morning, company name – 46% of small businesses answer the phone this way and was considered the most professional greeting by those surveying. Answering a call with the company name is the third most common greeting with 14% of businesses choosing this salutation.
Joanna continued: “It’s one of the reasons so many small businesses rely on Moneypenny to look after their calls. While they are busy concentrating on running the show, they can rely on their Moneypenny PA to give their customers best greeting, in a way that they themselves wouldn’t be able to do.
This goes to great lengths in taking them from a basic business, to a slick and professional operation, simply by changing the way their phone is answered.”
Claire Blanchard, Principal Lecturer in Marketing and Management at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, said:
“The way you answer the phone is an opportunity for your business to make a real impact. We make judgments about people the first time we see or hear them. Your tone of voice and the words you use create an initial first impression and that’s why it’s so important that it’s a positive and encouraging one.
In this technology driven world it’s easy to forget how important it is to do a simple little thing like answering your phone and that having a real person answering phones is key to the success of your business.”
Jill Bradshaw, Training Manager at Moneypenny, has spent 11 years studying the most effective way to answer and handle business calls. She is responsible for training the 500 Moneypenny PAs who handle thousands of business calls every day for their clients across multiple business sectors, from estate agents to plumbers. Here are Moneypenny’s top telephone etiquette tips:
• Be a ‘GOFI’ God/Goddess of First Impressions. When you answer the phone the person calling will build an instant impression of you. You want to come across as enthusiastic, helpful and efficient, not rude, bored and grumpy, so move beyond a curt ‘hello’.
• Be chirpy but not too chatty. You’ve probably less than 6 seconds to decide how to deal with a caller’s enquiry and progress with handling the caller’s enquiry, as business people want to get to the point quickly. It’s friendly to have a line or two of general conversation, but don’t spend several minutes on pleasantries.
• Verbally nod! Commit to the words you are saying even if you are not sure and make sure you come across as positive and decisive rather than vague or distracted. If you don’t know the answer to a question, its fine to admit this, but quickly suggest you can find the required information and come back to the caller as soon as possible. Give a time frame for this; don’t leave it hanging.
• Focus on what you can do and not what you cannot. If you’re busy and can’t go into detail with your caller there and then, take their details and tell them you’ll call back.
• Say it with a smile and ensure your tone mirrors your greeting. If you are physically smiling then this will naturally be translated into an upbeat voice. It’s a classic, but there is a warmth and energy you only get with a smile. It also sharpens your speech so your words are clearer to the caller.
• Be efficient and reassuring. There is no script and one size does not fit all. Don’t rely on stock phrases or replies. The caller needs to have confidence that you are really listening to them and taking their call seriously, not just mechanically going through the motions.
• Think of each caller as your million pound customer. How would you speak to them if they wanted to spend £1million with you? That’s how you should greet everyone when you answer the phone. Impress the caller to the point that they can’t wait to work with you.
Moneypenny looks after telephone calls for businesses of all shapes and sizes – from sole traders right up to multinational corporations. For larger companies, Moneypenny can either support an existing reception team or provide a fully outsourced switchboard function. Based in Wrexham, UK as well as Charleston, USA, Moneypenny has over 500 staff, a figure that is growing at a rapid rate. The company was founded by a brother and sister team in 2000 and currently handles over 10 million calls a year for over 8,500 UK businesses. Moneypenny is proud to have won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and has been recognised in The Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ four times, including a top 5 listing in 2015.
For additional information on Moneypenny visit their Website