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Friday, April 18, 2014, 07:16 PM EDT
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5 Positive Ways to Respond to New Customer Calls

For a lot of customers, a phone call to your business may be their first impression of your services. After a trip to your company’s website, placing a call to inquire about more particular information is the next natural step for a potential customer. It is imperative that this point of communication be positive and that you answer all questions to their expectations.

This potential customer is hoping you can supply them with the service or products he or she needs. This is an excellent chance for your company to shine; this could be a chance to win new business! Are you ready for the next phone call? Here are five positive ways to respond to a potential customer’s phone call:

Your phone number is difficult to find on your website.

How many times have you visited a website and had to search for a phone number or email address? Your first thought is, “Great customer service…” How frustrating is it for you? Think about a potential customer’s reaction. It’s probably going to be negative. Your phone number should be placed at the top of every page as you click through the site. It should be in large and bold letters that are easy to see and find. You don’t want to send them searching, or they may just click to another site that is easier to navigate. Your number must be visible and easy to find on every page of your company’s website.

Engage the customer.

Most customers can find your business hours and location on the website. They are probably calling to find out more in-depth information about your services. This is your chance to engage with them in person and to keep them on the line by asking qualifying questions. Ask them more about the issue they are trying to remedy; show them that you care about their issue. Or inquire more to find out when they may need a particular service or item. This will give you an idea of how to help them or how to follow up with them at a later time. And always, always speak in a polite and friendly manner.

Respond and follow up to their call promptly.

If you are unable to help a customer right away, make an agreement to call them back within one business day. However, calling them back sooner is always better. The general rule is within the hour. Don’t forget, they now have 24 hours to make other calls! Unless you have to inquire with someone else about outside services, this is an appropriate amount of time. You must make sure that the potential customer knows you will be calling him or her back with the information they want at a certain time. You want to make sure your response and services are met in a positive manner.

Training your staff to answer basic questions.

First impressions mean everything. A perceived lack of knowledge by the first person they speak with may cause them to believe your business may not be able to handle their needs and expectations. You could lose potential business right away. Your staff must be trained to answer basic questions about your services and products. They must be able to schedule appointments and direct callers to an appropriate person when they are unable to answer their inquiries. They must be able to speak with a level of professionalism that will make the caller believe in your company’s goods and services. And if they are unable to answer the caller or direct them to an appropriate person, they must agree to have someone who can help them call back within the hour.

Handle customer complaints with professionalism.

There are times when the issue may not be your fault, but you must handle any kind of customer complaint with professionalism. Allow customers to voice their issues fully. Using kindness, apologize and accept responsibility for the problem at hand. Try to solve the issue with the customer on the phone. Being defensive and combative will only cause the customer to become angrier, and he or she may decide to take the matter elsewhere. With the advent of social media, it is becoming easier for customers to voice their complaints in writing and for the entire world to see.

How does your business handle new customer calls? How does your business handle negativity and complaints? Do you have other positive practices that work for your business? We would love to hear your comments.

About the author: Tom Chu is the SEO Manager at PsPrint, which is an online printing company specializing in brochure and poster printing As well as other similar services.

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