Ask any Ruby virtual receptionist and they will tell you, creating community is not something we take lightly. From dressing up on Not-So-Casual Fridays to hosting volunteer opportunities and seasonal office functions, Ruby goes the extra mile to encourage intraoffice connections. However, while we have an arsenal of tools to create community within Ruby, it can be trickier to do so over the phone. I have compiled some tools that I use on a daily basis to foster those connections.
- Be familiar and friendly. There are a few ways I make it seem like I am familiar with the caller without actually knowing who they are. Often I will ask, “May I say who is calling?” and if I know they call frequently or they say they are returning a call, I like to say, “Oh, thank you, John. One moment please.” By adding the word “oh” in front of my sentence, it suggests that I am aware of who the caller is. Also, by saying the caller’s name back to them, I create a feeling of familiarity between us. Be sure to smile when using this tip; a warm tone of voice makes all the difference!
- Be reassuring. As a receptionist, I am often the gate keeper between the caller and the client. When callers don’t reach the person right away, they could be disappointed, or even frustrated. I have found that the more reassuring I am, the better callers react. I use a couple of phrases that help create a sense of comfort for callers. Phrases such as “I will give her that message right away” and “I will ask him to give you a call back as soon as he is available” convey that I am doing everything I can to help the caller. I have often changed a caller’s mood from frustrated and panicked to thankful and relieved by the end of the call using this kind of language.
- Don’t be ALL business. Listen for cues that allow you to make a personal connection with your caller. Any chance to break away from a typical business call will likely stand out to the caller and make an impact on their experience. A simple way to do this is to ask your caller how their day is going. You don’t always get the chance to do this, but if the caller lingers a bit or gives you the chance, certainly take the opportunity. Another thing I like to do is to use pleasant phrasing such as “I would be happy to,” “Certainly,” and “Thank you! I appreciate that.” Simple changes in your phrasing can make a big difference in the impression you give your caller.
While it can be hard to create personal and meaningful connections over the phone, acting friendly and reassuring and looking for chances to chat with your caller can facilitate these types of connections. It can be a little daunting at first, but by adding and practicing one element at a time, you can become a pro within days! Do you have any favorite methods for creating community around your office or with your callers? Let us know in the comment section below!