30 seconds or lessWhen I first started working at Ruby Receptionists, I remember thinking to myself, “Okay, I can answer phones all day. That will be easy!” It wasn’t until I started taking phone calls that I realized it wasn’t just about answering and routing calls, it’s about adding extra value to our clients’ businesses and brightening callers’ days. The more personal connections I can make, the happier and more fulfilled I feel, and the more fulfilled I feel, the better I perform. The way I see it, a happy receptionist equals a happy business! Luckily, Ruby prides itself in making connections, as apparent in the Ruby Service Pyramid and in our Core Values.

I will never forget the first personal connection I made. It was with a paralegal at a law firm and we had exchanged a couple of sentences about how our days were going. That is when it clicked, my “Aha!” moment. I was so moved by that simple exchange of a few extra sentences with a client that I was left smiling for at least 15 minutes. I was hooked.

From that point on, I made it a personal mission to make those types of friendly connections with as many clients and callers as possible. Sounds simple enough! However, it’s tougher than is seems to make a connection in the seconds it takes to transfer a caller. It is also far more challenging to comment on the weather when you are talking to someone on the other side of the country or to charm the socks off of someone who is calling to inquire about an attorney’s divorce fees.

I have come up with a few tips that can help when trying to make meaningful connections. These are simple things that we have a tendency to forget but they can make a big impact.

1. Say my name, say my name.

Ask for your caller’s name and say it at least twice during your conversation.

Turn “One moment please” into “Thank you, one moment, Jan.”

And “Thank you for holding” becomes “Thank you for holding, Brian!”

2. Actually listen.

There is a difference between hearing and listening. The moment you are able to actually process and respond to what someone is telling you is the moment that you can add some depth to your conversation. Adding conversation-specific phrases tells the caller that you are listening and trying to help.

“I am sorry to hear that. One moment while I see if she is available.”

3. Match the caller’s tone.

It is important to be mindful of the caller’s tone of voice so that you do not come off as insensitive.

4. Mind your manners!

Always say please and thank you. Good manners are universal and can go a long way!

5. Wish them well.

I almost always end my calls with some variation of “Have a good day!” It just feels right and helps to end the call on a positive note.

Extra Credit: Play along! If the caller or client starts engaging in conversation with you, don’t be afraid or too hurried to respond! Keep the conversation going until a natural pause.

These tips are not just for the phone and can be used in almost any situation. By incorporating one or a few of these into your routine, you will be able to make more meaningful connections and impact that person’s experience with your company!

Photo via Flickr user Michael