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Cell Phone Etiquette and Manners
In today's fast-paced business world telephone communication is more important than ever. Correspondingly it is more important than ever to be aware of cell phone etiquette and manners. By learning how to practice them, both in your personal life and in business, you will find that people treat you with more respect.
Here are some tips for practicing telephone etiquette and manners to ensure success:
Plan the call.Always jot down key objectives before making a call. What areyou trying to accomplish? What outcome are you expecting? How will you deal with objections? By setting an agenda, you are showing respect to the person you are calling and acknowledging his or her busy schedule.
Appropriate greetings and endingsto calls help build a good rapport and avoidmisunderstandings and wasting time. The three elements of an appropriate greeting are:
· identifying your company
· giving your name and job title/department
· asking how you can help the caller. When you close the call you should:
· make sure that the caller has no more queries
· thank the caller
· let the caller put down the receiver first so they don't feel you have cut them off.
Get to the point.Once you are successful in reaching your party and haveintroduced yourself, get to the point. One of the main phone etiquette tips is not to waste another's time. Idle chit-chat will only indicate that you do not respect your party's time. Let the person know why you are calling and use your notes to keep your agenda clear.
Gathering information. Let's assume your caller has a complaint about a productyour company has sold them. You need to:
· ascertain the nature of the problem
· verify that the product is one of yours and that warranty cover still applies
· discover how the caller has been using the product and what steps they have taken to rectify the problem.
Listening skills.Another skill in receiving telephone calls is the ability to listenproperly. Passive listening is simply allowing the caller to talk and not taking any action to ensure we have the right message. By actively listening we mean first indicating to the caller that we are listening by interrupting in an encouraging manner—interruptions could be 'yes', 'I see', 'Okay', ‘right,’ ‘I know what you mean’, or they could be prompts to encourage the caller to say more: 'is that true?', 'are you sure?', etc. And secondly we mean asking questions or using prompts to ensure that the caller gives precise information so that the message we receive is accurate. This can be done by the use of wh- questions:
· What color?/How many?/When will you arrive?/Where shall we meet?
· and by techniques such as echoing and reformulating.
Suggesting and verifying a course of action.Once you have an accurate picture
of the situation, you are in a position to propose a course of action to your caller. You
· outline the proposal and check that it is acceptable to the caller
· confirm that they understand what is to be done.
Take notes.If you handle a lot of calls each day, then it is essential to log each one
under date and time. For all calls you should make a note of who rang, for what reason, and the action you agreed with times and details of address, telephone number etc.
Dealing with difficult callers.Sometimes a caller is very difficult, especially ifcomplaining. First remember that this caller is a client, or potential client, so your handling of the call could result either in more business for your company or in the caller going to a competitor. Whatever the nature of the problem, don't try to fob the caller off by disclaiming personal responsibility or by trying to pass the buck. What you should do is:
· listen without interrupting
· gather the facts and make a note of them
· take their details so you can get back to them
· sympathize with them and offer to act as fast as you can
· apologize if you have made the mistake
· stay calm even thought the caller is angry and possibly abusive.
Be polite.Just because you can't see the caller, it doesn't mean you have the rightto suspend the normal rules of politeness. Be helpful to the caller even if the subject of the call is not strictly speaking your field of responsibility. This means trying to find someone who can help now, or someone who can ring them back later. Don't put the caller on hold and then leave them suspended there indefinitely.
Remember too that you give out subliminal signals by the tone of your voice, the clarity with which you speak, how fast you speak, the pitch of your voice. You should always devote your full attention to the call; mistakes and misunderstandings will arise if you are doing something else at the same time. Even if the call is a difficult or heated one, stay calm; try to be helpful and never slam the phone down.
Things to avoid when on the phone.It's easy to fall into the trap of believing thatbecause your caller can't see you, they won't be affected by what you are doing and what's going on around you. Remember not to:
· let it ring more than four times
· eat and drink while talking on the phone
· be too familiar
· talk to someone else in your office
· have too much background noise
· speak too quietly or too loudly
· speak too quickly.
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