*ring* … *ring* … “It’s a great day at Bottom Line Marketing this is Lily speaking, how may I help you?” If you have called our Florida office, you’ve heard me say this before. If you have yet to call our office, you will hear me say this. Answering a phone at any business or corporation is a make-or-break for your perceived reputation. This is the first of what I would call the welcoming committee.
I, like many of you, have gotten on the phone looking for answers and resolutions to questions and issues, only to speak with a grouchy, monotonous voice. This, in turn, makes me grouchy, impatient, and unwilling to cooperate with the person who is supposed to be helping me. On the other end of the spectrum, I have heard voices so pleasant that I’ve been enticed to ask the stranger with whom I’m speaking to become my friend. I’ve heard Southern accents as smooth as sweet tea and had conversations about our office dogs, sports and my hometown (Bear Down). This is what creates a great customer experience.
To share some of my phone experiences while interning and now working at Bottom Line, I used to be terrified of answering the phone. My first summer as a former intern, my whole office decided to get in on a prank and had Gus call me while pretending to be an angry media rep looking to speak with a manager. I was so frightened and unable to understand his fake Southern accent that I quickly hung up the phone.
My coworkers came out and laughed at me, although I didn’t find it funny as I was still recovering from that scare. In all seriousness, if that were a real client, that would have been really bad. The moral of this story: stand your ground and answer the phone with confidence and energy; you know who you are and what you’re doing. While your nonverbal presence does not apply on the phone, your voice is the best indicator of commanding attention, respect, and hospitality.
The bottom line: It does not matter whether you know who is calling or not, or whether or not you have a cracker in your mouth and need to spit it out to answer the phone on the second ring. Whatever guidelines your company has for answering phones, you own it and make it your own with happiness and confidence to not only verbally represent who you are, but also your business.