Telephone skills
Telephone courtesy & customer service
Lloyd Finch.
Menlo Park, Calif. : Crisp Publications, c2000.
It seems simple, doesn't it? People who are the first contact with customers should naturally be the most comfortable in that role. Often, however, they are not, and it is simply because they have not been trained in the most fundamental skills of telephone customer service. That's what this book is all about -- a simple, progressive approach to what matters in dealing with people on the phone. Although organizations differ, it is not unusual to have more than 80% of customer contact provided by telephone. That's why it matters.

This book deals with new technologies and call centers but it is primarily designed to present quality customer service, telephone techniques, an understanding of customer "wants and needs", and the importance of a positive attitude.

The complete idiot's guide to great customer service
by Ron Karr and Don Blohowiak.
New York, NY : Alpha Books, c1997.
Yoursquo;re no idiot, of course. You skillfully manage your kidsrsquo; temper tantrums, diplomatically handle office politics,nbsp; and even pleasantly deal with your friendsrsquo; bickering.nbsp; But when it comes to handling customer service, you feel utterly lost.nbsp; Itrsquo;s time to make great customer service an indispensable part of your daily operation! The Complete Idiotrsquo;s Guide to Great Customer Service teaches you how to create the ldquo;Service Differencerdquo;-service that genuinely pleases your customers and sets your organization apart from the pack.nbsp; In this Complete Idiotrsquo;s Guide you get: nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; --The inside scoop on what customers really want and how to please them. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; --Easy-to-follow instructions on writing effective correspondence. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; --Invaluable tips for turning your companyrsquo;s imperfections to your advantage nbsp;
Winning telephone tips : 30 fast and profitable tips for making the best use of your phone
by Paul R. Timm.
Franklin Lakes, NJ : Career Press, c1997.
Dr. Paul R. Timm, a consultant and trainer to numerous corporations and agencies, shows how to make the best use of the telephone all the time. Readers will learn 30 ways to boost their phone effectiveness and discover how to make their voice mail more efficient.
Telephone skills from A to Z : the Telephone "Doctor" phone book
Nancy J. Friedman.
Menlo Park, Calif. : Crisp Publications, c1995.
Includes index.

You just started a new job and one of your duties is to answer the phone. What should you say?

Telephone etiquette is very important, especially in a service related business. Each phone call can be a new customer for your business. Therefore, it is very important to be diplomatic and polite. First impressions matter.

One of the first things you should do is to identify the name of your business, and /or department.  Secondly, you should ask, “May I help you?” Check with your employer to see if they require you to give your name. In many instances just a cheerful greeting is required.

Be ready to listen carefully. Have pen and paper ready to take notes when the customer answers your “May I help you” inquiry. This will help remind you exactly what your customer said. It will especially helpful if he or she start rambling or if you have to ask a co-worker for advice on how to answer your customer's question. 

Rules of Etiquette

Speak directly into the mouthpiece.
Don’t chew gum while talking on the telephone.
Answer the phone within 2-3 rings.
Ask your caller if they can hold before doing so.

Keeping your voice pleasant sounding will go a long way to getting a new, or repeat, customer to come back for your service. Ask the customer to repeat their question slowly, and rephrase afterwards by asking them at the end, “Is this what you asked?” Sometimes we might not hear the exact question, or the customer has changed their mind. If you heard the wrong question in the first place, time is wasted, and both you and the customer can become frustrated.

Remember, each customer must be treated with respect. Be diplomatic, understanding, and patient. Imagine how you would like to be treated if you were the customer. A happy customer is often a repeat customer!

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff