When I was eight my mother overheard me answering the house phone and telling a caller that my father was not at home. I got a lecture for giving out personal information to a stranger.
At that time, I did not have the language to handle the call any other way. After 30 years in the business world, I have come up with a foolproof method of handling incoming calls from people I don’t know. Now, I teach my clients a process to get to the point with a caller and save valuable business time. Every contact can equal the opportunity to swiftly assist a customer, make a sale, or identify whether or not a sales cold call should be transferred or politely declined. Here is an easy script that you can share with those in your office who answer the phone.
Phone Script for Office Use
- May I ask who is calling? Caller asks for someone by name or for someone in charge.
- What shall I say your call is regarding? Caller says, “S/he’ll know” or give a less than forthcoming answer. Reply with…
- What is the best # for you to be reached? This is where you gain control and the caller will want to know if the owner is in or what! Reply with…
- Let me check on that person’s availability…..I would like to give as much information as possible to establish the priority of your call…..Is there anything else you can tell me? This is when you find out the purpose of the call if it is shareable.
- I can answer that question for you now or I will transfer you to this person who is handling that matter.
How is this Useful
What I love about this simple process is that you get to find out as much information as the caller will reveal to determine if this is a legitimate call that you want to take or transfer. In a professional office where the phone rings all day, proper call screening can save time and improve customer service. A certain percentage of the incoming calls will automatically ask for the owner when someone else can actually handle their need more succinctly. The goal is to establish the credibility of incoming calls and not to pass through uninvited calls or solicitations to your co-workers or boss. Now you can get a better sense of priority and the maximum amount information to include in your message or transfer.
I have met many wonderful business people by phone and this method enables me to continue to welcome those valuable contacts. If I am not satisfied with the information I receive from the caller, then I politely end the conversation with the option to request removal from the list. I taught this technique to many clients to empower them and their staff to swiftly move past calls which are intrusive or do not add value to the business. This technique is also useful at home. I don’t like to hang up on callers or get tied up with the attempted sale of a product or service. To avoid time and aggravation, try posting this script by the home phone.
Script for Personal Use
- May I ask who is calling?
This may elicit more than a name, but if you do not get the explanation you need, say…
- And how can I help you?
This is usually when most cold callers reveal their pitch or ask your name then say,
- And is there a number where you can be reached?
This is where the control of the call shifts to you. Never give out information about yourself to a caller you do not know. Most phone banks will reply with an 800# and some will try to explain that they don’t take incoming calls. In the case of an 800# say…
- Thanks for calling; I will use that number if I have a need for (whatever product or service they are pitching.)
If they say they don’t take incoming calls and you have not been able to determine that the call has any value to you say….
- Thanks for calling. I would appreciate it if you could remove this phone # from your calling list.
These simple scripts are second nature for me because I have been using them for years to stay empowered and move quickly through incoming calls. I think it is important to always find out as much information as possible so there is no chance of ever confusing an important call with an unwanted call. I hope this saves you lots of time and energy while enabling you to make the most of every call.