There are four important parts of a proper phone conversation, a greeting, tone, listening, permission and closing. Your greeting should begin by thanking the caller for calling or taking your call. Then, introducing your business and yourself, this will not only welcome the caller, but sets the tone for the customer to get to the point. For example, Thank you for calling ABC, my name is Susan how can I help you? Being polite helps the customer to get right down to their request, which saves time and money.
Tone is the most important part of phone etiquette. You can tell anyone anything without upsetting them if you have the right tone. The caller cannot examine your body language or facial expressions they make their determination of how they feel about the company by your tone. So your tone must be inviting to the customer.
If you have an irate customer, the best way to calm the customer down is to allow them to vent. Venting is only part of it, listening is the most important part. Focusing your attention to not only the words, but also the real reason the customer is upset. If you need to, jot down some notes to address all the issues without having the customers to repeat themselves.
Throughout the conversation you will need to ask permission, to hold, to speak to them directly by their first name and even to review their account. Asking permission will allow the customer to feel they are in control and the company is considerate of their needs. Before and after holding make sure you thank the customer. For example, will you please hold while I get that information for you? Thank you for holding. If the hold is longer than normal check back with the caller periodically so they are aware, you did not abandon them and thank the caller for their patience.
Closing the call is also very important. You want to make sure you thank the customer for their time for choosing your company and recap. For example, so today we verified that the late fee was valid and you will include that in your next payment. You must provide a positive and professional impression on every call.