Train your employees thoroughly on how you want your company represented via email and over the phone
“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
That famous quote attributed to Will Rogers is why the people you hire to answer your phones and talk to your customers are so important. You want every person who calls your company to have a wonderful experience. You also want them to come back to you every time they need services.
Business today moves so fast and there are many ways that customers get in touch with you. It is hard to always sound professional, especially when they are texting you at 5 a.m. Maintaining a positive attitude and cheerful tone in a stressful situation can be really difficult. But if you train your staff on the right types of communication, you will know that your company is being well represented at all times.
Email can be the hardest form of communication. There is no tone and inflection to typed words, so they can commonly be misconstrued. People use smiley faces to try to soften the message, but smiley faces and emojis have no place in work emails. Here are a couple of tips to make your company emails sound better:
- Always turn on spellcheck. When I get a misspelled email from a salesperson, I instantly delete it. It shows that they didn’t take their time and it just looks sloppy.
- Emails must have clear and concise sentences. There is a tendency with new employees and younger employees to write long, run-on sentences. I like to keep emails short and sweet if possible. Clear and to-the-point sentences allow for quick responses.
- Don’t type how you would talk. Phrases like “I seen” or “I would of” are like nails on a chalkboard. They are giving a bad impression of the sender’s intelligence.
- Have a signature block at the bottom of your emails. It drives me crazy when I can’t find someone’s phone number. I have my office phone number, cellphone number and email address under my name and title at the bottom of all of my emails.
Phone calls can be a minefield if they aren’t handled correctly. What started out as an easy collection call can quickly spiral out of control when mishandled. Conversations happen on the fly and you don’t have time to go through what you are going to say in your head before you speak. You can always read through an email two or three times before you send it, but phone calls are more spontaneous.
This is why really good training is so important. Spend time with new employees. Clearly explain what it is you want them to say and how you want your company portrayed.
When we took our company to Washington, D.C., in 2004, we really struggled with communications. Our headquarters are based in Connecticut, and people in the Northeast talk very fast. People from Washington spoke much slower and they, at times, found us offensive. Washington is filled with some of the smartest people I have ever met, and talking slow is not a sign of lack of intelligence. They just prefer to take their time, whereas a lot of people from the Northeast are racing from one thing to the next. We eventually hired a really fantastic employee, who spoke slower and softer, and she worked wonderfully with all of our customers in that region.
If you still aren’t happy with the way your employees are talking, don’t hesitate to give them a script. They can use it until they feel more confident, and eventually they won’t have to read the script word for word. A script gives them talking points, facts and the correct way to calm down an angry customer. It also ensures that when you can’t be in the office, your employees are still working at your standards.
First impressions can make or break your business. Take the time to make sure that your employees sound intelligent, informed and confident in the services they are selling.