Never underestimate the importance of first impressions in business. Your clients’ initial interactions will affect the way they see you for years to come, making it critical that you get those interactions right. But that can be hard to do when many clients’ first experiences are with your company’s answering machine. The following guide will help you develop the best possible automated phone script, so clients who call you gain a positive view of your company from the start:
Step 1: Start the Phone Script Simply
Begin with a simple message that expresses appreciation for the call and cites a relevant slogan, tagline, or web address associated with your company. Communicate all of this in three sentences or less, and only use established slogans or web addresses that directly relate to customers’ needs. This way, customers know exactly who they’re calling, but don’t feel bogged down with a long greeting.
Step 2: Offer Voice Options
Once the greeting is finished, promptly tell customers what their transfer options are. Make it clear that if they know the extension, they’re free to enter it at any time. Then tell them what number to press for each department or specialist. Rank these based on importance, with the first numbers going to the lines customers are most likely to use. For example, clients are much more likely to want to speak with the receptionist than with the accounting department, so you should make the receptionist option 1 while giving a higher number to accounting.
If your company has more than 6 extensions, don’t list them all on the initial menu. Instead, state the five most important lines, and then say “for more options, press 6.” This ensures that customers don’t feel you’re wasting their time, something that can lead them to hang up in frustration.
Step 3: Transfer without Tarrying
Once you’ve finished the main menu, allow customers the option to press the pound sign if they want to hear it again. Then, if they don’t press anything for three seconds, transfer them to the receptionist. This helps accommodate clients who aren’t sure where they need to go.
Step 4: Create Specialized Scripts
Once you’ve established a basic phone script, create alternative versions that you can use on holidays, during weekends, or at other times when you and your staff won’t be available. Each specialized script should say why you are out and when you will return. You should also wish the client a good weekend, holiday, or evening, as this humanizes your company and conveys to the caller that they are more than just a phone number.
Step 5: Give it a Listen
Sometimes, word choices that seem good on paper sound terrible when spoken. To control this, have your intended speaker read the script aloud several times before you record and upload it. This will help you catch any problems ahead of time and make sure the final message delivers a positive first impression.
Don’t allow customers to form the wrong opinion of you based on a poorly designed messaging system. Give them the right taste of your company culture by taking the time to craft a professional and friendly automated phone script.