Don't Forget To Call Home
friend of mine recently lost
his bags while traveling on a
major airline. The line was busy
when he called the baggage claim phone
number listed on the company's Web site.
When he finally got through, the call went
directly into voice mail.
"If I have to travel and it is less than
eight hours away by car, I am driving from
now on," he told me.
Is that the message you want your- cus-
tomers taking home? Well, then it is time
to brush up on some good old-fashioned
phone etiquette. The telephone is the
entrance to your business house and, if it
is broken down, people (employees and
customers alike) will think you are not
doing your job.
In these challenging times, it is more
important than ever to keep customers
happy and to market your unique brand.
When you or your employees lack basic
phone skills (or you rely on voice mail
to do your job), you risk destroying your
other end, you are sending the wrong mes-
I'll admit it can be annoying when I am
sage. You are off brand.
boarding a plane and my cell phone rings,
How do you get back on brand? Every
even when it is someone whose call I want time you pick up the phone or place a call,
to take; but I try hard not to be rude and,
remember the person on the other end of
if I can do it, I always pick it
the line will develop a perception
up and politely say I will call
of you within 30 seconds. There
back and I give a time frame
is not a lot of wiggle room here so
for doing so.
you'd best be on brand.
Look at it this way: When
Here are some tips for phone
your phone rings, your pay-
check is calling. No matter
• Identify yourself with full
who is on the other end of the
name and function or the name
line, each call can be viewed
of the company. Follow it up with
as an opportunity to reinforce
something like, "How may I help
your brand. This attitude can
and will give you the tools to
• Be warm and enthusiastic.
inspire others and, ultimately,
Never say, "I don't know" or "That
secure more business.
is not my job." Try saying, "Let me find out
It really is that simple. You might say in
about that for you."
your marketing materials your customer
• Return all calls you miss within one
is No. I but, if your customer can never
get someone to answer the phone or gets
• Turn off your cell phone or PDA dur-
someone rude or uninterested on the
ing meetings. Do not use the cell phone to
surf the Internet or text message someone
else while you are in a meeting — social
If you are not hosting a conference call,
avoid that speakerphone button. It leaves
the impression you are not fully concen-
trating on the caller on the other end of
Train everyone at work to answer the
phone the same way.
Periodically, I always called my office
to hear what the public heard when the
phone was answered. So don't forget to call
Robert Sher, CPA, is a certified execu-
tive coach and former CFO and partner for
Schostak Brothers & Company. He serves
on the boards of charitable and professional
organizations as well as being on the West
Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees. He is
treasurer of the American Institute of Certified
Public Accountants Foundation.
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TAO( CONSULTA ■ NITS
Lawrence B. Levy
Member National Society of Accountants &
American Society of Tax Problem Solvers
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Toll Free 877.666.1evy (5389)
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August 14 • 2008