Ten Tips to Better Phone Impressions for Hair & Beauty Salons
We all use so much technology these days from SMS to Email, Facebook Twitter and LinkedIn... but nothing beats a conversation on the telephone, except perhaps a face-to-face meeting! And you’ll find managing a salon is no different!
When in the hands of an image-conscious professional, the telephone can be the best form of communication. You’ve already hired the best beauty therapists, but sometimes telephone skills are lacking. Make a few small changes though, and they can make a big difference. Remember, salon customer service starts as soon as the customer picks up their phone!
Always answer the phone with a smile. It can be 'heard' by the caller. Remember, being kind and polite goes a long way.
If you are diverting your business phone, remember to check your environment when you make a call. If you are in the street, move away from the building sounding it's intruder alarm. If you are inside, is the radio or television blaring away in the background? Background noise can be distracting and is unprofessional.
Try and use "How may I help you"
rather than "how can I help"
. Sometimes 'can' is misunderstood or said in such a tone of voice that it comes across negatively.
Always speak clearly and slowly when identifying yourself, especially if you are prone to speaking quickly or if you have a broad accent. Do be prepared to spell difficult names if necessary. The phonetic alphabet is useful - A = Alpha, B = Bravo etc...
If you have to use a speakerphone (and if you can avoid it, please do!) remember to:
- Let the caller know they are on speaker.
- Identify everyone in the room, and
- Make the purpose of them being in the room clear.
When calling outbound be aware that the person you are calling might be entrenched in another task and totally unprepared for your call. If they sound distracted, simply ask if they would prefer you to call at a more convenient time for them. If you leave a message, always give your telephone number... even if you're sure the person you are calling has your contact details.
When taking a message for someone it is preferable to say "I'm sorry, Jane's not available at the moment. May I have her call you back?"
"Jane's not in, I'll have to take a message" - this response makes it sound like an inconvenient chore. Besides, does the caller need to know that Jane is out?
"Jane's at lunch. Can I take a message" - the caller might be thinking "that's a funny time to be at lunch" and it is irrelevant whether Jane is in a meeting, at lunch, or in the bathroom.
"Jane should be back soon. Could I have her call you in 15 minutes" - Jane might not be back 'soon' and your promise of 15 minutes could easily be broken, leaving the caller with a bad impression of your salon.
If you are in the situation when you have a client in front of you and the phone rings, make sure you give the person who has made the effort to turn up your full attention. If you turn your attention to the phone, the person who has made the effort to see you may feel put out. Have you ever been in a retail shop and the sales assistant was on the phone?!
Never ask a caller to try again later. It gives the impression you are too lazy, apathetic or just too disorganised to take a message.
Never eat, drink or smoke while on the phone. Hearing someone chewing their sandwiches, or crunching crisps into the telephone is off-putting at the best of times.
Finally, always make sure to have a pen and paper at hand and, if you’ve taken a message for a colleague, please remember to pass it on!
Remember, salon customer service starts on the phone, and a good customer service can be your best salon competitive advantage.