Using proper phone etiquette will make your clients’ experience more pleasant, and they will view you more positively as a professional. Here are some best practices when communicating with your clients and fellow agents via phone.
1. Answer within three rings.
Answering the phone between the first and third rings is the most effective approach. Answering the phone immediately when it starts to ring could make you seem a bit too eager, as if you were poised above your phone. Wait for more than three rings to answer, however, and you run the risk of the caller giving up.
2. Keep your greeting short for incoming calls.
When a client calls you, answer by identifying yourself to verify that they’ve reached the correct person. “Greta Greene with Fathom Realty. How can I help you?” works fine, as does “Fathom Realty, this is Greta Greene.” Make sure to speak slowly and clearly so that you are easily understood.
3. Activate your voicemail.
It’s frustrating when trying to get a hold of someone who doesn’t have a method in place to leave a message. “I’m sorry, but the person you have dialed has a voicemail that has not been set up” will frustrate callers and could cause you to lose a client.
When setting up your voicemail, don’t rely on the default message; instead, record a personal yet professional one. For example: “Hi, you’ve reached Greta Greene with Fathom Realty. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and I’ll return your call as soon as I’m able. Thanks, and have a great day!”
Finally, be sure to check your voicemail messages regularly and respond to them promptly.
Believe it or not, your facial expression can affect the tone of your voice. Smiling makes you sound more cheerful and eager to help. Your callers will notice, and your positive tone may even improve their attitude.
5. Don’t interrupt.
If a client or colleague calls and carries on and on, resist the urge to interrupt with a quick solution to their problem. Sometimes all a client needs to do is vent. Wait until they’ve finished, and only offer a solution if they ask for one. Otherwise, simply be empathetic and conciliatory.
6. Ask questions and take notes.
Having to ask your clients the same question more than once will make it clear to them that you weren’t listening. Remembering details mentioned in an earlier conversation gives the impression that you listened and that you cared. Keep a pad and pen handy so that you can jot down notes whenever you take a call.
7. Don’t shout.
If you have a naturally loud voice, be mindful of how you sound on the phone. Speaking too loudly can be off-putting.
8. Respect your client’s time.
When you call a client, be sure to ask, “Is now a good time to talk?” When leaving a message, keep it brief, but make sure to include all pertinent information. It may help to jot down a quick script before you call. Remember to speak slowly and clearly.
Putting these practices in place when communicating by phone will make a good impression on callers and help strengthen your brand as a trustworthy real estate agent who is helpful and pleasant.