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Marketing Insights for Entrepreneurs

Six Phone Greetings for Excellent Customer Interaction

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The highest value, best-rated phone system with the maximum number of features is still only as good as the people answering it– and those people are only as good as their greetings. First impressions are important. How calls from clients and prospects get answered sets the tone for the entire call. Here are six proven winners to help your staff start conversations off on the right foot…um…lip?

1. “ABC Company. This is XYZ. How can I help you?”

This greeting works for the same reason “said” is the best way to mark dialog in a story. It’s so common and inoffensive that it’s invisible. It zips right past the greeting and lets a caller get right down to business, making it great for professional environments. Don’t waste time by changing “How can I help you?” with something cute like “How can I exceed your expectations?” Most people don’t notice it, and it often annoys those who do.

2. “Good (morning/afternoon/evening). ABC Company. XYZ speaking.”

It’s a little less formal than asking “How can I help you?”, but this option trades formality for a casual and personal touch. It gives all the necessary information in a brief time and is a good choice for relationship-based businesses where added warmth can make clientele feel connected.

3. “It’s a great day at ABC. This is XYZ, how can I…”

This is even less formal than saying good morning, being intentionally upbeat. It’s a fun, surprising, and positive greeting, and it’s hard for customers not to smile. It only works if you sound like you’re having a good day, however, and it’s not appropriate for all business situations. If not used correctly, this greeting can sound forced. If the customer is calling a support line because they’re not having a great day, this greeting may be frustrating.

4. “ABC Company. This is XYZ, and how are you today?”

This option is tricky, but can work well for companies that bank on personalized service and friendly interactions with clients. You’d be surprised how rarely people get asked that question in the course of a day, and how much they appreciate it. Only use this if you’re willing to listen to the answer. Using it as an alternative to a more standardized greeting may come off as insincere if your curiosity isn’t real.

5. “Hi, XYZ speaking.”

It’s not great for a front-line call, but excellent if you’re answering a line that’s already been fielded by a receptionist or other teammate. In such a case, the caller already knows what company he’s speaking to, and he’s ready to speak to the right person that can answer his question or give insight into an issue. All he needs to know is that the right person is picking up the phone.

6. SMILE

Okay, this one isn’t actually a greeting, but a smile will make every greeting better. People are programmed to mimic the mental and emotional states of those around us, and we can hear whether or not the person on the other end is smiling. If you smile on the phone, you put the other party in a better mood. Who wouldn’t want a happy customer?

Readers, what’s the best greeting you’ve heard when you called into a business? What did they say, and why did you like it? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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  • http://vanblogs.com Van

    Great reminder piece gang!

    We’ve used the following since we opened (stolen from another office):

    “We’re having a great day at the Van Baird State Farm agency! This is Van, how may I help you?”

    It’s amazing how many compliments we get with that, but even more amazing is how it defuses an angry client (not that we have many of those) and they will tell us that our greeting changed their attitude just enough that they didn’t “go off” on us.

    • Emma Siemasko

      Hi Van,

      I’m so glad you liked the post! A happy, friendly greeting can definitely defuse a tense situation. I’ve noticed that some insurance companies have this one down, while others don’t, and leave me feeling worse than before I made the call.

      If the person on the other end of the line is friendly, and starts off the conversation in a generous tone, it’s much more likely to be a positive interaction.

      Thanks for commenting :)

  • amiyah

    I am 10 years old starting a nail salon business with my sister and grandmother. I will be making appointments and talking to people which I am already good at but this site will help me more. Thank you.

  • http://www.emmasiemasko.com/ Emma Siemasko

    Hi Amiyah! Glad this post helped you. Please let us know if you have any more questions about good phone etiquette- we’re always here to help. You can reach me at emma at grasshopper.com.

  • krishnakanth soni

    Hey Emma IAm from India. I wrok for an International Company. We support for United states.. I just need to know how to build a good wrappo and the best and the sweet way to poean a call. Its an Inbound Sales Que…. Can you please help me out… My job is in risk….

    • http://grasshopper.com/blog/ Emma Siemasko

      Hi Krishnakanth. The most important thing is that you’re kind, patient, and understanding. Don’t be too forceful! I find this resource *very* helpful for developing phone rapport: http://www.helpscout.net/blog/customer-support-tone/ It’s about how using certain turns of phrase and tone of voice can make all the difference. Hope that helps.