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When a Customer Calls

Many small-business owners are well aware of the importance of greeting customers as they walk in the front door of their business. The traditional pleasantries—"Good morning," "How are you today?" and "Thank you for coming"—are all critical to building long-term renewal customers.

When it comes to the phone, business owners need to be sure that whoever is answering the calls is sufficiently skilled at offering the same initial pleasantries. But phone skills go much deeper than "please" and "thank you." It is maddening for customers to call a local company and speak with someone who knows little about the business and can only offer to relay a message to someone who knows something.

It’s not that everyone answering the phone should know a business’ full product list or service offerings. Rather, anyone answering phones should be able to explain the business’ "USP," or unique selling proposition. If your business provides a service, then make sure everyone knows what distinguishes your business from your competitors and can explain it in a succinct and crisp fashion.

Neal Polachek

Senior Vice-President, Research and Consulting

The Kelsey Group

Princeton, N.J.

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