Last month, I promised a young businessperson I would buy several household items from his online stall. I was irritated when this budding entrepreneur sent me reverse calls, rapidly followed by multiple “Please Call Me” messages.
Familiarity sure does breed contempt. In the market place, players are often judged by some seemingly small things. That experience made me come up with the following 10 rules of phone etiquette.
The first rule in the market place states that you should never send a reverse call. Don’t even think about it. Get enough credit on loan from your service provider to conduct business.
The second rule states that you should never rush the client when you’re discussing business. Even if you hear that pinging sound warning that you’re about to run out of credit, don’t rush the client. You can excuse yourself thus: “I’m about to run out of credit, can I please call back in a minute?”
The third rule states that you should never flash a client. Every time you feel your finger itching to flash a client, bite that finger. Hard. With a pliers. Who knows, it might be the digit that will cost you ten digits.
The fourth rule states that you should never send a “Please Call Me”. You know what the client sees when they see this message? A begging bowl. Or that you’re Mr. Scrooge.
The fifth rule states that you should mind your language. Be professional. Even if you’re on a first-name basis with the client. When you’re talking business, let it be business.
I know. Sometimes lines may be blurred. Don’t do it, bro. There’s a time for football banter and a time for business talk.
The sixth rule states that you should always dot your Is and cross your Ts. This doesn’t mean you should be a communication expert. However, you don’t want the client to get mixed messages. Neither do you want your client to get a migraine, trying to figure out what you mean by your memes.
When texting, type complete comprehensible words. And recheck, lest autocorrect type that four-letter curse word, whereas you meant, shut. This is business. Your words may be used during dispute resolution.
The seventh rule states that you should always return a client’s missed call. If a client took the time to call you, take the time to call them back. That’s the least you can do.
The eighth rule is about protocol when answering a phone call or a text message. Try to be as professional as you can. Start with a greeting. Or, if your client has a PA, start with: “Can I please talk to so-and-so?”
Also read: The phone or your spouse?
The ninth rule states that you should never call your client thrice in a row. In the market place, that’s akin to pestering a client. You don’t want to be perceived as an annoyance. Even if a client owes you money, keep it professional. If your client doesn’t answer your two phone calls, leave them a message.
There are exceptions to the ninth rule, especially when it comes to money owed to you. Still, try to be as professional as you can be.
The tenth rule states that you should never hang up on a client. Granted, some clients will get on your last nerve. However, try to be as cordial as possible. Don’t make threats. And no cursing. Be the bigger person. Try and de-escalate the situation with lines such as, “Can we talk later?”
Nowadays more business deals are being closed via the phone. You want to be always professional, lest a snafu costs you that pretty penny.
Let’s make a deal. When you make a seven-figure deal via the phone, with the aid of these 10 rules, you’ll cut me a cheque. Deal? Deal.