The Perfect Answer

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter Lyle DeHaan, Publisher and Editor of AnswerStat

How often have you called someplace and wondered if you reached the right number? All too often, calls are answered hurriedly, haphazardly, or incompletely. Or perhaps the agent seems out of breath by the time they complete a lengthy, tongue-twisting answer. It is vital that all calls be consistently answered in the same way, regardless of location or agent. Here are three parts of the ideal way to do so:

Greeting: The greeting serves to set a positive tone for the call. It is simply”Good morning,” Good afternoon,” or “Good evening.” The greeting tells the caller that the phone has been answered. These words signal that it is time for the caller to listen, but it is not critical if these words are missed.

Company Identity:This is simply the name of your organization, such as, “Acme Medical Call Center.” It lets callers know who they’ve reached, confirming that their call has gone through correctly. Say the name as it would be used by and most familiar to those outside the organization. Therefore, drop legal suffixes, such an Inc, LLC, and Ltd. Also, avoid abbreviating the company name; saying “AMCC” when everyone knows you as”Acme Medical Call Center” will only cause confusion.

Agent Identity: The final element is your first name. It adds a valuable personal touch. It is much easier for a caller to get mad at an anonymous voice, than an identifiable person.  Using your name builds rapport and establish a track record with the caller. As the last word of the answer phrase, it is also the one most easily remembered. Omitting your name implies an avoidance of personal involvement; ending with your name, signals confidence and competence, which are critical in medical call centers.

Avoid Unnecessary Addendums: It is all too common for people to tack on the inane phrase, “How may I direct your call?” A direct response to this senseless question would be “quickly and accurately.” This is a waste of time.

Putting these together, results in the perfect answer: “Good morning, Acme Medical Call Center, this is Peter.”

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.