Guiding a caller through a phone conversation?is a special type of skill. It's one we teach our virtual receptionists in basic training and it's a great addition for your resume of outstanding customer service. ?Follow this 3-step guide and you'll be handling your conversations like a pro!

#1 Obtaining information

Gathering information is a high priority when taking a call. The best way to get this info?ask! Be sure to avoid awkward endings such as this:

Caller: ?Yeah, is John in??

Receptionist: ?He's at lunch.?

AWKWARD! Try this instead:

Receptionist: ?He's at lunch at the moment but he should be back soon. May I have your name and number and have him return your call??

Much better! You've now exercised all of your efforts in obtaining the contact info. If the caller doesn't want to give up his credentials, you can at least say you tried.

#2 Dodging Tricky Questions

When you're asked a question better suited for another department, taking down the caller's name and affiliation before transferring is a great technique for stellar customer service. Here's an example:

Caller: ?Do you know if you guys are hiring???

Receptionist: ?Sarah in Human Resources would be happy to answer that question for you. I'll see if she's available, may I have your name?

When transferring the call, give your coworker the details about their caller so that they are best prepared to handle the situation.

#3 Reigning in a Rambler

Small talk is a great way to build a relationship with a caller, but sometimes time is of the essence and you need to get on down to business. How do you do this in a polite manner? Glad you asked:

Caller: ?How gorgeous is this day? We haven't seen the sun in a while.?

Receptionist: ?It is very refreshing! How may I help you on this lovely day??

BONUS TIP: Go Above and Beyond

When customers find themselves a bit confused or at a dead end, lighten the mood:

Receptionist: ?We actually don't carry that particular model. I believe Harrison's Supply might have it in stock. Would you like for me to find their number for you??

Or when you have a wrong number:

Caller: ?Oh, I have the wrong number.?

Receptionist: ?That's perfectly fine. Who are you trying to reach??

Caller: ?Evergreen Rentals?

Receptionist: ?Our number is just one digit off. Would you like the correct number??

Now that's dedication to outstanding customer service!