The first contact most businesses and professionals have with their clients or patients is the phone call for an appointment. Research tells us that the caller wants to know three things: 1) Have I reached the right office? 2) Who am I speaking to? And, 3) Unconsciously, they want to know if they are welcome; “Will I be well cared for?” Often when the phone is answered the caller hears something like, “Good morning, Jones Health, Wealth and Happiness Clinic. This is Lisa speaking. May I help you?” We suggest something simpler is more effective.
Rule One in Effective Communication is, “Streamline and Simplify for Efficiency and Effectiveness.”As an exercise, when we apply Rule One to itself, it becomes, “Streamline for Effectiveness”.Any communication that is streamlined is simplified, and if it is efficient it is effective.
Streamline: When we take out the unnecessary and redundant words, our message is more easily understood and more powerfully received.
Effectiveness:The effectiveness is enhanced by the “congruency” of the message and the emotional affect with which it is delivered. If I say “Good morning” with a frown on my face, it totally changes the meaning of my message, doesn’t it?
Applying Rule One to this phone communication, we would delete, “Good morning” because the caller knows what time of day it is; delete, “Health, Wealth and Happiness” because I don’t want to know what services you provide at this time; delete “this is” and “speaking”. The caller knows you are speaking; they can hear you. Delete, “May I help you?” I know you are there to help me, because you have answered the phone.
Now the phone answering procedure and message becomes:
(First ring): Stop what you are doing and move to the phone.
(Second ring): Look into the mirror, strategically placed near the phone and smile continue smiling as you say, “Jones Clinic, Lisa”
The caller knows they have reached the right place; they know who they are talking to, and most important, they know (because of that wonderful smile in Lisa’s voice) they will be safe and well cared for.
Rule One: The nice thing about Rule One is, there is no Rule Two. If there were a Rule Two, it would be to go to your next point of interest and apply Rule One!!