How to Take Orders by Phone

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A close-up of a purchse order tablet and laptop with headset on the desk of a small business owner.
A close-up of a purchse order tablet and laptop with headset on the desk of a small business owner. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Whether you are taking an order for a pizza, an order for something from a television advertisement, car parts or a conveyor system, the process for taking an order does not change. Being polite and gathering all the necessary information to place the order completes the transaction in a professional manner and promotes customer satisfaction. The order taking process can determine whether a customer places a repeat order.

Identify yourself and your place of business when you answer the phone. For instance, “ABC123 Company, this is Sally, how may I help you today?” Never eat or drink when on the phone and speak clearly and slowly so the customer can understand you. Keep your voice on an even level; if you have a tendency to talk loudly, curb that tendency when on the phone at work and keep a friendly tone in your voice. Use correct grammar and avoid slang.

Ask for the caller’s name and use it during the course of the conversation. Do not call a customer by her first name unless she instructs you to do so; use her formal title. Never put the customer on hold, or speakerphone, without first asking her permission and waiting for her response.

Listen carefully to the customer and write down any pertinent information. Ask him to repeat if necessary. Do not rely on your memory. Never act like you are in a hurry, the most important customer is the one currently on the phone. Keep your manner patient and helpful.

Ensure you get all the necessary information to place the order, including exact item, specifications, size and any other pertinent information. It is better to have more information than you need to place the order correctly than too little. Always repeat the customer's order back to her for verification. Make sure she is clear on the price for the item ordered to avoid the customer receiving an unpleasant surprise when she receives the bill.

Ask the customer for his phone number so you can call him back if you have any questions about the order later. Always end the conversation by thanking the customer for his business. Wait for him to hang up the phone first so he does not hear the noise of the phone hanging up.

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