Answering ServiceTelephone Etiquette

Telephone Etiquette

It seems pretty basic doesn’t it? Your parents taught you how to communicate on the phone right? It really depends on your generation.  Today’s young adults spend more time communicating on their smart devices then they possibly do in a verbal conversation.

So here are a few tips when they get out into a professional environment.

Answering the Telephone

  • Answer the phone promptly. Preferably before the 3rd
  • Identify the business and then identify yourself; Using Names are Important. It gives the caller a connection.
  • Speak with a smile in your voice. If you smile when speaking on the phone, your tone of voice is more welcoming and friendly. Callers do not want to speak with someone who has a monotone voice. Or who sounds bored.
  • Show interest in the caller and their problems.
  • Be of service and offer assistance. Have basic materials and information readily available for reference. The more informed you are the better you may be of help to others.
  • Make referrals to other people and departments properly. Try to handle the intake call initially if possible. If not, offer to transfer the call, making sure to always get a call back number from the caller in case you get disconnected.
  • If you must put a person on hold, keep them on hold for about 45 seconds before checking back with them.
  • If you have to transfer the call let both parties know. Then both parties have the correct expectations and information.
  • Take messages clearly and correctly. VERIFY & Check spelling of Names and Numbers. Telephone messages must be taken carefully and delivered promptly. Taking a message requires: (1) being polite and professional on the telephone and (2) recording all the facts correctly.


Making Telephone Calls

  • Identify yourself; e.g. “Hello, my name is Susie Wilson. I am the team lead at XYZ Co.” Remember giving your name is important.
  • Be prepared. If you have several items to discuss, make a list beforehand so you will not forget anything important. Have any necessary information nearby, and get to the point of your call. Time is critical in our business. Make effective use of it.
  • Make use of available technology such as voice mail and email if no one is available to speak with.
  • Return phone calls within one business day.


Dealing with Angry Callers

  • Demonstrate sincere sympathy and understanding.
  • Express a willingness to help.
  • Take notes to help you remember important details. Listening to the actual issue rather than assuming the issue is imperative.
  • Make a commitment to help, and then keep your promise.


Terminology is crucial!

Be Professional and use respectful and considerate words or phrases such as: Thank you, Please, I’m Sorry, May I take a message?, Would you like to leave your number?, May I have her return your call?

Don’t use slang or unprofessional terms such as: huh?, Yeah, I don’t know, Call back later.

Go that extra mile to serve customers; in person and on the phone!

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