Proper Phone Etiquette for Business Calls
In many types of office jobs, being on the phone takes up a significant portion of the day. Communication is the essence of a business's success, whether it's fielding calls from customers, contacting vendors, or having discussions with business associates.
While many people know that their on-phone persona plays a big role in how well a conversation goes – for example, how big of a sale is made, or whether a previously unsatisfied customer has a change of heart – but they don't know how to be an approachable and helpful conversationalist. These do's and don'ts can provide a good starting point.
Do: Answer with a Positive Greeting
Your tone of voice when answering the phone should always be upbeat and inviting. No one should ever feel as though they're imposing by calling you. Always answer with a greeting, followed by your name – "Hi, this is [name] at [company], how can I help you?"
Don't: Let the Phone Ring Too Long
The second or third ring is the best time to pick up the phone, because it conveys that you're available and eager, but it's not too soon that you'll catch the caller off-guard.
The person on the other end of a conference call may not be able to see you, but believe it or not, smiling on the phone affects your tone of voice and makes you sound more friendly.
Don't: Put Down the Phone without Putting it on Hold
Even if you're only running away from your desk for a second or two, don't just put the receiver on your desk. Put the call on hold so the caller doesn't hear any sounds from your office as they wait. Always preface this by saying, "I'm going to put you on hold for just a second while I find out the answer to that – I apologize." Thank them for their patience when taking them off hold.
Do: Have a Good Connection
If you're about to have an important phone call that may be lengthy, don't do it from your mobile device. Use your office's cloud-based phone system so there's no feedback, cutting out, or dropped calls.
Don't: Use Slang, Say 'I Don't Know'
Be mindful of your language when talking to anyone, whether it's a customer or a coworker. Some find casual language to be a bit off-putting and it could be perceived as rude. If you don't know the answer to a question, don't leave it at that – say "I'll find out for you."
Do: Return Calls
If you promise to return a call, stick to that promise! It looks bad on your company if you forget or neglect to call someone who is waiting for to hear for you.
Don't: Be Late
If you have a conference call scheduled for a certain time, it's likely that the other party/parties are waiting to hear from you. Don't waste anyone's time to remain professional.
Do: Confirm that Transferred Calls will Go Through
Do you need to transfer the call over to another department? Before doing so, confirm that someone is available to field the call.
Don't: Hold the Phone too Close or too Far Away
It's fine to put the caller on speakerphone if you're in a quiet office, but make sure that the phone is close enough that you can be heard. If you wear a headset, make sure that the mouthpiece is the right distance so that you can be heard clearly.