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Telephone Etiquette

on Thursday, 18 June 2015. Posted in CommWest Blog

Ever call a company and someone answers the phone with a quick “Hello”? You are not sure if you should ask who you called. Or you ask your original question wondering if you called the correct company. The rest of the conversation usually doesn’t turn out the way you want and you hang up the phone with either more questions than when you called or you didn’t even get your question answered.

For your company, your first line of communication 90% of the time is through the phone. Customers call you to make an appointment, order prescriptions, schedule maintenance on their house, etc. Whatever it may be, if that call is not a pleasant one that customer might not come back. Test your Telephone Etiquette IQ below.

Test your Telephone Etiquette

Telephone calls are the only contact you have with many people, so make the experience pleasant and efficient. Test your skills by answering the following questions:

1. How quickly should you pick up a ringing phone?

2. What should you say when answering?

3. When is it appropriate to call someone at home?

4. How should you place someone on hold and transfer calls?

5. What information should your voice mail give?

6. How can you tactfully gain the facts you need to screen your boss's calls?

7. What do you do if disconnected?

The polite answers:

1. Pick up a call by the third ring. If you will be away from your desk, arrange for voice mail to answer promptly or forward your calls to an associate.

2. Don't sacrifice information for courtesy. Pause and enunciate to make sure the caller hears the start of your greeting.

Answering with "XYZ Company" is more useful than "Hello." Depending on your situation, you may answer with your boss's name (Ms. Stargell's office), the department (Marketing. This is Gina. May I help you?), or the company (Thank you for calling Widgets Worldwide! How may I direct your call?)

3. If you must call someone at home and don't know the hours she keeps, avoid phoning before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

4. Never put someone on hold without asking first and waiting for a reply. While "wait a minute" is a common phrase, 60 seconds seems like an eon when you are on hold, so check back every 30 seconds or so. "Mr. Kawaski is still on the phone. Would you like to continue holding, or may I take a message?"

If you must transfer a call, give what is called a "warm transfer," a brief explanation both ways:

* "Miss Truman, I'll have to transfer you to Judy Laughlin in customer service who can track that order for you. Her direct number is  ..."

* “Judy, I have a Miss Truman on the line who hasn't received her order from last month.”

5. If you handle a high volume of calls that require prompt responses, you may need to change your message daily. (Today is Tuesday, June 4, and I will be in a meeting until 11 a.m. If this is urgent, please dial Jeanne at extension 435. Otherwise, please leave a message, and I'll return your call this afternoon.)

Try to be concise, but if you must provide a lot of information, start by telling callers which button they can hit to skip through it.

6. If you ask someone to hold, come back and ask who he is, put him on hold again, come back and ask what the purpose of the call is, put him on hold and then tell him your boss is unavailable, you've just told the caller that you or the boss decided he isn't important. Get the information up front. (May I ask what this is about?)

7. The person who initiated the call should dial again.

If you were able to answer all the questions correctly, congratulations! If you only answered one or two correctly, give us a call. CommWest offers Telephone Etiquette Training at your place of business for just your front desk people or your whole office!! Call and schedule a class today! 970-242-8142

Make a good first impression for your business and send your receptionists/employees through Phone Etiquette 101 to get tips to handle all sorts of calls and make sure ALL your customers are taken care of.