Answering the phone professionally is an important skill that everyone needs to know, not just the receptionist. Even with email and live chat options nowadays, the phone remains the primary way of communication for businesses. A great professional phone call will reflect well on you and give a good impression of the company. A win-win situation!
Take your office skills to the next level by incorporating the following tips into your work phone routine.
- If available, answer all phone calls before the third ring. By answering phone calls quickly, it shows you are efficient and attentive to your work. If unavailable let your phone calls go to voicemail after the third ring.
- When on the phone, be warm, polite and identify yourself and the company. You always want to give the caller a great first impression. For example, “Thank you for calling SuitableYou. This is Patricia speaking. How may I help you?”
- When calling someone else, always identify yourself and where you are calling from. For example, “Good morning. This is Patricia from SuitableYou calling for Susan.
- When on the phone, speak clearly, slowly and use a moderate speaking volume so the caller understands you.
- Use the caller’s name or their title (Mrs. Smith). This shows you are actively listening and adds a personal touch to the call.
- Be aware of your language when answering the phone. Do not use slang terms or filler words, and never use profanity or swear words.
- Keep a pen and paper next to you when answering calls. This way you can easily jot down any important information. If there’s something you don’t understand or can’t spell, ask the caller to repeat it or spell it for you.
- Do not eat or drink while on the phone.
- Before putting someone on hold, always ask first if it’s all right with them and wait for their response. Do not leave the caller on hold for a long period of time and provide them with an update every 30 – 45 seconds.
- Avoid using speakerphone unless if doing a conference call. You want the caller to feel important and that they have your undivided attention. Using speakerphone gives the impression you are too busy and not focused.
- If doing a conference call, let the caller know they are on speaker phone at the beginning of the phone call and who else is joining in on the call.
- Listen to what the caller has to say. At the end of the call reiterate the information back to them to make sure you are both ending the conversation with a clear outcome.
- Answer all voicemails within one business day unless if away on vacation. Nothing frustrates callers more than unreturned calls. An unreturned phone call can mean an unhappy customer, a missed potential new customer or a missed sale.
- End all phone calls professionally. For example, “Thanks for calling. Have a great day!”
- A great rule of thumb is to always assume that someone is always listening in on your work phone conversations. By doing this, you will always be on your game, professional and appropriate.
Found these tips helpful? What other tips do you have for answering the phone professionally at work?
By: Percy Jimenez-Nagy