When it comes to business, having a professional image in person and on the telephone is imperative. In many cases, the first contact a client or customer has with a business is through a phone call seeking information or placing an order. Here are some tips on proper and professional business phone etiquette from Office Skills.org.
- Speak clearly – Whether you’re a receptionist, an associate or a business owner, take the time to speak slowly and clearly with a cheerful, professional voice. Remember, the person answering the phone is the representative of the business to the caller. First impressions count!
- Listen – Be patient and listen carefully to what the caller is saying. If the caller is leaving a message, repeat it back to verify the information is correct.
- Be Normal – Use a normal tone of voice when speaking to a caller. If you have a tendency to speak loud or shout, avoid doing so on the telephone. Conversely, if you have a very soft voice, try to speak up without being too loud.
- Watch Your Mouth – Never use slang words or poor language. Respond to questions with a clear “yes” or “no.” Needless to say, never swear!
- Stay Calm – If you are dealing with an irate or upset caller, be calm, listen to what they have to say and refer them to the proper resource. Do not engage or be rude and snap back. A calm response can often diffuse the situation.
- Be Appropriate– Always address the caller by his or her appropriate title – i.e. “Good Morning, Mr. Smith” or Good afternoon Ms. Brown.”
- On Hold – Always ask the caller’s permission if you can put them on hold. The caller may have already waited a few minutes before you answered and may become upset if they are quickly put on hold. Do not leave the caller on hold for more than a few seconds.
- Stay Focused – Try not to be distracted when speaking with a caller. If someone tries to interrupt you while you are on the phone, politely tell them you are with a customer and will be with them when finished.
- I.D. Yourself – If you are calling a customer, always properly identify yourself. Clearly give your name, company name and contact phone number.
- Keep it Short – When leaving a message for a client, keep it short and to the point.
Proper business phone etiquette will keep your customers coming back!
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