Professional Phone Etiquette Tips for Any BusinessJuly 17th, 2018 by OCG
Even after all of the advances in technology, talking on the phone has remained a significant method of communication. Email and social media have become important to businesses, but answering phone calls is still crucial to any business. As with any method of communication, etiquette and professionalism are essential in business. Whether you are a receptionist at an office or a lawyer answering your own calls, demonstrating professional phone etiquette is a great practice.
With texting being so prevalent in today’s world, telephone etiquette has greatly changed. Texting is an informal means of communication and generally not used in the business setting, but its casual nature often spills over into phone conversations. If you use “texting language” on the phone, there is a chance that you can lose professional credibility. Take a look at these professional phone etiquette tips and you can learn how to make sure all of your calls are professional!
Identify yourself properly
When answering a phone call, it is important to introduce yourself well. Introductions should be short and simple, containing only your name and company. When someone calls your business, they generally have a purpose and don’t to want to listen to someone else ramble. The quicker the introduction, the quicker the caller is able to ask their question and the happier they will be. If you are making a call and receive voicemail, the same rules apply. Voicemails are best if they are brief and to the point.
Address the caller correctly
Over the years, many businesses have adopted a casual nature and have become much less formal. With this change, the use of formal titles has nearly disappeared. Although it may be the norm to use first names in business, it’s best to stick to polite titles like “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or “Mrs.” on the phone. If you assume that using first names is acceptable, you could offend the caller and you don’t want to do that.
Speak clearly and cheerfully
It is important to remember that the other person on the phone can’t see you, so you aren’t able to rely on facial expressions or body language as you would in person. Paying attention to the tone of voice is essential to the conversation because it is the only way the caller can hear your personality and attitude. In addition, it is also important to enunciate your words and speak as clearly as possible. Speaking clearly and in a pleasant voice creates instant rapport and ensures the caller gets a good impression of you and your business.
Moderate your volume
Along with speaking clearly and maintaining a friendly tone, moderating your volume is also important when answering a phone call. To demonstrate good phone etiquette, you will want to speak at a pleasant volume. If you have a tendency to talk loudly or quietly, try to watch your volume when speaking on the phone.
Be patient and listen carefully
To practice professional phone etiquette, listening skills are just as important as speaking skills. Regardless of what end of the call you are on, it is a good idea to make listening to the other person a top priority. If you are answering a phone call for a business, a great tip is to summarize what the caller has said and repeat it back to them. This shows the other person that you were listening and eliminates the chance for miscommunication.
Use slang or inappropriate language
As with any business conversation, it is important to speak professionally and avoid using slang or profanity. Today’s business world has become much casual and sometimes it’s acceptable to speak informally. However, when talking on the phone, it is best to remain professional.
Eat or chew gum
It is best to never eat or chew gum when you are on the phone. Even if you think you are being quiet, odds are the person on the other end can hear your chewing. If you choose to eat while on the phone, it is unprofessional and could give the caller a poor view of your company.
Leave someone on hold for too long
No one likes to be put on hold, so we all understand the frustration of waiting for a long time. Although it’s better not to put a caller on hold, sometimes it’s necessary. The best way to handle this situation is to first ask for the caller’s permission to put them on hold and then don’t keep them waiting. If you need to keep them on hold for more than 30 seconds, it’s best to check on them and thank them for holding.
The person you are talking to deserves your full attention, so it is important to avoid distractions. There are a number of possible distractions, especially in a busy office, and it can be difficult to focus. Cell phones, emails, and coworkers can all potentially interrupt a phone call, so it’s best to minimize the possibility of distraction. All of these things can wait until after you hang up; make the caller your first priority.
Use the speakerphone function (unless necessary)
Under the practices of professional phone etiquette, it is not recommended to use the speakerphone function on any phone call. Using this feature, makes the caller feel like their call isn’t private. If you can’t avoid using speakerphone, it’s best to tell the caller right away and to tell them who else is in the room.
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