Phone etiquette

-Rujuta Joshi

Everyone has a different way to greet others on a phone call. If it’s a friend or a family member you mostly have a very casual tone, but when talking to your boss or customers your tone changes instantly since you know that you cannot talk to them in the same way you talk to someone close to you. People who work in call centers get angry customer calls every day, but they always talk in a polite and refined manner no matter what the other person is saying. They acquire this skill of calmness over dozens of calls , there even might have been times when they would have lost their cool, with time they must have slowly learnt how to deal with angry , aggressive customers. If you are such a new call center employee or have just entered a new job and don’t know how to talk to your boss and what to keep in mind than this article is for you. The tips and tricks in this article will help you understand what phone etiquette is and how to deal with it.

Why is it so important?

You always want to put your A game. And it is necessary if you want to come in the attention of your seniors. Having worked very hard the whole year one day you get the anticipated call from your boss and in your nervousness you answer it with “hey boss what sup?” in that second you see your whole one year of work come crashing down on you , just because you couldn’t answer it properly. Your boss will think of it as a lack of respect and any future prospects of a promotion might vanish away. At that time you will realize how important it was to greet your boss properly over the phone and how having a formal behavior on phone might have changed your future today. Something that seemed so trivial changed the whole pathway of success for you.

If you are a customer call ore employee or a representative for a certain company and a new call comes your way which is to be a very big prospect for you if you answer the call correctly, talk politely but authoritatively you might just ace the game. It has been found that 42% customers change the brand they are using as the customer helpline employees were rude and didn’t talk to them properly. 73% customers say that a friendly mannered sales rep can convince them to try their brand. 

You can see that even statistics are in the favor of good manners over the phone. If you are confused on how to speak to everyone make a routine. It can be a set of rules that you follow in each call making sure that you call is formal but pleasing. You cannot answer a customer call casually; you represent the company in that moment so the way you talk will show the reputation of your company.  Once you start following the rules that you have kept for yourself to talk you will start getting accustomed to it. Slowly you will be able to learn the art of phone calling.

Rules to follow 

I know we all hate rules, but some rules are necessary for life. The rules for phone etiquette are not written in stone but their main aim is to make sure that you’re amiable over the phone and the other person likes you. 

  • Three rings are enough

It’s a known fact to answer the call at three rings, that way the customer won’t have to wait for long. People mostly hang up after 3-4 rings as no one likes waiting. So it is good to answer as quickly as possible.

Since you answer at just three rings it won’t be too late and the customer will save time thus leaving happy

Three rings give you enough time to prepare for the call. You become aware of the phone ringing, you can take a deep breath and stabilize yourself. You have time to calm your mind so you can answer the call with your full potential.

  • Speak properly

When a person calls you they can only hear your voice, it is the only way they can judge you and about your character. You have to have a great grasp over the language you are speaking and your speaking skills should be top notch. Speak clearly in a way that the customer understands you and can connect with you. Do not shout as that will definitely take them away or speak low that they can’t hear you. You have to maintain a certain tone to your voice. Remember this call can convince the customer to either inset in the company or to never comeback so make sure you understand their problem and they understand your solution.

  • Introduction 

The first thing when you answer a call to do is to introduce yourself. You can start with hello and wait t for the other person to introduce themselves and what they want. But if it’s a professional call always introduce yourself first. You can start with- 

“Hello my name is James Sanders and I am the manager. How can I help you today?” and then let the customer tell you about their problem. This way they will be able to connect to you. A proper introduction shows confidence. You have to sound authoritative but polite and considerate at the same time.

Here are some dos and don’ts you should follow while answering the phone-

  • Have a pleasant voice. Start with a greeting like “good morning”. We know first impressions last the most so make sure to have a pleasing first impression.
  • Ask the customer what language they are comfortable in talking with and make sure to talk in that preferred language and set you tone thus.
  • If you are the person calling than try not call at odd hours when the other person will be sleeping or busy like in early morning or at late night.
  • Since you are the caller introduce yourself to the recipient and confirm that you are talking to the intended person or not. “Hello I am Rachel, is this ABC Company?”
  • You have to be to the point. Do not beat around the bush. Go directly to your reason of calling. If you are nervous than beforehand prepare what you need to say.
  • Always double check a number before dialing.
  • Always speak clearly. As you are speaking on the phone the other person won’t be able to see your face so make sure they understand what you are trying to say.
  • When ending a call ask the customer for feedback and then wish them a good day.
  • Before hanging up ask them if you can help them in any other way.
  • Never put the other party on hold for more than 2 minutes. It annoys them and you will get a bad review.
  • If there is any disturbance in the background that is causing a disturbance in the call try to turn it off so that you and the recipient van hear each other clearly.
  • Never eat and talk. Try to schedule your calls in a way that they don’t come during any meals. If there are still calls try to reschedule them or take a break from eating and then talk. If you eat and talk you will not sound clearly to the person and your focus will be diverted too.
  • If you are busy doing some activity like watching TV or reading book keep them away while attending the call your lack of interest might seem rude and you may miss on some important news.
  • If the person needs to speak to someone else and not you ask them to hold on for minute till you fetch them or else take message for them and make sure that they receive the message.
  • Do not cut a call mid business make sure that all the topic of doubts have been cleared and all is wrapped up before you cut the call.

Phone conversations come out easily from us when talking to a person we know. But it is important to keep in mind some points if it is a professional call. You cannot be at ease and casual you have to be immaculate, formal and a pleasent caller. Hopefully this article helped you in obtain some skills that will help you in the future.


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