Telephone Etiquette

Telephone Etiquette for Successful Business Calls

What is etiquette?

Etiquette is a code of behavior based on social convention and respect. Etiquette in business means adapting to the standards of good practice in different parts of the world and cultures. Being aware of, and following, these standards can make you more successful at work. The objective is always to maintain your professional integrity by not causing offense when taking or making a telephone call.

What is Telephone Etiquette?

Telephone Etiquette is how we behave and interact with other people on the telephone. Behavior that would be considered impolite in person becomes very important, and standard business practice, when using a telephone. Good Telephone Etiquette is crucial to your professional success as it provides others with an excellent first impression of you.

What are some common Telephone Etiquette mistakes?

Common Telephone Etiquette mistakes include:

-Not introducing yourself before you start speaking.

-Interrupting the other person.

-Not listening to what the other person is saying and responding inappropriately.

-Not telling the truth about who you are or who you work for.

-Talking too loudly or too softly, not giving the other person an opportunity to speak.

-Not apologizing if you make a mistake.

-Being judgmental.

Why is Telephone Etiquette important?

Business calls are used for networking, sales pitches, client meetings, information gathering, client servicing and follow ups. Telephone Etiquette is crucial to your professional success as it provides others with an excellent first impression of you. Confident telephone behavior immediately makes you more likable, authoritative and empowers you to take control of the conversation. This leads to better results for business calls.

Speaking ‘on the phone’ is a skill that many people lack. Some people aren’t aware of how they’re coming across to others over the telephone, and some don’t know any better. We generally expect someone who doesn’t have good Telephone Etiquette to be dishonest or misinformed. If you find yourself dealing with people with poor telephone etiquette it is best to say goodbye and hang up. This way you can avoid the possibility of argument and save yourself valuable time and money.

A large proportion of our business dealings today are over the phone and so Telephone Etiquette becomes an integral aspect of our day-to-day work . What others think about us plays a very important role in our success so practicing good Telephone Etiquette is something we should all be aware of.

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Telephone etiquette examples:

-When answering a call, say your name followed by “Thank you for calling. How may I help you?”

-To make an introduction while on the phone, begin with your name and state who you are speaking to. For example: “Hello, my name is Susan Vernon.” Then continue with a brief sentence about who you represent or what you do. For example: “I work with the Sales Department at ABC Company.”

-Do not interrupt when someone is speaking. If you need to interject, politely say “excuse me” and wait for the other person to pause before continuing your thoughts.

-When responding to a caller’s question or statement, speak slowly and clearly. Give enough time to ensure that the other person is fully processing your response before adding detail or continuing to speak.

-Do not ever put someone on hold without warning them first, even for a moment while you check something out. See Related Article: “How To Put Someone On Hold Politely”

-Before putting someone on hold, explain to them why you need to do so and how long they will be waiting. Tell them who you are going to put on hold and whom they will be speaking with when they come back on the line. Also, before transferring a call give the person being transferred as much information as possible including your name, last name, company name and transfer reason.

-Never transfer a call without first getting the person’s consent. Before transferring, say “I’m going to put you on hold for just a moment while I check with my colleague about this issue.” Then, ask them if it’s alright to be transferred or if there is someone else they would prefer speaking to instead. If they agree to be transferred, get their consent again before actually transferring the call.

-After putting a call on hold, return to the original line and alert the caller that they are no longer on hold with an apology for any inconvenience. For example: “I am so sorry about that interruption. I had to handle something in my office.” Then, inform them who you are going to put them on hold with and for how long. If the person being held has agreed to be transferred, let them know that when they come back on the line they will be speaking with a colleague about their issue.

-When ending a conversation, end it in a friendly tone that leaves room for future communication or contact if necessary. Try saying something like “okay, I’ll speak with you soon” or “Thanks for your time today, I hope to hear from you again soon.”


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