The telephone etiquette skills to ensure you give the right impression When you make or receive a business call, your business phone etiquette and cell phone etiquette provides an image of yourself and your company. The impression you give with your phone manners can be a lasting one and it is quite often the first contact someone has with you and the company you work for. I am sure that we have all spoken to someone and within seconds concluded that they are not that interested in the conversation and appear to have no business phone etiquette or manners.
I believe that telephone communication is the hardest form of communication as you are not able to see the other person’s facial expressions and body language nor can you erase what you have said. With an increasing number of companies recording telephone calls nowadays it is so important to get your business phone etiquette right first time. Your aim should be to both convey your personality and attitude through your voice and also demonstrate good business phone etiquette including good cell phone etiquette.
Good phone manners also extends to your voice – speaking in a monotone voice can make you sound bored, and speaking too loudly can make you seem anxious. You want to portray a self-confident, energised attitude through the use of telephone etiquette. Telephone Etiquette for Answering Your Own Phone in the office You should show good business phone etiquette every time you answer your phone, from the first call at 8. 30am until your last call at 6. 00pm. No-one must suspect you have had a rotten day, you’ve answered the phone 40 times already, you are in a rush to get home and all business phone etiquette rules have gone out the window.
If you answer your phone then you are indicating that you are available and you should automatically have good phone manners and be using your business phone etiquette skills, they should become second nature as soon as you pick up your phone. Like anything new, at first it is a conscious effort but after a while you will use these phone manners automatically. Do remember the following: – Answer the call after a maximum of 3 rings – this will make your caller feel important and is a good start to demonstrating phone manners. – Always ay good morning/afternoon, the name of your company (or department if it is an internal call) and your full name. – Sit up straight in your chair with your feet on the floor, you will feel more professional and this will come across on the phone; you will also look better towards your peers. – Try to smile and sound enthusiastic – this will be reflected in your voice. – If you do not know the answer to the question do not get flustered or worse, fib. Take their details and arrange to call them back making sure you give yourself enough time to find the answer.
A good phone manner does not mean that you have to know the answer to everything – remember under promise and over deliver on timescales. Many calls are recorded nowadays and you don’t want this biting you on the behind! Avoid the following: – Slumping at your desk – you will sound tired and lazy and perceived telephone etiquette is just as important. – Leave your phone ringing and ringing – if necessary arrange an answer phone to cut in after 4 rings. – Use over familiar words with colleagues even if you know them on a social level i. e. arling, honey. Your boss needs to see that you can still act professionally and demonstrate telephone etiquette with colleagues even if you do socialise with them. – Slam the phone down – the whole office will hear and you will earn a reputation as not being able to handle difficult calls as well as having poor phone manners. Telephone Etiquette for Making a Business Phone Call Firstly, to ensure your good phone manners reputation remains intact it is advisable to avoid making any personal telephone calls unless it is an absolute emergency.
It is easy to forget our business phone etiquette when chatting with a friend. If necessary excuse yourself from your desk for 5 minutes and go to a private office, otherwise keep it short and to the point. Maintaining a professional image can be difficult if someone over hears your discussion about what you got up to at the weekend. I do remember many years ago having a bit of a heated discussion with my partner over the phone, a male colleague overheard me and mentioned later that he was glad he was not my husband!
Although it provided some amusement at the time, I did earn a reputation as a nagging wife – not quite the image I was hoping for! And it did make me question my telephone etiquette. So, when making a call it is always good manners to identify who you are, where you are calling from and then whom you would like to speak with i. e. “Hello, this is Jane Jones calling from the Manners Company, please may I speak with Paul Green”. Once you have Paul Green on the end of the call it is, in normal circumstances good phone manners to ask him if it is a good time to talk.
However, in my experience this depends on who you are calling and why. For example, one of my previous roles was to cold call a company’s clients who had not been contacted for some time. Most of them did not invite the call nor did they wish to speak to me at this stage. By asking them if it was a good time to talk I was inviting a perfect opportunity for them to get me off the phone! So I would say use your judgement on this one. It is definitely good business phone etiquette to ask, but if you are in a cold calling role your client will soon let you know if it is not convenient to talk.
If you are struggling to get hold of someone, either you keep missing each other’s calls, you are stuck through an automated service with “press one”, “press two” etc, or they are avoiding you (yes we have all had those), try not to let your frustration take over when you do finally speak to them. It is very easy to forget our business phone etiquette when we are wound up and it is also easy to forget that the voice on the other end of the line is a person, especially when they are in a foreign call centre.
But this is when you will start to stand out from your peers – by bucking the trend of complaining about it and just getting on with the job professionally and with respect for the person that is handling your call. Not only will you look calm and collected in the office, you are more likely to get the result you want by having kept your business etiquette skills in mind. We are all happier to help friendly people and you may also start to influence those around you and how they deal with these situations. That’s true leadership from being a good example and something your superiors will note.
Telephone Etiquette for Answering Someone Else’s Phone If at all possible, it is good business phone etiquette to answer each other’s phones if your colleagues are not available. Voicemail seems to be the default choice but I think the company gives a better impression of its phone manners to its clients if it aims for all its landline calls to be answered. Some tips for ensuring your business phone etiquette skills extend to answering someone else’s phone: – It is good business phone etiquette to answer it as quickly as possible by giving the name of the person whose phone you are answering e. g. Mr Smith’s office, Jane Jones speaking, how may I help? “. – If that person is unavailable then take down a full message of the caller’s name and company, number and message. – Screening calls is also a bit of a telephone etiquette minefield – it can be quite obvious and rude if you ask who is calling, place them on hold and then tell them that the person they are trying to reach is unavailable. – If the person is in but on the other line then it is good phone manners to ask the caller if they would like to hold. If it is likely to be more than a minute then suggest that you have them call her back.
It is also good phone manners to keep checking every 20 seconds that they are happy to continue holding. Don’t simply forget them – it’s easy to do when you are busy with your own work! Telephone Etiquette for Speaker Phones It is essential business phone etiquette to let the caller know that you are using a speaker phone and that other people may be with you. You do not want the caller to say something inappropriate before realising that this isn’t a private conversation, that would be the height of bad phone manners, and a real faux pas!
Using Business Phone Etiquette Skills to handle rude customers Most of us will have dealt with difficult clients at some time and this can be the ultimate test for our business phone etiquette skills. In my early years in the business I was brought to tears a few times by rude, angry clients who didn’t appear to have any phone manners. I had not really received any business phone etiquette training so wasn’t confident in handling them at all. Most people wouldn’t dream of speaking to someone that rudely face to face!
However, you do become accustomed to it after a while and learning how to deal with them and being confident with your business phone etiquette can make it a bit easier. Courtesy is the only way to respond – you can’t fight their anger but you can allow them to vent off some steam before suggesting a way forward and demonstrating your excellent phone manners. Don’t lose your temper – you will have weakened your position and it’s very difficult to move forward after then. If they use profanity’s then you have every right to hang up.