First impressions are lasting impressions, and in many cases the first contact a customer has with a business is on the telephone. Even more importantly, the first contact a potential customer (or employee) has with a business is on the telephone. Your receptionist plays a more important role in helping you achieve your business development goals than you may realize!
The manner in which your business telephone is answered is a direct reflection on your company and shapes the image that you portray to all who call your organization. Your receptionist (and anyone else who regularly answers the phone), probably has other responsibilities, too. He or she is also human (i.e.: prone to having an occasional bad day, feeling tired, or being ill.) What are and are not acceptable practices when answering the phone may seem like common sense. Still, it’s helpful to occasionally remind employees of the “do’s” and “don’ts.” That reminder will also show them that you take phone etiquette seriously – so they should, too.
Below is a short guide you can forward or print out and distribute to your team. You can also click below to download a PDF version.
[Insert Your Company’s Name] Phone Etiquette Guidelines
[Your company’s name] is committed to providing outstanding customer service in all interactions with customers, potential customers, partners, vendors, etc. Often, our interactions with third parties occur verbally, on the phone. Because a caller cannot see your face, your vocal tone and choice of words take on added significance. We’ve created the following list as a reminder to help you answer the phone professionally every time.
Do: Smile before answering the phone. (It’s tough to sound grumpy when you have a smile on your face!)
Do: Be certain to tell callers before you transfer them or before you place them on hold. Otherwise, they may assume you hung up on them or that the call got disconnected.
Do: Use a positive and appropriate greeting, such as “Good morning!” “[Company name], how may I assist you today?”, “Hello, may I help you?”
Do: Try to answer the phone by the second ring if at all possible.
Do: Moderate the volume of your voice. You want to speak loud enough that a caller can easily hear you, but you don’t want to be off putting by speaking too loudly.
Do: Pass on phone messages promptly.
Do: Call a caller back promptly if you have promised to find information and return a call.
Don’t: Answer the phone casually by saying “Yo” or “Yep?”
Don’t: Leave a caller on hold for an extended period of time. If you cannot quickly find information a caller is requesting, or if a person the caller needs to talk to is on another call, take a message.
Don’t: Ignore the phone. A ringing phone means we are busy, and that is a positive thing! Ignored phone calls may result in lost customers or missed opportunities.
Don’t: Leave the phone unintended. When you need to take a restroom break, go to lunch, or take a quick break from sitting down, make sure to find someone to cover the phone for you.
Don’t: Chew gum or eat while answering the phone.
Don’t: Forget to say “thank you!” before transferring a call or hanging up with a caller.