The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Phone Etiquette
This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.
When it comes to business introductions, sales pitches, or the handling of sensitive information, nothing beats a phone conversation. Even as technology advances, it is unlikely that business phone calls will go away anytime soon. So how do you ensure you’re applying modern etiquette to this timeless form of communication? In order to ensure you are properly branding your company over the phone and providing exceptional customer service, we’ve assembled some do’s and don’ts to guide your calls:
Business Phone Etiquette Do’s
1. Introduce yourself. Even in the age of caller ID, it can be jarring to pick up the phone and jump right into a conversation. Remind the person you’re calling who you are and why you’re reaching out. They will appreciate the courtesy even if they recognized your name and number when they picked up.
2. Speak clearly. Enunciation is so important when you don’t have body language cues to pick up on. Be sure to speak carefully and slowly so that the person on the other end of the line can understand you.
3. Listen to requests. When you’re busy multitasking, it can be hard to focus on the requirements of the person on the phone. Set other tasks aside as you actively listen to requests from the caller. Ask follow-up questions for clarification and to show that you’re engaged in the conversation.
4. Make the kind of call you’d like to receive.The Golden Rule applies to just about everything in life, but this is especially true in the business world. Treat callers the way you like to be treated on the phone. That means making easy, friendly conversation that accomplishes goals for both parties.
5. Leave succinct voicemails.* If you get someone’s voicemail, leave a message that’s short and sweet. Include your contact information and a quick indicator of why you’re calling.
General Rules of Phone Etiquette
Business Phone Etiquette Don’ts
1. Don’t answer the phone too casually in a business setting. A “Hello!” is fine but consider including your name as you pick up a call. State the name of the business when you’re answering the phone, too.
2. Don’t leave people on hold for a long period of time. If you have to put a person on hold, ask them if it’s okay to do so. At times, it may be better to take down the caller’s number and ask to call them back later. There’s no quicker way to make a person feel unimportant than by placing them on an extended hold!
3. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Your mom probably warned you not to do this, and if you’re making important calls over your lunch hour, you might be tempted to chat as you chew. Resist the urge! There’s nothing worse than someone smacking their lips in your ear.
4. Don’t use slang. Unless you know the person on the other end of the line socially, it’s best to keep language professional. Swap out “hang on a sec” for “just a moment, please” and you’re sure to impress the person on the line – or at least not offend them with your casual vibes.
5. Don’t speak too loudly. Depending on the volume in the room you’re in, you could be speaking far too loudly when making calls. Adjust your voice to a normal tone and don’t be afraid to ask the person you’re calling if they can hear you. Nobody likes being shouted at over the phone.