The Rules of Phone Etiquette

Picking up the phone can be a professional, personal, or casual exchange. In business contexts, it naturally follows that you’d want to keep your speech and behavior on the phone as professional as possible. Customers will definitely notice if you don’t treat them respectfully. Proper phone etiquette is crucial to a successful business.

While most people are likely confident in their abilities to professionally answer the phone, there may be a few important rules they’re neglecting. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to refresh yourself on something as important as good customer service. Let’s look at a few key principles to keep in mind for professional phone conversations.

Business owners should be just as professional over the phone as in person! Brush up on phone etiquette here. Click To Tweet

Speak Clearly

Generally, people find they’re better able to understand another person’s speech when they’re able to see each other. On the other hand, sometimes a phone call can be challenging. You can counter this by making an effort to speak especially clearly on the phone to ensure you’re being understood. Even if it feels a bit unnatural, the caller will be grateful they can understand you.

Focus Solely on the Call

Interrupting an in-person conversation to talk to someone else or do something different is considered fairly rude. Likewise, interrupting a phone call (other than placing the caller on hold) will be interpreted as a rude gesture. Give the caller your full and undivided attention.

Pro Tip: Always ask before placing a caller on hold. Even though most people will agree automatically, it shows a degree of respect to the caller.

Show Respect to the Caller

Part of professional communication is simple courtesy. Listen attentively to the caller and respond promptly to their questions. Address them as “sir” or “ma’am”, or “Mr./Mrs.Smith” if you know their name. In addition to giving them your full attention, give them your best professional mannerisms.

Professional Courtesy and Phone Etiquette

As a business owner or employee, you’ll more than likely find yourself answering phones as part of your job. Maintain good relationships with your clients by demonstrating proper telephone etiquette as well as basic respect for the caller. A customer who feels like they were treated well is likely to keep returning!

Join the conversation for more pointers on good phone etiquette and customer service.