Using Good Telephone Etiquette

Good telephone etiquette is important regardless of whether you are the person placing the call or the person receiving the call. When you place a call, good telephone etiquette includes identifying yourself and stating the purpose of the call. The principles of good telephone etiquette are most useful when you are the receiver of the telephone call.

Every time you answer the telephone, the principles of good telephone etiquette will help you make a good impression. The principles of good telephone etiquette are:

  • Answer the telephone promptly—Studies show that callers tend to grow impatient after the telephone has rung three times. Answering the telephone promptly shows the caller you are ready to do business.


  • Use a pleasant greeting—A pleasant greeting makes your callers feel welcome. Stating your company name confirms the customer called the right place. Stating your own name forms a more personal connection between you and the caller.


  • Ask permission before placing a caller on hold—There are instances where you won't be able to help a caller immediately. Don't assume the caller is willing to wait. Always seek and obtain the caller's consent before placing him on hold.


  • Use warm transfers—In a warm transfer, the person transferring the call sees the transfer through to completion. He tells the person to whom he is transferring the call who is on the line, and the nature of the call.


  • Ensure satisfaction—Before you end a conversation, be sure you have met the customer's needs in every way. Don't assume that they've finished all of their business until they tell you so. When you think that business has been concluded, ask if there is anything else you can do to help. Doing so ensures the customer won't have to call back yet again to complete his business.

The most common reason for not using good telephone etiquette is lack of time. In the business world, people are often rushed. When multi-tasking, a ringing telephone can seem like an annoyance. Foregoing the principles of good telephone etiquette can seem like a time saver, but actually, using good telephone etiquette takes no longer.

Even if you can't solve a caller's problem, using the principles of good telephone etiquette on each and every call you handle will go a long way in helping you make a positive impression.

When a customer calls your business or organization, using the principles of good telephone etiquette shows him that you value and respect him, and that you care about his business. Failure to use the principles of telephone etiquette can be the equivalent of saying "Sorry. We're too busy to deal with you now. Why don't you take your money and your business elsewhere?" Certainly, leaving an impression like that won't benefit your business. Even when it is inconvenient, it's important to apply the principles of good telephone etiquette.

Customers contacting your business over the telephone begin forming an impression of your company even before you pick up. Consistently applying the principles of good telephone etiquette to each and every call you receive goes a long way in building a positive image for your company.