Business Phone Etiquette 101: Essential Rules, Dos, Don’ts, and Tips

  • Last Updated: 29 Apr 22
  • 10 min read
business phone etiquette rules

In a text-driven world, people can communicate through various platforms, such as text messages and emails.

Many individuals, therefore, do not consider business phone etiquette important. However, in business, talking on the phone is still one of the most important mediums because it only takes one phone call to win or lose a customer.

Almost everyone knows how to sound during a phone call. However, in the customer service industry, proper phone etiquette is essential for every company. In addition to having all the call center agents’ skills, you are required to behave professionally when speaking to clients.

A first impression can never be recreated, so every phone call is a new chance to impress the customer. It’s important that, as a live call operator, you deliver on caller expectations while delighting them in unexpected ways.

In this blog, you’ll know how to make your phone calls better and why business phone etiquette is important.

What is Business Phone Etiquette, and why is it important?

Etiquette on the phone refers to the way you conduct yourself and your business on the phone while communicating with customers.

You need to consider specific elements when interacting with a customer, including how you greet them, your body language, your tone of voice, and how you close a call.

Telephone etiquette is essential when communicating by phone because a customer analyses your business and you based on your phone communication.

The following point shows how important it is to have telephone etiquette while talking on the telephone:


Professionalism always comes across when you use telephone manners to communicate. This gives the customers the impression that they are in safe and capable hands. Hence, they will be more inclined to do business with you again.


You leave a lasting impression when you communicate over the telephone. Respecting the telephone etiquette ensures the receiver feels respected. Loyalty and Trust

You must build the trust of your potential customers by following telephone etiquette. Consequently, they become loyal to you and purchase your products and services frequently.

Customer Satisfaction

When customers have a positive telephone experience, they are sure that they will have the same experience in person, which provides consistency and comprehensiveness.

Also Read: Text Messaging Etiquette

Having learned the importance of telephone etiquette, let’s explore the essential rules of telephone etiquette.

Essential Rules of Phone Etiquette

Answer a call within three rings. 

If your position requires you to be always available to callers, you should be available. This means maintaining focus and returning phone calls promptly.

You don’t want to keep a customer waiting by ringing endlessly or sending them to voicemail when you are ready to answer.

When you’re alert and at your phone at all times – excluding breaks – following this rule should be quite straightforward.

Nevertheless, it is best to answer within three rings, so you have enough time to place yourself in the correct mindset and prepare for the call. You might feel flustered if you pick up the phone right away.

Speak clearly and Professionally

A good customer experience depends on clear enunciation! When potential customers reach out to your business, they are usually ready to move forward with their purchase process, so ensure that your call operators are fully understood, or you could lose the sale!

Speaking at a healthy pace is equally as important as using a clear voice. It is not etiquette to speak too fast or too slowly, since both give the impression that you are impatient and you are boring the person on the other end.

Be Polite

Politeness doesn’t just mean asking for permission, apologizing, and saying thank you. It means being respectful and considerate to your caller, just as you would expect someone to be respectful and courteous to you when you are trying to engage in business over the phone.

Answering the phone seems like something anyone can do. Despite the fact that anyone can answer the phone, not everyone is equipped with the skills and personality required to handle upset customers appropriately.

Immediately introduce yourself

When you answer a professional phone call, most people wonder what you ought to say right away. Let me clear up this confusion for you.

Your first words should always be your introduction when you answer the phone. It might sound contrary to our habit of saying “Hello” during a personal call and then waiting for the other person to introduce himself.

On the other hand, it is best to introduce yourself, so the caller knows they are speaking with the right person when it comes to professional calls.

Please follow the previous rule when introducing yourself. It is important to speak slowly and clearly about your name, your role, and the name of your company. You should finish with a warm question, such as, “What can I do for you?”.

If you listen carefully, you may hear sales representatives introduce themselves quicker than a Formula 1 car. It is important that you do not promote such behavior and that your introductions are clear and understandable.

Dos of Phone Etiquette

The way you learn rules is by doing them.
To improve the reception of your professional phone call, there are certain things and elements you should make sure you incorporate into your call routine.

We’ve created an essential dos and don’ts guide to ensure you sound professional to the recipient and make them happy with the services you provide. It is important to understand that good phone etiquette means maximizing which steps to take and which to omit to maximize quality calls.

Practice Active Listening

You can listen to an issue, but you can also actively listen to it – only one of these will help you get to the core of the problem. People aren’t naturally adept at actively listening.
Instinctively, we want to help someone as soon as we understand what they are dealing with. Nonetheless, when you actively listen, you become more connected to what they are saying.

Listening actively can help you get to know the customer’s tone, their issue, and the ideal outcome for them. After all of the information has been provided, repetition should be made to ensure accuracy. This technique will minimize, if not eliminate, miscommunication.

In the long run, everyone benefits from active listening, something you should ingrain in your employees.

Pay attention to your voice’s tone.

In a telephone conversation, your voice is the only thing that connects you to your caller, and the tone of your voice indicates your approach and your intentions.
First of all, you should remain consistent with your tone and volume throughout the call. By following this premise, you will provide equal-quality calls to all of your customers and manage your time better when you are on the phone.

A sales pitch should not sound pushy, aggressive, or anxious. Unfortunately, this happens a lot, and you are less likely to get people’s attention. You should also sound confident. Ideally, the customer wants to speak with the right person who can answer any questions.

It is better to stand up or sit up while speaking on the phone, depending on what is more comfortable for you. You must firmly maintain your position in your chair at all times, as leaning back will automatically change how you speak. If not, you could come off as boring, cliche, or worse, as someone who doesn’t care.

Encourage Note Taking

Many people taking calls receive a lot of information in a short amount of time.
A notebook and a pen should always be available to your crew, taking calls at all times. There may be information they need to write down and possibly check with the caller before hanging up.

While it may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many people are still scrambling to find a pen and paper when an important call comes in.

You can also use call recording technology to your advantage. There are many companies offering custom VoIP packages that allow you to select additional features like call recording. A call recording is extremely handy, and you can guarantee that you won’t miss any details of a client or customer call.

Don’ts of Phone Etiquette

The do’s are important, but the don’ts should be avoided.

Occasionally, we mistakenly perform our professional duties by following common-sense rules. Doing this will create serious confusion and misunderstandings between your customer and yourself as a professional.

The following are some of the major phone etiquette don’ts that you should avoid at all costs.

“Don’t” Speak too Loudly or Softly

Your normal voice volume should be used when answering the phone. Talking softly might make it more difficult for your caller to understand you.

Speaking softly may cause the caller to be unsure whether he has dialed the correct number and when you answer the phone too loudly, you sound harsh and abrasive, which is unattractive to the caller.

Read Also: 12 Important Call Center Skills Every Agent Should Have

Don’t Rush the Caller

Whenever you answer the phone, you should never rush or interrupt the caller. When you interrupt someone in the middle of a conversation, you imply that you already know what they will say.

When you cut them off, it makes it appear as if you are in tune with what they are going through. This could potentially aggravate a customer, so it is best not to interrupt them.

Don’t Hold On

While most people don’t mind being on hold for a moment or two, there comes the point when it becomes irksome.

Most of the time, placing someone on hold shouldn’t be necessary, but it isn’t always avoidable and varies depending on the industry.

Whenever you put someone on hold, make sure that you follow up with them at regular intervals to ensure they know you are still working on their issue.

“Don’t” use Slang Words.

It is unprofessional and inappropriate to use slang or shortened words during phone conversations. As an example, if you need to check on something for the customer, you should say “just a minute,” not “hold on a sec.”

Key Tips to consider

Here are some tips for improving your business telephone etiquette:

• Your best effort should be to avoid impeding the communication process at all costs.
• Remember that good business telephone etiquette requires you to be: prepared, friendly, polite, patient, personable, professional, proactive.
• Failure to follow any of the points mentioned above can negatively impact your caller experience, which can negatively impact your company’s image, ultimately negatively impacting your business.

You May Also Like: 5 Essential Training Required for a Call Center Agent

Final words

The appropriate way to talk on the workplace telephone varies depending on whether you work in an office or call center.

Your duties as an answerer include representing the company. You can either leave a neutral, good, or bad taste in the mouth of your customers, depending on how you handle the call from start to finish.

Leaving a bad taste in the customer’s mouth could result in him stopping doing business with you. It is, therefore, best to guarantee that each call received is handled with the utmost excellence, which can be achieved by following the proper telephone etiquettes mentioned above.


Head of Content @ KrispCall (or, in plain English, I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is EPIC).

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