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

  • Last Updated: 12 Mar 24
  • 14 min read
business phone etiquette rules

Are you unsure 🤔 how to handle difficult callers professionally?

In today’s fast-paced business, the phone is an still important factor in building a relationship and closing crucial deals. Mastering proper phone etiquette is vital 😊 for anyone working as a receptionist, in customer service, or any other profession.

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 learn what business telephone etiquette is, its benefits, 11 essential rules of phone etiquette, do’s of telephone etiquette, and don’ts of telephone etiquette.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Business phone etiquette is a set of professional rules for conducting phone calls in business.
  • Consider specific elements when making customer interactions including how you greet them, your body language, your voice tone, and how you close a phone call.
  • Professionalism, positive impression, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation are the benefits of business telephone etiquette.
  • The top 11 essential rules of business telephone etiquette are: answer a call within 3 rings, immediately introduce yourself, be polite, only use speakerphone when necessary, actively listen and take notes, use proper language, remain cheerful, ask before putting someone on hold or transferring a call, be honest if you don’t know the answer, and check for and respond for voicemail.
  • The dos of telephone etiquette are: to practice active listening, pay attention to your voice tone, and encourage taking notes.
  • The don’ts of telephone etiquette or bad phone etiquette are: don’t speak too loudly or softly, don’t hold on for too long, and don’t use slang words.

Let’s get started 👇

What is Business Phone Etiquette? 🤔

Business Phone Etiquette is a set of professional rules and practices for conducting phone calls in business. It consists of everything from answering a phone call efficiently to concluding them on a positive note.

You need to consider specific elements every time 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 making a business call because a customer analyses your business and you based on your phone communication.

Some of the importance of business telephone etiquette include:

  • Professionalism: Professionalism always comes across when you use telephone manners to communicate. This gives the customers first impression that they are in safe and capable hands. Hence, they will be more inclined to do business with you again.
  • Positive Impression: You leave a lasting impression when you communicate over the telephone. Respecting the telephone etiquette ensures the receiver feels secure and respected. 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 reassured that they will have the same experience in person, which provides consistency and comprehensiveness.
  • Brand Reputation: Businesses can improve their brand reputation and gain the trust of the audience by continuously demonstrating professionalism and giving outstanding service to customers over the phone. When callers receive pleasant and attentive service, they are more likely to view the brand positively and develop a sense of loyalty.
👉 You might want to learn: Text messaging Etiquette

What are the 11 essential rules of phone etiquette?

Here are the top 11 essential rules or telephone etiquette tips of proper phone etiquette that make your business stand out from the competitors.

1. Answer a call within 3 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 on your phone call 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.

2. Immediately introduce yourself

When answering a business call it is important to begin with an introduction. As opposed to the informal “Hello” used in personal calls, you can answer a call with “Hi, this is [Your first name] from [Your Company Name], “How can I help you?” This assures callers that they have reached the right person.

3. Speak clearly and professionally

Always speak clearly, as 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.

4. 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 making a business call.

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

5. Only use speakerphone when necessary

It’s important to prioritize giving your customers attention and avoid using speakerphone whenever possible, especially in an environment with background noise. This process promotes better communication for both parties by reducing distractions and improving clarity during interactions.

Individuals can retain professionalism and privacy by only using speakerphone when necessary, such as when numerous people need to join the call or when hands-free operations are required.

6. Actively listen and take notes

Actively listening and taking notes during communications indicates attention and dedication to meeting the callers’ needs. By attentively listening, you demonstrate to the caller that their problems are heard and understood which builds trust and loyalty.

Taking notes allows you to record important data, action items, or follow-up activities that were addressed during the session, ensuring that nothing is lost or forgotten. This process helps to provide accurate and quick assistance to the caller and to keep records for later reference.

7. Use proper language

A key difference between a professional and a personal phone call is the language. With friends, you may use slang and swear when talking on the phone, but this kind of language can lose you customers when you use it in business.

It helps to portray expertise and credibility, ensuring that the message is clear and understandable to the listener. When dealing with clients, customers, colleagues, or business partners, using proper language builds respect and improves the overall quality of the contact.

8. Remain cheerful

Remaining cheerful during phone interactions is critical for building connections and providing a pleasant experience for both parties. A cheerful approach can serve to uplift the mood of the conversation and express warmth and friendliness.

It signals to the caller that their problems are respected and that the speaker sincerely wants to help them. Also, the cheerful tone can help to diffuse stressful situations and lessen any frustrations the caller may be experiencing.

9. Ask before putting someone on hold or transferring a call

Always ask permission before putting someone on hold or transferring a call. This little politeness respects the callers’ time and ensures a smooth transition throughout the conversation. Asking for permission demonstrates that you appreciate their patience and are dedicated to providing great customer service.

This also allows callers to express any requests or concerns they have regarding being put on hold or transferred. By requesting permission first, you maintain professionalism while avoiding any trouble or frustration for the caller.

10. Be honest if you don’t know the answer

When faced with a topic or scenario in which you do not know the solution, it is critical to prioritize honesty. Admitting that you don’t know the solution indicates integrity and transparency, both of which are important qualities in developing trust with clients and coworkers.

Instead of attempting to provide wrong answers or faking your way through, admit your lack of expertise and offer to find the correct answer or seek assistance from someone who does. This approach not only avoids spreading misinformation but also demonstrates a willingness to learn and dedication to providing accurate and reliable information.

11. Check for and respond to voicemails

By checking your voicemail frequently, you display attention to detail and a dedication to responding to requests and issues on time. Responding quickly to voicemails demonstrates respect for the caller’s time and strengthens their trust in your dependability and responsiveness.

Responding to voicemails promptly, whether it’s to provide information, answer a question, or follow up on a prior discussion, helps to keep lines of communication open, and develop strong connections with clients or coworkers.

Telephone etiquette tips: What are the Dos 👍 of telephone 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 a quality phone call.

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 Tone of Voice

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 Taking Notes

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.

Telephone etiquette tips: What are the Don’ts 👎 of telephone etiquette?

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

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.

Here are some of the major bad phone etiquette 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.

😎 You might be interested: Important Call Center Skills

Don’t rush the caller

Whenever you answer a call, 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 for too long ⏱️

While most people don’t mind being on hold for a moment or two, there comes a 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.”

🤩 Learn about: Essential Training Required for a Call Center Agent

Final words

The best 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 mouths of your customers, depending on how you handle the call from start to finish.

Remember, every phone call is an opportunity 😊 to build trust, create connections, and leave a lasting impression. By following these essential phone etiquette tips, you can ensure that every conversation reflects your professionalism and helps your company stand out. Go forth and be the caller everyone wants to hear from!

FAQs

Why do we need phone etiquette in business?

We need phone etiquette in business to maintain professionalism, build positive relationships with customers, and ensure effective communication. 

What are the 7P’s of business phone etiquette?

The 7P’s of business phone etiquette are:

  • Prepared
  • Present
  • Polite
  • Patient
  • Personable
  • Professional
  • Proactive

Is it acceptable to use speakerphone during business calls?

No, it is not acceptable to use speakerphone during business calls as it can sometimes disrupt the quality of communication. So, only use a speakerphone when necessary.

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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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