Phone Etiquette 101

My role, in my last three jobs, has been a receptionist. Since answering the phone is a HUGE part of what I do, I have noticed, especially recently, the diminishing of polite phone etiquette. So, because I need to vent, I decided to post this reminder. Who knows maybe you have encountered some rudeness and could use these tips to pass along.

1.) If you are selling anything, please don’t start the conversation like you know me. Like a bloodhound, I can sniff a sales pitch and person, whether you walk in or are conversing on the phone. As a result your cold call will automatically get dumped in the cold call voice mailbox.

2.) No matter who you are, it is extremely advantageous if you not only identify yourself but also the company you are affiliated with and the reason for your call. That way, I can appropriately transfer your call to someone who could provide further help.

3.) Don’t get pissed off when you ask questions about the company and I respond with, ‘I am sorry, I am not allowed to reveal that information.’ If you were smart, you would have researched the company on the internet, thus all your questions would have been answered. And if you are an employee, you should have already received all the correct contact people and numbers to call to voice any concerns.

4.) “Hey, how you doin?” is not a very professional way to start a conversation. Especially if you are phoning to inquire about a job position or resume status.

5.) Speak clearly and enunciate your words. I know in this era of texting, hip hop and rap, full sentences that make sense are slowly going down the drain. However, I can’t be of any help if I can’t understand you or what your concerns are.

6.) When calling from another country, please make sure you or someone else can speak English fluently! I do not speak Spanish nor understand it. I also do not speak French or Portuguese or any other foreign language. (Although, I do know how to swear in French and German.)

7.) All calls coming in do get transferred. However, I cannot guarantee the person you wish to speak to will answer the phone. That is why each person has voicemail. Realize people are busy, in meetings, traveling or what not so they may not respond to your message ASAP. But if you leave details, they will call you back. Leaving a message, then continuing to repeatedly call back will not solve your dilemma any sooner.

8.) Do not wait till 4 p.m. or at the end of the workday to call about something pressing, especially on a Friday afternoon. I will do my best to get you a live person to talk to. Yet, the minute you realize you have an ’emergency,’ pick up the phone and get it taken care of RIGHT AWAY!!! And if you choose to wait till the last minute, do not get mad at me when the person or department you are trying to reach has gone for the day.

9.) Please do not put me on hold to take another call. Common courtesy, at least in my little world, would be to finish up your conversation with me and then deal with your caller after. Also, putting me on hold wastes my time and prevents me from taking other calls which will result in a hang up on my end if you take too long.

10.) If I hear canned music, when answering your call, I will immediately hang up. I am too busy to wait for a live person to get with the program.

For now, that is it. I guess you can understand why I don’t usually turn my cell on after work. And yes, I am not an ogre or rude or even bitchy when I answer the phone, regardless of how rude others are. It would make my job easier, however, if callers were a tad more respectful and realized having a conversation with a live person does entail some etiquette and manners.




2 thoughts on “Phone Etiquette 101

  1. I answer the phone at the dental office where I work. I’m bothered by: people who don’t speak clearly, people who have phones that aren’t working properly and patients who call and then expect to be seen within the hour!!!

    Oh, I thought of one more. Patients who call to make an appointment and don’t have a calendar or pen available.

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