Directional Sign

Guiding is one of the first skills our receptionists learn, and it’s a tool they use during nearly every call. When you guide a caller, you explain what you’re doing and why, provide context, and determine the direction of the call. That may sound complex, but often, a well-placed question or two is all it takes to guide a caller.

In the before version of this phone call, our receptionist misses opportunities to guide her caller:


Pretty awkward, right?

Now, let’s hear what guiding can do:


The second call is a heck of a lot smoother. This call is short—noticeably shorter than our before example—but the exchange is much friendlier than the first. To help make your calls more efficient and upbeat, here’s our guide to guiding:

Ask for what you need. Don’t wait for callers to volunteer their names, telephone numbers, or other pertinent information—ask! (Politely, of course.) A simple “May I ask who is calling?” or “What’s the best number for a return call?” ensures you get the information you need, and keeps the call moving forward.

Tell ’em what you’re going to do. In the first example, our caller is left hanging. Brian is in a meeting…so, now what? In the second example, the receptionist goes a step further and explains how she’s going to help: “He’s in a meeting at the moment, but I’ll be happy to ask him to return your call!” 

Show what you know. Confirming information isn’t just a way to cover your back—it’s a way to instill confidence in a caller. When you read a phone number back or repeat a caller’s name, you prove you’re listening.

Tell ’em again. Recapping the information you’ve gathered and the steps you’re going to take is the perfect way to wrap up a call:

“I’ll ask Brian to call you at 503-445-6900 to talk about our software. Have a wonderful day, Tracy!”

The caller knows what’s happening, knows what’s going to happen, and knows you’ve got the correct contact information. A 35 second telephone call doesn’t get much more efficient than that!

The addition of a few guiding phrases and questions can improve your customer experiences while reducing call length—a definite win-win!

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