How to Make a Great Greeting, Part Two: Answering a Direct Line

Make your greeting great!

Recently, we received an awesome comment on our blog post about how to create a great company greeting. Our reader Andy asked about the best way to answer a direct line, and we think it’s such a great question that we decided write a whole post about it. Thanks for the inspiration, Andy! Although our virtual receptionist team typically answers calls for entire companies, we have a few tips for fielding direct calls.  Here’s the word from our phone answering pros:

  1. Start with a welcoming phrase. This is an optional element, but our remote receptionists highly recommend it. We’ve found that answering phone calls with a friendly greeting is a great way to set an upbeat tone. “Hello,” “Good morning,” and “Thank you for calling” are all great starters. Don’t be afraid to use more than one friendly opener!
  2. State the company name (if applicable). This element is also optional, but if there’s a company name to mention, try stating it after your opener.
  3. Name that line. If you’re answering your own direct line, be sure to say your name. “This is Susan” works great, as does “This is Susan Smith.” If you’re the receptionist for an executive’s direct line, state the exec’s name, and then yours, as in “Susan Smith’s line. This is Terry.”
  4. Wrap it up nicely. A friendly ending is optional, but again, our offsite receptionists like to end every greeting with an offer of assistance or a friendly question. “How may I help you?” is usually pretty solid in any situation. A question is helpful because it prompts your caller to speak, and it’s a great way to add a little extra courtesy and care to the greeting.

Here are a few examples:

Good morning! Thank you for calling ABC Company, Susan Smith’s line.  This is Terry.  How may I help you?

ABC Company. This is Susan Smith. How may I help you today?

Hello, this is Susan. How may I help you?

A final tip about answering a direct line: Don’t greet callers based on caller ID information. You may know who’s calling, but it’s best to let your caller introduce him or herself. Answering the phone with “Hi, Tim” can be offputting to a caller. And who knows — your caller might be someone else calling from Tim’s line, and that would be really awkward.

We hope these direct line greeting tips are helpful, and we’d love to hear any questions you have about answering calls.  The Ruby crew is happy to share our knowledge!

Learn more about our new method: the KISS Method to phone greetings!

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