While you were out

Resolve to make 2014 a year of magnificent messages! The next time you take information down from a caller, try these simple tips for verifying key information:

Comprehensive content. When a caller has a lot to say, paraphrase it back before wrapping up your call. Reiterating information puts callers at ease, ensures complete and accurate messages, and showcases your attention to detail. Callers and colleagues alike are sure to be impressed by this habit!

“Thank you, Mary! To recap, you ordered the item on December 12, and expected to receive it by the 20th, but it didn’t arrive until the 23rd. Is that correct?”

Superb spelling. With a customized spelling alphabet, the potentially mundane task of verifying a caller’s name becomes a wonderful opportunity to make a connection! Create your own, or use the Ruby Spelling Alphabet to make the most of this interaction. While you’re at it, try doing the legwork for your caller — rather than asking How do you spell your name?, lead with an educated guess:

“Great! Thank you, Ms. Marks! Is that M as in Magic, A as in Absolutely…”  

Glancing at caller ID can be helpful when confirming names and company names. Although it’s not always accurate, it often provides a good jumping-off point for verifying spelling.

Checked-and-double-checked contact information. This one is a must! One transposed digit in a telephone number or misplaced letter in an email address could make it difficult (or impossible) for you or the message recipient to follow up. Read phone numbers back digit by digit, and repeat each letter or numeral of any email addresses you gather. Be mindful of mailing addresses, too, and any other number-heavy information.

Friendly FYI’s. If a caller chooses not to leave a key piece of information, include a friendly FYI to let the message recipient know:

John declined to leave his telephone number, and said you have it. Just an FYI.

An FYI is also helpful when your caller declines to leave a message altogether:

A woman named Kelly called for you this afternoon. I offered to take a message, but she said she’d email you instead. Just an FYI.

FYI’s are a great way to cover your bases and keep everyone in the loop!

What are your message-taking musts? We’d love to hear from you! Share your tips in the comments below.