Phone Tip for Better Conversations

Add a little “may” to your day, every day! Although they’re little, the words “May I” can make a big impact on your conversations with customers and potential clients. Adding this polite twosome to your vocabulary is a simple way to turn your tone from okay to outstanding. Here are five ways to add a little may to your day:

Use “May I” when greeting callers. An offer of assistance is the perfect addition to your company’s telephone greeting. Let callers know you’re excited to help as soon as you pick up the phone:

Good Morning! Thank you for calling ABC Company. How may I help you?

Use “May I” when broaching a new subject. If you’re looking for a graceful way to introduce a new idea, “May I” is your best pal:

I think I understand the problem. May I make a suggestion?

Use “May I” to take the sting out of an interruption or potential inconvenience. When you need to encourage a customer to do something they might not want to do, asking nicely is key. “May I” is very important when asking a caller to hold, for example. While a curt “Hold, please,” might irritate a caller, a polite “May I place you on hold for a moment?” makes a conversational interruption seem like no biggie.

Use “May I” when gathering information. It’s easy to see that “May I have your name?” and “May I ask who is calling?” beat the heck out of “I of need your name” and the ghastly “Who is this?” Whenever you’re collecting a bit of information, start with “May I”:

May I have your account number?

Use “May I” instead of “Can I” when asking for just about anything from a client or potential customer. The word “can” is used to note ability — if you’re able to do something, you can do it, as in “I can do a handstand.” When you’re asking permission, “may” is the right choice. This is why we go with “May I have your name?” and not “Can I have your name?” When you’re collecting info or asking something of a customer, “May I” is almost always the way to go.