Photo by Steve Mueller

Our virtual receptionist team fields lots of questions from callers each day. We’re happy to keep a few FAQs on-hand (rates, descriptions of services, driving directions, etc.); however, if we don’t have the answer, that’s no biggie, because the virtual receptionists at Ruby® know that a great response is still possible.

When faced with a tricky question, we’ve found it’s often best to leave out the bit about not knowing the answer, and skip ahead to offering help. Being an excellent receptionist isn’t about knowing everything — it’s about focusing on the positive, telling callers what you can and will do to help, and then doing it!

This strategy works well for any question, basic or complex. Let’s try a super common question: “Is Mr. Smith available?” You may not know if Mr. Smith is in a meeting, on the other line, or even if he’s in the office. But rather than saying “I don’t know. I’ll try his line for you,” just skip to the good stuff: “I’ll try his line for you.”

What about when you don’t have the answer, but you know who does? The same applies: Don’t mention what you don’t know, and instead, just offer help. Rather than “I’m not sure, but Diana would be happy to answer that question,” go with, “Diana would be happy to answer that question. Let me try her line for you.”

This simple strategy even works when you don’t have an answer, and don’t know who — if anyone at your office — does. “Great question! Let me try to find someone who can answer it,” and, “Great question! I’ll look into that,” are solid, helpful responses that leave out the “I don’t know” part.

Mentioning that you don’t have the answer to a caller’s question is rarely helpful, and being helpful means a lot to our remote receptionists, which is why we typically skip it. You’re going to help your caller even if you don’t know the answer to his or her question, right? Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative by dropping the “I don’t know” bit and cutting to the helping part! You’ll be glad you did, and so will your callers.