The virtual receptionist team at Ruby®  knows that the easier we make things for our callers, the happier our callers will be, and nothing delights us like happy callers! When collecting information from callers, we’ve found it’s not the number of questions we ask, but how we ask them that counts.

With just a few first-rate questions, you can meet your callers’ needs and gather accurate information, Ruby style! Here’s how:

Give your caller an assist.

Rather than making callers do all the work, meet them in the middle by asking quality questions. Instead of “How is that spelled?” or “Would you spell that for me?” prompt callers with your best guess: “Nichols – is that N as in November, – I – C – H – O – L – S?” If your guess is right on, you’ve made your caller’s response super simple: “Yes!” And even if you’re a little off, you’ve shown your caller you’re listening, and that you’re dedicated to getting things right. Our phone answering pros like keeping a spelling alphabet handy for confirming similar-sounding letters.

Use your clues.Asking the right questions

When confirming information, take a moment to glance at caller ID. This is especially helpful when your caller has a name or company name you’re not familiar with, or if you’re having trouble hearing your caller. If the name or company name shown on caller ID sound like the one your caller has given you, you’re in luck! Caller ID might not be 100% accurate 100% of the time, but it can be a great jumping-off point.

Know when not to ask questions.

Every good receptionist strives for accuracy, but even the best virtual receptionist may be a bit bothersome to callers if she asks too many questions. When you’re screening a call before transferring, limit the number of questions you ask; a simple question like: “May I ask who is calling?” may prompt a response with just what your teammate needs in order to decide whether to take the call. We recommend skipping verifying spelling or asking a lot of additional questions when screening a call —  wait until you’re taking a message to bring out the big guns.