Receptionist Tip: Guide Callers with Simple Questions

Switchboard operators: precursor to today's remote receptionist
Photo by KaCey97007

As a receptionist, you’ll likely be asked many questions throughout your day. Questions you don’t know how to answer can be unsettling, and frequent if you’re newer to a job. A great way to remain confident in the face of questions is to guide your caller.

Guiding is a tool our virtual receptionists use regularly, and it’s as simple as asking your caller a basic question. Whether you’re taking a message or screening a call, gathering information is an important part of any receptionist’s routine. Questions like “May I ask who is calling?” and “What’s the best telephone number for a return call?” are common to many conversations. These basic questions are especially important when callers ask tricky questions.

When you’re faced with a question that you’re unsure how to answer, offer assistance to your caller, then guide the caller with a question.

Examples of Guiding Callers

Great question! Let me look into that. May I have your name?

I’d be happy to find out for you. May I have your name?

Let me research that and follow up with you. What is the best telephone number for a return call?

Let me put you in touch with the best person to answer that question. May I have your telephone number?

Although the caller’s question isn’t answered with any of the above examples, they are all preferable to dead-end responses like “Ummmmmm…I don’t know.” Not knowing an answer doesn’t prevent you from being an excellent receptionist. Guiding is a simple way to keep a call moving forward. By ending with a question, you remain helpful while gathering the information you need to offer a call to someone in your office, take a message, or research a question and follow up with a caller. When asked a difficult question, do what our phone answering experts do, and match it with a simple question. We think you — and the caller — will like the results!

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