Receptionist Etiquette Tip: Match Your Caller’s Pace

When answering phones, match your caller's tone for best results
Photo by Willy D.

The telephone answering team at Ruby® Receptionists fields calls from all types of folks with all types of personalities, and we do our best to make each of them feel special. We’ve learned that it’s easy to size up a caller’s preferred communication style within a few words — just listen! Matching a caller’s style is an great way to ensure you’re delivering information in a manner that is comfortable for the caller.

When answering phones, mirroring a caller’s pace is particularly important, especially if the caller talks quickly. A fast-talking caller may be in a rush and will likely appreciate a quick response. If your caller is brief and to-the-point, provide concise answers and avoid chitchat. On the other hand, fast talking can sound unpleasant or intimidating to a naturally slower-talking caller.  If you know yourself to be a fast talker, take special care to slow down when your caller’s pace does.  A chatty caller is a great opportunity to make a great impression — reciprocate with a bit of friendly conversation, and you’re sure to improve your caller’s day.

Matching a caller’s tone can be helpful, too, as long as that tone is positive. If a caller seems frustrated or distressed, it’s best to project the opposite. Reassure upset callers by acknowledging their frustration and offering help, but do so in a calm tone. If you seem frustrated, your caller is likely to become more frustrated, and that’s no fun for anyone.

Friendliness and professionalism are key to every call our virtual receptionists answer, and the rest depends on the caller’s pace, tone, style, and needs. Have you had any memorable experiences with matching a caller’s pace or tone? We’d love to hear what you think about this tip!

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