Receptionist Etiquette Tip: 3 Things to Do When You Can’t Hear Your Caller

If callers can't hear you, try lowering your pitch when answering phones
Photo by Tanki

We’ve all encountered a crackly or faint phone connection before, and it can be a real drag. Each virtual receptionist at Ruby® is skilled at handling all sorts of telephone calls gracefully, even those that are tough to hear. If answering phones is part of your job, try these three tips the next time you’re on a fuzzy phone line:

  1. Keep your cool. A tough-to-hear call is a frustrating situation, but don’t let your caller see you sweat — keep your tone super polite. Skip “What?” and “I can’t hear you,” and go with “Would you mind repeating that?” Don’t blame your caller, either. Rather than saying “Your phone is cutting out,” try “It seems we have a poor connection.” A crumby connection is just as aggravating for your caller as it is for you, so remember to stay patient and kind.
  2. Mind your pitch. You may have heard of The Mosquito, an anti-loitering device that emits a high-pitched sound people older than 25 typically can’t hear. As we age, we lose the ability to hear certain frequencies, and high-pitched sounds are the first to go. When you speak up, try doing so without elevating your pitch. Speaking a little louder may make your voice easier to hear, but maintain (or lower) your pitch as you pump up the volume.
  3. Consider Plan B. Sometimes, there’s no saving a phone call. When you’re ready to throw in the towel on a difficult-to-hear conversation, suggest an alternative before hanging up your receiver. Perhaps you can email your caller, or communicate through text messaging. And, of course, you can always hang up and try the call again, but be sure to let your caller know before you end the call (or give it your best shot). Better yet, don’t end the call — let your caller decide when to call it quits.

How do you handle tough-to-hear calls? Share your tips with us @callruby on Twitter!

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