Telephone Etiquette: 3 Roadblocks and How to Handle Them With Style

Photo by Brian M. Forbes

Every call our live virtual receptionists field is a treat, and although some are trickier than others, we view bumps in the road as a chance to impress. The telephone answering mavens at Ruby® know that an upbeat tone and polite, respectful words help any conversation flow flawlessly. Is phone answering part of your job? Our remote receptionists are here to help! Here are three common telephone roadblocks, and how to breeze by them with ease:

When you didn’t catch what a caller said, avoid blame. Stay away from aggressive statements like “I can’t hear you,” or “Your phone’s cutting out,” or “Slow down.” If you lay the blame on anyone, make it yourself, and be sure to keep your tone of voice in top form: “It seems we have a poor connection. I’m having trouble hearing you. Would you mind repeating that?

When a caller mishears you, correct ’em kindly. Correcting your caller might feel rude, but not doing so may make the caller feel foolish in the future. You’d feel silly if you found out the person you’ve been addressing as Terry for three months is named Kerry, right? Discerning between similar sounds can be tough, especially over the phone. If callers mishear you, politely correct them in your friendliest tone, then move on: “Actually it’s Kerry with a K, but I get that a lot. It’s a tricky name to hear over the phone! Let me try Dave’s line for you.” No biggie!

When a caller hesitates to give info, explain the “why.” If you give your caller a good reason for collecting information, hesitation typically melts away: “Would you mind if I take down your number, so she has it handy when she gets this message?” You can even head hesitation off at the pass by explaining the “why” in your initial query: May I take down your account number, so we can access your information as quickly as possible?

Got any tips for handling calls gracefully? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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