Phone calls are an integral part of running a business. Every connection or interaction employees have with vendors, partners, customers or other stakeholders can make or break the company’s reputation, which in turn impacts the bottom line. Successful supervisors train their teams on business phone etiquette that helps ensure excellence in customer service while maintaining positive business relationships. Here are some tips on business phone etiquette.

Eight tips on business phone etiquette

Have a protocol:

Successful supervisors and companies create a handbook on business phone etiquette. The protocol should highlight how an employee should greet the caller and in what way they should identify themselves. Every individual in the office whether a regular or temporary employee should be well trained on business phone etiquette. Answer the call with a greeting and follow it up by introducing the company and yourself. If placing a call to another office, the same rule applies. Identify yourself and your company and request to be connected to the concerned person or department.

Answer within three rings:

One of the most important business phone etiquette protocols relates to answering the phone within three rings. Successful employees and businesses follow the three-ring rule to make the right impression on the caller.  Experts believe answering the phone on the first ring catches the caller off guard while letting the phone ring for more than five or six times creates a negative impression.  Success at work may well depend on picking up the call before the third ring.

Pay attention to the tone and pitch:

A high pitched voice can indicate anxiety or aggression.  Maintaining a low and even tone is important. Standing up or sitting straight on the chair helps maintain a professional tone.

Be prepared:

When you need to place a call, be prepared with the list of points to be covered or questions to be asked. This can optimize the receiver’s as well as your time. Ensure your messages are clear and specific. Talk slowly and clearly so that the receiver understands the message without having to ask you to repeat yourself.

Making a call:

When making a call always begin with a greeting followed by your name.  For example, “Good morning, this is Janet Smith from XYZ Company.  I am returning Bob Brown’s call.  Is he available please?”

Focus on the call:

Every business call is important as it is connected to some vital aspect of the business. Talking to people around you while on the phone or answering another phone while still on the phone creates negative impressions. If you have to interrupt the call for some unavoidable reason, apologize and ask if you can put the caller on hold for a specific duration. Successful employees also avoid other activities such as chewing, eating, rustling papers or typing away on the computer while on the business call.

Leaving a message:

If you have to leave a message on the voicemail, speak slowly and clearly and avoid using jargons, idioms or short forms.  Remember to always leave your name, organization and telephone number with the area code at the end of the message so that the person can easily return your call.

Checking messages:

If you have voicemail, be sure to check it regularly. Listen to the complete message before returning the call. Respond in a timely manner.