Communication skills

7 steps to better telephone etiquette in your business

- July 21, 2023 3 MIN READ
Woman on phone call in a warehouse

In this fast-paced digital world, where emojis have replaced handshakes and texts have taken over conversations, the humble telephone still holds its ground. Whether you’re running a small business or representing a big corporation, mastering telephone etiquette can do wonders for your brand, writes brand specialist Debbie O’Connor.

So, let’s take a look at some telephone etiquette where manners meet technology and discover how to charm your callers with some phone manners.

1. The first ring – the initial impression

Imagine your phone is the front door of your brand’s virtual headquarters. When it rings, it’s an opportunity to make a killer first impression. So, answer with enthusiasm and a genuine smile!

Let your callers know they’ve reached the right place and let them know who they are talking to. Remember, a cheerful greeting sets the tone for the entire call and leaves a lasting impact on your brand.

2. Conversational charm – be the voice they want to hear

When your callers hear your voice, you want them to like and trust you. So, ditch the monotone voice and embrace a friendly and engaging tone.

Speak clearly and with confidence, but don’t be afraid to infuse a sprinkle of personality into your words. Remember, you’re not just answering calls; you’re creating a brand impression!

3. Master of time – promptness and efficiency

Tick-tock, time is of the essence! Show your callers that you value their time by answering promptly and efficiently – I recommend within four rings. Be prepared with the information they might need, and if you need to transfer the call, do it seamlessly, without leaving your callers hanging in a virtual abyss.

If at all possible, don’t make your clients listen through a list of choices and option numbers to select. This is both irritating and seen as a waste of time. Remember, every second counts, and by being a master of time, you’re building trust and credibility with your brand.

4. Taming the hold monster

Ah, the dreaded hold music! If you cannot put your caller through to the right person immediately, ditch the generic elevator tunes and create a playlist that reflects your brand’s personality. Add some toe-tapping beats or soothing melodies that will have your callers humming along.

Let them know that even on hold, your brand knows how to keep things interesting!

LISTEN to Debbie O’Connor on the Flying Solo podcast: How to make branding a foundation of your business

5. Goodbye, but not farewell – ending on a high note

As the conversation draws to a close, make sure to leave a lasting impression. Thank your callers for choosing your brand and make them feel appreciated. Offer assistance, provide next steps, or give them a date and time when you will follow up.

This is a great way to prepare them for a follow up phone call.

6. Meeting manners make a good impression

There is nothing worse than trying to run a meeting when you know that attendees have one ear on you and both eyes on their phone. Put your phone on silent and pop it out of sight. This will let everyone in the room know that you value and respect them and their time.

If you are expecting an important call – emphasis on IMPORTANT – let everyone know so that when your phone does ring, you can quietly remove yourself from the room and take the call.

7. Messages with meaning

There will be many times, such as when you are in meetings, that you cannot take a phone call. This is OK! You do not have to answer your phone 24/7.

The trick is to have a well-drafted voice message that clearly notifies your caller on who they have contacted and any other pertinent information, such as opening hours or how long it may take to get back to them. Give them an opportunity to leave a message.

PS: The ten-second ‘send as a text messages’ are not fun!

These are some super simple tips you can use to ensure that your brand is not tarnished by poor telephone etiquette.


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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"