How to Answer the Phone

Despite what many people think, answering the phone is an art that needs to be mastered if one hopes to effectively communicate with others. Effective communication skills are of utmost importance in today’s globalizing world. Here is a guide on how to answer the phone appropriately and to leave callers with a pleasant experience.

Where to Answer the Phone

Some persons are of the view that once the phone rings, it must be answered. Wrong! Ensure your environment is noise free which will help your callers to hear you properly. Try not to answer a call while in the middle of another conversation as one party might feel offended. Here, a professional and courteous voice-mail would be appropriate to alert your callers that you are unavailable to answer. Do not gossip in public.

When to Answer the Phone

If possible, try to answer before the third ring so that your caller is made to feel as if his or her call is important. Also, try not to answer calls when you are breathing heavily as this may cause your callers to feel uncomfortable, and might make one seem unprofessional.

How to Answer the Phone

Hints on how to answer the phone starts from the moment one picks up the receiver. A critical point to remember is: Listen, then respond!

Firstly, unless highly justified, avoid putting callers on speaker phone.
Have a standardized way of answering the phone. If possible, assign special rings to callers which will indicate the level of formality and therefore dictate the words used, tone and overall conduct of each call.
Do not shout! Answer in a warm, clear and friendly voice. Do not answer laughing – this might give callers a bad impression. Have your mouth clear of food before answering. Remember – you want our callers to clearly hear what you are saying. Be polite and courteous and if any at all possible, identify yourself by name.

Secondly, try and understand what exactly is being said. Try to avoid jargon and ambiguous phrases and statements – especially if the caller is unknown. Prepare for conversation – be prepared to field questions and to respond to questions if asked. Speak clearly and in a consistent tone. Do not chop words!

Thirdly, if you  need to pause the conversation, be sure to solicit the caller’s permission to put them on hold. Thoroughly explain why they are being put on hold and the estimated wait time.

If the caller is unknown or if you feel they have rang you in error – DO NOT RESPOND RUDELY. Kindly advise the caller that you think they have rang you in error and suggest that he or she check the number they wish to dial and try again. This creates a positive impression. Employers have been known to make such calls to verify the tone and mannerism of potential employees. So the proper phone-answering skills might land you the job you want.

Be patient with callers and always end conversations politely.

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