Telephone Etiquette

How to be profesional on the phone

By Edie J. Adler
Published on LatinoLA: July 14, 2006

Telephone Etiquette

?Please stay on the line, your call is important to us.? Is it just me, or does everybody cringe when you hear that recorded announcement at the other end of the line? It is not only the endless options you get with automated answering systems, but also the lack of customer service you receive when you are lucky enough to talk to an actual human being. Why is it that so very few people seem to have a clue when it comes to? telephone etiquette?

From my first real job as a receptionist at KMEX, Channel 34 even at 17 years old, I had enough common sense to treat people with respect when they called the station; and through today with my own experience calling different businesses I?ve gained some insight into giving good phone. Let me share with you how to have good telephone etiquette: This applies to business and personal situations.

Try to answer the phone within three rings, with a nice greeting such as ?good morning?, instead of just saying ?hello? or the business name.

If you must put the person on hold, don?t leave them holding for more than a minute. If the holding time is longer, go back to the caller and give them the option to leave a message or call back. Always be courteous when asking who?s calling, for instance say ?May I ask who?s calling?? instead of just ?Who is this?? or the other option which is one of my pet peeves. Whenever someone says to me ?I?m sorry what was your name?, I always respond it still is, Edie J Adler!

And Edie J. Adler always returns calls within 24 hours. When it comes to phone etiquette, I cannot stress enough how important it is to return calls in a timely manner. By simply calling people back within the same day, you will be set apart from others, who may take too long to call back, or not return the call at all. Think how frustrating it is for you, when you leave a message that goes unanswered.

And by all means be patient with the caller. Sometimes people don?t really pay attention on the phone, particularly when they are expecting to hear something else. I?ll give you an example: when I was working at KMEX I would answer the phone like this ?Buenos dias, KMEX.? 99% of the time I would get ?Do you speak English?? I figured people expected me to answer in English, so I switched to ?Good morning, KMEX.? Now 99% of the time I got ?Do you speak Spanish?? No matter how silly this seemed, I would answer in the language they asked for, and transfer the call to the appropriate department always maintaining my patience.

Now let?s talk about cell phone etiquette. The most polite people become uncivil when they are on their cell phone. They will use it anywhere, any time, and with the outmost apathy to the world around them. Using your cell phone is a no-no in some public places; when you go see a movie, they will make an announcement to please turn off your cell phone. I don?t know about you, but when I go to the movies, it seems that Joe Idiot is always there, and inevitably his cell phone will ring in the middle of the show. As if the incessant ringing weren?t enough, when some people get on their cell phone, it is as if the world around them stops, and they are the only living creatures in the vast universe. The rule of thumb for your cell phone is simple: treat it as you would a normal house phone. If you?re out driving with someone else in the car, don?t carry on a conversation that goes on endlessly. You wouldn?t do this if you had company in your living room. Be mindful of your surroundings and respect others? right not to have to listen to your conversation.

I hope these simple suggestions will help you have better phone etiquette. Remember, answer the phone promptly, with a greeting, don?t? put people on hold for more than a minute, return calls in a timely manner, and always be patient with the caller. As far as your cell phone, just be respectful.

About Edie J. Adler:
Edie J. Adler, a regular contributor to LatinoLA, is a writer and comedian.
She's been happily married for 2 years, six months and three weeks. Edie and her husband Neal live with their three dogs, four cats and four birds

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