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Business Etiquette: How to Answer the Phone in the Office

You have done a great job of conceiving and launching your company. You are officially in business! But one thing you can never forget is how important those first impressions are. Understanding how to answer the phone for your business is key to the strength and integrity of your brand image. The telephone might be your first line of contact, so make it count!

Tips on how to answer the phone

  1. Knowing how to answer the phone in a timely manner is job one. Always try to answer the phone by the third ring.
  2. Don’t be too eager, though: answering the phone on the first ring can be off-putting, and most people don’t expect it.
  3. If you can’t answer the phone by the third ring, make sure you have a business-like outgoing message that could sound something like this:

“Thank you for calling (insert name of company here). I am sorry I missed your call. I am either on another line or away from my desk. Please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you and have a great day.”

  1. When you answer the phone, be cheerful, upbeat and professional.
  2. State your name when you answer the phone, and always thank the caller for making the connection. Nobody should ever wonder whether they called the right number, and they shouldn’t have to ask. Your script could sound something like this:

“Thank you for calling (company name), this is (your name), how can I help you?”

  1. The right tone is key when learning how to answer the phone. Once you have picked up, keep your tone pleasant, your volume moderate and even and speak clearly, being sure to enunciate.
  2. Be polite. When learning how to answer the phone, it is always better to try to stick to more formal phrases and greetings so as not to put anybody off. Avoid overuse of phrases such as “you know” and “right.” Say “certainly” instead of “okay,” for instance.
  3. Be positive. Even if you are having a bad day, remember that the person on the other end of the line doesn’t need to be a part of that. Knowing how to answer the phone cheerfully always sets the tone for a pleasant conversation. It might even pick up your mood, if you let it!
  4. If you must put your caller on hold, always ask if it’s all right if you do so. There is nothing more annoying than being put on hold when you’re in a hurry. Always give them the option.
  5. Don’t ever tell your caller “I don’t know.” More appropriately, you should say “let me check on that for you,” after which you would either put your caller on hold and find out, or take their contact information and call them back with the information they need.
  6. If you are training others on how to answer the phone, make sure they follow your exact protocols to assure continuity. Maintaining consistency always makes you appear more professional, even if you are just a small office.
  7. Know how to use your phone system. There is nothing more frustrating than calling a business where the first person you connect with doesn’t know how to answer the phone.

You might be a savvy, sharp businessperson, but knowing how to answer the phone isn’t always a part of the skill set. Don’t despair! It’s not brain surgery – it’s just customer service, and something anybody can learn. Your future prosperity, after all, may depend on that one phone call. So always remember: even if you are busy juggling a million things at your desk, don’t let it affect your protocol on how to answer the phone. Your customers always come first and they deserve your full attention.

How Liberty Office Suites can take your business further

Liberty Office Suites is a shared office space with two New Jersey locations to serve you better. Our facilities are fully equipped with every modern office amenity, including a high-tech PBX phone system for your use. Our members get all the benefits of a corporate environment without the overhead, not to mention the camaraderie of a co-working environment and the fun of regular office social events. If you are a small business, a startup or a solopreneur, explore what Liberty Office Suites has to offer. Drop by one of our locations, or give us a call; we promise to answer the phone cheerfully and courteously!


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