How to Answer the Phone Professionally

AnswerMTI's professional phone answering service agents.

When you’re speaking with customers or coworkers over the phone, it’s important to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Communication skills are vital to the success of a company.

Understanding the basics of professional phone etiquette is a benefit regardless of your industry or job title. For this reason, many companies trust professional phone answering services to properly manage their calls.

Why Proper Phone Etiquette Is Important

Smiling call center agent.

Good customer service over the phone will build brand loyalty, increase sales, and improve overall customer satisfaction. Being rude or unhelpful during a business call can reflect badly on your company and damage your reputation. What are the most important aspects of professional phone etiquette?

Let’s help you more effectively communicate over the phone while maintaining a proper and professional demeanor.

1. Answer Promptly

Quick, efficient communication is vital in the world of business. No one likes waiting while the phone rings, so it’s important to always answer your calls as quickly as possible. Try to answer your phone calls before three rings whenever possible. We now live in a world where customers expect fast, effective customer service to be available around the clock. If you’re expecting a phone call at work, make sure you’re ready and alert. Give yourself time to anticipate and prepare for any calls.

2. Be Friendly

Friendliness and a cheerful attitude are important aspects of having pleasant, professional phone calls. Everyone enjoys talking to kind, positive people. In a professional setting, your tone and demeanor over the phone reflect the image of the company as a whole. Friendly customer support will lead to improved brand loyalty and customer satisfaction levels.

If you act rude or uninterested during a professional phone call, you could harm the reputation of your company. It only takes one negative experience to make a customer distrust your brand.

3. Speak Clearly

Clarity is a key factor of professional communication. Use a clear, confident voice while speaking on the phone and articulate all of your words. Monitor your volume to make sure that you can be easily heard without being too loud. Use straightforward language that can be understood without any confusion. Since the person on the other end of the line cannot see your face or body language, speaking clearly is important.

4. Use Professional Greetings and Endings

The tone of a professional phone call is immediately set by your greeting. Always learn how to answer the phone with a pleasant, polite introduction that includes your name and the name of your company. After you greet the caller and make a positive connection, then you can begin assisting them.

When your phone call is over, you can ask the caller if they have additional questions or expect any follow up from you. It’s proper professional phone etiquette to then thank them for their time and wish them a good day.

5. Be Helpful

Being informed, supportive, and helpful are important aspects of professional phone etiquette. When a customer calls a company with questions, they expect to be helped by a knowledgeable representative. Make sure that you’re ready for any phone call by being properly educated in your field. Maintaining a certain level of training to ensure that you can provide customers with quality answers to their questions is important.

6. Listen Actively

Although it may seem obvious, paying attention to the person you’re speaking with on the phone is vitally important. Be fully engaged with your caller and actively listen to them. It can even be helpful to take notes during these phone calls. Active listening shows your caller that you really care about their concerns and their needs. To practice proper phone etiquette, be careful not to interrupt others while they are speaking.

7. Eliminate Background Noise

During a professional phone call, there should be no distracting background noise of any kind. Background noise can make callers feel distracted and frustrated. If the noise is interrupting the phone call, the customer could feel unheard and unappreciated. During a professional phone call, the wants and needs of the customer are of the utmost importance.

8. Reduce Hold Times

No one wants to waste their time waiting on hold. Reducing hold times is a great way to improve customer satisfaction, increase efficiency, and practice proper phone etiquette. Although sometimes placing a customer on hold is unavoidable, instances of this can be greatly reduced.

That’s why outsourcing is an ideal solution if your call volume is too much for your current workforce to handle.

9. Leave Concise Voicemails

There are ways to practice professional phone etiquette even when your call goes unanswered. If you reach a customer or coworker’s voicemail, leave them a friendly, informative, and concise message. The importance of voicemails is often overlooked, but this form of communication can strengthen your relationship with clients. At the end of your voicemail, leave a contact number where you can be reached and politely end the message.

Additional Insights for Enhanced Phone Etiquette

Male customer service agent in white shirt.

In the quest to elevate the standard of your professional phone interactions, it’s crucial not only to adhere to basic etiquette but also to incorporate strategies that ensure efficiency and demonstrate respect for callers’ time and needs.

Mastering professional phone calls requires using a clear, pleasant tone and formal language. Being prepared by knowing the details of your business offerings and having quick access to customer records is essential. This preparation not only streamlines the call process but also ensures that each interaction is as productive and positive as possible.

Additionally, engaging with business clients who contact you via telephone is vital. These clients play a significant role in sustaining your business and can serve as effective marketing tools by sharing positive experiences with others. The importance of creating a positive first impression cannot be overstated.

Sign Up for an Answering Service Today

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Improving your professional phone etiquette is a great way to increase brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and overall sales. Hiring a professional answering service is one way to guarantee your customers will always be greeted properly and professionally.

If you’re looking for a professional answering service or you want to improve your professional phone etiquette, start exploring some of the options from AnswerMTI today.