6 Rules for Good Workplace Phone Etiquette
According to one survey, 83% of phone users think they’re courteous when speaking on the phone. However, only 38% of those same phone users said that others were also courteous over the phone. Clearly, there’s a bit of a gap between perception and reality. Here’s how to ensure you’re perceived as courteous when speaking on the phone:
Always Identify Yourself Right Away
Giving your name, title, and company isn’t only polite, it’s important for the person you’re calling. A phone call can be like a small interruption in their workflow; by providing them some identifying information, you help them focus on the issue you’re about to discuss. And of course, identifying yourself when you receive a call ensures that the person calling you doesn’t have to ask if they have the right number.
Don’t Answer the Phone When You’re Eating (Or Otherwise Occupied)
You don’t need to pickup the phone, tell the caller that you’re eating, and that you’ll call them back. It’s okay to let a call go to voicemail if you can’t handle it properly at the moment. If you don’t pick up the phone, the caller will understand that you’re busy.
Gather Materials You Need Prior to a Call
Anticipate your needs prior to making a call and put the information you need in front of you. If you need a spread sheet, data sets, budget materials, etc., for the call, make sure they’re open and readily available. It can also be helpful to jot down a few bullet points of things you want to make sure to discuss.
Make a Rule About Returning Calls
We know one manager that keeps this personal rule: any task that can be done in under five minutes should be done immediately. As a result, she never shuffles stuff to the back of her to-do list because it’s “less important”; she gets it done ASAP. Added bonus: that to-do list stays trim.
Another manager we know checks his messages—and then returns calls—every day at 9:30AM and 3:30PM. If you missed him, you can count on him getting back to you around then.
Do what works for you. But it’s good to come up with some kind of rule about when and how often you return calls, lest they slip out of your focus and don’t happen.
Respect People’s Personal Information
If you’re leaving a message, beware of leaving things like account numbers, dates of birth, and things of that nature on the message.
Leave a Clear Message
When you leave messages, you should always include your name, number, a brief reason for your call, and either when you’ll call again or how and when the person you’re calling should reach you. That’s it. Your message shouldn’t be longer than a minute.