Following business phone etiquette is a way to ensure fruitful business relationships. Business phone calls are a way to build relationships with new clients and to grow relationships with current clients. A bad impression over the phone can be very damaging for you as a professional and, therefore, for your company.
Here are some etiquette points to keep in mind while on the phone:
1) Always ask the caller before you switch to speakerphone mode.
2) If you are in charge of setting up conference calls, verify the attendance of all participants, confirm the time of the call, calling numbers, codes, subject to talk about, time zones, hand-outs (if any), someone to write the minute, expected duration of the call, and all the details that suit that particular conference call.
3) If you have an assistant or someone who takes calls on your behalf, let this person know your schedule and where you are at all times. This way people trying to reach you will be able to decide if they leave you a message, call later, or request a connection with you.
4) Keep in mind that all business calls are confidential, especially when you travel or are dining out. You never know if a competitor is near by listening to your conversation.
5) Keep personal calls to a minimum.
6) Design a professional greeting for your voice mail and record it with a professional and optimistic voice. Listen to it and record it again until the voice and message you hear sounds inviting to do business with you.
7) Learn to let the phone ring. Don’t answer the phone if you are in the middle of a meeting or in a conversation with a client.
8) Check your voice mail regularly.
9) When you leave a message, leave your name, phone number, best time to reach you, and the subject you want to talk about. Say your message with a smooth flow and with no hesitations. If this is difficult for you, practice at home saying different messages to your own voice mail. Practice makes perfect.
10) Smile when you answer the phone. Your voice sounds pleasant and the caller is automatically in a better mood.
11) If you have caller ID, don’t use it to surprise the caller. This is very rude and unprofessional.
12) If the caller is in a bad mood or rude, you always remain calm. Provide all the help you can and never respond to verbal attacks.
Always be courteous on the phone, no matter who is on the other end. You never know when that important client you’ve been trying to reach for months is calling you to hear your proposal.
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In our office I find it quite jarring that when you need a moment of privacy while in the loo, in barges another with his cellphone on his ears and loudly …
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