20 Telephone Etiquette Tips for Businesses

Today’s technology has many advantages and a great many disadvantages. I often wonder how our society survived without a mobile telephone.
One disadvantage of a mobile telephone is the lack of telephone etiquette. People seem to have no manners when talking on their phones. Personally, I do not care to hear another person’s conversation. That really annoys me.

Concessions can be made for time away from the workplace regarding telephone etiquette. In the workplace, impoliteness and rudeness to others when on the phone or not, is totally unacceptable from employees. I find it extremely difficult to ignore improper telephone etiquette I hear conversations employees have with customers, clients or patients. I think of the many opportunities I have to offer my consulting services to the companies who have not made the connection between untrained employees in the area of proper telephone etiquette (or any area if the employee is untrained) and reduced profits. Every connection an employee has with a customer, patient, client (or potential one) is vital to the profits of any company. I, therefore present, 20 Telephone Etiquette Tips for Businesses. I’m aware many of these tips are common sense yet I’m also aware common sense is not very common, oftentimes. This list was initially written for dental and medical healthcare professionals but is applicable to any business.

Make sure you identify yourself, speak clearly and are smiling as you answer the phone.

Before placing a caller on hold, ask their permission first and thank them next.

It is better to return a call than to keep someone on hold too long. If the phone rings back to you, you’ve kept them on hold too long.

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Do not forget to return a call as promised.

Do not permit the phone to ring into the office more than three times.

Always use a pleasant, congenial and friendly tone.

Never interrupt the person while he/she is talking to you.

Never engage in an argument with a caller.

Do not handle an unhappy caller’s concern openly at the checkin-checkout desk.

Do not make it a habit of receiving personal calls at work.

Do not answer the phone if you are eating or chewing gum.

Do not give the impression that you are rushed. It is better to return the call when you can give the person the time they need to handle the reason for their call.

Learn how to handle several callers simultaneously with ease and grace.

Return calls promptly that have been left on voice mail and ansafones.

Always get the best number (and an alternate) and the best time to have a call returned to the caller, especially if a manager or another team member must return the call.

Do not leave a message with someone else or on an ansafone or voice mail regarding details of a delinquent account. Instead, leave a message asking the person to call the “Accounting Department.”

Always make collection calls in private and away from the patient flow or public areas.

If possible, provide a telephone for patients/customers/clients to use. An area providing privacy is preferred.

Do not call a patient, customer or client’s home before 8:00AM or after 9:00PM, unless you have been given permission to do so.

When hanging up the phone, make sure the caller or person called hangs up first. Always hang up the phone, gently. I recommend a remote, handless headset for the business staff. They are wonderful. This will solve hanging up as you push release on the headset to hang up the phone. Also, it does not tie your staff to their desk. The team member checking on insurance really appreciates this device. (The phone can also be answered if away from your desk.)

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Keep in mind, the sale begins with “Good morning, thank you for calling – ” A friendly, pleasant, warm and cheerful voice could be all the caller needed to choose you over your competition!