Telephone has become a vital tool in business. You really cannot do much without it. More and more business communications are now done on the phone. So, just as you strive to be at your best during business presentations, you must ensure that you are at your best during business-related telephone conversations.
The following are tips on telephone etiquettes that will help individuals and organisations succeed in their business communications:
1. Every staff or member of the organisation should be taught the right procedures for making and receiving business calls. This is to ensure that anyone who makes or answers calls on behalf of the organisation properly represents its brand.
2. When you pick up the phone, greet the caller depending on the time of the day.
3. While calling, it is proper to introduce yourself and give the name of your organization. This helps the person you are calling to make decisions on time.
4. While receiving calls for your company, go like this, “Good morning, XYZ Company, Johnson speaking. How may I help you?" this helps the caller to ascertain whether he/she has called the right organisation or not.
5. Use simple words and short phrases while making business phone calls.
6. Go straight to the point. It is courtesy, your message, then a courteous ending. Don’t go round the point.
7. No casual words or slangs during business phone conversations.
8. It is good business telephone ethic for both the caller and receiver to write down information when necessary. So when preparing to make or take a call, ensure that you have something to write on.
9. If you dial a wrong number, apologize immediately and disconnect. Dial carefully.
10. As much as possible, do not put a caller on hold. But if you have to, ensure that you ask for their permission and check back with them every minute or so and ask if they would like to continue to hold. This is to assure them that they have not been forgotten.
11. Never eat food or chew gum while talking on the phone, especially for a business call. It causes unpleasant sounds that can disgust your caller or receiver.
12. Do not make or take business phone calls while driving. This is not only dangerous but divides your attention.
13. Do away with every form of distraction while making or taking business calls. Turn-off the TV or radio, move away from a noise area and concentrate. Your next business deal may be totally dependent on that call.
14. Speak softly but audibly and clearly. Make sure the volume of your telephone is optimal not too high and not too low.
15. Keep your business telephone calls brief and friendly.
16. Be mindful of differences in time zones. So that you call at appropriate times, preferable in the day; not earlier than 9am and not later than 9pm.
17. Also be mindful of cultural differences. Complimentary words and phrases in one culture may be considered insulting in another culture.
18. Speak clearly and slowly. Don’t not mumble, stammer or slur. Vary your pitch and tone to stress important words.
19. Never be rude to a caller no matter what. Always conduct yourself in a professional business-like manner. That is what is expected from the staff a professional organisation.
20. Incoming calls should be answered on time. Allowing it ring for a long time speaks ill your organisation.
21. Be very attentive. Don’t make the caller repeat every word. If his or her voice is not audible, politely ask him or her to speak louder and clearer.
22. Don't interrupt the caller when he or she is speaking.
23. Put the receiver down gently. Never slam the phone. It is rude.
24. Finally, before initiating a call, spend some time preparing yourself mentally. Carefully outline all that needs to be discussed.