Telephone Etiquette

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Did you know people can “see” you through your phone? If you’re not careful, a simple phone call can be a detriment to your business relationships. These three tips may help keep your calls coming and your business thriving:


In the hospitality industry, luxury resort employees are taught to answer the phone within three rings and with a smile. A smile can be heard through the phone. Try it. Just the action of putting a smile on your face changes the tone of your voice. Even a fake smile is better than no smile. And it’s not only a “smile” that matters—it’s your word choices and how engaging you are. “Great to hear from you” is so much better than an “Oh, hi.” It’s similar to giving a good handshake versus a limp one. Show enthusiasm and interest.


It’s also important to use people’s names. It’s not only good business etiquette; it’s also reassuring to customers that you care about THEIR needs. Think about the last time you called a bank. I always feel more comfortable when the agent addresses me by name. My money is important to me, and I want to know that the bank holding my money cares about me and is addressing my concerns.


The same is true for listening. Everyone is busy these days and multitasking seems to be a badge of honor; however, if the person on the other end of the phone can hear you typing on your keyboard or wrestling with papers, he or she may feel you’re not truly listening to the conversation.

Always remember that your attitude and concern for others (or lack thereof) come through loud and clear on the phone. Put some cheer into that voice—whether you are on the phone or off—for better business and personal relationships.

Suzanne Willis is the founder of Willis Consulting & Communications in Naples, which specializes in contemporary business, social and children’s etiquette. 


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