Telephone Skillsby Babs Moore
- How should I answer the telephone?
- How can I portray a consistent company image on the telephone?
- When is it appropriate to make/receive a call on a mobile telephone?
- How do I use voicemail efficiently?
- How can I deal with interruptions while on the telephone?
- How can I maximise efficiency on a call?
- How do I prevent the telephone taking over my life?
- How do I prepare for a call?
1. How should I answer the telephone?
- Salutation and company name is the minimum for external calls.
- Salutation and own name is the minimum for internal or transferred calls.
- Sound friendly and helpful, with a sincere ‘How may I help you?’, if appropriate.
- Achieve a balance between being too long-winded and providing insufficient information for the caller to know whether or not they are through to the right person.
2. How can I portray a consistent company image on the telephone?
- Introduce a company phone policy, covering how calls should be answered and transferred.
- Ensure regular users are trained to use the telephone system to best effect.
3. When is it appropriate to make/receive a call on a mobile telephone?
- When it will not disrupt or disturb others unduly. Calls should not be made when in inappropriate places, such as theatres, cinemas or places of worship.
- Make calls only when the call can be given your full attention.
- Do not make or take sensitive calls when there is any danger of being overheard by those you would rather not hear the call.
- Be tactful and considerate of other passengers when travelling.
- Taking calls in meetings should be avoided if at all possible.
4. How do I use voicemail efficiently?
- Ensure your own voicemail is clear, concise and friendly, but contains all relevant information.
- Change your own voicemail message as frequently as is required to ensure that callers know when to expect a return call.
- If your job entails travelling, learn how to access voicemail remotely if possible.
- When leaving a message, provide all essential information, such as your name, company, time of call, reason for call, action required and contact details.
5. How can I deal with interruptions while on the telephone?
- Body language – make it clear you are concentrating on the call in hand.
- Make sure colleagues understand your priorities and know in which circumstances you will allow an interruption. They should also know your preferred way of being interrupted, such as a written note, passed quietly.
- Don’t overestimate your own importance; allow others to handle potential interruptions on your behalf.
- Don’t take a second call without very good reason; use voicemail.
6. How can I maximise efficiency on a call?
- Plan and prepare your call (opening and objective).
- State how much time is available.
- Summarise and agree actions.
- Ensure you are speaking to the right person.
- Arrange to try again, if not convenient.
7. How do I prevent the telephone taking over my life?
- Be polite and efficient when using the telephone.
- Understand the importance of the telephone in your role and, if appropriate, allow others or voicemail to take calls when something more important needs your undivided attention.
- Set aside a specific time slot in which to return calls, making several in succession.
- Use voicemail, if appropriate.
- Set time parameters around calls.
- Agree to attend only relevant conference calls.
8. How do I prepare for a call?
- Plan and prepare your opening remarks.
- Know your objectives (and those of the other person).
- Review likely outcomes/reactions and plan for each.
- Before phoning, consider whether the telephone is the correct medium for the contact.
- If you are expecting an incoming call, use the same procedure as above. If you can expect frequent similar calls, prepare a script/crib sheet so that important information is not forgotten or missed.