Today's technology has many advantages and a great many
I often wonder how our society survived without a mobile
Now I wonder how I survived without the Internet. I was
connected when Prodigy was first introduced on the scene.
The pharmaceutical company for which I worked provided a
laptop to help me manage my territory or I may have not been so
One disadvantage of a mobile telephone is the lack of telephone
etiquette. People seem to have no manners when talking on their
Personally, I do not care to hear another person's
conversation. If I'm having dinner alone in a restaurant, I
believe I am having more fun than a family whose parent (usually
the Father) is interrupted by a call and does not tell the
caller about the personal family time he's having but continues
to talk on the phone.
Of course, it's not my business. I have no idea the
understanding that exists between those family members. I do
know the call is about business because people tend to talk
extremely loud when talking on their mobile phones. That really
I have addressed my leisure time away from the workplace where I
have observed others and their inconsideration to the general
public. At the workplace, impoliteness and rudeness to others
when on the phone or not, is totally unacceptable from
Since I am a trainer and consultant, I find it extremely
difficult minding my own business when I hear conversations
employees have with customers, clients or patients.
I think of the many opportunities I have to offer assistance
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 lower profits.
Every connection an employee has with a customer, patient,
client (or potential one) is vital to the profits of any
company. I therefore offer to you, 20 Telephone Etiquette for
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.
20 Telephone Etiquette Tips for Customer Service
1. Make sure you speak clearly and are smiling as you answer the
phone; also identify yourself.
2. Before placing a caller on hold, ask their permission first
and thank them.
3. 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.
4. Do not forget to return the call as you promised.
5. Do not permit the phone to ring into the office more than
6. Always use a pleasant, congenial and friendly tone.
7. Never interrupt the person while he/she is talking to you.
8. Never engage in an argument with a caller.
9. Do not handle an unhappy caller's concern openly at the
10. Do not make it a habit of receiving personal calls at work.
11. Do not answer the phone if you are eating or chewing gum.
12. 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.
13. Learn how to handle several callers simultaneously with ease
14. Return calls promptly that have been left on voice mail and
15. 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.
16. Do not ever 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
17. Always make collection calls in private and away from the
patient flow or public areas.
18. If possible, provide a telephone for
patients/customers/clients to use. An area providing privacy is
19. Do not call a patient, customer or client's home before
8:00AM or after 9:00PM, unless they've given you permission to
20. When hanging up the phone, make sure the caller or person
called hangs up first if the phone is slammed on the receiver.
Otherwise, 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.)
Contact me if you'd like to know the make and model of the
remote, handless headset recommended. I am not asserting this
list answers (no pun intended) all of the issues surrounding
excellent telephone skills but it's a very good start.
If a tip does not apply to you or your business, I commend
you. If even one does, I encourage you to begin immediately to
About the Author