Whether you are taking a call or greeting a client in person, presenting a professional persona is vital in Customer Service positions. Always ensure you take care of your clients you are communicating with via telephone by making them feel important and well-informed.  Regardless of whether you work as a receptionist in the front office, or you were hired as the executive secretary, these telephone tips are a vital part of every conversation.

  1. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it

    Callers you speak with on the phone are only able to hear you.  Any facial expressions or body language are hidden from their view.  For these reasons, receptionists must take time to speak slowly, carefully, clearly, and professionally every time you answer a call.

  2. Modulate! Modulate! Modulate! 

    Always remember to use a normal voice volume when answering calls.  If you are aware of your tendency to speak loudly or even shout, make sure you avoid doing so while you are on the telephone.  Avoid eating and drinking while taking calls.  These activities should be reserved for your lunch or coffee breaks.

  3. Clearly, concisely, and politely

    Refrain from using slang, swear words, or other poor language skills while talking on the telephone.  Always respond clearly with a “yes” or a “no” when answering the caller’s questions.  Ensure you address all callers properly using his or her appropriate title.  For example, “Good afternoon Mr. Sanders.”  Do not address unfamiliar callers by their first names.

  4. Listen More Than You Speak

    Take time to listen to what the caller has to way.  Whenever there is a problem, listening to the caller and what he or she has to say is of uttermost importance.  One good habit in which to engage is repeating back the information the client provided you with when message taking or appointment setting.  For the benefit of you and the client, verify you hear all of the information for the message correctly.

  5. Patience is a Virtue

    Always practice patience and help the clients.  Should the caller be angry or upset, listen and find out why so you can refer him or her to the right resource.  Avoid acting rude toward the caller, as this will only escalate the tension on the telephone.  Should a co-worker interrupt you while you are speaking with a client on the phone, let them know you will get back with him or her after you finish your current call.

  6. Be Honest

    Before placing a caller on hold, always ask for his or her permission.  If the situation requires you handle more than one call at a time, politely ask the caller if he or she will hold.  The caller may have been placed on hold one or more times, or has already been on hold for an extended length of time.  Therefore, please ask for his or her permission politely with the assurance you will answer his or her call as quickly as possible.  Remember to never leave a client on hold for too long of a time, as he or she could choose to disconnect the call.  Also, if the call volume increases beyond what was originally anticipated by the business, the owner and/or manager may wish to hire a virtual receptionist to assist his or her on-site staff member.