Phone Etiquette

I answer the phone at work (“_________ office, this is Keri”) and I get, as a response, “He woke up late, but he’s on his way.”

The lack of phone etiquette was recently a topic of conversation among me and my friends (because everyone seems to suffer it this these days), so, as a public service, let me brief people on some phone etiquette basics.

When you call someone, and they answer the phone, you should say:

“Hi (or hello), this is [insert name here].”
Example: “Hi, my name is Keri Peardon.”

It’s important people know who you are, because you could be anyone calling about anything. They don’t even know where to start if they don’t know who you are.

If you are calling on behalf of someone, add that next.
Example: “I am calling from _______ office (or for [insert name here]).

This establishes whose business you are conducting–be that on behalf of your boss, your company, or a family member.

Next, state why you are calling.
Example: “We represent _______ client, and would like to know when his court date is.” Or, “I have a question about __________.” Or, “I would like to make an appointment for __________.”

Note: When making appointments, and the person on the other end of the line offers you a range of dates/times, you should not reply, “Okay.” Rather, you should pick a time and/or date within that range. They are offering you the range so you can pick what’s best for you; that’s not an open invitation to come at any time you like.

Also note: The receptionist doesn’t want to hear your life story. Give a minimum amount of detail, and if she needs to know more, she’ll ask. You can talk about all of your aches and pains and who done you wrong when you meet with your doctor/attorney/therapist.

That’s pretty much all there is to proper phone etiquette. Easy to learn, but frustrating and comical (and not in a good way) to the person on the other end when you don’t practice it.

And when answering the phone, and the person on the other end asks for you (e.g. “May I speak to Keri?”), reply, “This is she (or he).” Per my 10th grade English teacher (who also taught Latin), this is the only grammatically-correct way to answer that question.

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