I have worked at a technical college for over five years. I started out as the Admissions Assistant and have recently been promoted to the Admissions Coordinator. In both of these capacities, answering the telephone and making business telephone calls have been an integral part of my job. Effective telephone communication lends itself to the success of any type of business.
The person answering a business telephone may be first contact a potential customer has with your company, so first impressions can make or break future transactions. My years of phone communication have taught me some tried and true rules of etiquette that should be used in all business situations.
Your voice and speech habits are crucial elements in an effective telephone conversation. I have always heard that you should smile before answering the phone and that positive attitude will shine through in your voice. Yes, you feel a little silly at first, but the conscious effort of smiling is a good reminder to be pleasant to the person on the other end of the line. The greeting will vary depending on the company, but a friendly yet professional greeting is best. Identify yourself to the caller and end the greeting with a statement or question that assures the caller that you are there to help. The greeting I use in my office is informative yet to the point; "South Georgia Tech Student Services. This is Kari Bodrey. How may I help you?" Speak slowly and clearly in a cheerful and professional voice so the caller understands you.
Have paper and pen close by at all times to take notes or messages as needed. Listen to the caller without interrupting and repeat the message back to the customer to verify that the information is accurate. An effective message includes the name of the person for whom the message was left, the caller's name with verified spelling, the caller's company or department, the caller's phone number, the date and...