Presenting a professional image, both in person and on the telephone, is very important in the Office Skills profession. Taking care of your customers over the telephone and making them feel well informed and appreciated is essential. Whether you are the front office receptionist or an executive secretary, the following phone tips should always be followed.
- Speak clearly. A picture paints a thousand words but the caller on the other end of the phone can only hear you. They cannot see your face or body language. Therefore, taking the time to speak clearly, slowly and in a cheerful, professional voice is very important.
- Use your normal tone of voice when answering a call. If you have a tendency to speak loud or shout, avoid doing so on the telephone.
- Do not eat or drink while you are on telephone duty. Only eat or drink during your coffee break or lunch break.
- Do not use slang words or Poor Language. Respond clearly with “yes” or “no” when speaking. Never use swear words.
- Address the Caller Properly by his or her title. (i.e. Good morning Mr. Brown, Good afternoon Ms. Sanders). Never address an unfamiliar caller by his or her first name.
- Listen to the Caller and what they have to say. The ability to listen is a problem in general but it is very important to listen to what the caller has to say. It is always a good habit to repeat the information back to the client when you are taking a message. Verify that you have heard and transcribed the message accurately.
- Be patient and helpful. If a caller is irate or upset, listen to what they have to say and then refer them to the appropriate resource. Never snap back or act rude to the caller.
- Always ask if you can put the caller on hold. If you are responsible for answering multiple calls at once, always ask the caller politely if you may put them on hold. Remember that the caller could have already waited several minutes before getting connected to you and may not take lightly to being put on hold. Never leave the person on hold for more than a few seconds or they may become upset and hang up.
- Always focus on the call. Try not to get distracted by people around you. If someone tries to interrupt you while you are on a call, politely remind them that you are on a customer call a nd that you will be with them as soon as you are finished.
To strengthen the etiquette and service quality, over the phone, of this Ministry and all subsidiaries, and promote institution image.
- Implementation scope:
All employees of the Ministry and its subsidiaries shall follow this while on the phone or handling telephone service matters.
- Attitudes over the phone:
(I) Each institution shall hold occasional telephone etiquette training sessions for employees to ensure tactful communication and correspondence, while cultivating patience, to improve telephone service attitude.
(II) Answers provided by a handler shall be clear, honest and detailed, to avoid misunderstandings or harmful results stemming from disinterested attitudes. (III) Public applications by phone shall be dealt with right away. Cases that cannot be immediately handled shall be dealt with and completed as soon as possible and to avoid excessive and irate phone calls.
(IV) Tone shall be sincere and humble, using laymen’s terms.
(V) No official confidential information shall be disclosed over the phone.
- Telephone Etiquette:
(I) Phones shall be picked up promptly, notifying the caller the name of the unit followed by greetings such as “how are you?” and “good morning”.
(II) When transferring a phone call, make frequent use of “ok”, “please wait”, “sorry” and so on.
(III) When the caller requests transfer, the assigned call receiver shall first notify the caller his/her service unit or name.
(IV) A hostile tone is never allowed, even with an impatient or angry caller
(V) If the caller raises questions beyond the receiver’s scope, the latter shall disclose the reason for this and transfer the call to someone who can answer such questions. Hanging up or “I don’t know” are not allowed.
(VI) When saying “no”, first disclose to the caller the actual difficulties.
(VII) With a wrong number, the receiver shall notify the caller of the situation and ask him/her to verify the number before making another call. Never just state “wrong number” and hang up.
(VIII) When the requested party is not in the office, notify the caller that the party is either on vacation or not currently in the office and offer to take a message. Never respond with “He/she is not here” and hang up.
(IX) When receiving a complaint or criticism, explain tactfully and express regret or gratitude; under no circumstances get into a dispute.
(X) Telephone conversations shall remain cheerful, smart and efficient.
(XI) Upon completion of a phone conversation, use “thank you”, “you’re welcome”, “goodbye”, “please feel free to call again with additional questions”, “glad to be of service” and so on.
- Operator Etiquette: (I) Operators shall not leave their posts without permission. They must to pick up the phone right away and announce the institution name, e.g. “The Ministry of Justice. How are you? May I ask who you would like to speak to?” Operators may not simply state “Hello” or “Hello, this is the operator”. If there is a delay in phone pick-up, operators shall notify the caller and express regret.
(II) Once the caller states the party he/she would like to speak to, operators shall respond with “sure, please wait for a second” and not silently transfer the call.
(III) If the requested party is busy, operators shall notify the caller by saying “The line is currently busy. Would you like to be connected to someone else?”
(IV) When the line of the requested party is busy and there is no other line available, operators shall ask the caller to wait. If the caller does, operators shall try to connect the call. If not, operators shall say sorry and disconnect the call.