Give a friendly greeting. The ideal greeting when picking up the telephone consists of three parts:
“Good morning, Student Accounts, Lilly speaking”;
“Good morning, 143, Jon speaking.”
By offering a salutation, you make the caller feel welcome. By giving the name of your office or living area, you tell the caller the right number has been reached. By giving your name, you convey friendliness and helpfulness. If you must abbreviate you greeting, at least offer the name of your office or living area and your name: “Facilities Management, Kit speaking.”
Smile. When you smile, that smile is reflected in your voice. As one book on etiquette says, “When someone calls a company, the voice of the person who answers speaks for the spirit of the firm.” A good telephone voice contains a smile.” A good voice has variety of tone and expression, is neither too formal nor too familiar, and words are pronounced clearly.
Offer assistance. Offer to help the caller in any way you can. Give the information required; direct the caller to the appropriate department; take a message if they are calling for someone who is not in at the moment. Fulfill their needs to the greatest extent you are able.
Summoning someone else. If you have to bring someone else to the phone, set the receiver down gently or put the caller on hold if you will need to call to the person or talk in the background. If it will take the person some time to reach the phone, explain this to the caller and ask if they can wait. If the person is out, take a message.
Taking a message. If you take a message for someone else, be sure to get the caller’s name (first and last), company or University department, telephone number (including area code and extension), and message (briefly stated and to the point).
Write this information on a proper sheet of paper. Add the time the message was received and your own initials, and indicate whether the caller wants the call returned or will call back. And be sure the message is delivered as soon as possible.
Close properly. Whether the call is business or social, always say “Thank you for calling” before hanging up.
“The art of speaking pleasingly,” Maharishi says in The Science of Being and Art of Living, “lies in speaking in a simple and natural way….It is sincerity and truth in speech and the intelligence behind it which make an impression and accomplish its purpose.”
Asking to speak to someone else. If someone other than the person you wish to speak to answers the phone, offer: 1) a greeting, 2) your name, and 3) the name of the person you’d like to speak to.
“Hello this is Paul; may I speak to Maureen?”
If the person you’d like to speak to is out, it is considerate to leave your name: “Would you tell her John called? Thank you. Goodbye.”
Return your calls immediately. “The most important thing to remember about telephone manners,” one authority on etiquette states, “is to return your calls promptly.”
Reaching wrong numbers. If you dial a wrong number, it is common courtesy to say, “I’m sorry,” or “Please excuse me,” before hanging up.
By following these guidelines, we can ensure that anyone who speaks by telephone with us will realize that this is a place where ideal social behavior is naturally being cultivated and the finest feelings nourished.