General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Talking to someone, then the phone rings...

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For me as a client it depends on the length of our conversation and type of conversation.

I'm ordering takeout at the deli. Yep, I understand if she has to grab the phone and say "Deli, can you hold please?"  But even with this, if my order is interrupted more than 3 times without them trying to get someone else to manage the cash register or the phone, I'm probably going to leave.

If I'm meeting with my banker and I've set up an appointment, I expect their full attention during our time together. So unless and emergency, I'd be irritated if they answered another call and dealt with that client while I'm sitting there.


--- Quote from: AstiTheWestie on January 13, 2014, 04:00:23 PM ---In my office, if I am with a client face-to-face, all calls go to voice mail. IMHO, I think it is rude to put a "hold" on my meeting to answer a phone call. I do understand that there are exceptions to that rule, but that is what I prefer.

--- End quote ---


Or......answer and say "I'm with someone, can I call you back?"

I don't like it when the person helping me conduct business takes a call that gets complicated or a personal call.

(edited for clarity)

I don't like calls going to voicemail either, but I understand that if my employees are working with a client, then that client takes priority over the one calling in. 

I often have meetings in front of my computer.  So if I recognize the number, I will send a short email to the person calling letting them know I'm busy and will get back to them ASAP. 

it's literally
Subject: Saw you called, with a client
Hi [phone person], I'm currently in a meeting.  I'll call you back as soon as we're done.  Give me about x minutes or I'll call you at x-o'clock

OP here with more information.  I work at a vet's office as a receptionist.  We used to excuse ourselves from the face-to-face conversation, and ask the person on the phone if it was an emergency or if they could please hold, then go back to the client we were speaking with.  Apparently, management doesn't want people calling to think we're busy and to ask them how we can direct their call.  If they want to speak with a vet or have a question, I have to take the time to answer the question, find the person they are calling for, or take a message.  That takes time away from the person standing in front of me.  Worse is if they want to make an appointment, because then I definitely need to either find a receptionist who isn't currently busy (highly unlikely, or they would've picked up the phone themselves) or spend a few minutes making the appointment myself because I'm not supposed to put them on hold to finish up the other conversation.

The only way I think it's not completely rude is if the person on the phone actually has an emergency.

That's just bizarre.  Can you present those situations to your manager and ask what they would like you to do?  Having the person at the desk wait is really unprofessional.  I would be irked if I were at the vet or doctor and had to wait for phone calls.


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