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Author Topic: Telephone Etiquette  (Read 12944 times)

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Telephone Etiquette
« on: May 04, 2011, 12:26:20 AM »
If this topic has been started before, please move or close this thread. I did check this section twice, but it's getting a bit late and I'm tired.

I work in an office where multitasking isn't an option, but a requirement. One of these tasks involves answering the phone, taking messages, and returning voicemails. That said, I'm very close to the end of my rope lately as people seem to have forgotten some of the basics of using a telephone.

1. Please identify yourself. I speak to dozens of people on a daily basis- it's a big company. I do not recognize your voice, your number, and there are six different guys named Bob here. Leave your name, first and last. Likewise, the date and time you are calling can be extremely helpful, especially when dealing with a time-sensitive issue.

2. Speak clearly. If I have to listen to your voicemessage eight times becauseyoutalklikethisandIcan'tevengetyourname, I am going to be very annoyed because I feel as though you have wasted my time.

3. Leave your contact number, and make sure it is a working number. Say the numbers slowly, and then repeat it. If you have left a rambling message and then your number at a mile a minute, again, I will not be pleased to have to listen to the entire message again just to be able to call you back.

4. Please let us know why you are calling. If you're calling my number about something that might best be directed to Human Resources, a brief explanation of whatever situation prompted the call will expedite any and all resolutions.

5. When calling with any sort of issue, please do not say that you have "been calling all week" or "trying to get through all day" when you haven't. I keep a record of every voicemail and most live calls complete with name, contact number, and situation at hand. Calling and hanging up if the phone goes to voicemail does not count.

6. Please make an effort to reduce background noise, including music, television, other conversations, and wind. I can't help you if I can't hear you. Likewise, do not try to carry on a conversation with me and the person next to you simultaneously.

7. If you are calling your employer, YOU make the call. It is YOUR job. I will not, and under law cannot, give Mommy any information or accept instruction from her on your behalf. If you are old enough to hold a job, you are old enough to take responsibility for it, including calling in sick, scheduling days off, requesting more hours, and speaking to your supervisor.

8. Please have an idea of what you want or need to say when you call. Conversations peppered by long, unnecessary pauses and the words "like", "uh.." and "um..." are painful for both of us. Stop, take a breath, and talk. (Note: If you have any sort of speech/hearing difficulty, this clearly doesn't apply. I will be more than happy to speak in person or give you an email address if that would be easier for you.) The old, "Somebody called from somewhere and said to call back" is something that happens way too often.

9. If you are uncomfortable speaking on the phone, practice. Texting is not going to replace a call anytime soon. Find a friend and have a dress rehearsal if you need to.

10. Keep your volume appropriate. There is no need to shout - your voice is right in my ear, remember. If I have to ask you to speak up, I will.

Thank you for calling Ehell. My name is Lady Stormwing, may I help you?


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 07:13:42 AM »
11. If you are on a lunch break when you call, PLEASE stop eating while you are on the phone. I don't need to hear the slurping, chewing, and swallowing. Ditto for sipping coffee.


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 07:09:56 PM »
12. For personal calls, please don't say, "Who's this?" right after I answer. YOU are calling ME. Please identify yourself.

13. Do NOT play the "Hello?" "Hello!" "Hello!" game. Yes, I will hang up on you.

14. If you are calling a number and there are multiple people of the same gender in the house, please specify who you want; this goes double if you are calling a household with identical twins. I can't count how many times I've answered the phone, and the person starts talking on and on, and I have zero idea of what he/she is talking about...and then I find out that they either want my Mom or one of my sisters.

15. LISTEN to the voicemail intro so you don't leave information on someone else's voicemail. (Example: My voicemail clearly states, "You have reached Mopsy Rabbit. Please leave your name and number and a brief message, and I will get back to you as soon as possible." I have received voicemails with information for Bob or Wendy Smith on what Bob Smith has to do before his surgery in three days, rambling messages ending with "Jenn, call me back soon!", and all that jazz.)


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 07:52:26 PM »
When making a personal call and multiple people live in the house, please say something like "Hello, may I speak to Shelly please" instead of "Is Shelly there?" or "Shelly?".  I find it very rude when people call and offer no greeting to the person who answered the phone.


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2011, 03:05:36 PM »
16. When calling a busy office and you request a report is ready (for example), and I say it is not ready, do not ask "What do you mean, it's not ready?" I mean what I say, and you asking me what i mean, is not going to change the situation. No, I am not psychic, no I will NOT give you a timescale as to when it MIGHT be ready, I am not psychic. I have to follow the protocol, take a message with all your details and ask my Consultant (Pathologist) to call you back to discuss the report with you in depth, since he has been trained for 10 years in his profession and I am merely his secretary. Giving you a timescale is against Trust protocol and COULD get me fired. You do your job, and let me do mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rant over.
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Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Ceiling Fan

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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2011, 03:13:00 PM »
Identify yourself!

I know this is number one on the list, but it bears repeating.

"Hello, this is X ('calling from Y', if it's biz-related), is A there?" is the formula. Don't make me jump through hoops, trying to figure out who you are and why you're calling.

Let's remember who is paying for this phone service, and who it should serve. (hint: not you).


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 09:05:39 PM »
17.  When leaving a voicemail message (which is often necessary since I'm on the phone more often than not), please listen to my message.  I work for a national company (serving businesses rather than consumers) and yes, I really do need your full phone number, including area code, and the full name of your company.  If you leave a message saying "hi! This is Nick responding to your message.  Number is 555-1234" then don't be perturbed if I don't get back to you right away - it's taking me that long to try to figure out who the heck you are.


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 11:54:34 AM »
To add to #6 above - if you are calling to speak with me, let's talk with one another and then disconnect the call when the talking is done. 

Please don't leave me to listen to you talking to someone else (including yelling at kids/pet/spouse right in my ear).   

Please don't call me just to have someone on the phone with you while you putter around the house only half listening to what I'm saying. 

If you are calling just because you need someone to blow off steam to, please ask me if I have time to lend an ear for a rant.  Otherwise I might misinterpret your call as a two-way conversation and be kind of disappointed when you're done blowing off steam and haven't even asked me how I am doing before saying, "well, gotta go, talk to you later!".


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012, 12:27:18 PM »

   If you are finished with the call, please say something along the lines of 'Bye', 'Goodbye', 'See you later', or some kind of basic courtesy, instead of simply terminating the call the second whatever business is dealt with. I knew a guy who would do this and it was so irritating!


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 04:20:06 PM »
Don't call me when you are using the toilet.  I can hear what you're doing and that's something that I don't want to listen to.


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 08:44:18 AM »
Don't call me when you are using the toilet.  I can hear what you're doing and that's something that I don't want to listen to.

  AGREED. This I find so gross, I don't think its bad manners to just hang up. Certain friends don't see the big deal, as 'everyone does it', but I don't want to be a part of your bathroom experience.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2012, 08:48:34 PM »
Please don't leave me multiple voicemails over a period of a couple hours, culminating in a panicked "I have to get in touch with you!  Call me ASAP!" if you really just wanted to ask something that's not urgent.  I'm more likely to not consider your future calls urgent and important.  I had one person call and leave me four voicemails over the course of three hours (hours that I was in meetings and such) and when I called him back, he just wanted my fax number.  I have since changed my voicemail to reflect that information.  ::)


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2016, 07:43:50 PM »
(Sorry for adding on to an old thread--since these add to the overall brainstorming/project, I didn't want to start a new thread.  If this wasn't the right thing to do, please let me know and I'll promise not to do it again!)

18.  Listen to the voicemail I left you so you know who called you when you're returning the call.  I left that voicemail for a reason--to provide important information, including details such as my name.  Thus no one should ever call and say "Somebody called me..."  If you are in a situation where you're returning a call and there was no message left, you should at least begin by providing your name so I have a shot of identifying why I called you ("Hi, my name is X from Y.  I just missed a call from this number two minutes ago, do you happen to know who was trying to reach me?/I've been working with Z at your company, maybe it was him?") 

18b.  Listen to the voicemail I left you because I shouldn't have to repeat everything I just said in my detailed message that you chose to not listen to, as that's a waste of my time (particularly important for those of us who bill by the hour or are very busy and leaving many messages for many people!)

19.  If you're calling me from a business, leave a voicemail.  You should not expect that I will be willing to call you back and perform the silliness above ("Somebody called me...") because I have no idea who called me.  Calling back a business in a situation like this is particularly problematic, since the person answering the phones likely has zero idea which of their (possibly many) employees called me.

I actually have a personal policy of refusing to call back any number that I don't recognize and know well where the caller did not leave me a voicemail; I assume it was unimportant, misdialed, or a telemarketer or that they're planning to call me again later.  I do not understand how a business can expect to stay in business when it "returns" your calls by hanging up instead of leaving a voicemail when they do not reach you.  (Note: this policy doesn't apply to family.  I actually prefer my family doesn't leave a message if it's just to check in.  If I see I missed a call from you, I'll just call you back.  Being forced to check my voicemail to make the little notification go away only to hear you say "Hi, just checking in" is just annoying.)

20.  If you're going to be gone from work for a day or more during the business week, consider changing your voicemail greeting to reflect that information, so I know you won't be calling me back any time soon.  And then, just as importantly, be sure to change the greeting back when you do return.


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2016, 08:56:15 PM »
I cannot remember how many times I got a call at work that was the equivalent of "this is Bob, call me back at *local number* as soon as you can" when I worked at a call center covering 13 states and I forget how many area codes (USA).  My voice mail practically begged for a ten digit number instead of the seven digits used "locally" and a claim number or policy number - so that I could check the information that was being requested before calling back.  I could also run a search on the ten digit number, but it might be a business working on multiple vehicles for repair...or a car rental service that was spread across the entire USA...not much help there.

Other jobs were less of a problem as cell phones hadn't become relatively cheap & common - we used some old technology called "land lines" exclusively back then.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 08:59:03 PM by VorFemme »
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?


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Re: Telephone Etiquette
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2016, 02:46:16 PM »
I divide phone etiquette into two categories-- personal and business calls.  In my line of work we rarely use landlines and we use either a 'burner' phone (cheap prepaid cell phone)/Google voice type number or our personal cells (company gives us a stipend towards our bill).  ("Burner" phones are often cheaper than landlines).  My cell is a mix between personal and business calls.

Note-- I'm in my mid 30s and don't remember professional type work without cell phones.  I've never had a landline in my name.

For personal calls (to or from me.  Note-- the only people in my social circle who exclusively use landlines have since passed away and 90% of my circle is cell only and everyone uses smartphones)
No need to identify yourself (I don't do this for personal calls either).  Your name will pop up on my caller ID and I will see who this is.  Exception to this rule is when you're using a different phone than your normally use (ie your phone died and you're using a friend's). 
(Depends on the person) if you and I have a history of corresponding by text, please do that first before calling.  Or at least text me first so I have a general idea of what's going on.
If you are calling just to chat, please do not leave a voicemail (I know opinion differs here).  A missed call (or a text) will do.
(Exceptions for life or death emergency). Do not call me after 10:00 PM.  Even though I'm a night owl, that is my me time and I get very angry when someone interrupts my hot date with Netflix.  Feel free to text me then though.
Keep the TMI conversations minimal.  I don't want to hear about what goes on in the bathroom or bedroom.  And please don't call during one of those activities (or shortly before/after).  Same goes for your child or pet.  I don't need to hear about the litter box or diapers.
Please do not send me selfies before/during/after bedroom or bathroom activities.

Business calls (on my personal cell)
Don't be alarmed if I answer 'Hello' instead of "Company Name, this is Crazy Cat Lady" (if calling my burner, I'll answer it the other way)
Leave a voicemail if you wish, but I would prefer texting or email
I've worked in 8 states so far.  My cell phone number has existed for 10 years and isn't changing anytime soon.  Don't be alarmed by the strange area code.  If you are, call the burner (local area code).
If you need to reach me at a strange hour (after 11 or before 8) try and text or email me first.  I may not be awake.

Business calls (on my burner)
If you text please identify yourself.  When working long hours, programming numbers in a cheap flip phone is something that goes by the wayside. 
If I don't answer the phone, it is because I am on another call.  I can only take one call at a time.