Dear everyone who answers phone calls as part of their job;
Please remember these important things when you are answering a phone call from a client/potential client:
1. Speed: For the love of all that is good in this world, please do not speak so quickly your words run together and it sounds like you’re speaking some strange alien language. Even if your calls, for whatever reason, are meant to be kept brief, you need to make sure your speaking speed is slow enough that you can be understood. If your greeting alone is said too quickly I may not even be able to be sure I have reached the correct place of business.
2. Enunciate: Some words and letters can sound the same if not spoken clearly, especially over the phone. I mean there is a reason why when you are spelling things out or giving a sequence of numbers over the phone people say things like “M as in mouse” or they use the phonetic alphabet. You need to speak clearly and concisely.
3. Volume: I don’t want to be screamed at over the phone but it is just as frustrating if you are speaking so softly I can barely hear you. Even if you can not hear it on your end there may be some audio noise/distractions on my end and you whispering sweet nothings at me isn’t going to go well for either of us. I may also have hearing trouble, which to be fair you won’t possibly know about beforehand, but keep in mind we don’t all hear well so you need to speak up.
4. Attitude: I understand you’ve probably dealt with at least a dozen “stupid” questions today (potentially a lot more, depending on your specific line of work) but don’t sigh and get frustrated with me if I don’t know the answer to something that you think I should know. People ask questions – however ricidulous they may seem – to get answers because they need them, not to be a pain in your ass. If I was supposed to call a different department for my specific need, you needn’t be snippy with me over it – chances are I found your number online but not the other number, so as far as I knew I was calling the proper number. In some cases I may have even been specifically told by someone else you work with/for to call this number so I just did as I was told. All you have to do is politely inform me you will forward my call (when call forwarding is possible), or politely provide me with the number I need to call instead. It is also inappropriate for you to get pissy and impatient with me if I keep asking you to repeat yourself. That one right there is most likely your own fault for 1, 2, or 3 above, or any combination of those three.
5. Eating: Please do not eat while working. As the above issues, you having food in your mouth is going to make it difficult to understand what you’re saying. It’s also just rude. Taking a sip of water as needed is fine, but I should not have to listen to you munching away on something crunchy, slurping something soupy etc.
Also keep in mind that some people (such as myself) have a fear of talking on the phone – your making the call more difficult than it needs to be could really screw up someone’s day if they have serious anxiety issues.
To recap: if you answer phones as part of your daily job please remember to speak loudly enough to be heard, slowly and clearly to be understood, treat your callers with kindness, and do not take calls while you are eating.
Until next time. xoxo