Effective use of communication can make or break your business, particularly if you are in a position that deals directly with customers. PacificTel recommends that you treat telephone conversations, whether they are personal or professional calls, as if they are in-person meetings to ensure that you leave customers with a good impression of you and your company.
Make your greeting polite, and state your name. If you are the call recipient, try answering your phone with “Hello. This is Jane Doe,” instead of a simple “Hello.” If you initiated the call, state the purpose of your call upfront.
Hold the receiver or microphone near your mouth, speak in a normal tone of voice and clearly enunciate your words. Do not assume that the person on the other end of the phone has as clear a line as you do. Do all that you can to ensure what you say is easily understandable.
Choose a quiet environment for the call. If co-workers are speaking loudly, for example, excuse yourself to the caller and either ask your colleagues to allow you privacy to conduct the call or seek a different location. If you are speaking on a cell phone, sit down and focus on the call. If you move around, you may create sounds that can muffle your words. If you are in a windy environment, step inside to finish the call or reschedule it for another time. Wind blowing against the microphone can make a call very difficult to hear.
Let second and subsequent calls go to voice mail if possible. Keep other calls — if you must answer them — brief. Southern Illinois University recommends that you first ask the caller if you may place her on hold to take another call, and then check back every 15 to 30 seconds, or until you have completed the other call.
Provide clear, concise messages if you must leave a message on voice mail. State your name, the purpose of the call and whether you will call back. If you ask for a return call, leave your phone number, including the area code, and repeat the number to be sure it is clear.
Do not expose the caller to your personal noises. Avoid chewing gum or eating while talking on the phone, and always cover the phone and turn your head if you have to cough or sneeze.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that almost almost 1,000 people died and another 24,000 were injured in 2009 from car crashes involving cell phone use. Either turn your phone off while driving or use the hands-free option, and never send or read text messages while driving.