Phone Etiquette: How to Answer Business Calls Like a Pro?

Phone etiquette is an important thing to know for everyone who works with clients. In this guide on phone etiquette, you can read about how you can handle phone calls like a pro. Following these techniques can help you impress customers and get better results.

Businessman on the phone

Phone etiquette tips for business calls

1. Answer within three rings

An important rule to follow for business calls is to pick up the call within three rings. If you don’t pick up the call in three rings, the person on the other side may disconnect the call. It could be a customer, and you could end up losing business. Pick up the call after two rings, so you are geared up to receive the call and ready to handle the caller.

2. Introduce yourself

Whether you are receiving a call or making a call, introduce yourself. This is basic etiquette that helps the other person identify you. Even if you are using your mobile phone for calls, a quick introduction is a good practice. You can simply start with, “Hello, I am XYZ” or “Good morning, this is XYX here”? If you are in the customer service team, include the sentence, “How can I help you?” You just can’t afford jeopardizing your opportunity to be associated with your callers/call target due to bad phone etiquette, landing you in the DNC Registry – and even worse, becoming the target of DNC Scrubber.

3. Be professional and enthusiastic

When you are attending business calls, it is a part of work. Be professional while speaking and avoid being informal. A business call with a customer or potential customer is a serious matter. Speak in a formal and professional way. The way you speak helps the person on the line get an impression of you. Sound enthusiastic while talking. Let the other person not think you are bored, tired, or disinterested.

4. Be clear, slow, and speak loudly

There could be a disturbance in a telephone line and the other person may find it difficult to hear what you said. So, speak clearly. Speak each word clearly, so there is no doubt about what you are saying. Don’t speak too fast. Speak slowly, that will help the listener understand you. Don’t speak too softly or shout. Speak at a moderate volume, so you are audible.

5. Avoid using the speakerphone

A busy executive may switch to the speakerphone, so they can talk while doing something else. This is not a good practice while handling business calls. Outside noise may be audible through the speakerphone. Your customer may hear your team members talking or sounds from your office. All these create an undesirable effect. Avoid using a speakerphone. If your job involved making calls, consider using a headset for convenience and to filter out noise.

6. Listen carefully and do not interrupt

A basic etiquette rule to follow is to allow the other person to talk and listen carefully. Some people do not listen and instead, start to think about how they should respond to what is being said. You may miss out on an important point made by the other person. So, be attentive and listen carefully to what is being said. Never interrupt, it is rude and can irritate the other person.

7. Take down notes

Nowadays, companies have recorders to record audio calls. They can listen to them later. But, why waste time on that? Instead, take down notes during the call. You can write on paper or type it on your system. These notes will ensure you don’t forget important points. They will also help you plan your reply to what the other person is asking.

Businessman making sales calls

8. Be positive

Be positive when you talk on the phone. Avoid using negative phrases and expressions. For example, avoid saying “I don’t know”. Instead, you could say, “Give me some time, I will find out and let you know.”

Being positive while speaking on the phone helps to create a positive impression on the other person.

9. Be consistent

Whoever handles the call from your company must speak in the same way. You need to train everyone in your team to speak in one voice. From the way you introduce yourself to the tone you use while talking, be consistent. This helps create a good impression of your company.

10. Use the right language

Use the right language while speaking. This is a formal call, so be formal in the selection of the words you use. Avoid using buzzwords and jargon. Some people may not like it. Also, avoid using technical terms that the other person may not understand. Using informal language can even offend the listener, so take care while choosing the words you speak.

11. Return all calls immediately

If you received calls in your absence or had voice messages reply to them immediately. Ideally, you should not take more than one working day to return calls. Taking too much time creates a bad impression.

12. Ask before you put on hold

Sometimes, you need to put the other person on hold while you check for information. Etiquette demands that you take their permission before doing it. Ask them if it is alright to put them on hold. Wait for their reply and then put them on hold. Avoid putting people on hold for too long. If you are going to take more time, you may as well tell them you will call back later.

13. Smile while talking

Smile when you talk on the phone. The person on the other end of the line can’t see you. But when you smile while talking, it creates a difference in your tone. The other person can discern it.

14. Know how to handle angry customers

When you get an angry or abusive customer on the line, know how to handle them. Be polite and apologize first. If they are abusive, let them know firmly that your company does not tolerate abusive language.

Calling online shop customer service


It is not just the receptionist or the call answering service like who need to know about phone etiquette. Everyone needs to be aware of how to handle calls from customers and the etiquette to be followed while making calls. Following the tips given here will help handle sales calls on the phone effectively.


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