5 Easy Steps to Flawless Phone Answering

Office phone answering procedures

How to answer the phone professionally, sound like a receptionist, and impress your callers—every time!

Picture this: The flu’s hit the office, and most of the crew’s home sick, including the receptionist.

You and your healthy teammates are facing double the usual workload, and although you’re up for the challenge, one question looms:

“Who’s going to answer the phone?”

You find yourself wondering… how does a receptionist answer the phone anyway? What does it take?

As the boss mutters something about signing up for that phone answering service, it happens — the phone rings, and by chance, you’re standing closest to it.

All eyes are on you. Do you have what it takes?

Fear not! Our live virtual receptionists have your back. If you’re the office pinch-hitter, follow these five steps to flawless phone answering success:

1. Greet your caller graciously.

“Hello” doesn’t cut it. Begin with something nice like “Thank you for calling,” end with a “How may I help you?” and be sure to slip your company name in the middle. Above all, you want to leave your callers with a positive impression! Our greeting guidelines make it simple.

Discover the ROI.

Discover the benefit of real, meaningful connections on your bottom line in our free guide!

GET YOUR COPY

2. Mind your manners.

You may be new to the receptionist game, but if you’re nice, no one will notice. Ask for information rather than demanding it, as in “May I say who is calling?” and “May I have your name?” Throw “please” and “thank you” in there as much as possible. Remember, everyone loves to be treated with respect and the happier your callers are, the happier you’ll be!

3. Deflect with style.

Here’s a little secret every great receptionist knows: it’s not about having the answer to every question, it’s about knowing what to say when you don’t know. “Let me find out for you” and “Let me connect you with the best person to help you” are excellent responses, whereas “I don’t know” is not so much.

4. Avoid dead ends.

When you’re not able to reach the person your caller is seeking, always offer to take a message or transfer the caller to voicemail. Similarly, never make your caller ask to leave a message — it’s awkward and off-putting. It’s as easy as this: “Tim’s in a meeting. May I take a message?” There’s always a way to work in a positive spin!

5. Keep calm and carry on.

Mistakes — we’ve all made them. Our expert virtual receptionists have learned that nearly any flub can be remedied with friendliness. Being a receptionist isn’t an easy job by any means, but at the end of the day, you’re a person communicating with another person. The key to answering the phone flawlessly is a personal touch! Be kind, be courteous, and be yourself, and you’re sure to hit any curve ball out of the park.

Want more tips?

Get our comprehensive walkthrough for top-notch, completely unbeatable call handling!

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Person talks on phone in snowy outdoor environment
Small Business Tips

How to manage difficult customer conversations this holiday season: 3 examples + tips

2021 Legal Trends Report: gavel with scale of justice on desk
Legal Practice Tips

Clio 2021 Legal Trends Report: in summary

Content marketing and social media tips: side view of photo editor working in a creative office
Small Business Tips

Content marketing & social media: 4 easy tips for getting started

A single pine tree on a rocky summit
Small Business Tips

Meeting customer expectations during a holiday season like no other

Person at desk in front of computer waiting on phone
Receptionist Tips

Have trouble handling the emotional weight of phone calls? You’re not alone.

Choosing a business number: overhead view of faded yellow vintage telephone with notebook and numbers on monochrome background
Small Business Tips

What your phone number says about your business

How to find and analyze your website traffic: two people look at a computer in a bright office space
Small Business Tips

How to find and analyze your website traffic

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering - Ruby

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

What is a conversation worth: illustration of a confused person with complicated calculations hovering above their head
Small Business Tips

What is a conversation really worth? We calculated the exact dollar amount.

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022: man looks at laptop
Legal Practice Tips

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022

24/7 live chat: a Ruby chat specialist and a potential new client use computers in split screen with a live chat window between them
About Ruby

How Ruby’s 24/7 live chat solution grows your business and saves you time

Why empathy matters for your business: person listening to another person in cafe with laptop, papers, and coffee
Small Business Tips

Why empathy matters for your business

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers—an illustration of two people with crowns surrounded by flowers
Small Business Tips

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers

Title card: Authentic small business marketing with Jamie Adams of Scorpion

Ruby partner feature: Authentic small business marketing with Scorpion

Using chat as a sales tool: hands using laptop
Small Business Tips

4 ways to leverage live chat as a sales tool

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
Sales Support

Already a Ruby customer?

Let’s get started.

Ready to turn more callers into customers?

Missed connections translate to lost revenue. With Ruby, you have a partner in gaining and retaining customers. Plus, we’re so confident you’ll love our service, we offer a 21 day money-back guarantee*.

*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the canceled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner. Some restrictions may apply.