Receptionist tips for answering the phone: 3 ways to make your company’s greeting great

First impressions: you never get a second chance to make them, and at Ruby, we’re all about making them great.

For our virtual receptionists, answering the phone is a chance to show off our super-friendly stuff. A company’s greeting plays a key part in making an impeccable impression on a caller, and we love helping new clients craft greetings that wow!

Without further ado, here are three Ruby-approved elements to use when answering the phone:

Note: This article was first published in 2018. We updated it in September 2022.

1. Start with a greeting.

I know, you’re shocked.

But, first things first: simply stating your company name isn’t enough. Begin your company’s phone greeting with “Hello,” or “Thank you for calling,” or, if most of your callers are in the same time zone, try “Good morning/afternoon.” Better yet, combine two or three of these options in your greeting.

A greeting is not only polite, but serves practical purposes, such as…

  • Creating a friendly tone for the conversation
  • Demonstrating that you’re a real person (and maybe located in the same time zone or region as the caller)
  • Giving you an extra moment to prepare for the call
  • Ensuring you and the caller can hear each other

Welcome your callers with a few warm words before saying anything else. A little courtesy goes a long way!

2. Say your company name.

Stating your company name is essential. Now, “Hello” is a great way to begin a greeting, but it does not make for a professional greeting. If your business is answering the phone with “Hello” alone, call a company meeting pronto and nix that nuttiness.

In fact, a plain “hello” can be awkward and confusing to callers, and it’s likely to make them question whether they’ve dialed the correct number. Always state your company name when taking calls. You’d hate to have a potential client hang up on you because they think they’ve misdialed, right? Always remember to state your company name.

3. Offer assistance.

“How may I help you?” Ah, what beautiful words. When answering the phone, let your callers know you’re raring to make their day by rounding off your greeting with a question. “How may I help you today?” and “How may I assist you?” are two rock-solid options.

Are you routing calls rather than addressing questions when answering the phone? Perhaps try “How may I direct your call?” Is there a question you need to ask every caller? Ask it! (“May I have your account number please?”)

Depending on the caller and type of call, you may want to keep the conversation going or end the conversation as soon as possible. In either case, remember to always center the caller’s needs.

Because every customer wants to feel considered, ending your greeting with a helpful question makes for a great customer experience every step of the way.

Putting it all together—the perfect way to answer the phone

After all is said and done, here’s what the finished phone greeting should look like, er… sound like, rather:

“Good morning! Thank you for calling ABC Company. How may I help you today?”

I feel good just reading it. Sure beats the heck out of “Hello”!

Of course, your greeting is only part of the amazing-memorable-unbeatable call handling equation. Find more phone answering and customer experience tips in our resource library!

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