Receptionist Etiquette Tip: 3 Tips for Verifying Names Politely

Verifying names on the phone can be a tricky!

…especially if customers call expecting you to be familiar with them. The talented virtual receptionist team at Ruby® finds verification to typically be non-essential, but there are some instances where checking the correct spelling is imperative. Perhaps you’re sending an email to follow up with a potential client after a call. In this situation, addressing Cathy as Kathy just wouldn’t do! Our remote receptionists are adept at gathering information gracefully in any situation. If verifying names is part of your job, check out these three tricks of the telephone answering trade:

1. Take a guess

Are you familiar with the caller’s name? Take a crack at spelling it.

“Smith, that’s S-M-I-T-H, correct?”

If you’re right, you’ve saved the caller a bit of trouble. And even if you’re off by a few letters, you offer a jumping-off point.

“Actually, it’s S-M-Y-T-H.”

“Great! Thank you.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the caller’s name and not comfortable taking a guess, start with a polite question like “Would you mind spelling that for me?” Then, spell the name back to the caller for confirmation. Lots of letters sound alike, so when confirming spelling, use words to clarify letters (“Is that T as in Terrific?”). Our phone answering pros keep a spelling alphabet handy for just this reason.

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2. Use caller ID

Caller ID may be helpful when verifying names. If the caller’s name matches the name shown on caller ID, try prompting the caller with the name spelling shown there. Caller ID isn’t always correct — don’t use it as a replacement for verification — but it can be a great tool for verifying spelling.

3. Verify with verity

When a caller hesitates to verify information, try politely explaining that you’ve been asked to verify names with the information you collect. Explain that you’d hate to pass along incorrect or incomplete information. Then, ask for the information again.

“I’ve been asked to verify spelling before transferring calls, and I’d hate to pass along your information incorrectly. Would you mind spelling your last name for me?”

Sounds pretty sweet, right? A little politeness goes a long way over the telephone.