How to Give Exceptional Customer Service When Taking a Message

A great receptionist knows no matter how few words are exchanged during a call, there’s always room to make an excellent impression on a caller, even if you’re just offering to take a message. Wondering how? Here are four ways:

Pepper your offer with positivity.

If you’re offering to take a message, that usually means the person your caller is seeking isn’t available, and that can seem like a disappointment. Keeping your tone and word choice upbeat will help make callers happy even when you can’t provide exactly what they want.

Thank you for your patience. Jane is in a meeting at the moment, but I’ll be happy to take a message!

Ask for key info.

When you need to collect or confirm information, ask for it just after offering to take a message. Guiding questions will keep your call on track, leapfrog awkwardness, and help ensure every message you take is complete and accurate.

I’ll be happy to take a message! What’s the best number for a return call?

I’ll be glad to ask Jane to return your call! May I take down your email address?

Use your caller’s name.

If you know your caller’s name, say it! Uttering a caller’s name is a super simple way to show you’re listening and build instant rapport. When callers trust you, they’re more likely to be interested in leaving a message, and less likely to rebuff your offer with a reply like “Oh, I’ll just call back later.”

I’ll be happy to take a message, Mary! When would you prefer to set up a meeting?

I’ll be happy to take a message, Mary! Your last name, Addison — is that A as in Absolutely, D as in Delightful…?

Try twice when faced with hesitation.

When, despite your thoughtfully-worded offer, your caller declines to leave a message or leave a key piece of information, ask again, and explain your reason for asking.

Would you mind if I jot your number down, so Tim has it handy when he receives this message?

What if your caller still declines to leave a message? Take one anyway. Let’s say you send this message to your teammate:

Phone Tip: Messages

There’s not much to it, but it lets your teammate know that Frank may be sending an email. Better yet, it gives your teammate the opportunity to preemptively email Frank, or even call him back, and that’s when the real fun begins:

Hi, Frank! I understand you called for me this afternoon. How may I help you?

Wow — I didn’t even leave a message. You must have an awesome receptionist!

Being super friendly, and ultra thorough will impress your clients, even when you can’t give them what they want right away!

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