Paging Dr. Ruby: What’s Your Phone(side) Manner?

Paging Dr. Ruby

We received a wonderful comment from blog reader Samantha requesting a bit of advice. Says Samantha, “I’m the nicest person, but sometimes my choice of words makes me seem rude or in a hurry.” We’re so glad you found our blog, Samantha! Learning how to make the best impression over the phone is an important skill, and thankfully it’s an easy one to master with the right tools.

In honor of Samantha’s question, today’s post includes some of our favorite must-have habits for WOWing callers.

  • Speak in an inviting tone. From word one, aim for a tone of voice that says I’m friendly, professional, and so glad you called! I’m here to help you. A surefire way to ensure a welcoming tone is to smile. Pretend you’re face-to-face with your caller, and show your grin as you speak!
  • Match your caller’s pace. If your caller is brief and to-the-point, strive for concise, pleasant responses. Likewise, take your time with callers who speak more slowly, or those for whom English may not be their first language. A fast rate of speech can sound intimidating or confusing to a slower-talking caller, so if you know yourself to be a fast talker, take special care to slow down when your caller’s pace does.
  • Ask permission. When asking questions of your caller, begin with May I, as in May I ask who is calling? or May I place you on hold for a moment? Skip commands like I need your name and Hold, please. And when a caller gives you what you want, be sure to…
  • Say thank you! These beautiful little words never go out of style! Pepper thank you into every conversation.
  • Be enthusiastic. Look for opportunities to use powerfully positive words like absolutely, certainly, wonderful, I’ll be happy to, and I’ll be delighted to.
  • Show what you can do (and not what you can’t do). Don’t worry about having the right answer to every question. Instead, be prepared with an upbeat reply that shows your dedication to finding the answers: That’s a great question! I’ll do my best to find the answer for you.
  • Lend a hand. When you need to verify or clarify a piece of information, try prompting your caller with your best guess: Thank you! Is that Tara with a T as in terrific?
  • Be extra nice when you need to ask twice. If you’re having a hard time hearing your caller, pour the politeness on thick: I apologize — I’m having a bit of trouble hearing you. Would you mind repeating that? (Sounds a heck of a lot better than Uh, what?, right?)
  • Say thank you again. Seriously, these two little words are your best friends —  use them liberally! Saying thank you is the perfect way to show your friendliness and dedication to service.

Do you have burning questions for “Dr. Ruby”? Share away in the comments below — we’d be happy to answer them in a future blog post!

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