Rude Business Phone Antics

WRITTEN February 22, 2018 Author: Rich Atkins

What is proper Business Phone Behavior?


Have you ever made a phone call to a business and gotten the answer, “So-and-so isn’t here right now. Can you call back in 15 minutes?”

Do you find anything wrong with that?

In a tennis game, when a player hits the ball, the second player hits it back to the first. It works the same way with callers to our companies. In other words, when someone calls a business, the “ball is in their court,” so to speak.

Yet, this bad behavior (asking people to call again for the same purpose) is more common than many of us may notice. In fact, some of us sheepishly may accept that the burden falls back on us to re-call the same business.

Improving Communications says that it’s time to STAND UP to BAD BEHAVIOR! It’s also important to make sure that we’re not doing it in our companies)! What are the business phone behaviors required by your company.

When you call a business, ask to speak to a specific person, and get the “So-and-so is not here now–can you call back in a half hour?” response, answer with something like this: “But I’m the one who’s calling now. Please take a message, so that So-and-so can call ME back.”

Occasionally, more shameful conversation may follow:

“I can give him the message, but So-and-so is really busy. You may not hear back from him.”

The follow-up question to that: “Is it your business’s policy not to return phone messages?”

The Lesson In All This…

Make sure that your company is being represented in the best way possible on the phone. Guarantee that callers get treated with respect.

Business Phone Rules:

  • Prepare – know what you want to say.
  • Smile – maintain pleasant demeanor.
  • Focus only on the person; avoid distractions like food or email.

When answering the phone:

  • Give a warm greeting: Good morning.
  • Identify yourself: This is Rich.
  • Offer assistance: How can I help you?
Always take messages for people who aren’t present, and ensure that the calls are returned.

This content is an offering from our Customer Service curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.



How to answer the phone at your business.

6 Phone Greetings for Business that Improve Customer Interaction

How to answer the phone at work



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