How to answer the phone properly at the office

Answer that phone the way you would like to be answered

If you work in a office as a receptionist, secretary or a customer service call center, you will deal with a lots and lots of phone calls. You have to deal with those calls just like the callers were sitting just in front of you, and help them in their needs, that's the reason why they are calling you, they need something from you. And with this guide you will do it the best way to satisfy your customers, and your boss eventualy. And now, the steps:

  1. The phone rings, let it ring twice to give a few seconds to get ready to answer, in case you were busy with something and then pick up the phone;
  2. You announce the place where you work, say your name and ask in how you can be useful to them. The "welcoming sentence" should be something like this "Good morning,this is from Company X office, it's Joan speaking, how may I help you?", just for an example;
  3. Then you listen to the callers need and if you can help him/her, do so directly in a preferably short, clear and simple way;
  4. If you can't help that person directly and you need to transfer the call to someone else, say to the caller that he needs to speak with another section, office, etc., and that you are going to transfer the call right away;
  5. When you're going to transfer the call to another person, warn first who the caller is and the purpose of the call, and if accepted, transfer the call;
  6. When the purpose of the caller has been achieved, thank him for using your company, office, etc., services, if that's the case, and then say goodbye.

And now a few tips you should always have in mind:

  • Smile while on the phone, it helps keep an upbeat intonation as you speak;
  • Never, but never lose you temper, always keep your professional courtesy;
  • be direct and simple on your sentences;
  • try to keep the same tone of voice during the entire conversation, because the caller could misunderstand the way you're speaking and think you are joking with him or something, try not to very much on your tone and keep a moderate one;
  • do not use slang or jargon, or use words that you you would use with your school buddies,or mumbles like "uh huh", "um" for instance;
  • be always positive on the phone, even on "bad" day;
  • if you're taking notes during the call, take them immediately and accurately, ask the caller to spell it, if need of it;
  • don't leave people on hold for too long, just about 30-45 seconds, then ask if the caller wishes to continue to hold or to call later;

And this is it, with all this knowledge you should improve your phone answering skills.

Comments 28 comments

aka-dj profile image

aka-dj 7 years ago from Australia

I WISH ! ! It would be SSOO nice to have human beings answer the phone! I am so tired of my calls being answered by computerised prompts to push buttons to be put through to the right department etc. I hate them. I'd rather a person do a lousy job, than a machine do a "good" job. Thanks for the hub.


Frank 6 years ago

Nice how-to. You would think answering the phone skills would come naturally, but in those cases when it doesn't, this hub should help.


Tanya  6 years ago

wow this helped a lot im just 16 and working as a secretary with NO experience this helped a lot thanxz a lot.


none yah 6 years ago

ty imma get an A on homework


Sean 5 years ago

this really helps


Jasmin 5 years ago

Thanks for this....my boss gave me 1 for answering the phone...This will help....


han fedpolad 5 years ago

Thanks for this, I'm an intending secretary looking for something to help.


Sirkka Kandume 5 years ago

i like it thanks a lot


Serry 5 years ago

I work in an office building of about 300 and I'm one of three people that picks up the 800 line. This article was great but in practice I've never waited for the other line to pick up in a transfer. Putting the rest into practice, though, has gotten me top marks in customer service. Thanks for the good review.


emmice08 profile image

emmice08 5 years ago from Illinois

I agree with the information you provided. Most of the work I have done, has been customer service based. I think it is important to remember that each person you speak with is a new person, and treat that call as a new call. Though it may seem silly to smile, it does make a difference. :-D


Bruce Brotherston 4 years ago

You never get a second chance at making a first impression.


emily 4 years ago

Thanx so much,seen where I went wrong.improvement as 4m today.


ycnan 4 years ago

I am very happy for all your information regarding on how to answer the phone,because i don't have an experience in office but now i get more lesson on how to answering a call. thanks for a lot,and put more information regarding on how a secretary entertain the call.

, and now i have an idea how to answer the phone,and was lucky to have you.


kurim@u! 4 years ago

thanks so much this will help.. hi emily. please contact me 09399025503


disgruntled salesman 4 years ago

Ok advice, I have used the "smile on the phone" thing for years as a salesman. Here is some advice from the other side - a salesman. Saying "regarding?" is akin to saying f^*k off, it is ignorant and nosy, especially when repeated more than once. 2. Just because you are the secretary doesn't qualify you to make business decisions: learn to tell the difference between salesmen and telemarketers and which ones should be let through.3.Drop the hostile attitude; if you don't like your job, quit. 4. Your poor attitude on the phone may come back to haunt you, in other words always be polite, never be snarky.As a professional salesman I have overcome thousands of gatekeepers to speak to owners of companies / those in power.Just because you wont let me through doesn't mean that I will not eventually meet up with that person, as I am a professional salesman and that is my job. I have got more than one bitchy receptionist fired because she irritated me with her attitude. 5. If you do get a pesky telemarketer type, be honest with them, that you can get fired if you let the wrong person through: professional salesmen will understand,boiler room telemarketers will not. 6.Ask your boss / superiors for a list of people they would talk to/ entertain, and a list that they absolutely would not entertain.7. Never, ever hang up om anyone. It has happened to me more than once, those were the people I made a point to get fired: translation don't piss off salesmen!8. Lastly,I have talked to some real miserable bit$%es, and i have talked to some very wonderful ladies that made my day. Kill them with kindness, it will benefit you in the end and make your job that much more enjoyable. A great receptionist is quite irreplacable at a business, and sometimes takes years to replace, if at all.Good luck


4 years ago

Mr. Salesman...The receptionist is doing her job as you are doing yours. I can't imagine being proud of having someone fired. You are very mean spirited. Did you ever think of being kind on the phone? Maybe, reception is only mirroring your behavior towards her. I've been charged with answering the phones of several large multi national corporations and have been threatened by the smallest of intellects to be reported for doing my job. Management has always valued me for my professionalism and gate keeping skills. Remember, your agenda is not everyone's agenda.


Mariah Nicholaus 4 years ago

I am keeping on practicing this and I can see that it helps.


SHANE UGANDA 4 years ago

THIS IS A GREAT IDEA HOPE EVERY PERSON PRACTICES IT

THANKS CAUSE IT HELPED ME A lot


penny johannes 4 years ago

This is amazing am gona try it,hope it'll be helpful


martha 3 years ago

wow this is realy going to help me, i dit marketing but i am now working as a secretary. and i am 3weeks new to the job. this is going to be very uuseful to me thank you guyz.even though i sumtimes panick when anserring calls but im getting naw


Bhuwan 3 years ago

Thanks for yours tips.


SEVIE TAIGOH 3 years ago

Wow this is a GREAT, I agree with all your information regarding on how to answer the office phone bcos I don't have experience in the office,just yesteday my Boss told me to be an office receptionist and I'm nervous but anywhere THANHKS very much,it will helpful in life time.


shobha 3 years ago

thanx for uploading this site

its becm helpful for me.


miss T 2 years ago

Thank yu,this helped a lot. Hope my phone transfer wil improve from tday.


Ms Linda 2 years ago

Thank you so much for the needful information.I hope these information's will help me in my further career....

Thank you so much.............


Rachel 2 years ago

thanks a lot ,this will improve my skills and this information helps me very much. thank you so much


joannie 2 years ago

how can i deal with a phone call when im talking to someone ?


ruiandrade14 profile image

ruiandrade14 2 years ago from Azores Author

You should follow the tips mentioned above.

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