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You’re Answering the Phone All Wrong


Robby

I know that’s the kind of headline that really bugs people, but in my experience it’s true. People in Central Indiana, and perhaps those elsewhere, are particularly bad about this. Here’s a better way to answer the phone.

First of all, let’s talk about how most people respond when a phone rings:

Hello?

That’s okay, but it slows things down and creates awkwardness.

Telephone
© Flickr User Alberto Sagredo

Why is it not-so-great to just say “hello?” A handful of reasons:

  1. It’s a question, not a statement.
  2. It requires that the caller follow up to explain who they are trying to reach, and then possibly the purpose of the call.
  3. It doesn’t indicate any desire to be on the call.

The problem with asking a question when you answer the phone is that the automatic respond to any question is an answer. But what is the answer to the question “Hello?” There really isn’t one. You force the caller to make a statement or ask a question of their own, which can be a bit awkward.

The second reason you shouldn’t just say “Hello” is that you already know what the other person is going to say. You’re just wasting time. They are going to respond to the hello by indicating the person they want to talk to, or perhaps why they are calling.

And they may say their own name. But in this modern era when we all have caller ID, that may not be something they bother with.

So what should you stay instead? How about:

“Hello, this is Bob Smith. How can I help you?

This is a good because it saves time and shows interest. It also allows you to go a different direction:

“Hello, this is Bob Smith. I am booked right now but wanted to answer in case this was urgent. Do we need to speak now or can we schedule a call?

That’s a better way to answer. It shows you care enough to identify yourself and explains what you want and need.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Wed, February 13 2019 » Uncategorized

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