General Tips on Receiving Telephone Calls

Apr 19, 2011 Comments Off by


  • If calls are not for you, then re-direct them and tell the person who called you (or misdirected the call) of their mistake and who they should have called so that they will not do it again.
  • Ensure that switchboard personnel are clear about your areas of responsibility.
  • Tell switchboard/secretary who you are always willing to talk to (your family, boss, key clients etc.) and who should be given the option of calling again later or awaiting your return call. In either case a suitable time should be established.
  • Tell switchboard/secretary of your available/unavailable times and be sure that they clearly let all callers know when you will be free.
  • Ask colleagues to field your calls for a time, and return the favour for them.
  • Use answering machine/voice mail. You are then in control if/when you call them back.
  • Delegate the responsibility for handling routine callers or callers with specific needs/enquiries.
  • Ensure clear, concise messages are taken (who, where from, number, what about, when, calling back and when, you to call and when, who took the message) and passed on quickly.
  • If you are going to take calls, answer your telephone within three rings, and disconnect if your internal call is not answered within three rings.
  • For Long conversations
    • Plan ahead what you wish to discuss.
    • Find out what the caller wishes to discuss.
    • Keep to the main points – don’t digress.
    • Preset the time available.
    • Agree an alternative time/meeting for the conversation or its continuation.
    • Warn that the conversation is closing (e.g. ‘Before we finish….’, ‘there’s one last thing…’).
    • Send, or ask to be sent, a summary of the conversation, and any supporting material, before the conversation, so that you may save time by organising your thoughts in advance.
    • Ask for the information in writing instead.

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Author – Stuart Harris, Director of DRIVE Training & Development Ltd who specialise in Sales, Customer Service and Management Training,  mainly but not solely, in Call Centres in the UK



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