Jaskaran has been looking forward to the Christmas holidays all month; he’s going to spend it with his family whom he hasn’t seen all year. Immediately after booking his flight tickets, he realizes he’s booked them for the wrong date. He calls the airline to reschedule his tickets and finds himself dealing with a customer care representative who is both rude and incompetent. There are too many instructions to follow and Jaskaran is frustrated.

We’ve all been victims of inefficient customer service to the point that we’ve lost our temper. Lack of proper communication reflects poorly on a business and its brand image. We can avoid such mistakes by practicing good telephone etiquette. What is phone etiquette? Let’s find out.

What Is Telephone Etiquette?

The way in which someone perceives their first interaction with an individual or an employee is extremely important. Telephone conversations are a preferred method of business communication because it’s personal and serves as an opportunity to create a good first impression of the organization.

Phone etiquette is a way for you to showcase your manners and properly represent yourself or your business to others. Positive interactions create lasting impressions that are instrumental to business success. Telephone etiquette consists of active listening skills, choice of words and tone of voice.

Here are some telephone etiquette examples that show the difference your telephone manners make:

  • We often use a friendly greeting to introduce ourselves or our businesses. We convey enthusiasm through our words

  • We adopt a confident and professional tone when interviewing for jobs

Importance of Basic Telephone Etiquette

Before we explore ways to improve our telephone manners, let’s look at the importance of proper phone etiquette:

  • It reflects professionalism and appropriate conduct

  • It helps influence others and create positive impressions

  • It helps build interpersonal relationships by establishing trust and loyalty

Developing Effective Telephone Etiquette

Now that we’ve established the importance of telephone etiquette, let’s look at some effective ways of developing and practicing it:

  1. Answer Calls Quickly

Try to answer your calls after two or three rings. Answering quickly reflects professionalism and makes your callers feel valued. In case you miss any call(s), return them as soon as possible.

  1. Introduce Yourself

Whether you’re reaching out to someone or it’s the other way around, always introduce yourself first. Introductions and greetings break the ice and the person feels more at ease.

  1. Resonate Positivity

When you communicate with a positive tone of voice, you’re more likely to build rapport. It’s a good idea to practice speaking in front of a mirror to fine-tune your tone.

  1. Mirror Your Caller’s Style

You should match the tone and style of your caller. If they want to skip formalities and get to the point, you get to the point as well. Make them feel comfortable by being on the same page.

  1. Listen Actively

There may be times when there are too many distractions or you’re unable to focus for some reason. Use a notebook to keep track of conversations and formulate appropriate responses using your notes.

  1. Minimize Emotional Reactions

It’s difficult to manage emotions, especially when someone responds rudely. Find a break in the conversation and politely excuse yourself for a few minutes. After you’ve composed yourself, get back to the call and make objective statements to support your argument.

  1. Ask For Permission

People feel in control of a conversation when you ask for their permission before taking any action. For example, ‘may I put you on hold for a moment?’ shows respect and gives control to your caller.

  1. Be Confident

Confidence is key to any productive interaction. If you struggle to answer anything, use phrases like ‘that’s a great question’ and ‘I want to make sure I find the right answer for you’. Show that you’re confident in your ability.

Telephone etiquette is all about optimizing what you should do or avoid, to engage successfully with people. You should also be professional at all times. Harappa Education’s Practicing Excellence course will help you learn to be respectful towards others. The Four Selfs of Excellence framework will teach you how to present your best self. Make every interaction count and impress everybody with your communication skills!


Explore topics such as What is Etiquette, Business Etiquette & Meeting Etiquette from our Harappa Diaries section and improve social skills and develop professionally.

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