Using the Telephone on the Job

Most jobs require you to use the telephone at least a little bit and increasingly more business is done on the phone. Telephone skills can greatly contribute to your job seeking and they also can help you keep your job. You may not think of using the telephone as a skill that can be developed, but more and more employers are realizing that the person who answers the phone is the face of the company. If you are good on the phone, it will help you move up in the business.

What do you need to know about telephone skills? The following list has the basics:

Professional Voice
When talking on the phone at work, it is important to use a professional and friendly tone of voice. Try to avoid slang and try not to use filler words (such as “like” or “you know”). Use proper English as much as possible.

Show Empathy
Let the customer know that their issue matters to you. If they express concern or anger, acknowledge that. You could say, “I’m sorry your bill was lost in the mail. I would be frustrated if that happened to me, too.”

Listen Carefully
Make sure you pay attention to what the person is saying on the other end of the line. Take notes and repeat back important information.

Spoken Feedback Signals
While you are listening, make sure that you give verbal feedback. Remember, the caller can’t see you. If they also can’t hear you then they will think that you’re not listening. Use words like “okay”, “I understand” and “that makes sense”. This will help the customer know that you hear what they are saying and that you are taking it seriously.

Be Polite
Make sure that you are polite to everyone you talk to – even if it is the receptionist. You never know who will answer the phone. In addition, more and more businesses are recording their calls. You don’t want to be caught being rude. Finally, you just get more done if you are polite. Those who answer phones for a living are used to talking to people who are angry and impatient. If you are kind and respectful, the person will often go the extra mile to help you.