On Hold? Don’t Leave Them Hanging: An Office Manager Tip

Do you answer phones for several people in an office?  Sure, that is often relegated to the receptionist, if your office is large enough, but it’s a skill that we should all possess.

And, to be frank, either people are becoming more rude or we’re no longer teaching phone skills.  Obviously, they are not pre-installed.

Recently, I was put on hold, mind you it’s a normal part of life, but not only was there only silence on the other end, but no one checked up on me for ten minutes.  I almost hung up.

Seriously?  Would you ignore someone if they showed up for an appointment in person?

Our office phone system, and I believe this is a standard feature, beeps every 30 seconds to warn us that a caller is still on hold.  There is a reason for that. We all get busy and otherwise occupied.

Generally, when I ask if a caller would like to be put on hold, I allow them space to answer. Sometimes, they opt out.  After the second buzz (30 second intervals), I ask if they’d rather leave a message.

Also, it’s a good idea to check your hold music / soundtrack every so often to ensure it is working properly.  Static is not soothing.

It should go without saying that unless your mother has just been hospitalized, personal calls are secondary.  Put a personal call on hold (better yet, call them back) if a business call comes in.

Phone manners fall under hospitality.  How you answer the phone and your mannerisms (see the fabulous tip) matter. It’s an extension of customer service and, in turn, a company’s branding efforts.

You can make or break a sale. You can lose or gain a customer. Yes, you have that power.

As the Webster’s New World Secretarial Handbook states (p 224, (c) 1989):

Answering a business telephone call is similar to welcoming a visitor. Therefore, it is essential that each call be greeted by a prompt, effective, and pleasing answer. … When the telephone rings, answer it promptly–at the first ring, if possible.  Try not to put incoming calls immediately on “hold;” many callers find this practice infuriating.

 For Thought:

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