Call Center Phone Etiquette

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Smiling operator on the phone at a call center.
Smiling operator on the phone at a call center. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Never underestimate how much telephone etiquette affects the customers who contact your call center. Proper telephone etiquette is as important to a good customer experience as product or service knowledge and problem-solving skills. Both new-hire and ongoing training is vital to both teach and reinforce call center telephone etiquette skills.

Telephone Etiquette Best Practices

Call center procedures should focus on best practices for good telephone etiquette. These include using a formal greeting in which you clearly state your name, addressing a caller using sir or ma’am and never interrupting the caller. Allowing a caller to finish a thought or sentence is not only polite, but also necessary to understand the call's purpose, or formulate questions to ask once the caller finishes, so everyone is on the same page. Refraining from eating or drinking while on a call is a common sense best practice.

Vocal Etiquette

Despite good intentions, it can be easy to overlook vocal etiquette in a busy call center. Even if your words and information are correct, how you deliver a message can lead to an unsuccessful call. Tone, inflection, pitch, rate and volume are all critical to good vocal etiquette. Highlighting the right words or phrases, a lower pitch, speaking slowly and clearly, and speaking neither too softly nor too loudly are important. Don't neglect your tone of voice, which communicates how you feel about the caller.

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