The worst way I've ever heard a phone answered was at an optometrist's office in New Jersey where the receptionist simply said, "Offices."
It was less personal than saying "hello," and yet callers had no idea what sort of "offices" they'd actually reached or if they'd just dialed the wrong number.Here are a few tips for the best way to answer a phone and sound professional doing it.
Answer before the third ring
You don't want to leave callers waiting.
Wait until you have the phone next to your face to start talking.
Many people rush to speak before the phone is in place. If your phone doesn't pick up on faraway sounds well, it can leave the caller hearing only the very end of what you are saying. "This is Louis" can sound like "...is," which is even more confusing than, "Offices."
Introduce the business and yourself when you pick up the phone.
If there is an official greeting for at your place of work, use it. If not, your safest bet is something like, "Good morning. This is GoodTemps. Carissa speaking. How may I help you?"
Be appropriately formal.
Instead of, "Just a second," say, "May I put you on hold?" Instead of, "Who is this?" say, "May I ask who's calling?" You should always sound more formal at work than you would at home or on your own phone.
If the call isn't for you, transfer it to the right person.
If you don't know how to transfer calls on your phone, ask someone to show you as soon as possible. If the right person isn't available, take a message and give it to them. Be as helpful as you can, even if it isn't your job.
Smile when you speak.
It comes through in your voice.
Whether you're an executive or a receptionist, these tips will ensure you sound friendly and professional whenever you pick up the phone.
Carissa Doshi is a business writer and the president of Gen Y Media Group. She gives career advice and blogs about her experiences on www.carissadoshi.com. You can also follow @CarissaDoshi on Twitter.