Tips for the Receptionist or Secretary
Presenting a professional image, both in person and on the telephone, is very important in the Office Skills profession. Taking care of your customers over the telephone and making them feel well informed and appreciated is essential. Whether you are the front office receptionist or an executive secretary, the following phone tips should always be followed.
1. Speak clearly. A picture paints a thousand words but the caller on the other end of the phone can only hear you. They cannot see your face or body language. Therefore, taking the time to speak clearly, slowly and in a cheerful, professional voice is very important.
2. Use your normal tone of voice when answering a call. If you have a tendency to speak loud or shout, avoid doing so on the telephone.
3. Do not eat or drink while you are on telephone duty. Only eat or drink during your coffee break or lunch break.
4. Do not use slang words or Poor Language. Respond clearly with “yes” or “no” when speaking. Never use swear words.
5. Address the Caller Properly by his or her title. (i.e. Good morning Mr. Brown, Good afternoon Ms. Sanders). Never address an unfamiliar caller by his or her first name.
6. Listen to the Caller and what they have to say. The ability to listen is a problem in general but it is very important to listen to what the caller has to say. It is always a good habit to repeat the information back to the client when you are taking a message. Verify that you have heard and transcribed the message accurately.
7. Be patient and helpful. If a caller is irate or upset, listen to what they have to say and then refer them to the appropriate resource. Never snap back or act rude to the caller.
8. Always ask if you can put the caller on hold. If you are responsible for answering multiple calls at once, always ask the caller politely if you may put them on hold. Remember that the caller could have already waited several minutes before getting connected to you and may not take lightly to being put on hold. Never leave the person on hold for more than a few seconds or they may become upset and hang up.
9. Always focus on the call. Try not to get distracted by people around you. If someone tries to interrupt you while you are on a call, politely remind them that you are on a customer call and that you will be with them as soon as you are finished.
1. Always identify yourself properly. When calling a client or customer, whether in person or when leaving a message, always identify yourself properly by providing your name, company name and contact telephone number. For example, "Good afternoon Mr. Brown, this is Ms. Brown from Officeskills.org. My telephone number is 408-555-1212." Always be aware of confidential information when leaving messages. Also, be aware of people around you while talking on the phone. Be discreet! Someone next to you might overhear confidential information that could negatively affect your business.
2. Avoid leaving long winded messages. Remember, someone has to listen to your message, write it down and then act upon it. Your message may be just one of many messages that need to be handled. It is often a good habit to write down or type out your message in advance. Keep it brief and to the point.