Tuesday Tips: How To Answer a (Business) Phone


Today’s Tip: How to correctly answer a business phone.

Most people will, at some point in their lives, be required to answer a business phone. In my experience answering phones and working within companies I have noticed a lot of variation in the way people answer phones or like phones to be answered. Ever since I was trained to correctly answer a phone, with the logic behind why to do it that way (it was my job at the video store where this happened), I have stuck to that way of doing it like superglue on a fingertip.

While many people know how to answer a phone, I’ve noticed many don’t know why they should do it that way, and that’s why I thought it was a good idea to write this post.

Here’s how you should answer a phone:

Good Morning/Afternoon, KiKi & Tea, this is Tamsin

And here’s why:

1. The Greeting

A phone should always be answered with an appropriate greeting. Good morning or good afternoon is the most accepted and common, although “Welcome to…” has the same effect.

Why: Apart from being polite, people don’t listen to the first few seconds of whatever you say, so you should say something they don’t need to hear within the first few seconds.

2. Company Name

The company name should always be stated in the middle. This should be stated clearly enough for the person on the other end to hear it and after a greeting so people have realised the phone has been answered and started paying attention.

Why: People want to know they have called the right place. While you may feel they should know where they have called, they might not. It should be after the greeting so the person calling has started listening, but as they usually know where they have called this is not as important as…

3. Your Name

Your name should be stated last and, as opposed to “Tamsin Speaking” it should be said “This is Tamsin”.

Why: People like to know who they are speaking to and the last thing you say will be the first thing the person on the other end will remember. If you say “Tamsin Speaking” they will remember “speaking”, not your name.

As a side note those who have been trained in this way of answering a phone, and know it’s the correct way, are the most likely to make the annoying joke of “Hello Tamsin Speaking” and incite your rage as you fight the urge to clobber them with the phone. Difficult to do when you don’t know where they are.

A lot of people say “How can I help you?” and while I’m not opposed to this, it can make the greeting a little long if you don’t cut something else out, thus making it not my first choice.

How do you answer the phone? Did you ever work in customer service like I did? 

This post originally appeared here and has been republished with full permission. 

Image Credit

  • Gary

    I agree wholeheartedly Tamsin. When I was in charge of the NT Government’s pathology services I had an expectation that the telephones would be answered with four elements like you describe (I did like the “how can I help you” part). I’d always answer, “Good morning, NT Pathology, Gary Lum speaking, how can I help you?”

  • Detachable Princess

    I answered phones professionally for years. I *hate* the “this is DP” greeting, even though it might be the right one. I was always “DP speaking”.

    I remember there was a girl who came to cover the phones for me one day. She was obviously nervous, because the first time she answered she managed to include every single greeting – Hello, good afternoon, welcome to Company, this is Jenny speaking, how can I help you?

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I feel like she could have got more greetings in there if she’d tried harder.

  • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    So happy that for the past 14 years I’ve been in a job where the only person who phones me is The Rhonnifer – and that happens maybe twice a year… :)

  • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

    Prepare for rant …

    So. My boss, she’s a MANAGER, she only says “Hello”. That’s it. Nothing else. The amount of times I’ve heard her say, “Yes this is …”, clearly the other person isn’t sure they’ve come through to the right phone. HOW HARD IS IT. And as a manager she should be setting a much better example than she is (she also walks around the office barefoot, but that’s for another rant).

    Also there is a warehouse in Melbourne I have to ring, and while they announce the company, they don’t say who they are, and there are two women there who SOUND IDENTICAL. So confusing.

    When my phone rings, I answer “Hello, Mandi speaking”, no need to announce the company as the switch does it for us.

  • Jessica Chapman

    I started answering my personal phone with the company greeting when I was a receptionist. Used to go like this, “Good Evening, you’ve reached…” embarrassed pause as I realise I’m not answering the work phone. “Jessica.”

  • melinka

    lol… so barking “Lab!” when I answer the phone is probably a no-no then 😉

    In fairness;

    1. I actually say *** Lab, *** being the name of the head professor
    2. I am not in retail. And probably never should be, since I really hate answering the phone!

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Yep, totally read that as “a barking lab”

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