Home | Insights | How To Answer the Phone Professionally

How To Answer the Phone Professionally

TMC’S Point of Difference – Professionalism on the phones

With 45+ years of experience, our team knows how to answer the phones inside and out. We have built our scripting and training processes to ensure optimal professionalism across our business.

Our experienced leadership team knows that people are the strongest asset to any business. Our difference is that we hire perfect first. This means our clients can trust that the best people will answer their calls. We use the services of a professional Organisational Psychologist to work with our HR and recruitment team to administer skill and behavioural testing.  We focus on skills such as professional communication and accuracy, whilst looking for behavioural traits such as reliability, attention to detail and empathy.

We are trusted across Australia to provide professional business support services. We are different. We have the right people and the technology to make all the difference.


How do I answer the phone professionally?

TMC’s research team has collated 10 steps to help you improve your phone answering skills. These can help enhance the callers overall experience with you while on the phone.

1. Offer a customised greeting

Instead of answering with “Hello?”, it is more professional to offer a customised greeting depending on the organisation that you are representing. It is important to introduce the company, state your name and ask how you can assist the caller. For example, “Good morning! Thank you for calling TMC. This is Emily Speaking. How can I help you?”.  This customised greeting ensures that the caller knows where they have called and who they are speaking to.

Example: “Good morning! Thank you for calling TMC. This is Emily Speaking. How can I help you?”.

2. Answer the phone ASAP

It is imperative to answer the phone ASAP. A prompt response ensures that callers are not waiting on hold for lengthy periods. This also enhances business efficiency because more calls be answered, particularly if you are working in an environment where there are numerous calls to attend to. It also enhances customer experience because calls are delt with in a timely manner.

If a call needs to be placed on hold, please make sure that your service provider offers the ability to include a customised Business Introduction to introduce your business. See if your provider can also offer custom music while on hold to promote your business.

3. Communicate with an enthusiastic tone

The tone used by a caller is crucial when communicating to clients. A positive and enthusiastic tone creates a positive first impression. It also shows that you care about the callers needs and are willing to assist with their enquiry. We encourage you to smile while answering the phones as it helps to maintain a professional, friendly, enthusiastic, and positive tone throughout the duration of the call.

4. Be clear

Clearly articulating your words ensures that the call is handled professionally. It also allows the caller to hear exactly what you’re saying, rather than needing to repeat yourself. Our research has found that a good internet connection with limited background noise can enhance clarity on the phone. These factors can lead to clear communication with the caller, therefore optimising customer experience.

5. Avoid slang

Professional language is pertinent when communicating with callers. We encourage you to avoid slang terms such as “cool”, “what” and “no worries” on the phone. In a similar token, avoid filler words such as “um” or “like”, and focus on appropriate and professional language. For example, professional phrases such as “Thank you very much”, “Can you please repeat those details”, “You’re welcome” or “We look forward to speaking to you again” are appropriate when speaking to clients in a commercial setting.

6. Be positive

Maintaining a positive attitude can help clients feel welcomed and supported. We encourage you to replace phrases such as “I don’t know” with proactive alternatives such as “Let me see get this sorted for you” or “I’ll follow this up and back get to you”. Most importantly, it is important to ensure that all clients are treated with empathy and respect. Always emphasise what you can do, rather than what you cannot do.

7. Placing a client on hold

Before placing a client on hold, it is more polite to ask the caller before doing so. For example, a simple phrase might include “Thank you for that information. Do you mind if I place you on a short hold while I look into this matter for you?” This shows the caller that you are respectful of their time. We recommend that you explain why you need to place them on hold and then thank the caller if they agree.

Example: “Thank you for that information. Do you mind if I place you on a short hold while I look into this matter for you?”

8. Include all details from the caller

If you are taking a message for a client, it is crucial to ensure that all the details are correct (including the caller’s name, phone number and message). Try to include as much information as you can when noting down the caller’s enquiry. This avoids the caller needing to explain their situation again when someone returns their call. Taking accurate messages can also enhance your company’s client operation efficiency.

9. Understand your system

Understanding how your phone and computer system works is important when assisting clients. For example, understanding how to answer the call or transfer them to another individual is pertinent. Alternatively, if you are assisting with a booking process, understanding how to enter, amend or cancel a booking is also crucial when assisting clients. We encourage you to practice how to use these systems before you begin answering calls.

10. End the call on a positive note

Before hanging up with the caller, we encourage you to end the call on a positive note. For example, you may wish them a fantastic day. This will prompt clients to feel more positive about their experience and make them feel more comfortable calling in the future.

Example: Thank you for calling TMC today. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.”