Etiquette is the proper way of conduct in a given setting, and
proper etiquette applies to telephone conversations. Because a
person's first impression of you or the State of Minnesota may be from
this conversation, it is important to adhere to the conventions of
proper telephone etiquette.
Every time we make or receive a telephone call, we represent the
State of Minnesota. To the caller you are the State of Minnesota,
Department of ___________. The person on the other end of the phone
cannot see you, so that person's first impression of you and your
Department may well be determined by your voice and telephone
- Use your voice to present a friendly, helpful, courteous,
professional image. Identify who you are and your unit.
- Pronounce letters, numbers, and names clearly. Spell out names if
they could be misunderstood.
- When the phone rings, be ready. Be prepared to talk. Give your
attention to the caller. Set aside what you are doing and focus on
what the caller is saying.
- Be aware of your environment (e.g., gum chewing, background
- Avoid slang - uh huh, yeah, nope, dude, bye bye.
- Don't talk to other people while on the phone.
- Thank the caller.
- Be the last to hang up. The caller may have something else to say,
so avoid the click in the customer's ear.
- Answer within two to three rings.
- Keep a telephone pad by the phone to keep track of caller's name
and basic information.
- Take notes. Restate the information to the caller by summarizing
and paraphrasing. This way, you can clarify the caller's request and
the caller knows you were listening. Greetings
- Warmly greet your callers.
- Speak clearly and distinctly.
- Identify who you are and your unit.
- Be friendly, attentive, and tactful, show interest.
- Be alert.
- Use appropriate grammar and word choices.
- Avoid slang and government acronyms.
- "Can your smile be heard?"
- Keep power/authority in check.
- Use diplomacy.
- Know how to address your customer
- Tone - since you are not face-to-face, the most important
measurements of good communication are quality and tone.
- Offer solutions or alternatives.
If you know you cannot do what the customer is asking for, tell them
what you can do. There are usually alternatives that a customer will
be willing to accept.