MNET Services>Telecom Voice>Etiquette

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.

Professional Image

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 manners.

  • 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 noise, etc.).
  • 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.

Incoming Calls

  • 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.
  • Empathize.
  • 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.