Whether it's talking to clients, customers or suppliers, using proper phone etiquette is necessary to ensure you're conveying the right amount of professionalism. While providing customer service over the phone can be challenging, Easybee can assist small businesses with handling incoming phone calls and appointment scheduling. And when virtual receptionists apply these five best practices, they can provide better service to current and potential clients.

1. Always Be Consistent 

Everyone at your small business who answers the phone should do so in the same way. Make sure everyone is trained on how to answer the phone properly. If it's an inbound call, all the customer wants to know is that they got the number right, so sticking to a short greeting such as “Hello, New World Auto, this is Josh” is sufficient. The “How can I help you?” is implied.

2. Never Interrupt a Customer

This one may seem hard to follow, especially if a customer is describing something that might be inaccurate — but resist the urge to interrupt them. Make sure you're listening to the whole problem so the customer feels taken care of and listened to.

3. Use the Hold Button Frequently

Be sure to use the hold or mute button whenever it's needed. It allows you to check on something, type information or speak with another colleague about a problem without the customer hearing you. For maximum politeness, ask the customer if you could put them on hold for a moment while you check on their problem or situation.

4. Smile

Smiling impacts a phone call in a number of positive ways.
It affects your vocal tone and makes you sound more positive and friendly.
It conveys a positive attitude to the customer, which can be infectious.
It's a great mood booster and helps to quell negative attitudes.

5. Don't Leave Customers in the Dark — Keep Them Informed

Telling the customer exactly what you're going to do after you hang up with them is important to securing their continued loyalty, especially if they're calling about a problem with a product or service.

Here's an example: An auto repair shop receives a call from a repeat customer, saying that they need to come in for an alternator replacement, and they have a very specific model in mind with sufficient amperage to handle their truck's new winch attachment. You don't have this product in stock, but you can order it. So you say:
“Mr. Brown, here's what I'm going to do. After we hang up, I'm going to call our supplier and make sure they have the alternator you want in stock. If it's in stock, I'll order the part from them, and then you give a call to let you know. After I order it, it should be here within a few days, or sooner. I'll give you a call when it comes in, and then you can schedule an appointment to bring your truck down and we'll install it for you within a few hours.”
This manner of speaking to customers gives them a thorough overview of the process and assures them that they're being taken care of. When virtual receptionists and other customer service representatives use these tips for proper phone etiquette, they can help ensure their customers are happy and satisfied.