The telephone is a powerful customer service tool. While most people use the phone routinely, not all know how to leverage it for great service. This guide suggests best practices for getting the most from calls.

General Guidelines

  • Always remain positive about your own organization, its processes, and its people.
  • Replace the words “but” and “however” with “and” whenever possible. Your message will sound more positive and professional.
  • Avoid having food or gum in your mouth when talking on the telephone.

Remember to go slowly and to carefully articulate your words.

Options for Answering the Telephone

  • “Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening (Your Organization’s Name). This is (Your Name). How may I help you?”
  • “Thank you for calling (Your Organization’s Name). This is (Your Name). How may I help you?”

Remember to sound upbeat, positive, and calm.

To Place Someone on Hold

  • “May I put you on hold for a moment while I look that up/handle that issue/etc.?”
  • “If you could hold for a moment, I would be happy to look that up/handle that issue/etc.”
  • “May I please put you on hold for a moment?”
  • “Would you like to hold for a moment or would you like for me to call you back?”
    • Remember to wait for the caller’s answer.
    • If it takes you more than one minute, pick the telephone back up and let the caller know you are still working on finding a resolution.

To Transfer a Call

Let me put you in touch with (Person’s Name/Department’s Name). He/she/they can handle that for you.
(Person’s Name/Department’s Name) is the subject matter expert. I can connect you with him/her/them.
(Person’s Name/Department’s Name) can help you with that. One moment and I can put you through.
  • If appropriate, give the extension to the caller.
  • If possible, stay on the line and introduce the caller to the person/department who can help.

To End a Call

Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Thank you for calling.

If appropriate, recap any actions you will take after the call.

When a Customer or Client Thanks You

It’s my pleasure.
I’m glad to be able to help.
You are welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

When a Customer or Client Is Frustrated

Let me see if I can help you work through this issue.
Let’s take it from the beginning and see if we can work through this together.
I can hear that you are upset, and I do want to help you.
I’m listening …

  • If appropriate, repeat what the caller has said. Reframe any negative statements into solution-oriented ones.
  • Stay calm. If the customer needs to vent, don’t jump to the solution too quickly. The caller may not be ready to listen to you yet.