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Phone Etiquette Tips

  • Do not eat, drink or chew gum while speaking to a caller on the phone.
  • Speak clearly and project a positive attitude.
  • Have necessary resources available (message pad, telephone list, and pen).
  • Identify yourself when answering (“Good morning, Department Name, this is Jane Doe.”)
  • Do not converse with others while on a call. If necessary, place the caller on hold (press the hold button and do not lay the phone on the desk).
  • Always ask permission to place someone on hold.
  • Never leave the caller on hold for too long, without checking back with them and thanking them for their patience.
  • When transferring a call, give the caller the extension number you are transferring them to, in case the call is lost.
  • When transferring, share the name of the person calling and whether it is a student, staff, faculty or outside caller.
  • Take complete and accurate messages:
    1. Ask the caller for their first and last name. Ask for the correct spelling.
    2. Write down reason for call, business affiliation, date, time, and telephone number.
    3. Repeat message and name back to caller for clarity about what you heard.
    4. Write legibly.
    5. If the person is unavailable (out of the office, in a meeting, in the bathroom, out to lunch, at a doctor’s appointment), unless otherwise instructed, be discreet about the person’s whereabouts. You might say: “I’m sorry, she’s unavailable right now. Is there something I can help you with?”, “May I refer your call to someone else in the department?” or “May I transfer you to her voicemail?”
  • When ending a phone call, always say “thank you” and “goodbye.”
  • When leaving a message, make sure to provide your name, the College’s name, department, telephone number, and a concise message.