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It is very common to communicate with customers over the telephone and telephone etiquette is a skill in itself. There are a number of rules of etiquette that need to be adhered to in order to effectively communicate over the telephone, these include;

Speaking directly into the mouthpiece. This can be a problem when you are using other equipment such as a computer, consider the use of a headset as this will enable you to have two free hands to use a computer at the same time and also does wonders for your DSE practice.

Do not eat or chew. This is unprofessional and the customer can often feel like they have interrupted your lunch.

Put your customer first. If you are speaking to a customer they deserve your full attention. Do not try to be part of another conversation and if someone walks into a room whilst you are on the telephone and you desperately need to speak to them ask the customer if it is ok to put them on hold. Permission must be granted before you do this simply ask ‘Would you mind holding for a moment whilst I check this for you, I want to be sure that I am giving you the right information’

If you are placing them on hold then press the hold button. The reason you are placing the customer on hold is that you need to do something or speak to someone without the customer hearing. When they have agreed to be placed on hold do this immediately before putting the receiver down and before starting the task that you need to do.

Returning to your customer.

If you place a customer on hold please ensure that you return to them as soon as it is possible. Do not leave them waiting, if it will take you some time to resolve the issue then go back to them and let them know what is happening. Often customers can feel that they have been forgotten if they are waiting for a long period of time. If it will take you a while offer to call them back and confirm a time and their telephone number. Should you be unable to resolve the issue within that time then call them anyway and give them an update.