Phone Etiquette

Communicating over the phone is an integral component of conducting business for many here at Azusa Pacific University. Below are some helpful tips and phone techniques that will help to make your phone conversations more effective.

Create a Good First Impression

  • Try to answer the phone on the second ring. Answering the phone too quickly can catch the caller off guard, while waiting too long is inconsiderate of the caller’s time.
  • Answer with a friendly greeting. (Example - “Good Afternoon, IT Customer Service, this is Sherrie. How may I help you?”).
  • Smile — it shows, over the phone.
  • Ask the caller for their name, even if their name is not necessary for the call, showing the caller you have taken an interest in them. You may want to write down their name as soon as they say it so you don’t forget it and can use it later on in the conversation.
  • Speak clearly and slowly. Never talk with anything in your mouth, including gum.
  • Lower your voice if you normally speak loudly.
  • Keep the phone two-finger widths away from your mouth.

Putting Callers on Hold

Ask permission before putting a caller on hold.


"Would you mind holding while I get your file?"

"Can you please hold briefly while I see if Mr. Jones is available?"

When taking a caller off of hold, thank them for holding.

Transferring a Caller

  1. If the caller needs to speak to another person or department, transfer the caller directly to the desired person’s extension or voicemail, not to the operator. This will prevent the caller from having to explain his or her request again and reduce the number of times the caller is transferred.
  2. When transferring a caller, tell them who they are being transferred to, and announce the caller to the person you are transferring them to.

Taking Phone Messages

When taking a phone message for someone, be sure to include the following information:

  • Caller’s name and company name if applicable
  • Date and time of call
  • What the call is regarding
  • If the caller wants a return phone call
  • Phone number at which the caller can be reached

Last Impressions

  • Before hanging up, be sure that you have answered all the caller’s questions.
  • Always end with a pleasantry: "Have a nice day" or "It was nice speaking with you".
  • Let the caller hang up first. This shows the caller that you aren’t in a hurry to get off the phone with them.
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