Friday, May 11, 2012

Telephone Courtesy

I'll never forget my dad's beef with boys who called me when I was in high school!  They'd call,  late at night, my dad would answer, they'd say "Is Kate there?", Dad would reply "Maybe; who's this?", they'd give their name, and Dad would tell them to call before 11:00 next time.  Dad was a stickler for phone etiquette.  As small children, we were taught to answer the phone, "[Last name] residence; Kate speaking" and when someone asked for one of my parents, "Whom may I tell her is calling please?"  It became habit.  I still answer the phone that way at my mom's house.  It rolls off my tongue as naturally as the meal prayer.  I wish more people had good phone manners!

Here are some basics:
  • When you call me, please for the love of God tell me who you are!  I may not recognize your number or voice, so just say, "Hey Kate, it's so-and-so!"
  • When you answer the phone, at least try to sound enthusiastic.  A morose "Hello?" is so depressing and makes me think either something's wrong or you really don't want to talk to me.  When you're at work and answering, answer with the name of the company as well as your own name, so that the caller is certain they've called the correct place.  "Good morning, thank you for calling [company name]!  My name is Kate; how can I help you?"  I once called a store and someone answered with a simple "Hello" and I immediately thought I had the wrong number and was calling a private residence!
  • If you're calling your spouse at work and someone else answers the phone, do not assume they know who the heck you are!  This is especially important in military settings.  You should say, "Hi!  Is [Husband's name, rank/title as appropriate] available?  This is Kate, his wife."
  • Don't call someone super early in the morning, late at night, or during traditional meal times.  Unless you know them well and that they're awake or eat late, etc.  And when calling long distance, try to keep the time difference in mind.
  • Apologize when you dial the wrong number.  Don't just hang up.  If it happens two times in a row, ask the person who answers to confirm the number you think you're dialing, so it doesn't happen a third time!

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