Monday, September 20, 2010

Answer the Phone With A Smile!

When I make phone calls to venues or to other vendors, it never ceases to amaze me how rude some people sound. I know that I'm not always Little Miss Sunshine, but if someone is calling your business don't you think that you should make an effort to be polite?

I have to call venues all the time to arrange delivery details. Sometimes I know the person who answers the phone, and sometimes I don't. I tend to be a little phone-phobic, and I'm not tremendously chatsy, so when I call I don't want to have to call back if I can get everything straightened out with one attempt.

Here are some tips for people who answer their own phones:
1. Don't pick up if you can't talk. If you're in the middle of something, let the answering machine take a message and call back as soon as you can.
2. For pete's sake, just fake a smile. Even if it's phony it will make your voice sound better than someone who's frowning.
3. Put a little energy into it. I get enough mumbling at home from my teenager, I don't need to listen to a mumbler when I make a call. If I have to ask you to repeat yourself then you need to speak up, or at least put the phone receiver somewhere in the vicinity of your mouth.

Here are some tips for people who have other people answer their phones.
1. Look at tips number 2 and 3 above. Tell your employees to read them.
2. Don't pretend to know the answer if you don't. I'd rather leave a message and talk to the person who really knows what's going on than someone who says "Yeah, I think that would be okay" but who has no idea if it is.
3. Don't transfer me to someone else if you know that person isn't in their office that day and I'm going to get their answering machine. I'll just be calling back to find a real person to answer my question, and I won't be as happy the second time I have to dial the phone to talk to you.

Does anyone else have any tips or tricks they'd like to suggest? Please feel free to add anything you can think of. If it helps one person to answer the phone in a professional manner then you'll be doing a public service.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


OFD Consulting said...

Great post Kara- I could go on and on with this one. I certainly agree with all your points. If one wants to develop a nice rapport in the industry, great phone skills are essential. A few extra tips I'd add:

1) If someone answers the phone for you and are a direct assistant, then they should, by all means be caught up on the coming week's weddings. What's the point in having something to delegate to if they phone just gets handed back?

2) If you have any pertinent information that may help your fellow vendors, then by all means, share. I've had brides, for example, who simply are being difficult about paying. If I happen to chat with you, for example, about info for that wedding, then I would have surely shared it. We're in it together after all!

Also- so when did you stop being chatty? I manage to keep you on the phone all the time! :)

Kara said...

Heh heh. I usually talk to you when I have something to complain about, and I have no trouble being chatsy then. If I'm making a call to get information I don't want to spend more time on hold than I have to, so I tend to be more "direct", shall we say.

SweetThingsTO said...

Great post! Here's one for both vendors and also clients - When leaving a message, leave your name & number at the beginning and at the end of the message.

Many times, numbers get blocked and I can't distinguish what the number is. I feel terrible because I can't call back potential customers and don't want a bad rapport for not returning calls.

Have a great week Kara!

Kara said...

Ooh, that's a good one. Especially if you're using a cell phone, which cut in and out without you knowing it. It could be that the message was never received completely, or that there was static on the line when you were saying that one final digit of your phone number.

Veronica Yoshida said...

I agree totally with SweetThingsTO and it's a practice I try to keep myself. Another thing would if they not be on a cell phone in traffic with your window down, standing next to construction or anytihng else that completely covers their voice and message. How many half messages have I recieved or had to tell a client, "I'm sorry. I just can't hear you because of background noise."