OK, I want to tell you a story that actually happened and that inspired this post about telephone etiquette.

For a while now I am struggling with some technical integrations on my website and at last decided I need some help. So I phoned a lady who came highly recommended – i.e. a friend told me about her and explained in detail how brilliant this person is.

Because I received this highly positive, personal recommendation, I already formed a picture in my head of the “fantastic, professional individual” who can literally do any technical, web-related thing you require.

So, I picked up the phone, make the call and was ready for the (in my mind) professional / technical discussion to see if she will be able to help me.

The phone started ringing and eventually I started to count …. one, two, three, four … eight … and just before I put the phone down I heard:  “Jellooo!!”

Just  “Jelloooo!” – with the last syllable a long singing sound.  No name to introduce her.  No business name.  Nothing.

I kept my cool and after I eventually established that it is indeed the “highly recommended individual” on the other side of the phone line, I started to introduce myself and begin to state the reason for my call.

Huge was my surprise when she interrupted me to ask if I could please phone her back in ½ an hour since her neighbor is at the door!

Her neighbor!

Well, perhaps she didn’t need new business or it was a “life-or-death” situation with the neighbor.

It however goes without saying that I didn’t phone back and I found someone else to help me.

So, the question I want to reflect on today is:

Does the way you answer your phone build or break your business relationships?

Isn’t it funny (or actually very scary) that people sometimes drop all professionalism when they work from home?

In business, first impressions always count and we have to do everything in our power to make a good impression – even over the phone. “Hi” or “hallo” or worse “jellooo” is certainly not the correct way to do it – not if you are a Virtual Assistant or any other service professional for that matter.  And to ask a potential client to call back… well, I’m speechless about this one.

The telephone is not just a communication tool. In a virtual world it is also the image projector of your business.

We as service professionals rely on a telephone for business. We can therefor never let our guard down because the next caller can just as well be a potential client.

So, to build business relationships when answering your phone the professional way, here are some excellent tips and techniques on telephone etiquette.

PS: Have you ever experienced a similar situation? Why not share it with us in the comment box below