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Damien's Blog

"Who's Calling?" Why These Words Can Impact a Business Relationship

By Damien Patton, (455 words) Posted in Corporate on September 1, 2009
There are (74) comments permalink

When people call your business, how do you want them to be greeted and more importantly what impression of your business do you want to leave them with? The tone of the people answering the phone at your business and more importantly the words that they use, can be a direct representation of you. This is a perfect opportunity to make a positive impression with anyone that contacts your business.

The other day I called one of my business associates and was greeted by someone on the phone that sounded as if they were having a bad day. When I asked to speak to my friend and colleague, she said "yes, he is available, can I ask who's calling?" I told her my name and she put me on hold. Moments later she came back on the phone and said, "I'm sorry he is not available, can I take a message?"

Let's review. Is he available? The answer is "yes." She asks "who's calling" and suddenly he is not available. Now it’s quite possible the person I was calling was indeed unavailable to come to the phone; heck, he may never have even been at work that morning. However, it would seem from the conversation he was available, just not for me.

How many times have you experienced this? How many times have you been denied talking to someone after revealing "who's calling?" While the person answering the phone may think this is no big deal, it is. We've all heard the saying "perception is reality" and to the person on the other end of the phone, reality says the person is not available for YOU.

In this situation it turned out that he was indeed not at work and therefore not available. So why would the person answer the phone make the statements that they did. Had I been a potential customer, this could have left a negative impression on the caller and affected the business relationship. Perhaps the caller would simply never call back.

How do your employees answer the phone? What reality is being delivered on your behalf?

If your business is like most, nine times out of ten you are truly unavailable, whether it is in a meeting or on another call. Let's see how a few different words can change the perception. What if the person answering the phone instead said, "He is in the office today, but I think he is on the phone (or in a meeting). May I tell him who's calling if he is available?" If it turns out the person is not available, the caller won't feel like he didn't take the call because he knew who was calling. There are many variations you could use in this situation to give the caller a better impression of the business.

Sometimes it's the little things make a big difference.

Icon: author blog About the Author:
Damien is the Founder and CEO of FindAnyFloor.com as well as several other technolgy businesses specializing in social media and search.
image: blog cloud comment

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Good Point posted on: September 7, 2009

I hate it when that happens! I always feel like the person I'm asking for would be available if I hadn't told the person answering "who's calling." They should teach this to anyone and everyone who answers a phone. I just called a friend the other day and she was out of the office so I said I would call her cell. She then asked me, "who's calling".... are you kidding me? I wanted to ask her why she needed to know. I should learn to have some fun with that....."I'm calling from the FBI" (IRS etc)

Great post! Wish more people would read it and change their phone etiquette!

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