Happy woman on phone

April 21, 2021


By: Ryan Brennan

Recently I have been thinking: What have I learned from my job so far? I currently work as the Administrative Assistant and Screening Specialist at Avamere Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – Boise. I assist in many business functions — coordinating residents doctor visits, screening all who enter the building for COVID-19, and retrieving, sorting, and distributing mail. All are good and important functions. However, my thoughts are drawn to an underrated and commonly overlooked skill—mainly answering telephone calls and proper phone etiquette.

Whether you are a staffing coordinator, the director of nursing, or an administrator, the ability to answer phone calls is required. Proper phone etiquette, thus, is a concept worthy of notice. Besides the skill being interesting, it is useful and proves to be a marketable skill nowadays.

Here are 10 simple suggestions and tips to more effectively use this skill in our professional lives.  

Tip #1:  Answer the phone call within three rings.

Tip #2: Introduce yourself. This might include stating the company’s name, your own name, and asking a question such as “How may I help you?”

Tip #3: Be upbeat, positive, and polite. This helps the caller feel at ease.

Tip #4: When necessary, speak slowly. Scientific research suggests those who slow their speech are considered more reliable sources for information.

Tip #5: Make sure to put the caller on hold before asking office personnel for clarifying information.

Tip #6: Be direct when transferring or paging others. For example, when paging staff, you can say, “Attention 200 hall nurses, there is a parked call on 208 (repeat).”

Tip #7: Learn the phone’s functions (e.g., hold, transfer, speed dial, voicemail, park, page, etc.).

Tip #8: Speak clearly. Get in the habit of over articulating your words. Clarity is the ultimate goal of communication!

Tip #9: Take verifying notes and review them frequently.

Tip #10: Concentrate on what you can do rather than what you cannot do. Basic sales mentality is somewhat implied here—find a need, fill the need.

Despite being simple, these suggestions prove helpful in so many professional roles. Truly, proper phone etiquette is an essential, professional skill.

About the Author

Ryan Brennan is an Administrative Assistant & Screening Specialist with Avamere Transitional Care and Rehabilitation — Boise. Find out more about him through his online portfolio.

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