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Etiquette When Transferring A Phone Call

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 3 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Etiquette When Transferring A Phone Call

If part of your work involves answering phone calls, you are not going to be able to deal with every single query yourself and sometimes you might need to transfer the call to a work colleague who will be better placed to deal with the query. Therefore, it’s important to get into the habit of practicing professional phone etiquette when it comes to call transfer situations at work as they are often one of the most frequently cited reasons for callers becoming irate.

Listen To The Caller

One of the most important aspects of phone work is to listen to what the caller is saying and that means not interrupting. Sometimes you may instinctively know within a matter of a few seconds that you’re going to need to transfer the call to somebody else but don’t be tempted to interrupt – hear the caller out. Firstly, it’s rude to interrupt and if the caller is angry or upset about something, they’re not going to take too kindly to you cutting them short. The other reason to hear them out is that as they explain the issue in more detail, you might discover something that will change the way in which you are going to handle the call.

Check That The Person You’re Going To Transfer Them To Is Available

Although you may only have been speaking to the caller for a minute or two, they might have been waiting in a queuing system for quite some time. Therefore, if you need to transfer the call, probably the last thing they’ll want to happen is if they get diverted to somebody’s voicemail so make sure that the person you’re going to put them through to is available. In some cases, a caller may be perfectly happy to leave a message on voicemail so give them that option or, alternatively if that’s not convenient, offer the caller the name of the person they should ask for if they want to call back later, giving them the person’s direct dial number or phone extension if possible.

Call Transfers - Phrasing And Etiquette

It is good etiquette to explain why you need to transfer the caller and to ask them first if it’s OK to put them on hold to check if the person’s available. If they agree and you put them on hold, make sure that if you have problems getting hold of the right person, you come back to the caller at least every minute telling them that you’re trying to connect them and if they would mind continuing to hold. If the caller decides they can’t hold any longer, give them the name and the number of the person they should ask for when they call back. If you are able to establish contact with the appropriate person, go back to the caller and tell them that you are going to “put them through’’ to the relevant person, giving them the relevant person’s name if possible in case they do accidentally get cut off or would prefer to call back later. Phrases such as “I’m putting you through to” or “I’m going to connect you to” are far better than saying “I’m going to transfer you” as the latter often causes anxiety amongst callers who sometimes feel as though they could be accidentally cut off at this point.

Callers Who Do Not Want To Be Transferred

In some cases, a caller may have been thrown between pillar and post before you take their call and might be extremely irate and not wish to be transferred anymore having been put through to several others who have not been able to assist them. In situations like these, apologise for the inconvenience this has caused and then take their name and number and tell them you will get the relevant person to call them back. Make sure you also relay this information to the person at work who is going to need to return the call giving them any preferred times the caller wishes them to call back along with any background information about the caller’s issue.

Transferring calls on the phone at work is part and parcel of any business but it’s amazing how damaging bad practice in this regard can be when it comes to how outsiders perceive a company. Therefore, it's important to practice good etiquette when it comes to call transfers.

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