Always return calls. Even if you don’t yet have an answer to the caller’s question, call and explain what you’re doing to get the requested information, or direct them to the appropriate place to get it.
If you’re going to be out, have someone pick up your calls or at a minimum, have your answering system tell the caller when you’ll be back in the office and when they can expect a call back.
When you initiate a call and get a receptionist or secretary, identify yourself and tell them the basic nature of your call. That way, you’ll be sure you’re getting the right person or department and the person you’re trying to reach will be able to pull up the appropriate information and help you more efficiently.
When you’re on the receiving end of a phone call, identify yourself and your department. Answer the phone with some enthusiasm or at least warmth, even if you ARE being interrupted, the person on the other end doesn’t know that!
Make sure your voice mail system is working properly and doesn’t tell the caller that the mailbox is full, transfer them to nowhere, or ring indefinitely. Address technical and system problems- a rude machine or system is as unacceptable as a rude person.
You don’t have to reply to obvious solicitations. If someone is calling to sell you something, you can indicate that you are not interested and hang up without losing too much time on it. However, you do need to be careful. You may be receiving a call from an insurance or long distance company that wants to hire you as a consultant! Be sure you know the nature of the call before you (politely, of course) excuse yourself.
Personalize the conversation. Many people act in electronic media (including phone, phone mail, and e-mail) the way they act in their cars. They feel since they’re not face-to-face with a person, it is perfectly acceptable to be abrupt, crass, or rude. We need to ensure that we make best use of the advantages of these media without falling headfirst into the disadvantages.