Beginning a phone call
What's worse - "Hey, uh, I can't acess the server" or "Hello. It's down again!" ? They're both equally bad ways to start a professional phone conversation. Read on!
I've been on both ends of the phone, either asking for help with a service or server, and providing help and support to clients who are themselves looking for answers. In both situations, clear communication makes the difference between parting as mutual, happy individuals, and desolving into passive-aggressive phone conversations ending with a loud click and a louder sigh of exasperation.
This article outlines a few easy ways to provide proper context to the poor sap on the other end of the phone. In my experience, it's usually tough to place a name with a face, or even with a company. I often get phone calls where I absolutely cannot place the speaker on any relationship scale, and have to "fake it" until I figure out just where I come in! An example is "Hi, it's Amanda, sorry to bother you again!", to which I am forced to reply "Oh, no, that's... fine!" panic ensues
Step One: Always state your name!
This is just duh. I don't care how many times you've talked to Joe Bligh from WebWorks - if you start a conversation without exchanging your name plus a greeting, you run the risk of completely confusing the poor feller on the other end. They're called pleasantries for a reason!
Step B: Always state your company!
Make sure he/she knows who you are working for! If you don't work directly with this company, make sure to also state the third party company involved. "Yes, I'm calling on behalf of our mutual client XYZ". This sets a professional tone for the conversation.
Step Gamma: Always state the context!
Please don't be one of those people who begin a phone call with the ever-so-cryptic "I got it". C'mon, does anyone outside of Hollywood do this? Two decent examples would be "I'm returning your call concerning FTP access" or "I called to ask you about a server issue we've been experiencing..."
For pete's sake, give the poor fellow some context as to why you're calling! This is only fair.