On-site telephone etiquette

Published on March 3rd, 2009 at 6:31 am

Last modified on August 13th, 2012 at 11:56 pm


You are working on a problem at a customer’s desk and you’re in the process of discussing the details of the issue with the customer. Your mobile phone rings and you recognize that the call is from another customer. What do you do?

A) Send the call to voice mail and return the call after completing your current task.

B) Excuse yourself and step away from the desk to take the call.

C) Maximize your efficiency by taking the call where you’re sitting.

D) Ignore the call, and don’t worry about returning it. If the call is important, the caller will open up a new help-desk ticket.


Answer: A) Send the call to voice mail and return the call after completing your current task.

If you’re at a customer’s desk and actively speaking with them about a problem, there’s no more important work task at that moment. The interactions between a technician and a customer are incredibly important. Everything you say, the questions you ask, and how you act have an impact on how you are perceived and how well you can solve problems.

Always give the customer in front of you the highest level of attention and respect. The person calling you will recognize you are busy when they get your voice mail, and you’ll be able to apologize for the short delay when you return their call.

The incorrect answers:
B) Excuse yourself and step away from the desk to take the call.
We’re so used to taking phone calls on our mobile phones that we might not even notice that this kind of activity is a bad thing. Taking a telephone call while you’re in the middle of a conversation with a customer is rude and disrespectful, and there are very few instances where doing this would be acceptable.

C) Maximize your efficiency by taking the call where you’re sitting.
It’s bad enough to take a call in the middle of a conversation with your customer, but sitting in front of them when you take the call is even worse. Don’t do this!

D) Ignore the call, and don’t worry about returning it. If the call is important, the caller will open up a new help-desk ticket.
Because you are knowledgeable and professional, people need your assistance. This is a very, very good thing. The best thing you can do is to always maintain a positive relationship with your customers and to keep the lines of communication open. Even if the customer didn’t leave a voice mail, it wouldn’t hurt to give them a call and see if everything is in order. If the customer was able to solve their problem, you still worked towards building a positive relationship with the end-user.

Want to know more? Watch “The Human Component: Professionalism.”


As technology has become more pervasive, there’s been an increased emphasis across the IT industry on providing a professional work environment. In this CompTIA A+ video training module, we’ll provide you with seven essential skills that will help you maintain the highest levels of professionalism at every stage of your career.

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Category: CompTIA A+ Pop Quizzes

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