The Aspen Institute Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 150 2017
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Telephone Techniques

Answering the telephone is a very important aspect of work. The phone call is often the first contact the caller has with the College. Telephone manners and how the call is handled presents the first impression of the College. Please refer specific questions to the appropriate department even if the answer is known. The caller may need additional information.

Emergency Calls

All emergency calls must be transferred to Public Safety. Do not release any information about a student's schedule, location or their worksite!

Incoming Calls

The telephone is always to be answered by the first or second ring. Answer the telephone by using the greeting established by the department where employed. Remember, smiling makes voice tones friendlier. Here is an example of a greeting, "Good morning, Student Employment Center, this is Anne." Employees should always give their name. When two lines are ringing give the full greeting and add, "Will you please hold?" Wait for the caller's response before pushing the "HOLD" button. This presents a polished image. Then answer the second line ringing with the full greeting and assist that person. If a caller asks an unfamiliar question, a good response could be, "Will you hold for a moment while I get clarification?" Wait for the caller's response, and then place them on hold. Always put a caller on hold using the "HOLD" button. The College's phones are sensitive, and even if the receiver is covered, the caller can hear all background sounds very clearly. If no one is available, take a complete message including the caller's name, title, phone number and reason for the call. Explain to the caller that someone will return the call as soon as possible. Give the message to a staff person for follow-up.

Messages

Student employees should write complete and accurate messages legibly on phone message pads. Always obtain clarification of the message by repeating the information back to the caller. As receiver of the call, be sure to sign, date and indicate the time of the message. Make sure messages are delivered as soon as possible.

Transferring Calls

Always offer to transfer a caller who has reached an incorrect office; however, if you receive a call that has been transferred several times, and it really is not for your area, take a message. Do not transfer them again! Let the caller know that a staff member will contact them promptly. Give this message to the staff person immediately for a quick response.

How To Transfer Telephone Calls:

  1. Ask the caller's name.
  2. Tell the caller that he/she will be transferred.
  3. Give the caller the name of the person and the office along with the telephone number(s) of where they will be transferred (found in the College Telephone Directory).
  4. Press the TRANSFER button on the telephone.
  5. Dial the extension number of the transfer (it is usually a five digit number).
  6. If the transfer is answered, tell the person that a transfer call is on the line and give them the name of the caller.
  7. Push the TRANSFER button again. The green light from that call should go out and the transfer is complete.
  8. If the transfer is not answered by a person, return to your caller and ask them if they would like to leave a voice mail message for that person. If yes, use the transfer steps 4, 5, and 7 listed above. If the caller does not want to leave a message, ask if there is anything else that could be done to help. Please be sure to follow through with the caller's requests.

It is important that telephone callers receive prompt, accurate information which will reflect positively upon the student employee and the College!

October 17, 2017
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