Phone Manners

July 2024

It has become increasingly difficult to reach a real person on the telephone.  Despite everyone carrying their personal phone with them at all times, many prefer not to answer it.  Some never check voicemail and assume anyone they want to interact with will send an e-mail or text.

Telephone contact is discouraged by business and government phone systems making it difficult or impossible to speak with someone.  They prefer for you to get your information by navigating the phone system and listening to audio recordings.  Even better, read information on their website or use the chatbot – an online chat system – which requires us to interact with a computer system unable to understand the reason for an inquiry rather than conversing with a real person.

Nobody is satisfied with these systems which force them to spend hours on the phone or computer when a short conversation would resolve an issue or inquiry in a few minutes.

Organizations, under pressure to service more people or deliver better financial results seem to feel these systems are helpful.  Most disagree.  There has yet to be an effective technology eliminating the need for personal interaction.

A Forbes Inc. survey of business owners in 2021 found that more than half (56 percent) said the most popular way for their customers to contact them was by telephone.  Technology is not replacing the need for direct personal interaction.

There is a role for internet, e-mail, websites, condo management software and texting in communicating and working with condominium residents.  These tools help to inform, educate and communicate.  They do not replace the need to converse.

Knowing how to interact verbally, in person or by telephone, is an important skill.  Good communicators know how to greet people, use words and tone, and listen.  They provide a good first impression conveying knowledge, experience and empathy.  Telephone communications are more difficult than meeting in person since there is no body language or nonverbal signals.

Poor verbal communication can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction and conflict.  It can be more difficult to identify underlying causes or issues leading up to a call.

Phone Etiquette Tips for Condo Management

  • Answer calls within three rings. Letting calls go to voicemail when you are in the office is disrespectful.
  • Answer the phone with a pleasant manner while mentioning the name of your community and personal name. Smiling when speaking on the telephone helps improve your tone even when unseen.
  • Never interrupt someone when they are speaking.
  • If you have to interrupt a conversation to deal with another matter, use the hold button. Muffling the phone piece with your hand may not be adequate to keep that conversation quiet or private.  If the matter will take more than a minute, ask the caller if you can get back to them in a few minutes.
  • When conversing, ask questions and take notes. Be sure you understand the problem and their hoped-for resolution.
  • When a resident has a concern, always tell them what your next steps will be, and when or how they will hear back from you.