How to answer the phone

One of the simplest things you can do that makes a big difference in your customer service is to answer the phone correctly.

It’s defies belief that in nowadays businesses still greet their external callers with variations of:


  • hello
  • Mr. Smith’s office
  • Mr. Smith’s office, can I help?
  • 7407 4452


Here are my tips on answering the phone right:

  • a real person should answer your phone (I don’t care how big you are – this one’s a no-brainer)
  • the right person should answer your phone (ideally, a dedicated external line should be answered by people who have the skills, knowledge and talent to convert callers into appointments)
  • answer within 3 rings (one ring = disconcerting; more than 3 rings = have you gone out of business?)
  • answer with a proper greeting
  • determine if the caller is an existing customer or a new caller
  • ask some caller details (don’t belabour this point, if the caller is cagey – move on – you should, at the very least, get a name)
  • ask the caller if they want to make an appointment within the first minute of the call (sometimes, that’s all callers want to do, there no need to get in their way. Many times, I listen to calls where the the receptionist makes no attempt to ask for an appointment at anytime during the call!)

Here’s a handy visual that I ask my training participants to post on their walls. It’s even better if you can work this into your database. You can click on the image if you want to make it bigger.


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Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK