Taking a Message


Can I take a Message?

I don’t know, can you?  We all know that this is not the right way to ask and we know it should be ‘May’ and not ‘Can.’ But do you really know how to take a message that is effective and that communicates everything it should.

Well here are the Answerettes 10 top tips.

 1) Always have a pen and paper to hand, when we say paper we don’t mean the back of an envelope, a bill or old receipt.  We mean a dedicated piece of paper for the messages you are about to take.  You don’t even need a fancy message pad, a nice clean piece of paper will do.

 2) Listen carefully to the caller.  Don’t be afraid to ask for more information, where appropriate and without being intrusive.  The more information communicated on this phone call means that the message recipient can return the call efficiently and have the information the caller may have requested to hand, without having to return a call for a second time.  It may be that a call back is not required, or that the caller simply requests something. Is it more appropriate for the message recipient to Email the caller?

 3) Make a note of the following -:

i) The callers name and company name (if appropriate)
ii) The callers phone number and Email address if required

iii) Who the caller needs to speak to.

iv) What the caller needs, in terms of a call back and Email, action to be taken or simply a message to passed along to the relevant person.

 4) NEVER be afraid to ask the caller to repeat something, or to ask them to spell something.  Noisy phone lines, background noise, and accents can make things difficult.

 5) ALWAYS repeat phone numbers as they are given, just to be sure they are correct. (Many people do not know their phone number so be patient)

 6) Even if a caller says not to worry, if the person they are calling for is not available, always try and take a name.  You never know if the recipient has been waiting on this call for a while.  Letting them know that a call was received is simply courteous.

 7) Relaying the message is of the utmost importance.  It’s no good sat there on your desk.  If it gets buried under a pile of papers and forgotten about it is worse than useless.  Put it on the recipients desk, give it to them personally or even better send them an Email, that contains all the information you gathered.  Giving them clear instructions whether they need to call, email or if the message was just for information.

 8) Make sure the message recipient knows how urgent or not the message is.

 9) Always make a note of the date and time at the head of the message so that it is clear to the recipient when the call was received.

 10) Finally always sign or initial the message so that if any further clarification is required the message recipient knows where to go to get it.

 Lots to remember there?  Lots to do and think about when you are trying to get on with your own work and you are interrupted to take a message for a colleague?  We are experts at this, it is what we do. So ‘May we take a message for you?’  http://answer-it.co.uk

© Emma Fryer 2011

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