How to take a message successfully

Knowing how to take a message properly is important – it will save time and ensure that your business comes across as professional. Certain things apply any time you pick up the telephone: be polite, courteous, friendly and sound like you really want to speak to the person. Here are six further to steps to help make sure that you take a helpful and relevant message.

Step One: Establish whether you can deal with the query

The first thing you should do is check whether you actually need to take a message in the first place. It may well be the case that you can actually deal with the problem yourself, and that you don’t need to get anyone else involved. This can potentially save time and hassle for everyone – you, the client and the person who would otherwise need to sort out the query.

Step Two: Take down the message

However, if there’s nothing you can do to resolve the query and you can’t get through to the requested person then you need to take down the message. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to remember it – write out the details when you are told them. This is your chance to ask the caller for any relevant follow up information or to repeat important details. There is nothing more frustrating than an incomplete message or incorrect details; it’s just embarrassing when the call needs to be returned. It’s always best to write more than you need to, nothing is irrelevant, it’s easier for the person receiving the message to understand how the call went.

Step Three: Record the contact details

Equally make sure that you record the correct contact details. Don’t assume that the number that they are calling on is the one that they would prefer a call back on, you should ask and make sure. It’s also essential to ensure there are no spelling errors – for example with the name or email address. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to spell out their name or email, they will be happy to do so.

Step Four: Note the times

Firstly take down a note of exactly when they called so that you can present the information to the person they were trying to get hold of. If relevant, it’s also important to get the details on when is the best time to call back. Once again, it will just be a waste of time if the return caller has to try multiple times to get through.

Step Five: Record whether the call was urgent

It’s worth knowing how urgent the call is just so that person involved can prioritise it from their perspective. If this is a time-critical query, it’s important that they deal with it as soon as possible.

Step Six: Make sure you deliver the message

This one should be the most obvious of the lot, but you need to ensure that the message gets to its intended recipient. Send an email with all the details and then follow it up as soon as possible to check whether the email was correctly received or, better still, use a read receipt.

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