Phone Etiquette | Webster University

Phone Etiquette

General Etiquette

  • Ringer volume should be kept at a moderate level when in an open office environment.
  • Care should be used when choosing a ring tone for your phone. Be mindful of disturbing others in your area.Speakerphone should not be used in an open office environment unless everyone in the area is on the call.
  • All calls should be answered within 3 rings.
  • Be courteous to all callers. Smile when you answer the phone. It really does make a difference.
  • Do not leave a caller on hold more than 1 minute without going back to them to let them know you are working on their issue.

Transferring Calls

  • When transferring calls, do not "cold transfer"; make sure that you announce the call to the person you are transferring to. 
  • If you get voicemail when attempting a transfer, go back to the caller and let them know that you will be transferring them to a voicemail. 
  • If transferring to a call handling system (menu options or queue), make sure the caller knows this before they are transferred.
  • Always try to make sure you are getting the person to the right person/department, make sure they are getting person/voicemail/acd before you transfer them.


  • Customers, whether internal or external, should have the ability to leave a message when they call a person or department.
  • Voicemail greetings should set expectation on when voicemail will be returned (as a general rule: 1 or 2 business day for individuals, 4 business hours for departments ).
  • Set an out-of-office message on voicemail if you're going to be gone for longer than 1 day.
  • Voicemail greeting should have a referral extension (press 0 for immediate assistance) if you typically receive calls from students.
  • Consider using more than one method of communication. 
  • Some people prefer email to voicemail or vice versa. If you leave someone a voicemail consider following up with an email. However, be sure to reference in the voicemail that you are sending an email and in the email that you left a voicemail.