Phone Etiquette 101: How to Politely Ask a Caller to Speak Up

Phone Etiquette 101: How to Politely Ask a Caller to Speak Up

If you’re having trouble hearing someone on the phone and can’t quite make out what they’re saying, you won’t be able to offer great service or solve their problems efficiently. In order to satisfy a customer’s request, you have to first understand the request.

If you ask a caller to speak up politely, chances are, they’ll adjust their volume and the rest of the interaction will be smooth sailing. If that doesn’t work, there are still plenty of ways to encourage the caller to speak a little louder without seeming rude.

How to politely ask a caller to speak up

Check out the following Do’s and Don’ts of asking a caller to speak up on the phone. Focus on being courteous, polite, and slightly apologetic, not placing blame on the caller’s voice or phone connection when you ask a caller to speak up.

Do: “I’m sorry, I’m having a little trouble hearing you.”

Don’t: “Can you speak a little louder?”

Do: “Sorry, I missed that. Could you repeat it?”

Don’t: “I think there’s a problem with your phone.”

Do: Make “I” statements

Don’t: Make “you” statements

If the reason you’re having trouble hearing callers is due to a malfunction in your own phone system and you know about it, be sure to offer that information to callers so they’ll understand the need to speak more loudly.

Example: “We are having trouble with call quality today. If you could bear with me and try to speak loudly, that would be so helpful!

What if asking doesn’t work?

Sometimes, a caller will speak so softly that even a purposeful increase in volume on their part won’t make it any easier to hear them. If that happens, you can still take action to ensure the information in the call is fully understood by asking the caller to switch to email or live chat on the website for the rest of the interaction. You’ll have a text record of the interaction so there won’t be any misunderstandings.

You can easily frame it as though it’s part of your normal policy – “Okay, thank you. We’ve got that information and will now send you an email/message through the live chat box containing the forms you will need fill out. Fill those out and send them back to us and we’ll get it taken care of!” You don’t have to let the caller know it’s because you’re unable to hear them.

Why is the caller so quiet?

Why is the caller so quiet? The caller could be a naturally soft-spoken individual. There may be a phone connection problem causing the call quality to suffer. Maybe the volume is turned down on either the caller’s end or yours. There could be a speaker problem, and the caller being too far away from the microphone can cause their voice to sound very quiet to you. The caller could be sick or recovering from an illness that makes it painful or difficult to speak, in which case you’d definitely want to suggest moving over to email for the remainder of the interaction.