Phone Etiquette 101: When a Caller Won’t Leave a Message

Phone Etiquette 101: When a Caller Won’t Leave a Message

You pick up the phone and a caller asks to speak to someone who isn’t available right now. You let them know they’re out of the office and ask to take a brief message. They decline, explaining that they can’t leave a message with you and must speak to the person directly.

Have you ever been in this situation?

If you’re answering the phones for a business, you likely have. While there are likely many reasons people may decline leaving a message with a person other than the recipient, there are 3 that seem to be the most common in the business world.

We’ll address the top 3 reasons callers won’t leave a message in this blog post and show you a few ways to combat them with reason, friendliness, and a few psychology tips!

When a Caller Won’t Leave a Message

Most callers are happy to leave a detailed message if they are unable to reach the person they were seeking, but some will decline to leave a message and give a reason similar to the ones you’ll read below.

If taking a message is part of your workplace policy and the caller doesn’t seem irritated, use these tips to help encourage the caller to leave a brief message with you.

If they say: “I don’t need to leave a message; she knows who I am and how to reach me!”

You say: “If you don’t mind, it’s just policy for us to collect a name and number – what number can she reach you at later this afternoon?”

If they say: “No, that’s okay. He’ll know what this is about – just tell him Lance called.”

You say: “He requested that we get a brief message with name and phone number – that gives the best chance that he’ll call you back in a timely manner!”

If they say: “I really can’t leave a message. This is a personal matter.”

You say: “I completely understand. In that case, I might suggest trying to get in touch with her/him using any other contact methods (s)he may have shared with you, or you can always leave a short message with me that only (s)he would understand.”

If they say: “I’d rather just wait and speak to her myself.”

You say: “That’s absolutely fine, but I can have her return your call as soon as she gets back if you leave a quick message.”

If they say: “No thanks, it’s not that important.”

You say: “Are you sure? I’d be happy to take down a quick message and have him give you a call once he’s back in the office.”

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