AIBU to think someone answering the phone for a business should say more than just "Hello"

(72 Posts)
JeewizzJen Fri 01-Feb-13 22:18:14

Is it just me who gets annoyed when a call isn't answered with some indication that you've called the place you think you have? When someone just says "hello" I then panic thinking I've misdialled and called some residential number! And then I have to ask them if I've called the right place and they sound all "well, duh, yeah!"

A minor annoyance perhaps, but it just bugs me! Anyone else?

StickEmUp Fri 01-Feb-13 22:21:00

I call businesses as part of work and no one has ever just said hello.
Doing it for years.

JeewizzJen Fri 01-Feb-13 22:22:28

Admittedly it doesn't happen that often, but it happened to me the other day! It was actually the office of the Administrator for Jessops.

lazybastard Fri 01-Feb-13 22:24:25

YANBU, it happened to me last week and I worried I'd dialled the wrong number. It is not how I was taught to answer the phone.

StickEmUp Fri 01-Feb-13 22:25:17

Hmm, which section? They went under, maybe it was someone just answering the last phone they have?
The other people in my dept tend to just say good morning without answering with company name, but they get calls who call direct for them.
So not a customer.

ArtemisiaGentileschisThumb Fri 01-Feb-13 22:28:30

It's happended to me a couple of times and it drives me nuts. If that person is the first point of contact for the business surely it's part of their job to be polite and make you aware you've called the right place.

JeewizzJen Fri 01-Feb-13 22:28:36

It was Administrators for Jessops - i.e. the company who are dealing with it's remains, PwC, not Jessops itself

BigAudioDynamite Fri 01-Feb-13 22:31:25

Hmm...Im guilty of doing this. If secretaries were all out/busy/whatever and I was asked to man the phones; I would without fail become engrossed in work, forget I was supposed to be answering phones until about the 100th ring...answer it in a fluster, forget what I was supposed to say and then usually cut the caller of whilst trying to transfer them......maybe it happens when people not usually answering phones are just covering..?

salcz Fri 01-Feb-13 22:32:51

My Dad runs a company from home and the number is shared with the home phone so that is always answered with 'hello'. This is quite rare though. Admittedly he's not as big as PWC!
Also, I may have forgotten that I've been at work before and done it. blush

EduCated Fri 01-Feb-13 22:49:23

I always used to bollocks up answering the phones at work grin They don't make me do it anymore...

ClippedPhoenix Fri 01-Feb-13 22:52:35

What's wrong with saying hello. You know who you called. Or does everyone have to say hello this is jessops, amanda speaking, how can I help you? Very american and very annoying. Hello is sufficent then you ask the question

BumpingFuglies Fri 01-Feb-13 22:55:52

YANBU they should state the business name, especially if they have advertised themselves.

skullcandy Fri 01-Feb-13 22:56:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ImperialBlether Fri 01-Feb-13 22:59:36

Oh god, I hate it when people give their life history when they answer the phone. We're in a college, so we just say "Staffroom" when someone calls, as the caller's already gone through the reception desk, but a man I work with says, "Good... (pause while he looks at his iPhone) afternoon, College Name staffroom, Major Twat speaking, how can I help you?"

His introduction is longer than 99.99% of the calls.

BumpingFuglies Fri 01-Feb-13 23:03:27

"Might as well face it, you're a dick with a glove"

BumpingFuglies Fri 01-Feb-13 23:04:27

Gah! Wrong thread, apologies! I was on the song lyrics one blush

ImperialBlether Fri 01-Feb-13 23:05:27

Actually, that just about sums up the bloke in our staffroom! Nice coincidence!

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 23:07:09


sooooo annoying.

5Foot5 Fri 01-Feb-13 23:08:12

I suppose it depends on whether you have the appropriate number.

I work in a non-customer facing role but we do have direct dial so it is remotely possible that a member of the public could get through. I never do answer with just hello, I always say my name and department at least, however I almost certainly don't do the full company greeting a customer thing.

StuntGirl Fri 01-Feb-13 23:14:24

I'd prefer it! My official phone answering has to go like this:

"Good [morning/afternoon/evening], [company name] where you can now buy [insert latest offer] until [whenever], Stunt Girl speaking. How may I help you?"

I sense them lose the will to live halfway through.

chandellina Fri 01-Feb-13 23:17:17

To be fair I think this is often just a case of the person thinking it's an internal call. Pwc definitely don't answer the switchboard with a hello.

carabos Fri 01-Feb-13 23:21:29

I always answer the phone with "it's Carabos". 99 times out of 100 the caller will then say "Is that Carabos?" confused. Nobody listens to what the person answering the phone says, so "hello" is as good as anything.

GrendelsMum Fri 01-Feb-13 23:21:56

I think Chandellina's right - in theory I always check and answer either 'Hello, X company, GrendelsMum speaking," to external callers, and '"Hiya," to internal callers, but I have been known to get confused, especially if also trying to swallow a mouthful of sandwich.

WorraLiberty Fri 01-Feb-13 23:25:34


I thought it was just me who finds it incredibly annoying blush

It normally happens when I ring a local trades a plumber, electrician or something.

I rang a local garden fence company for a quote the other week and the answer message was, "Yeah this is Steve. Leave your number and I'll get back to you".

That was it confused

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 23:28:41

YANBU, I find it very annoying and always wonder if I have the right number. It seems unprofessional to me aswell and puts me right off.

Yes, it annoys me. Especially because cold callers do that annoying thing of not telling you who they are and just launching into their spiel, so anyone else who doesn't give their name sounds the same.

Mind you, I have been ticked off by my landlord for not answering my phone with 'Hello, this is LRD' and just 'Hello'. hmm Given that 90% of calls I get are from my mum because everyone else uses my mobile or skype, I felt that was a bit off.

TheFowlAndThePussycat Fri 01-Feb-13 23:38:57

Just after I got married I answered the phone at work a couple of times with "hello, MyWorkPlace, this is" I'd forgotten my own name. blush

I now work mostly from home so it's not unusual for work callers to get Dd1 answering the phone! Fortunately I'm not really customer-facing. grin

Pendeen Fri 01-Feb-13 23:44:24

Well my practice is the same as my name so answering the 'phone used to be quite easy but over the past 18 months I have been so inundated with nuisance calls (cold adverts and heavy breathing perves) that I always leave the answering machine to filter out genuine clients and enquiries from the dross.

Currently running at about 7 dross calls to 2 genuine ones...

catgirl1976 Sat 02-Feb-13 00:52:14

At work, I just say my name

"Catgirl 1976" I don't give any greeting / hello at all. Just my name

But I'm not in a role where people ring unless they are ringing internally or my direct line IYSWIM

Reception answer "Good Morning xx company. How may I help you?"

If I rang a business and they just said "Hello" I would assume I had the wrong number

SomethingProfound Sat 02-Feb-13 01:25:13

YANBU, it really pisses me off as well!

I used to work for Hard Rock Cafe and we had to answer the phone "thanks for call Hard Rock Cafe city name, how can I rock your world?"


StuntGirl Sat 02-Feb-13 01:30:21

<Hands prize to profound>

I thought mine was bad, yours takes the biscuit. I will gratefully blurt my spiel out at work tomorrow thinking "Thank fuck I don't work at Hard Rock"!

Did they make you say any cringey things to customers when you served them or was that the limit of their corporate genius?

MsAkimbo Sat 02-Feb-13 02:37:43

YANBU. It's basic professional etiquette and it's a shame some people can't be bothered.

A former boss used to instruct her children to answer the phone as such:

"Good evening, Smith residence. Jane speaking."

Extreme, maybe, but the children were possibly the most professional people working for her.

SomethingProfound Sat 02-Feb-13 02:59:24

Oh stunt girl, that is the tip of a vast iceberg! For two years I had to act like I was SO FUCKING HAPPY. it was like Disney on Prozac.

JeezyOrangePips Sat 02-Feb-13 07:11:36

Usually I answer with a simple 'hello, business name' at my work. Although I do have to figure out which business I'm at so it can take a moment. I occasionally answer the phone on auto-pilot and just say 'hello' at work - Not often, and it is a mistake.

I also have a very small self employment, based at home using the home phone, that just gets answered 'hello'.

I think a lot of small local traders just use their home phone, so just a 'hello' is fine.

quesadilla Sat 02-Feb-13 07:18:17

YANBU but I hate it when people go to the other extreme and give you an entire sentence when they answer the phone. A simple "hello, (business name)," will suffice thank you. I don't care if your name is Jane, really...

CarpeJugulum Sat 02-Feb-13 07:31:13

My work line is internal but can be phoned from externally if you know the direct number which is not publicised - and we don't give it out as all calls are to go through the switchboard, so any calls I get should be internal transfers. "Hello" usually suffices, but I do occasionally get external calls by accident - which is just confusing for everyone!

RuleBritannia Sat 02-Feb-13 07:44:29

I think the proper way to answer a business telephone is, "Good morning/afternoon, X company." The Good Morning helps the caller realise that he/she has got through after a long ringing session and then the name of the company is heard.

Those long sentences, - Good morning, X company, Jennifer speaking, how may I help you - are annoying.

(a) The use of words is eating into the time being paid for by the caller.
(b) I am not interested in what your name is. If I need to know who has been giving me information and it's been rudely given, then I'll ask for the name.
(c) I wouldn't be ringing if I were not going to say what I wanted to talk about.

HindsightisaMarvellousThing Sat 02-Feb-13 07:47:59

I phoned up a law firm once - a big Magic Circle firm - to speak to one of the solicitors there.

I was greeted by "And what the fuck do you want now?" which wasn't the approved method of greeting clients. I'd have been happier with a simple hello to be honest.

TheSmallPrint Sat 02-Feb-13 07:53:30

Hmm I agree with you but as someone who works from home without a separate business line I tend to just answer 'hello'. I always think it sounds unprofessional but we get so many calls (or so it appears) from companies to do with home stuff that I don't like to answer with a company name. Seeing as it annoys you all, I may just answer with my name in future as its part of the company name.

At work we have one number (small company) that rings at the admin manager's desk first then through to the rest after 5 rings so I only occasionally pick up calls, they are never for me, I think I have received one call in 2 years. I just say Good Morning, Comapnyname and proceed to cut most of the callers off trying to transfer them to other extensions. If it's an internal call direct to my desk I just say hello, so does everyone else.

At home I was brought up by my parents to read out the town name and number every time you answer the phone, I stopped when i was about 14 and realised no one else did it, still just say Hello. My parents still do the reading out the town and number, drives me nuts, I'm still convinced no one else in the whole world does it.

StuntGirl Sat 02-Feb-13 08:16:07

Haha hindsight grin

Profound I can imagine. I actually hate the forced jollity of big companies. As long as the server doesn't scowl and throw my purchase at me I don't actually care how much they're smiling or how chatty they are. Let us both get on with our day in peace!

StuntGirl Sat 02-Feb-13 08:17:30

Whoknows that's amazing! I admit I've never heard anyone else do that!

HecateWhoopass Sat 02-Feb-13 08:20:08

blush I did that the other night. Someone called me out of hours on my mobile and I just said hello, without thinking. They were a bit confused about whether they'd called the right number.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 02-Feb-13 08:26:09

When I worked on the phone for a bank it was a nightmare.

Good morning you're through to Mrs Keith Richards at bank name customer services, can I take your sort code and account number please?

Total piss take because they had already put them into the automated system but the details were never transferred to us.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 02-Feb-13 08:28:08

Whoknows my grab and grandad used to do that!

TwoCatsAndABabyBump Sat 02-Feb-13 08:35:38

I work for the local council in an area office. One number at work is similar to a local banks. We answer "good morning/afternoon nameofcompany TwoCats speaking, how can I help you." and still get people trying to give us their card details or telling us they want to transfer some money.

People don't tend to listen when you have to say a long spiel.

A DIY store I worked for, similar long spiel as above and the person who had called said "is that the Rumbleintum cafe?"

You can't win. I hate it when people just say hello, and callers ont tend to listen to a long winded greeting.

HecateWhoopass Sat 02-Feb-13 08:39:21

Yes, my grandma used to answer the phone with her number. Not the town, but her number.

FruOla Sat 02-Feb-13 08:46:56

When I worked for an estate agents, it was a small office and all phones rang - there wasn't any hierarchy about who answered the call, just the first person to pick up and we didn't have any rules about what we said, just as long as we used the company name. Us oldies tended to answer with CompanyName and usually a good morning/afternoon - I noticed that the younger members of staff also added "TheirName speaking".

The funniest times where when the caller had intended to call another EA - despite the fact they'd heard us or probably not listened say our company name, they'd start talking about about a property being marketed by the other agent - they'd then get very indignant when we told them they'd phoned the wrong agent, despite the fact we had announced our own company name when we answered confused.

TheFowlAndThePussycat Sat 02-Feb-13 08:52:07

The father of someone I went out with years ago used to answer the phone with 'village 123' where 'village' was the name of the telephone exchange, not the village where he lived and '123' were the last 3 digits of his number. Totally incomprehensible.

chinup2011 Sat 02-Feb-13 08:57:30

Small Print BT offers a service where your same home phone line gives a different ringtone for business callers. That way you know if you need to answer with a ' hello' or a different greeting. It is called Call sign.

desertgirl Sat 02-Feb-13 08:59:13

LOL, hindsight, I bet that person was mortified. A long long time ago I worked for a magic circle firm, in the days where direct dial was less ubiquitous (actually I do know the odd firm where you still have to either specifically ask for a direct number or put up with going through switchboard). One chap hadn't given his direct number to anyone but his wife, until a (female) client specifically asked. The phone used to show that it was a direct dial call - he automatically picked up with 'Hello Darling'. He spent the rest of the afternoon blushing.

Whoknows, my parents used to do that, when it was 'village 789'. When phone numbers got standardised, it became [nearby small town] 456 789; they just used the number - think they have finally pretty much given up and accepted that 'hello' is more usual.

What drives me crazy is people who ring up and don't tell you who they are until you ask (when you have no clue who they are - cold calls, work related people you have never spoken to before etc). I think this is a middle eastern thing, only usually hear people complaining about it here - or has it penetrated the UK yet?

Dparents say the town name (two syllables) then the whole 6 digit number, slowly and clearly, aarghh.

TheSmallPrint Sat 02-Feb-13 09:03:50

Chinup I didn't know that, thank you I will certainly be looking into that. smile

desertgirl Sat 02-Feb-13 09:07:40

Answering the phone in the 1940s and 50s:

<<To receive a call - or 'answer the phone' as it was called - one just lifted the handset from its cradle. The correct procedure was to let callers know that they had the right number. So our family would simply say into the handset "Stonegrove 9804" and wait for the caller to respond. At that time it was considered bad manners just to say, "Hello", and it would never have occurred to anyone to say their name instead.>>

MrsMushroom Sat 02-Feb-13 09:08:07

Yanbu and whilst we're on tthe subject.....does anyone else find that more and more telephone operators are asking how to spell simple surnames? I DON'T mean non-English speakers either....I have a surname which is a well known bird...not complex at all....nobody ever used to ask how to spell it and now they invariably do!

They usually say "Is that with a blah de blah?" (insert ridiculous suggestion for the first letter of name.

And I say NO. It's just like the BIRD!

MrsMushroom Sat 02-Feb-13 09:10:22

desert that drives me MAD too! "Hello is Albert there?" WHO IS SPEAKING PLEASE??

Or "Hello can I speak to Mrs Mushroom please?"


desertgirl Sat 02-Feb-13 09:15:11

oh here it's [answer phone]

'hello maam'.

[Hello who is speaking please?]

'hello is that maam desert'

[yes, who is speaking please?]

at that point you might find out.....

jamdonut Sat 02-Feb-13 09:23:53

My home telephone number is almost the same as a local Lettings agency.( The last two numbers are transposed). I am forever getting their calls. I just give them the proper number now. Thinking of asking for a fee for re-directing their calls!
Evidently, the girl in that office has the same name as me.
I answer "Hello?"
"Is that jamdonut?"
"Hello, it's ****,ringing to ask about the two bedroom flat in Nowhere Road"
"I'm sorry,I think you have the wrong number..."
"But...that IS jamdonut?"
"Yes, but I think you want ABC Lettings! This is their number...."
"Oh (confused voice)...OK then....sorry" [hmmm]

jamdonut Sat 02-Feb-13 09:25:13

That should be hmm

FruOla Sat 02-Feb-13 09:26:18

We have a friend who is totally weird when he phones you up. Something like this.

Me (answering phone) : Hello Mark
Him : <surprised> Oh, hello, it's Mark here
Me : Yes, hello Mark.
Him : ............................................... <long silence>
Me : Mark, you've just phoned me. What can I do for you?
Him : <surprised> erm, well, yes <and then he finally gets into his stride>

It's a standing joke with all of our friends grin

I always thought it was normal (as a caller) to say straight away who you are when it's someone you know, eg friend or family member, but not if it's a stranger, unless they answer with their name or company name, so you know you've got the right person.

So, if they answer with their name/business name I would say, hello, my name is WhoKnows, I'm calling to enquire about xyz.

If they just say Hello, I would usually say "Could I speak to Mr X please" rather than plough in with my name is x and I'm calling about Y, which often results in the person interrupting me with, hold on you need to speak to my dad and being handed over to start again. If the person asks who I am or what I'm calling about I obviously tell them.

A lot of the people I ring are private individuals on their home numbers who are the organisers of children's activities (football, scouts, guides, swimming club etc) so get this quite a lot.

wherearemysocka Sat 02-Feb-13 09:31:36

I think i might start doing a Hyacinth bucket - the socka residence- lady of the house speaking...

wherearemysocka Sat 02-Feb-13 09:32:20

I think i might start doing a Hyacinth bucket - the socka residence- lady of the house speaking...

Another thing - if you have caller ID or are on a mobile, when you answer do you say "Hello Name" or just say hello and wait for the caller to speak? I still tend to do the latter, but DH phones me from his work or mobile most days and it feels silly saying "Hello?" as if I don't know it's him, but it's just a habit.

Ragwort Sat 02-Feb-13 09:37:19


I worked in a customer facing role 12 years ago and I still find myself answering my home phone on occasions with 'good morning, Ragwort Surname, how may I help you' grin

Want2bSupermum Sat 02-Feb-13 09:42:07

While that isn't how I answer my phone I will say this. I work in restructuring and often the company lines are transferred when the staff are laid off. It is my policy that the lines are always transferred when winding up the business as it enables us to continue collecting information about the liabilities such as employees not being paid in full and other creditor information.

It sounds like you got through to someone who is 'green'. They are probably billing 60+ hours a week in what is a very stressful job. They also probably don't want to give their name away because of the threatening behaviour that can come their way from people affected by a business going under. It isn't right but having worked in the field I can understand why you would answer the phone with a 'Hello'.

ModernToss Sat 02-Feb-13 10:09:09

That seems an odd assumption.

I think it is absolutely fine not to give your name when answering a business call for privacy/security reasons, but you should at least give the company name. I can see that might be complicated where a business has been taken over or in administration or similar though.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 02-Feb-13 10:27:24

I agree that it's good to answer professionally but I think we've all had days where we were swallowing a sandwich/finishing a chat to a colleague and been distracted into a simple HELLO.

DH says his full name to me sometimes when I call his mobile during work hours - he's just in the "work zone".

My parents still say their number when they answer the phone.

Jayne266 Sat 02-Feb-13 21:27:50

Ugh hate it when that happens to be honest I have put the phone down before now.

StuntGirl Sat 02-Feb-13 21:39:05

I answer my mobile by saying "Hey dude" grin

Want2bSupermum Sun 03-Feb-13 11:57:18

As I said, it isn't how I answer my phone. The difficulty comes in when I am working on 4 different engagements and all four are going through a wind up. I can't answer and say 'xxx on behalf of Jessops' because they might be calling with regards to another company.

I spend as much time trainging associates on client management as I do on developing their techinical skills. FWIW - I answer the phone with 'Good morning/afternoon, 'Name of Accounting firm' administration team.' I have added the 'team' as too many people assumed I was the secretary when I am running a team of up to 150 people.

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