Mobile Phone Etiquette

Mobile Phone Etiquette

Jurek Leon - Tuesday, March 04, 2008

by Jurek Leon

These days most businesses have in place telephone standards for the way calls are answered and transferred.  This ensures that the professionalism of the company is maintained.  However, very few companies have a telephone protocol and standards for mobile phones (in some countries such as New Zealand, Singapore and in North America better known as cell phones).  As a result, the telephone habits many people have when using mobile phones for work are often most unprofessional.

We’ve been exploring this topic with clients on our ‘Telephone Techniques’ courses.  Here are some guidelines for you and your team to consider.

1. The Greeting
Introduce yourself and let the caller know they have reached the right person.  For example, “Hi, this is Charnie.”
This is briefer than your landline greeting yet appropriate because it is your personal phone.

2. Switch off in meetings.  Anything else is disrespectful to the people you are with.

3. Checking text messages in meetings is also rude.  It is a sign of disrespect, particularly to the person speaking.  Your body language is saying, “This is boring. I’m looking for something better to do with my time.”

4. Let the caller know if -
a) You are unable to give them your attention.
b) You are in a public place where it is inappropriate to talk.

5. Put your phone on silent or vibrate when with people or in restaurants, cinemas and other public places.

6. If you are expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; advise the caller that you are with people and keep it brief.

7. Be discrete when discussing business or personal issues when in public places.

8. Speak quietly.  Your mobile is not a megaphone.

9. Avoid talking in places where you may be distracting to others.

10. If you are in a car using a hands-free device, which is the only time you should be on the phone unless the car is stationary -
a) If you have the speaker on, let the caller know that there are other people in the car.
b) Be aware that voice tone is an important part of your telephone message and this can be distorted on speaker phones.  Many people do not like being spoken to via speaker phone.

11. Turn down the ring tone when in the office.

12. Show respect for service providers.  Do not take or continue calls when you get to the front of the queue at a counter or are being served in a café or restaurant.

13. Clear your messages regularly.

14. If you are asked to answer a colleague’s mobile phone, make it clear to the caller that they have the right number but not the right person.  For example, “Hi, Tarryn’s phone. This is Jurek.”

15. Don’t text a client unless this mode of communication has been agreed in advance. For example, “If I’m running late I’ll text you. Is that OK?”

16. Ask permission before recording someone’s image on a mobile phone.

17. Ensure the ring tone is appropriate – your customers will hear it!

18. If it’s a work phone, keep it with you. Do not lend it to family members or friends.

19. Ensure your main office number and all key work numbers, including an emergency number, are stored in it.

If you don’t currently have a protocol and guidelines for the use of mobile phones, it’s time you developed one.  Use this list as a guide.  Pass it round to your colleagues and ask for feedback and additional suggestions.  Set a target to have your new guidelines in place.  Your reputation is on the line.

Jurek Leon is a speaker, trainer and author of 'Terrific Telephone Techniques - The ultimate guide to excellent service over the phone'. To subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly email newsletter go to the Free Articles section of his website and type in your name and email address.  It’s simple and easy.  Alternatively, email Jurek at

Jurek Leon is a storyteller, trainer and coach who presents courses and addresses seminars on word of mouth marketing, motivation, customer focussed selling and managing the customer experience. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly ‘Terrific Tips’ e-newsletter at Alternatively, email

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Jurek Leon is a storyteller, speaker and trainer. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly 'Terrific Tips' e-newsletter at Alternatively, email