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Telephone Answering Protocols on Campus Policy

Outlines the campus' expectations for projecting a positive image when answering campus telephones.

Policy Information

Policy Number Policy Owner


Information Technology Services 


  • 4.0 Policy

    The following campus telephone answering protocols are recommended for anyone answering the telephone at SUNY Plattsburgh.  Oftentimes, the person answering the telephone makes the first impression of the College.  It is extremely important that the first impression is one of professionalism and credibility.  The first four minutes of a telephone conversation are crucial in projecting a positive attitude and professional image of the college.

    Projecting a positive image can be completed using the following 10 steps.

    1. Preparation — Be prepared to answer the telephone and take notes.  Have your tools for taking notes in a convenient location.  
    2. Answer Quickly — Try to answer the phone within two to three rings.  
    3. Greeting — Keep your greeting to 10 words or less.  (See Below*)  
    4. Positive Speech — Avoid negative words.  Your use of language can make or break a call.  
    5. Effective On-Hold Techniques — Ask a caller if they mind being put on hold and wait for their response before putting them on hold.  
    6. Effective Call Transferring — When transferring a call:  Give the caller the number you will be transferring the call to; stay on the line when transferring the call to be sure that the call goes through to the appropriate party; and tell the person the call is being transferred to the name of the individual you are transferring.  
    7. Speak Clearly — Be sure to enunciate and speak clearly.  Do not talk with food or gum in your mouth.  
    8. Proper Tone of Voice — Be sure to vary your voice tone to keep the caller interested in what you are saying.  
    9. Background Noise — Remember people can often hear noises in the background.  Try to keep these noises at a minimal level.  
    10. Priority — Remember the person you are speaking to on the telephone has your priority.

    Every major unit of the college should have their telephone answered during business hours.  (Using a voice mail tree is permissible as long as the call goes to a live individual for response.)  If it is not possible to have an individual answer your telephone calls, your telephone should be forwarded to a contact who can answer.

    *The recommended greeting for the campus for off-campus calls:  University Name, Office Name, and Person Speaking (i.e. SUNY Plattsburgh, Management Services, Diana speaking).  Callers like to know who they are talking to.

    Remember the telephone is the most powerful business tool at our disposal.

For additional information about this policy, please contact the Policy Owner listed above.

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