5 key phrases for answering a business call

Whether you work at a reception desk, in customer service, as a PA, or in any general business environment, you will likely be answering the phone to speak to clients or customers, or to take messages for colleagues. Here we have five key phrases for answering a business call that will be essential for your business English.

How can I help you? – This phrase is a very polite way of asking why someone is calling.

May I ask who is calling? – If you didn’t catch the caller’s name, this is a polite way of asking them who they are. He/she is not available at the moment – If the person the caller wanted to talk to isn’t around, tell them that they are “not available at the moment”. This is a polite way of saying that someone is not at their desk or is too busy to speak with them.

Can I take a message? – It’s polite to offer to take a message for your colleague if they are not available. Make sure the caller gives you their name and their company details as well as their message.

Could he/she give you a call back? – Let the caller know that your colleague will get back in touch with them. It’s worth asking for the caller’s phone number in case your colleague doesn’t know it. Now, to give you an idea of a phone call, here is a dialogue of two people talking on the phone.

Receptionist: ABC Company, this is Susan, How can I help you?

Caller: Hello, may I please speak with Stacy?

Receptionist: May I ask who is calling?

Caller: Yes, this is Jennifer from DEF Company.

Receptionist: Stacy is not available at the moment, can I take a message?

Caller: Yes, could you please tell Stacy to send over the invoice for last week?

Receptionist: Sure, I will let Stacy know. And if Stacy has any questions, could she give you a call back?

Caller: Yes, Stacy can call me back at 123-456-7890 until 5 pm today.

Receptionist: Thank you, I will give Stacy your message and she will call you back if she has any questions.

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