Businessman making a phone call in an officeAs an insurance agent, you spend a lot of your time on the phone. You speak to customers and prospects, handle claims, and more. It’s critical to follow proper phone etiquette during each call you make and receive.

Immediately Introduce Yourself

Whether you are receiving a call or making one, begin the conversation with a proper introduction. Give your name and the agency you work for, if applicable. Then you can start the conversation.

Don’t Interrupt

This can be a hard one, but never interrupt someone on the phone. You might have a solution to someone’s insurance issue before he or she finishes explaining it, but wait until it is your turn to speak. If you interrupt, you run the risk of annoying your client. Also, it shows that you don’t have good listening skills.

Engage in Active Listening

While you should never interrupt, you still need to be involved in the conversation. Stay focused and detect the emotions the caller displays. Ask questions if you need to clarify a point and then summarize the key information. As you do this, jot down notes that you can refer to if needed. This will show clients and prospects that you are listening and ready to help.

Use the Hold Button

If you have to discuss anything with someone in your office while on the phone, use the hold button. If you just cover the receiver, the client might hear the conversation and view you as unprofessional.

Avoid the Speakerphone

The speakerphone feature is very convenient. You can put someone on speakerphone while tending to other tasks, so it’s tempting. However, using the speakerphone is poor etiquette. First, anyone within earshot can hear the call. Second, the person on the other end will be bombarded by distracting noises. Third, and most importantly, you cannot give your customer your full attention if you are multitasking.

Speak With a Smile

A cheerful disposition is necessary when talking to clients and prospects. You can maintain that disposition by smiling when talking. Your smile will come through in your voice and show your clients that you are an upbeat and positive person.

Use Proper Language

As an insurance agent, you love to build connections with your clients. This can include discussions about their children and hobbies. Even when the conversation gets personal, you still need to act in a professional manner. Avoid slang and bad language. A quick slip of the tongue can change the way your customers think of you and could cost you their business.

Always Ask Permission

You want your customers and prospects to know they are the ones in control. If you have to put someone on hold, ask first. If you need someone’s information, ask for it instead of demanding it.

Call at the Right Time

You never want your phone call to be viewed as obtrusive. You should avoid calling on the weekends and after 8 p.m. That doesn’t mean you can’t answer your phone during these times, just don’t be the one who makes the call.

Respond to Calls Within 24 Hours

Proper phone etiquette also extends to responding to phone calls. When someone leaves you a voice message, respond within 24 hours. Do it as soon as possible to show your clients and prospects that they are important to you.

Proper Etiquette Takes Practice

It can take some time to learn how to interact with customers and prospects on the phone. It does take practice, but you can work on these skills in your downtime. Ask a friend or family member to help you incorporate these strategies. Have mock calls where you try the strategies, and before long, you will be a pro.