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How to End a Phone Call Professionally

The Business Etiquette of Ending a Phone Conversation


There are several reasons that you may need to end a phone call professionally.  The most common is the "long winded talker" that is consuming your time.  Another reason, but less common is the caller that uses abusive, threatening or vulgar language.   In this instance you should consult your company's policy and procedures on how to handle this situation in order to avoid any legal ramifications.

Phone Call Ending Tip #1: Think First

Mature businessman on phone in office
Thomas Barwick/ Stone/ Getty Images

Before you decide that you need to end a phone call, make sure the "business" part of the conversation is complete.  You don't want your caller to think that you are avoiding the business at hand.  For example, ask "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

Phone Call Ending Tip #2: Always Be Professional

Choose your words carefully.  Don’t be condescending in your words or your tone of voice.  Avoid making statements or asking questions that will prolong the conversation.  Be curt and assertive, but avoid being rude or impolite.

Phone Call Ending Tip #3: Set a Time Limit

Part of every successful business is building relationships with your customers and it is nice to hear about their vacation or their grandchildren.  When you are sure the business portion of the call is ended, look at the clock or call timer on your phone (if equipped) and give the caller another 3 or 4 minutes (or less).

Phone Call Ending Tip #4: Seize the Pause

Wait for the caller to pause in their conversation and jump in immediately with a pleasant call end statement.  For example:

  • "I am glad to hear about your grandchild but I have to take another call. If you need any further assistance, please do call back."
  • "I appreciate the additional information, but I must attend to an urgent matter.  Thank you for choosing About.com Inc. and please call again."
  • "Your business is very important to us and I need to enter your order into the system. Is there anything else you need?"

Phone Call Ending Tip #5: Offer Alternatives

You may have methods other than the phone that people can use to contact you.  These include: email, texting, web chat, your secretary, assistant, etc.  For example, "If you have any further information you would like to share with me, please send me an email at operationstech@aboutguide.com" Or, if need be, "My assistant, Mr. Bob Smith, will be willing to help you.  You can reach him at Ext. 1234"

Phone Call Ending Tip #6: Use Technology

If you have Caller ID, write the offending caller's phone numbers on a list and keep it near the phone. When you see them calling, let it ring through to voicemail and return the call via email.

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