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The Conundrum of Three Rings

Do you really need to answer the phone in 3 rings?

I was out walking the other night, thinking about a particular comment made by a client. “It’s always been really important for me to answer the phone in three rings.”

So why?  Why is that so important? Does answering the phone in 3 rings…..

  • give the impression of attention?
  • confirm that the call is important to you?
  • let the caller know they have instant access to you at all times?

This made me think about the polarities of business, from the one man band outfits out there to the big corporate organisations – with most businesses, including yours, probably being somewhere in between.

For those who have been on telephone training, we’ve all heard that the phone must be answered in three rings – and I wondered if this was now out of date.

There’s always a way round everything and the introduction of automated telephony answering systems has ensured the phone is ‘answered’ in three rings –……BUT…..

We’ve all called a big company, and yes the phone is often answered in three rings – however….

  • How long does it take til you to speak to the person you need?
  • How frustrated do you get listening to the robotic voice and making your selections along the way?
  • Did you want to spend your morning listening to dreadful muzak?
  • And the very worst, have you ever patiently sat and made all your  selections only to have then been cut off?

If you’re a smaller company offering a personal service, have a think about the relationship you want to build with your clients and how they would feel about leaving you a message, knowing that you will always call back when you can versus  the “three ring experience”

By putting in place a good working process that suits you both – a reliable message taking service with regular message checking and call returns, my belief is that many of your clients would be more than happy with that level of service. On the other hand if you don’t get back to them….well that’s another story, with a different ending completely!

Don’t confuse not doing something you’ve been told you should (like answering the phone in 3 rings) with not providing a good service to your clients!

What do you do?

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9 years ago

nothing frustrates me more than those automated phone services, unless it’s not having a call answered at all! I hate listening to the phone ringing and ringing and no-one picking it up. However if someone has a personalised message asking me to leave my details and they’d get back to me and they do, well there’s no problem with that at all.

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