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Taking a phone message is a vital part of good customer service and is a valuable communication skill. If you take a poor message, the correct action will not happen and therefore the person will become angry or something important does not get done.

If you are taking a phone message, these should be taken on a phone message pad or paper rather than on a scrap of paper. Post it notes can be useful, but a post-it notes that you stick on someone’s desk can fall off and get lost. Duplicate phone message pads can be a good idea as you have a copy of the message and you can always check that the message has been dealt with. It may be that phone messages are taken on a computer or transferred to a computer later. Just as important as the paper is a working pen, always have a spare pen by the phone just in case.

When writing down the message, do not cram information into a small space, this is where information is not recorded or becomes unclear when you or a colleague tries to read it.

Makes sure you record the full details including the full phone number and area code, the persons full name, company name and record the full details of the message and what action needs to be taken. Also, it is important to write down who the message is for and the date and time of the call.

Sometimes callers will say that he already has my number, or he will know what’s it’s about. Saying things like, if I could take your number anyway as he does not always have access to his contacts, or he has asked me to always say what the call is about so he can prepare before calling back. Some simple words can ensure that you can take a good message.

When writing down the message make sure you spell everything correctly, ask the caller to repeat it if you are not sure, do not guess the spelling. Read the message back to the caller so they have a chance to correct any part of the message.

Writing the message is one thing but you also need to write on the message what action needs to be taken and whether it is urgent or not. It is also important that the message is dealt with within the correct time period.

If the message is for someone else make sure you write down your name and number or extension so you can be contacted if needed and so they can refer to you by name when they call the person back.

Finally, once the message is taken down correctly, make sure it gets to the person or put somewhere so that you can deal with is without losing it.