What is the correct wording for business calls? Introducing example sentences that can be used in response

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The first thing you need to remember when answering the phone at a company is how to use honorifics and the terms used on the phone.

Once you have learned certain phrases, you will be able to answer the phone, but there will be words that you don’t often use in everyday conversations.

Even if you learn it in training, if you don’t repeat it until you get used to it, it won’t become your own.

In this article, we have collected honorifics used when answering the phone and example sentences that can be used immediately.

Please use it as a reference to improve your phone support.

The way you use words affects the impression you make on the phone


When answering the phone, you can’t see the other person, so you can’t get information from their facial expressions and gestures.

Because it’s only voice communication, I tend to be conscious of the ends of words, and I’m worried about mistakes in honorifics and foul language.

When you answer the phone in business, the other person sees you as the “company representative”.

If you use sloppy words on the phone, your level as a company will be questioned.

Let’s understand the types of honorifics


As the basics of telephone correspondence, let’s first check the types of honorifics and how to use them properly.

Polite language

Polite language is a word that expresses respect to the other party by using polite expressions such as “desu”, “masu”, and “gozaimasu” .

Bikago, such as “sake” and “greetings”, is also a form of polite language.

respectful language

Honorifics are words that show respect by elevating the other person.

It is used in sentences that express the action or state of the other person, such as “Mr.

Humble language

Humility is a form of honorific that elevates the other person by humbled one’s actions and state.

“I will see you”, “our company will visit” , and use yourself or your relatives as the subject.

honorific list


We have put together a list of honorifics that are often used when answering the phone.

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Mistakes in honorifics often include mistakes between honorifics and humble words, or confusion between polite words and respectful words.

Check the list and learn how to use them correctly.

Polite language respectful language Humble language
do To do to do to treat
look watch take a look see
To tell say say say
there is is come is
come come to come, to see, to come visit, attend
know I know you know know

Example) Honorific conversion of “Iru”

  • Confirming the other party’s presence (honorific language): “Is Mr. ○○ coming?”
  • Telling the presence of your company’s employees (humble language): “Yes, 〇〇 is at his seat now.”

Use cushion words


“Cushion words” are words that act as cushions to soften the impact when asking a question or conveying something difficult to say, such as a request or a refusal.

If you get a harsh impression when you say it straight, let’s make good use of cushion words.

when you ask

” Excuse me, but do you have your reservation number ?

when you ask

” Excuse me, could you wait a little longer?

when you refuse

” I’m very sorry, but it’s currently out of stock.

Examples of telephone correspondence that can be used as is


Let’s see what happens when you actually receive a call.

The example sentences introduced here are fixed phrases for telephone correspondence, so you can remember them as they are and use them immediately.

answer the phone

“Thank you for calling. We are 〇〇 Co., Ltd.”
“Thank you for waiting. We are 〇〇 Co., Ltd.”

When you answer the phone, first give your company name.

We don’t use the word “hello” in business.

Instead, say something like, “Thank you for calling.”

If more than 3 calls have passed since the phone started ringing, it is a good idea to say “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting” and then give your name.

pick up the phone

“I will connect the call to the person in charge now. Please wait a moment.”

Transfers the call if the person named by the other party is present and available to answer the call.

Always check to see if the person in charge is available now before forwarding.

listen to business

“If you don’t mind, may I ask what you have in mind?”

If the name of the person in charge is not specified, it is necessary to listen to the business and determine the person in charge.

When asking the other person what you need to do, use cushion words so as not to give a harsh impression.

check the other party’s name

“Excuse me, may I ask for your name?”

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It is necessary to ask the other party’s name when leaving a message or returning a call.

Be sure to write it down if the other person says it first.

If you miss it, always check again before hanging up.

Response during absence

“Unfortunately, 〇〇 is out of the house at the moment. He is scheduled to return around 4:00 pm, but would it be okay if I could call you back as soon as he returns?”

If the person in charge is not available, state the reason and when you plan to return.

Use cushion words such as “I’m sorry” and “Unfortunately” as your absence will keep the other person waiting .

call back

“I’m sorry that I was absent even though I took the trouble to call you.”

A phrase used when an absent representative returns and calls you back.

I was absent when you called, so I’m keeping the other party waiting .

[Caution] Wrong wording for telephone correspondence


Some telephone and customer service jargon have permeated despite being misphrased.

It’s okay to memorize the language used on the phone, but remembering the wrong phrases can be embarrassing later.

Check the wrong phrases and the correct way to say them.

honorific error

This is a case where the type of honorific and the target to be used are different.

× May I have your name?

“Please” is a word used for things, so it is a mistake to use it as a name.

The correct answer is , “May I ask your name?”

It’s Mr. × 〇〇

“Gozaimasu” is a polite way of saying “There”.

In this case, since the other person is “being”, the correct way to say “Irasu-sama de Irasu ne” is to use the polite word “iru” for “iru” .

× OK

“Ryokai” is a word used by a superior person to a subordinate person, so if you use it on the phone, you will look down on you.

In business, use “I understand.”

× Thank you for your hard work

This is also a term used by superiors to inferiors.

Try to use “Otsukaresama desu” instead .

Is there Mr. × 〇〇 here?

“Oru” is a humble word, so it is not used for the other party.

The correct expression is “Is Mr. XX coming?”

Honorifics and honorifics to relatives

When talking to people outside the company, regardless of the hierarchy within the company, we use humble language for people in our own company.

Please note that it is necessary to switch from when you usually have a conversation in the company.

× I’m sorry, but 〇〇 is out of the office today.

The general manager may be a superior person from his point of view, but his relatives are humbled by people outside the company.

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Say, “I’m sorry, but 〇〇 is out today . ”

Words for family restaurants and convenience stores

It is also necessary to pay attention to the “seemingly correct but incorrect customer service terms” used at family restaurants and convenience stores.

× Here is the document

“Hou” is a word of comparison or direction, which is unnecessary in this context.

Also, “naru” is a verb that expresses a change of state, so it is misused.

At first glance, using “ho” and “naru” may seem to give a polite impression, but in this sentence, “here is the document” is the correct expression.

×Are you satisfied with this product?

Since you are asking about the present, the past tense is incorrect.

“Are you sure about this product?” is the correct way to say it.

Article Summary

We have summarized the phrases that can be used on the phone and the correct wording.

  • learn how to use honorifics
  • Use cushion words effectively
  • Memorize phone phrases
  • Beware of incorrect honorific usage and customer service terms

You learn how to use words by using them over and over again.

By repeatedly using the correct words in actual phone calls, you should be able to use difficult honorifics naturally.