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We Got Disconnected…Now What? The Etiquette of Returning Dropped Calls

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Man frustrated with a dropped call

One of our most popular posts is the article we wrote on telephone etiquette. In it, I shared a few telephone answering tips to ensure that you’re presenting yourself, and your business, in the most professional manner—at all times.

Good telephone manners go a long way, and one of the things people really struggle with is this scenario:

You’re on a business call and you’re deep into a really great conversation and suddenly you realize you’re talking – but no one is there! In mid-conversation, the call was dropped. Then, here’s the sequence of events that follow:

  1. You hang up and immediately call the person back.

  2. Your call gets automatically directed to the person’s voicemail.

  3. As you’re leaving a message asking for a call back, you hear a beep on your phone – oops, an incoming call.

  4. You hang up, hoping you can catch the call.

  5. Too late, the incoming call goes straight to your voicemail. “Hello George, this is Sam, looks like we lost connection. Give me a call back.”

  6. You dial again–just as Sam has heard your voicemail and is dialing you back.

  7. And you’re back into George’s voicemail box.

  8. Now you both hang up and wait for the call.

  9. At the other end, Sam is also waiting.

Talk about a mess! After a few rounds of this back and forth, the entire conversation has been lost.

Who should call back and who should hold off?

The etiquette for situation where a call is disconnected is simple: Whoever initiated the call is responsible for calling back.

With so many of us using cell phones to communicate in business, remembering this simple tip will save a lot of confusion and wasted time the next time you’re disconnected.


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