“Hello – This is Donna with Company XYZ. Please call me.”

Ten minutes later, I return Donna’s call. Her phone rings a few times and then transfers to voicemail.

I try calling a couple of hours later and end up with her voicemail. After the third failed attempt, I stop trying to return her call.

My greatest pet peeve is playing phone tag. It’s a waste of time and very frustrating, especially when I have several calls to return.

If you want to keep clients and strengthen your professionalism, respect their time. Don’t waste their time with phone tag.

When asking someone to return your call, let them know when you’re available.

Give them several options to pick from to return your call. In this way, you avoid the dreaded phone tag.

Try using email or text to schedule a call. It’s easier for someone to glance at your availability and respond.

Most importantly, when you say you’re available, be available for the call.

It’s understandable if every once in a while something happens and your plans change. But if this change is constantly happening, then re-evaluate how you’re managing your schedule.

At one point, most people sat at their desk for the entire day. With more team environments and people integrating life and work, we’re all busy.

Whether we’re in meetings or working late because we had to take care of personal stuff during business hours, we’re all juggling a lot of things.

The last thing we need to juggle is playing phone tag.

Increase your professionalism by avoiding the dreaded phone tag. Be specific when leaving a voicemail and give your client/colleague several options to return your call.

(Update to original post from March 22, 2017)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”