Politely ending a phone call with someone is an important skill to have. Communication is key for effective business and personal relationships. You never want the person at the other end of the line to feel like you don’t value them or you don’t make time for them.
It is best to introduce the end of a business call by thanking the other party for their time and asking if any questions remain unanswered. End a private call by first emphasizing how much you enjoyed the conversation, followed by a suggestion for the next meeting or phone call.
With a business phone call, there are some pleasantries exchanged, but the focus is on the business at hand. Both parties have other business to attend to, so not dragging it out is vital.
With personal calls, you may have plenty of free time to just talk about anything under the sun with someone. However, you don’t want the call to end abruptly either. Other times, you have to get off the phone to go somewhere or do something else.
A good impression is vital for all business calls, which starts from the moment you begin the call until the call is completed. You don’t want to rush anyone, but you can’t waste time or you won’t get anything done. Finding that balance is essential.
The call should be friendly, with a great introduction and a firm closing. When you do so, the other party will feel appreciated and respected throughout the call.
Use a Question to End the Call
Before the phone call ends, both parties need an opportunity to ask questions.
It is a nice gesture to lead into it by allowing them to go first, then you can ask your questions. If they ask you first, feel free to dive in. Always give them the same courtesy to ask their questions before you end the call.
What to Say:
“Do you have any questions for me?”
“Do you mind if I ask a few things before we end our call?”
“Is there anything further I can assist you with today?”
“When you are ready can you share the information, I need and I can process this for you?”
“Are there any other details you feel I should know?”
Thank Them for Their Time
Always thank someone for their time when you complete a business call.
This is a wonderful way to politely let them know you are ready to end the call. It doesn’t matter what the conversation was about, always go this route. It helps you build a relationship with them while also remaining professional.
What to Say:
“Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.”
“I am glad we connected today; your input enlightened me on the topic.”
“I understand this project is a challenge, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns as you proceed with it.”
“I look forward to meeting you in person at the convention next month.”
“I enjoyed talking with you and look forward to our follow-up.”
Follow Up Request If Needed
If the business call doesn’t take care of everything you need, it may be necessary to schedule a follow-up. This is a wonderful way to politely end the phone call too.
Both of you can review your schedules and find a time to connect again. That timeframe depends on what your discussion entails.
What to Say:
“Is it okay to give you a call back in 2 weeks to get an update?”
“There is so much more for us to talk about now that we have connected. When is a good time to schedule another call with you?“
“Enjoy the rest of your day, can we talk again next Friday?”
“I would like some time to research a few things we discussed. When is a good time for us to talk again?”
“This has been an informative call, and I appreciate your input. Do you mind if we talk again before the end of the month?”
Avoid Telling Them You Have Something Else to Do
Your time is no more valuable than that of the other person on the other end of the phone. While you do have a business to conduct, don’t make them feel short-changed because you are in a rush to end the call. Avoid telling them you have something else to do.
Telling them you have a meeting, it is time for lunch, or other activity to get off the phone is going to be a turnoff and can be deemed as rude from a professional point of view.
It is nice to connect with someone by phone, to hear their voice, rather than just sending an email or a text. This includes friends, family, and even parents of those your children hang out with. Perhaps you are calling someone you have a crush on or you would like to go on a date with.
Give the person on the line your undivided attention. Don’t try to multitask while you talk to them. You may have other things to do, but put them on hold a bit and enjoy the conversation.
When it is time to go, there are ways to politely end the phone call. You want them to reflect on it with a smile and look forward to when you can chat again soon!
Emphasize That You Enjoyed the Conversation
Tell them you enjoyed the call. People need to hear that; it encourages them to pick up the phone and call you again.
If they feel like they bother you or you didn’t listen to them, they are going to be disappointed.
What to Say:
“I am so glad you called me!”
“It was fun to catch up, we need to do so more often.”
“I enjoyed chatting with you, do you have time to meet for lunch next week?”
“Thanks for the laughs, it brightened my day to hear from you.”
“Call me any time!”
If You Have Little Time
If the call is cut short because you have to do something, make sure they know you are happy to talk with them.
The timing may be off, but that doesn’t mean their call doesn’t mean the world to you.
What to Say:
“I have to go to work, but can you call me again after 5:30 so we can finish our conversation?”
“I have to go feed the baby, but can I call you back when she takes a nap?”
“I have to go but I love hearing from you.”
“I am trying to get dinner on the table right now so I need to go but we will talk more soon.”
“The background noise here is making it hard to hear you. Let’s make the call Sunday morning when my husband will be here to help take care of the kids and reduce the chaos!”
Offer to Call Them at a Specific Day or Time
We often feel the need to answer a call, even if we are too busy to talk. We worry the person on the other end of the call needs something important. It can be a relief that they just want to visit, but the timing can be off.
Offer to call them back on a specific day or time, but make sure you follow through. Don’t leave them waiting for a call that doesn’t come!
What to Say:
“I have too many interruptions to talk during the day but my evenings are always better. Can I call you when I get home tonight after 6?”
“Sorry, I have some pressing things going on right now. I work from home tomorrow; can I call you then?”
“I was just getting ready to run into the store. Can I call you back in a bit?”
“I am trying to help the kids get a few things done. I can call you after I get them settled.”
“Sorry, my schedule is crazy this weekend. Can we talk on Monday?”
“I have company right now and I don’t want to be rude to them by being on the phone too. Can I call you in a couple of hours?”
Never Say You Have Another Call Coming In
Don’t tell someone you have another call coming in. That is a rude way to end a call. They may perceive this as you feel the other person calling you is more important to talk to than them.
If you need to go in a hurry to answer a call, simply tell them you need to call them right back, but make sure you do!
If you do say you have another call, explain why it is important. For example, if it is your child or your boss, they will understand you can’t ignore those calls and just visit with them. If it is another friend or family member though, it may be upsetting to them if you hang up so you can answer that person.
What to Say:
“My boss is calling me and I have to take it, call you right back.”
“My son’s school is calling, I will call you back soon.”
“I have to go but will call you in a few minutes.”
“Sorry to end our call but I have to go and I will reach out later.”
“My daughter is on the other line, give me a minute with her, and then I will reach out again.”
Is It Rude Not to Say Goodbye on the Phone?
A phone conversation should always end with a goodbye, as this is a kind of agreement for both sides that there are no other topics to discuss. If you leave a conversation without saying goodbye, it can come off as rude and give the impression that they are angry.
On a phone call, you can’t send any courtesy signals other than through speech, so i’s important that what you say is courteous and precise.
A goodbye also gives each side another opportunity to get rid of an urgent question or make an appointment for the following conversation. So saying goodbye acts as an agreement that both sides have the same understanding of the end of the conversation.
Katie Haynes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.