This is a based on my experience in IT role and also my role before that, a builder. These 1st contact rules have helped me and more importantly help past, present and hopefully future client/people I get to work/assist.
1. Answer the phone and provide your name to the customer so they know who they are talking to.
2. Provide a quick and easy way for people to contact you with questions. Ask, "How can I help you?"
3. Ask for the customer’s name and phone number so you can call back if disconnected or for follow-up.
4. Treat the customer with respect. Treat them as if they are the most important thing going on in your world right now.
5. Ask clarifying questions to determine the nature of the issue that is being discussed
6. Take time to understand the customer’s issue before offering suggestions for resolving the issue.
7. Be patient and compassionate. Remember that the customer called because they have a problem they need solved. The customer is often stressed and seeking help from an expert. You are that expert.
8. After giving information, double-check to make sure the instructions or next steps are clearly understood by the customer.
9. Say "thank you" — for calling,
10. Ask if there is anything else you can help while you are talking.
1. This is harder as emails are very impersonal.
2. I usually have a template email for a reply so if I get a email asking for help I will ask the important questions in reply.
What trying to do
parameters eg: dates, numbers used
Possible to provide screenshot
3. Close email with “Just let me know if you’ve got any more questions.” And Your name, contact details.
4. One I receive a reply I will usually telephone to discussion, provide solution, or get extra information if required. (more than two emails, I believe you should telephone. See http://www.experts-exchange.com/ITPro/Consulting/A_9736-Tips-for-staying-dynamic-when-busy.html
5. Follow rules on telephone.
You could be talking to the company owner or the government agency head without realizing it. You could be talking to the next big client or someone on the board of directors, the next MD.
You could make someone's day much better just by being helpful.