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Business etiquette: What to do with that cell phone?

March 1, 2011
We asked dentists, hygienists, assistants, and front-office personnel one question

We asked dentists, hygienists, assistants, and front-office personnel one question ...

1. A long-time sales rep meets with you and your team members to discuss a new product. The sales rep gives no indication that he is expecting an important phone call. The conversation is shor; the sales rep asks a good time to call back, then he returns to the presentation. Which one of the follow statements do you agree with most?

We received 279 answers to the question...

Some of the "other" responses included ...

  • He could have stated ahead of time that he was waiting for an important call, then kept it short.
  • Unless specified at the begining of the meeting of a possible emergency call, the cell phone should be off.
  • The rep should ask if it's OK to answer important calls only from boss.
  • He could have explained that he needed to leave it on due to family responsibilities.
  • The rep could say he was expecting a very important phone call and ask if it is OK if he answers it. This scenario should be extremely rare.
  • It would have been nice for him/her to pre-inform the doctor/team that he was expecting a very important call. Asked if they minded he take it, reminding them he would keep it short as possible.
  • If he was expecting an important call, he should have said so and apologized in advance for possibly needing to take a call and kept it brief (which he did). Normally I would expect no phone calls to be the rule when having a meeting with the entire team. On a routine visit, no problem what he did was fine. When he's reserved time with me and my staff I expect that time commitment to go both ways. Especially since I'm the customer and he's trying to sell me something.
  • We're pretty casual so I don't think the short call would have been a big deal.