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How to Operate a Switchboard

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Switchboard operators have a very important position within businesses. As they are often the first person to greet customers on the phone, they must remain upbeat and effective in their operating procedures. Switchboards are multi-line phone systems that allow users to transfer calls to various lines, have conference calls and answer multiple calls at once. Though all switchboards have different features, some operation procedures are universal regardless of switchboard type.

Familiarize yourself with the extensions of the employees in your office. This will help you transfer calls faster.

Answer ringing phones by picking up the headset and saying your company's greeting. Some switchboards require you to push the button indicated by the ringing line to answer the phone, particularly if you are already on a separate line.

Call company employees by simply dialing their extensions. Many switchboards, however, require you to dial a number before calling out, such as "9." Consult your switchboard manual or another employee about how to dial out.

Place the call on hold by pressing the "Hold" button, if necessary. Retrieve the call by pressing the "Hold" button for a second time. While calls are on hold you can complete internal or external phone calls, answer other ringing lines or address face-to-face customers. Just don't forget to retrieve the call on hold.

Transfer a call by pressing the "Transfer" button, then waiting to hear a dial tone. Dial the extension of the person to whom you are transferring the call, then press "Transfer" again. Press the "Release" button to transfer the call, or just hang up the phone.

Start a conference call by answering an incoming call or dialing a number. Press the "Conference" button, then wait for a dial tone. Dial the number or extension of the person receiving the conference call. Once she answers, alert her of the conference call, then press the "Conference" button again to connect the parties. Repeat this process with all the parties involved in the conference call, then press "Release," or hang up, to remove yourself from the call.

Place a call on speakerphone by pushing down on the "Speaker" button. Take a call off of speakerphone by pressing down on "Speaker" again.

Consult your switchboard manual for additional information about the specifics of your switchboard system.


Tatyana Ivanov has been a freelance writer since 2008 and has contributed articles to "Venus" and "Columbus Family." She continues to write humor pieces for a number of popular culture blogs. Ivanov holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from Hunter College.

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