What is the Meaning of a Phone Tag?

What is the meaning of a phone tag?

It’s safe to say that all of us have experienced some confusion, even possible annoyance when trying to get hold of a person via phone. You’re trying to contact somebody for a period of time and you’re just unable to get through to them. And when they finally get your messages and discover unsuccessful calls, they, in turn, aren’t able to call you back.

This situation, or rather a phenomenon is referred to as phone tag. It is a common occurrence when two people are unable to get hold of one another on the phone.

This term was coined back in the 1980s when answering machines used to be all the hype. People tried to call each other’s landlines only to receive a prerecorded message from the machine.

Call Center Templates

Today, not many people use this slightly outdated technology, but the game of phone tag is still very much a thing.

Why does a game of phone tag occur?

Participating in phone tag can come about both unintentionally and intentionally. In the first case, it can be written off as a simple misunderstanding, a scheduling issue, a time difference, or just two busy people not being able to get hold of each other.

However, you can be a part of the phone tag intentionally as well. Sometimes, people avoid calls with certain individuals. After all, it is easier to leave a message on an answering machine or a voice mail than to have a real-time conversation.

No matter the reasons, if you play phone tag for an extended period of time, it is considered bad phone etiquette.

Call center agent on phone with customer

How to avoid playing phone tag?

Generally, if a phone tag is a result of some kind of conflict when one party refuses to talk to the other one, there is very little you can do.

However, when you find yourself not being able to reach a person based on outside factors, there are a few things you can do to stop the phone tag:

  • adhere to the phone etiquette – if both parties received two voice messages, the person that received the latest message can stop the phone tag by simply not calling back
  • schedule your calls – treat the phone calls like appointment times that you must attend
  • leave a detailed message – inform the other party when exactly you will be available if they still want to talk to you
  • use other means of communication – some brief conversations can be held via email or instant messaging instead of direct phone calls

Reach out to your customers effectively

Call center software solution allows your agents to deal with all customer support calls effectively. Discover features of LiveAgent's call center today.

Frequently asked questions

What's the definition of a phone tag?

A phone tag is an occurrence when two parties can’t reach each other on the phone. They keep trying to call but it results in a number of missed calls or voice messages.

How do you play a phone tag?

You can participate in a phone tag by continually missing calls and then calling back only to have your calls missed. Both parties can do this deliberately or by accident.

How do I stop playing phone tags?

You can make sure you are complying with common phone etiquette. Furthermore, you can better schedule and organize your calls or you can simply write an email or an instant message if a direct conversation is not necessary.

How to avoid phone tag and actually talk to the person?

Schedule your phone calls and then be careful to answer when you agreed to do so. Be specific about the time when you’re going to speak to one another.

How to win a phone tag game?

You can win games of phone tag by getting through to the person you are trying to contact. Find some helpful tips on how to do this in the article above or in the FAQ under “How do I stop playing phone tags?”.

Back to Glossary Create account for FREE

Expert note

Phone tag is an occurrence when two parties can't reach each other on the phone, resulting in missed calls or voice messages. It can be avoided by adhering to phone etiquette and scheduling calls.

Andrej Saxon
Andrej Saxon
Sales manager
Get to know what call tagging is. Understand customer support concepts in deep with simple explanations from professionals.

Call tagging

Call tagging is a feature that allows for labels to be put on phone calls based on context, making it easier to categorize customer interactions. It is important for businesses as it allows for more streamlined contact center processes, call analysis, trend identification, and personalized customer service. Using call tagging can also help identify dissatisfied customers and improve the overall customer experience. Common tags include technical support, sales, and complaints. Creating custom tags depends on the software used. In call center operations, tagging is important for staying organized and being able to navigate a high volume of calls.

Get to know more about the phone dialer. Understand in depth with explanations from professionals.

Phone dialers

The given text is from a website offering customer service software and VoIP phone systems. It also includes information about the company, their awards, and customer reviews. The website invites partners to join their affiliate program and learn through their glossary, academy, templates, webinars, and typing test. They have provided contact information and a demo schedule for interested parties. The text also indicates that the company is building the LiveAgent dashboard and uses cookies on their website.

Call disposition

Call disposition codes can increase a sales team's ROI by helping them filter out unproductive leads and focus on engaging ones who are more likely to convert. Call disposition codes are known as tags in LiveAgent's contact center software, which automatically transfers calls into customer tickets. Agents can organize tickets by adding tags manually or through automation rules, and filter tickets by tags for more efficient sales conversations. LiveAgent also offers a range of customer support and sales software solutions for businesses.

Get to know more about the power dialer. Understand in depth with explanations from professionals.

Power dialer

In the world of call centers, power dialers can significantly improve agent efficiency and sales conversions by automatically calling numbers from a list and connecting them to available agents. The wait time between calls can be customized to allow agents to review available details before speaking with the next prospect. While LiveAgent offers click-to-call dialing, power dialer functionality is not currently available. Different types of dialers, including predictive and auto, offer varying functionalities to improve call center productivity.

Our website uses cookies. By continuing we assume your permission to deploy cookies as detailed in our privacy and cookies policy.