Online wireless retailer LetsTalk.com today announced the publication of its user's guide to cell phone etiquette. "With the proliferation of cell phones in our society and the onslaught of new ways to use your cell phones, consumers are becoming increasingly confused about setting boundaries," says Letstalk.com CEO Delly Tamer "We hope our guidelines will help people better avoid and recognize 'cell phone faux-pas.'" The guidelines are based on comprehensive annual surveys on cell phone etiquette and behavior dating back to 2000.
LetsTalk has issued the following guidelines for cell phone etiquette:
When in doubt, mute
Many establishments ask customers to refrain from using cell phones, but no one wants to actually miss a call. What if you're in the movies and the babysitter is frantically trying to reach you? No worries.
The Fix: Almost all cell phones offer vibrate features, so you don't have to miss a call. Be sure to place the phone in an easily accessible spot; the only thing worse than a disruptive ring is a giggling customer fumbling to find their vibrating phone!
Choose Ringtones You Won't Regret
Personalized ringtones have become a certifiable hit. We love the way consumers can really customize their cell phone experience, but always consider what the ringtone says about you and the environment in which it rings. Your kids may love your Fred Flinstone "YabbaDabbaDoo!" ringtone, but it might not be a hit in the board room.
The Fix: Many cell phones offer environment settings that are designed for specific experiences, e.g. the boardroom. If your phone has this feature, be sure to activate the setting to the right environment before you head into an important meeting. If your cell phone doesn't sport this feature, try selecting environment-friendly ringtones. For callers who call you during the day when you may be in meetings try a more sedate ringtone and breakout the hit song ringtones for calls you're likely to receive on weekends.
Yak, Don't Yell
Have you noticed how some people feel the need to scream at the top of their lungs while speaking on a cell phone? Well, for some unknown reason, most of us speak louder when we dial. Stop the urge to act like a primitive Neanderthal and scream into your cell phone.
The Fix: Talking loudly doesn't make you an easier to hear over the phone; lower your voice or move to a quieter place to continue the call.
When in Earshot Keep it Short
What's more annoying than listening to the intimate details of a strangers' weekend plans while standing in line for coffee or commuting to work on the bus? People around you don't really want to be privy to your personal conversations.
The Fix: Be aware of your surroundings; don't conduct nonessential calls in public transportation, restaurants, checkout lines, elevators, bathrooms, and other close quarters.
Don't Text and Drive
Talking on a cell phone while driving isn't just dangerous, it's actually illegal in some states. With the recent proliferation of PDAs and text messaging, we've even seen people typing messages while behind the wheel.
The Fix: Avoid using your cell phone while driving whenever possible. If you must use it, get a hands-free kit, or use the cell phone's speakerphone so you can keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. But if none of this works for you, pull over, park the car, and start chatting!
Excuse Yourself Before Taking the Call
The call may be important to you, but realize you're also important to the person in front or next to you.
The Fix: Don't talk on your cell phone, play games or send text messages in front of someone who expects your attention, whether it's a grocery store clerk, doctor, business partner, or old friend.
Say Please Before They Say Cheese
The proliferation of camera phones means that almost everyone is walking around with a camera in their pocket. People are increasingly more sensitive to this fact, so use photo discretion.
The Fix: Think twice before whipping out that cell phone in locker rooms, swimming pools, and other potentially compromising situations. Paris Hilton may not mind, but most of us aren't interested in finding pictures of ourselves on the internet.
If it's An Emergency, Take The Call
Occassionally, an emergency is going to arise at an inopportune cell phone time. We understand, it's actually a key selling point for owning a cell phone. No matter where you are, if you believe it may be an emergency, do take the call.
The Fix: To expedite and better manage calls at inopportune time, establish a code with loved ones. Ask when you answer, "Hi, is this an emergency?" If it is not, people will understand. If it is, you want to know.