Return to Table of Contents for – Notary Etiquette 104
1. Introduce yourself
Introduce yourself properly by phone when you answer the initial call to hire you. “This is June of June’s Notary Service” is a lot better than, “Hullo?” High-brow clients will judge you by how you answer the phone, so answer like a professional if you want to be treated like one.
2. Answer questions the way they were asked.
If someone asks what your hours are, tell them your beginning and ending times. Don’t say “it depends” and don’t be vague. Give them a clear picture of your availability without making them ask again. If someone asks how many loans you have signed, don’t give them a summary of your professional background, just give them a quick number. If someone asks if you are still in business, don’t tell them you are eating dinner or on vacation, just tell them that you are still in business. Just answer the question.
3. No background noise
Screaming children, televisions, or people talking in the background sound unprofessional. You need to turn the TV off, go into the next room where there is no noise, and apologize if there is any noise. That is called being professional. If you are in a restaurant, there might not be much you can do, so at least let the caller know where you are and that you cannot do anything about the noise at least for the time being.
4. Don’t scramble information
Asking people to repeat endlessly is horrible. If your phone is horrible, get a new one rather than accuse the other person of breaking up. If someone asks if you can do a notarization for two signers on three documents, don’t repeat it back to them as, “Okay, three signers on how many documents?” That is called scrambling information and sounds ignorant.
5. Don’t brag
Notary Signing Agents have the desire to overprove themselves. The secret is to make a good impression by being helpful and not shoving your credentials down someone’s throat. It also makes a good impression to ask a few relevant questions about the type of signing or document. Asking a few pertinent questions looks professional. Show the world how good you are without trying. Just politely and calmly answer people’s questions and they will get the impression you are a seasoned pro and not an overanxious newbie.
6. Act calm
Acting calm and helpful is a lot better than acting anxious and overly helpful or overly unhelpful. People get put off by desperate or unfriendly behavior. Seasoned signers normally act calm. Signers that are over-seasoned are too calm because they don’t care if they get the job because they want to retire, so don’t be too nonchalant either.
7. Speak clearly and listen
There is nothing worse than a Notary who mumbles or speaks unclearly. With such Notaries you have to keep asking for clarification as to what they said. And what’s worse, when southerners say the word “bell” it sounds like “bail” and you have to ask them if they meant b.e.l.l. or b.a.i.l… Why can’t we all just be Yankees? Then, there are the Notaries who aren’t paying attention who have to ask you to repeat half of what you say. They are very unpleasant to work with, so please listen carefully when talking to clients.
8. Confirmation calls
During the confirmation call, it is practical to ask the borrower to prepare for the signing by having a clean dining room table, have animals out of reach, children taken care of, and no noise. Make sure all parties will be there early, have identification, and have any documents or checks going back to the lender or title. It is better if the borrower leaves their outside light on so the Notary can find the house more easily.
9. Answering machines
Your answering machine should not have unprofessional sounding music. I cannot say what unprofessional music sounds like. Some people have Vivaldi that is just too loud while others have hip hop music. Just be sensitive to how this music would sound to a hiring party and use your judgment.
Do you use bad grammar? It don’t matter. Well, actually it does. People judge you in all sorts of ways, so try to use proper grammar as that is part of etiquette.