How to Politely Ask For Someone’s Name on the Phone (Direct & Indirect Ways)

Asking for a person’s name on a call can be very awkward. It can also come off as rude if you don’t do it properly.

However, your style of asking will heavily depend on whom you are talking to on the phone. You may want to consider asking Directly or Indirectly.

4 Direct Ways To Ask For Someone’s Name On A Call

When you ask for a person’s name directly, you simply make it appear like a question but remain polite with your choice of words.

The person will understand what you mean. Sometimes, asking directly can come off as rude if you are using the wrong words. The suggested words to make use of when making your requests are;

  • May
  • Please
  • Is it fine by you?
  • Would you be okay with… (Are you okay with…)

May…

When you use ‘May’, it is often seen as a humble and polite request. You can use this word instead of ‘Can’ when requesting something from a person. The difference between the two words is pretty clear.

While ‘Can’ has to do with a person’s ability to do something, ‘May’ has to do with the freedom you are given to do something. When you use ‘May’, you are asking if your listener will permit you to do something.

In this context, you are asking if the caller permits you to know his or her name by saying it directly.

  • May I know who this is?
  • May I know who is speaking?
  • May I know who is calling?
  • May I know who I’m talking to?
  • May I know who I’m speaking with?

How to Politely Ask For Someone’s Name on the Phone

Please…

We use the word, Please, in several contexts. We can use ‘Please’ in seeking pardon. We can also say Please when making requests. It is often used together with ‘May’ but not always.

When you say ‘Please’, it sounds like you are begging for it, rather than ordering the person to give his or her name.

However, you still have to be careful to avoid sounding sarcastic and rude. That is entirely dependent on your tone.

Oftentimes, the other person can guess from your tone that you are irritated and the guess is usually right. Even if you feel a bit irritated for any reason, you should make sure you are not sounding like it.

Below are ways to use please when asking for a person’s name on a call.

  • Please, may I know your name?
  • Can you tell me your name, please?
  • Can I have your name, please?

Is it fine with you?

This is a good way to ask how a person feels about sharing his or her name. In many cases, the person won’t bother to say whether it’s fine or not.

Instead, he or she would just give you the name. What if he or she isn’t fine with sharing the name?

In this case, there is almost nothing you can do to force a person to give him or her name unless you don’t want to sound polite anymore.

Below are ways to use ‘Is it fine by you’ when politely requesting the name of a caller.

  • I need to know your name. Is that fine with you?
  • Is it fine with you to share your name with me?
  • Your full name is needed to continue this process. Is that fine with you?

Would you be okay with… (Are you okay with…)

This is simply another way of saying ‘Is it fine by you’. You are asking if the person you are talking to is comfortable with saying his or her name to you on the phone.

The person may skip answering this question directly and just give you what you are talking about. Below are ways to make a polite request with ‘Would you be okay with…’

  • Would you be okay with giving me your name? It is pretty important.
  • I need your name to help you further. Are you okay with sharing?
  • Would you be okay with telling me your name? I don’t know who I’m speaking with.

5 Indirect Ways To Ask For Someone’s Name On A Call

Asking a person’s name on a call can be done indirectly. That is quite simple. You can simply imply that you don’t know the person’s name yet or you can imply that you will need to know the person’s name.

That way, the question is already asked and the person will provide his or her name. However, there are wrong ways a person may ask indirectly.

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Below are suggested words to ensure politeness when asking indirectly for a person’s name on a call.

  • I need
  • I wish to
  • I would love to.
  • It would be nice to
  • It is quite important

I need…

‘Need’ is used to refer to things that are necessary to have or necessary to be done. It may be used to make requests and it can sound quite impolite depending on how it is used in the conversation.

The tone of the speaker also matters greatly, as it can sound like a command as much as it can sound like a request.

One of the best ways to ensure it sounds like a request, asides from keeping your tone humble, is by adding ‘Please’ to the statement.

Below are ways to use ‘I need’ in politely requesting a person’s name.

  • I will need your name to continue with the process.
  • Please, I need to know who I’m speaking with
  • I need to know your name, please.

I wish to…

This phrase is always used to refer to something that is desired but is not in the power of the person wanting. It can be used to refer to something you want but may not be able to get immediately.

It is also used to ask for a person’s permission. When you say you wish to know who is calling you, you are already implying that you don’t know the person and that he or she should identify himself or herself.

Also, you are making it sound like it is not your right to know and it is entirely in the hands of the person you are speaking to. Below are ways to use ‘I wish to’ in requesting a person’s name on a phone call.

  • I wish to know your name.
  • I wish I knew who was talking to me right now.
  • I wish I could guess who this is but I’m not so good at guessing.
  • I wish you could tell me your name so I know who I’m speaking with.

I would love to…

Here is another way to ask for a person’s permission. While it may truly be in the person’s hands, it may also not be.

You may just be giving this statement to ask for his or her opinion on what you are about to do.

When you say you would love to do something, you are implying that you may not be able to do it even though you really want to.

When you say you would love to have something that is with someone else, you are saying the right thing or else you would be sounding absurd and rude.

You can ask for a person’s possession like you own it or like you have a right to know. Rather, you ask with respect and make the person know that it is up to him or her if you ever get that thing.

It is the same in this case when you request a person’s name. Below are examples of how ‘I would love to’ can begin a polite request for a person’s name;

  • I would love to know your name.
  • Please, I would love to have your name by the record.
  • I would love to know who I’m currently speaking with.

It would be nice to…

This is very similar are the way you use ‘I would love to’ in making a polite request. However, there is a slight difference between the two.

When you say you would love to do something, you are asking about something you desire but making it clear that you need the person’s permission.

When you say it would be nice to do something, you are simply saying you would feel more comfortable or happier but it is not necessary.

Sometimes, making a question not seem mandatory can be the same as making it sound polite. You may use this phrase and simultaneously tell how important it is to have the person’s name.

Below are ways ‘it would be nice to’ can make polite requests for a person’s name.

  • It would be nice to have your name on record.
  • It would be nice to know who I’m speaking with.
  • It would be nice to know your name, sir. It will help me in addressing your issue faster.

It is quite important

This is very similar to saying ‘I need’, as you make your request. You are making it clear that you are not making the request for the sake of just knowing. This is only suitable for making business calls.

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If you are not making business calls, this may just be found like a joke since you don’t really have to know who is talking to you.

Also, there are better ways to sound polite and avoid sounding embarrassing which will be explained here.

Below are ways to use the phrase ‘It is quite important’ in politely requesting a person’ name on a call.

  • Can I have your name, sir? It is quite important for our records.
  • It is quite important to know your name before we proceed.
  • May I know who I’m speaking with? It is quite important so I know I’m safe.

There are other things one may consider when asking for a person’s name on a call.

  • Is it a Business Call?
  • Is it a Personal Call?

Is it a Business Call?

When you are asking for a person’s name on a business call, there are fewer risks and equally more risks of coming off as rude.

How to Politely Ask For Someone’s Name on the Phone

Asking for a person’s name on a personal call can be embarrassing if it’s someone who expects you to know him or her.

It is the same way you would feel if a close friend of yours suddenly asks for your name. It is still weird even if he or she is just asking for your last name.

You expect him or her to know so much about you and you don’t expect your name to be on the list of things left out.

However, a business call allows you to ask for the name of a client if it’s a new one. There is a high chance that you will have to be dealing with new clients you have never dealt with before.

Therefore, you are free to ask, as long as you are doing it professionally and politely.

  • Thank you for calling [Your Business Name]. My name is [Your Name], What’s yours, please?

This begins with an appreciation, even though it is not connected with the sentence that requests the client’s name. However, the content of the conversation matters.

Asking for a client’s name in a polite manner will not matter if you are not being polite when talking about other things in the conversation.

Also, the speaker gives his or her name. This is a good idea, as it should convince the client to respond with his or her name.

This move may not actually interest the client but it is still a good move to introduce yourself personally.

There is also the use of ‘May’ and ‘Please’. The addition of these two words helps you sound as polite as possible.

It is recommended in both formal and informal conversations, especially when you are making requests. Without using these words, you may end up sounding like you are dishing out orders.

  • Good day, this is [Company or Business Name]. I am [Your Name]. How may I help you? [Wait for customer’s response]. Great. I would like to help you with that but, first, I will need to have your name.

This is a conversation that leads to the correct way of requesting a person’s name, as explained earlier

The conversation began politely and formally. Also, the speaker introduced himself or herself before asking about the customer’s issue.

One of the reasons customer service representatives give their names is to win the confidence of the customers.

You should be able to report a customer service representative who doesn’t treat you well. You should be able to do this but it isn’t very easy or possible in many places or companies.

Lastly, the representative says ‘I need’. This is a good way to ask for the customer’s name. It doesn’t ask but it implies that the customer may not receive assistance on his or her complaint if the name is not given.

The use of ‘need’ shows that the representative is working towards helping out and is only demanding what is necessary to troubleshoot the customer’s challenge.

Other ways you can ask include;

  • You have reached [Business Name]. Please, may I know who is calling?
  • Before we proceed, please, can you confirm your name, sir? I need to match it with our records.
  • Before we end the call, please, do you mind giving your name?
  • My name is [Your Name]. It would be lovely to have your name, ma’am.

How to Politely Ask For Someone’s Name on the Phone

Is it a personal call?

There are certain ways you are mandated to talk in a formal environment or on a business call.

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While personal conversations can ignore these rules, you still do not want to appear rude and absurd to the people around you.

There are several reasons for a person to be hesitant to request a person’s name on a phone call, especially personal ones.

You may be wondering if it is someone you already know but whose contact you forgot to save. In that case, you can say something like ‘Who is calling, please? I lost my contacts recently.’

You may also be wondering how to ask a question from a stranger who may know you. It wouldn’t be nice to start a relationship by appearing rude.

In that case, you can say something like ‘You sound familiar but I can’t guess who this is’.

  1. Hello, [Wait for response if Name is not given], May I know who I’m talking to? I lost my contacts recently and everyone seems to sound alike. I don’t want to make wrong guesses.

One of the things allowed in a business call to sound polite but not in a personal call is a short response.

When you are having a conversation with a person, you don’t want to get bored but you won’t want to bore the person either.

This is why make sure you feel like a part of the conversation. When you give a person short responses, you may sound like you are being dismissive.

Even though this is not a response, making it slightly long shows that you are attentive and you are willing to be part of the conversation.

This request uses ‘May’, though your listener may not care in a personal conversation. To avoid sounding rude, even with the use of ‘May’, the speaker quickly gave a reason for asking.

The reason for asking was given. This was also a reason for not knowing who was speaking, given in case it is a known person whose number was not saved.

The speaker also gave an excuse for not discovering who is speaking from just the voice. This is a wise choice because some people can get angry about you not being able to recognize their voice.

Keep in mind that making a wrong guess is a bad idea. It’s better to not make any guesses at all.

  1. [Wait for response if Name is not given], I don’t have this number saved, I’m sorry. Do I know you?

This may not be your favorite style of response if you don’t want to risk getting a friend angry. You should not say this if you suspect that it is someone you may know or someone who may expect you to have his or her number saved.

However, you may be sure that it’s a stranger or someone you’re not close to.

Knowing it is not a close friend, the speaker quickly exposes that the number is not saved. This is a good way to make the request before continuing the conversation.

The person may have planned to give a name so the speaker just gave a reminder.

The use of ‘I’m sorry’ is there as an acknowledgment that the speaker may sound rude or even embarrassing but he or she does not intend to.

There is the addition of the question, ‘Do I know you?’ This is the right way to ask the question. It may be an acquaintance whose number you forgot to save.

It may also be an old friend or a family member whom you no longer talk to.

There are other ways you can phrase your request for the speaker’s name. Below are 15+ other ways to politely ask for someone’s name in the middle of a phone conversation.

  1. May I know who this is?
  2. I still don’t know who I’m talking to.
  3. Do I know you?
  4. I’m sorry but I’m not familiar with this voice.
  5. You sound familiar but I can’t guess who this is.
  6. Please, I have no idea who I’m speaking to.
  7. May I know your name, please?
  8. Do we know each other? You sound pretty familiar.
  9. Please, who am I speaking to?
  10. What is your name, please?
  11. I’m finding it hard to guess who this is.
  12. Do you mind telling me who you are?
  13. I would love to know who I’m speaking with.
  14. This voice doesn’t sound familiar.
  15. Please, is this someone I know?
  16. Who is calling, please? I lost my contacts recently
  17. Have we met?
  18. I don’t have this number saved. Who is this, please?
  19. Help me out. I can’t guess who this is.

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