Several months ago I wrote about the power of smart phones and how they can be used as a service tool. Properly used, phones can save mechanics a great deal of time. Unfortunately, they can also create problems. Many people that have grown up with cell phones are used to interacting with them continually, and that can be a problem in a service business. It is never appropriate to answer your phone when you are talking with a customer. It does not matter if it is voice or text, diverting your attention away from the person you are talking with is simply rude. If that person is a customer, the sin is compounded. Before you go to talk with a customer, turn your phone off. If you are accustomed to having your phone on all the time, it can be difficult to remember to turn it off before interacting with customers. I have been guilty myself. I once had my phone ring during a lecture that I was giving. I now try to get in the habit of checking my phone before I lecture. This advice also goes for talking with your coworkers and supervisors. A very talented student of mine lost his job because he was texting during a company meeting. The problem was not just that one incident, it was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. Most places of business will expect your undivided attention when they are trying to talk to you. Similarly, customers expect your full attention. After all, they are actually paying for your attention. There can also be a safety aspect to phone use in a field that has many real physical dangers. You should focus your attention on whatever you are physically engaged in. Failure to do so can be downright dangerous. There are many articles on the web discussing cell phone etiquette. The Huffington Post has fifteen suggestions in an easy to digest list. But please finish your conversation with your boss before clicking on the link.