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This question has been asked on this website before—but one example was closed as off topic, and the other specifically regarded use in a letter.

My context requires the use of speech, as if you worked in a call center—where the callers voice may not give an indication of their gender. Also, gender-neutral terms are often preferred these days.

Where you need to treat the customer with respect—what alternative to Sir or Madam can be used?

closed as primarily opinion-based by curiousdannii, Mari-Lou A, Edwin Ashworth, user240918, Skooba Feb 12 '18 at 15:00

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    If you really respected them, you'd find out their names. – Rupert Morrish Feb 1 '18 at 2:02
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    Ask your company for the best phrasing to ask for their name and then use that. – Ross Murray Feb 1 '18 at 2:11
  • @RossMurray I don't work in a call center. Or what if I were the call center management I had to come up with the phrase? That's why I'm asking here. – dwjohnston Feb 1 '18 at 2:14
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    When all else fails, mumble. – Hot Licks Feb 1 '18 at 3:09
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    A gender-neutral technique of addressing somebody on an email I've seen often is to reference the related activity or operation. For example, if you are receiving a generic response to a job application, it is common to see "Dear Applicant" instead of "Dear Sir/Madam", when the name is not directly used. Depending on your specific situation, it might or might not feel out of place to use that phrasing on a voice call. – Arvindh Mani Feb 5 '18 at 20:34
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In spoken English for answering a call in a call center, you can avoid a gendered address simply by using repectful tone of voice and slightly formal phrasing: "Thank you for your call. How may I help you today?" or "Would you please reboot your machine?" vs. "What can I do for you, sir?"
or "What do you need, ma'am?"

In written English for a call center situation such as emailing a customer, you can use a greeting such as "Hello," with no title combined with formal phrasing in the body of the email.

Should you work in the rare call center where a bit of whimsy is allowed, you can use "gentlefolk" for a non-gendered plural, but this should be used with care.

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