Hands up who’s rung their own company recently?

Just over two years ago, my colleague Rob Hancocks said to me: “you should write something about how badly some businesses answer the telephone – in many cases, it’s appalling”. And Rob should know; in different sales and support roles, he’s been steadily ringing thousands of manufacturers and distributors in technical businesses for many, many years. Yet it’s only in recent times that he’s been moved to comment on how poorly they present themselves to customers and prospects, in what’s still the most important means of business communication. First impressions count, and for many businesses, the first impression is truly awful.

For larger companies with a dedicated telephone receptionist, there’s no excuse for getting things wrong, and I suspect few do. However, nowadays we’re encouraged to bypass what some people still like to call the “switchboard”, and call “sales”, “support”, “accounts” etc directly. And it’s probably the people there (i.e. almost everywhere) who need some training on how to answer the telephone politely and professionally. Departmental phone lines made us all into receptionists, years ago. It beggars belief that anyone can call a company and be given an unfriendly “welcome”, yet Rob says he hears several of these every week, and they don’t know that he’s not their biggest customer.

Hands up who’s rung their own company recently, just to see what greeting they get?

Discussion

  1. Eoin Ó Riain

    Don’t forget a comment on the companies who subject one to the obstacle course of “Your Call may be recorded….” “If you want this press button one,” “If you want that press button two” and after having decided which button to press a supplementary list of suggestions and maybe even a third list later and the “Your call is important to us however all our operators are busy right now but do hold the line and somebody will be with you shortly….” by which time all desire to live has left one.

    I suggest that these companies start recording from the very first intimation that the call may be recorded and record the comments of the caller as he or she is “guided” though the bewildering selection of button choices. These recordings should them be played to the Managing Director and Board. It should help improve their vocabulary somewhat and maybe even help them suggest ways of improving the damn system.

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