I know what I’m about to say and discuss here will be quite controversial and debatable, but having spent over 17 years talking to every type of person and personality possible that you find in a Company these are some of my frustrations of making a telephone call to a company. I surprise myself at how frustrated I still get over what I consider some really inappropriate responses and mannerisms over the telephone.
My first frustration:
The number of companies I call, small, large and even global that take an unacceptable time to answer a call. In my capacity of helping clients open up new doors – why would a company not manage one of their most important streams of communication effectively? By this I simply mean starting with their switchboard or reception picking up the telephone swiftly. No one knows who is calling; it could be a prospective new client for them – not a good start for a company.
The next frustration:
The number of first points of contact I come across when calling by telephone, the receptionists, the switchboard operator, the person tasked with answering the telephone and how often they sound bored, fed-up, unhappy, hating the world, irritable and unhelpful. Come on! The telephone is one of your company’s primary points of contact. How can you allow this!? It is sad, but true, I am most delightfully surprised when I get someone on the telephone who is jolly, friendly and charming – surely it should be the other way around.
Frustration number three:
What does this ridiculous phrase used on the telephone “sorry they are not available” mean? If they are out, say they are out, if they are in a meeting, say they are in a meeting, if they are away, say they are away, if they are ill say they are ill, if they are out to lunch say they are out to lunch or there is no answer from their line; then say that! If they simply do not wish to take your call, say they do not wish to take the call! It is that simple.
The fourth frustration:
Why on the telephone do people ask “is he/she expecting your call?” If I’m a prospective new client interested in exploring business opportunities (and I don’t mean selling to them), then of course they are not expecting the call – I’m an inbound enquiry. Do they only want to speak to people who they have scheduled telephone calls with?? Which brings me on to another topic – How can people in a position of wanting the very best for their company, both service, operations and finance-wise be so disinterested in talking to anyone because they have not heard of them – they have no idea what value may or may not be on offer I know and understand that most senior management in a company would not be able to function or do their jobs effectively if they took every (for want of a better term) “sales call” – however, surely it would make sense that there is a good and effective process in place to handle this, so that they remain open to the possibility they might find someone better, faster, cheaper etc than an existing supplier. I’m not particularly aligning these comments to the large multi-national companies that have Procurement Departments supposedly for this process – although they are as impossible, if not more so to deal with.
My last frustration:
The PA’s, the Assistants or even receptionists who seem to be given the power to determine what the company requires and who it comes from. I don’t belittle their role as I too started off my career in that position and the job they do is an important support role, BUT deciding the quality and/or value of the proposition or enquiry of the person they are speaking to on the telephone is not the role of a PA. A gatekeeper I understand. Needing and wanting to shield their boss from unnecessary calls I understand. So refer that caller and point them in the best direction within the Company. This takes me back to having a process in place to effectively and expertly assess the value of a telephone call.
So, five frustrations in all written down and voiced! Of course not every Company is like this, but these certainly are some real examples of just some of the frustrations that I have to endure doing what I do. However, not only do I love my work and enjoy the challenge, there are plenty of people and companies out there that light up my day!