And no, this is not a post about servicing your boss… so you over there can leave my page now. 🙂
I call a lot of companies. I mean A LOT. My job is a government contractor which provides a security clearance for non-military vendors requiring access to a military post. I call said vendors, contractors, suppliers, etc… and explain the program, why they do or don’t need it and why the military has implemented said program. Fun times indeed. No its nothing like James Bond. As a result of all this calling, I speak with a ton of receptionists. I have begun compiling a list of phone etiquette pet peeves.
When the office phone rings it is appropriate to speak in a clear voice and announce not only the name of the company but also your name. Do not mumble, Do not carry on a side conversation with your co-worker, Do not smack gum or eat.
When the caller asks to speak with someone from xyz department (in my case, the military or governments account manager) say something like, “That is Tom Jones, It looks like he is avaliable, I will send you through… have a great day!” While smiling. Do not say hold and blindly send me flying through the phone lines. Or worse, not even saying “hold” and just transferring me to the unknown. That is rude.
If you don’t know the answer to my question, don’t hum and hah and say “I don’t know”… instead try, “I don’t have the answer to that, but I will look into it for you.” Then follow through.
When I ask if Mr. Jones is avaliable, please respond with the appropriate answer rather than blindly transferring me to his voicemail. If I wanted to leave a message, I wouldn’t have asked if he was available.
And when your boss asks you to record his voicemail greeting for him… do him a favor and JUST SAY NO. There is nothing quite as obnoxious as being transferred to Tom Jones’ voicemail and hearing Sally Smith’s voice say “you have reached the desk of Tom Jones, he is not avaliable. Please leave a brief message and he will return your call.” GRRRRRR. There is just something wrong with that. Guys, if you are an executive, you made it there for a good reason (let’s hope), you should most definitely be capable of recording your own darn voicemail message. With that said, I have NEVER heard a woman exec’s voicemail that didn’t have her voice recorded on it. Nuff said.
I could go on for hours. But I will control myself. Please please please do us all a favor and just be polite? Answering phones isn’t the same as IM’ing… we still need some ground rules.
Perhaps we all should read “The Teenage Book of Manners Please!” http://www.amazon.com/Teenage-Book-Manners-Please-Fred-Hartley/dp/1557482462 It’s not rocket science.