Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More thoughts on Hello, Central

posted Fri, 01 Dec 2006

For callers:

Don’t ask if so and so is here today. I don’t know. There are multiple entrances to this place. The best I can do is put you through to his line. Even if he’s not here, don’t you want to leave a message?

If he’s not there, leave a message. Wait for the darn voicemail. Don’t zero back to me and ask peevishly, “Why isn’t he answering the phone?”

I don’t know why. Maybe he’s on another line. Maybe he’s in a meeting. Maybe he doesn’t want to talk to you. Maybe he’s in the bathroom. I’m not in charge of him. But talking to me does nothing to get you closer to talking to him. I am not the conduit to him. All I can do is get you to his voicemail. I cannot find him, tackle him and make him talk to you.

If you can’t or won’t give me a last name, it is going to take me longer to connect your call because I have to look through a list of 200 names for the first name you gave me. When I ask you what department “Yolanda” is in, I’m not trying to torture you, I’m trying to shorten the process by going to the department list rather than the alphabetical list.

When I ask you if you are trying to sell something or trying to buy something when you ask for “someone who might have something to do with packaging design,” I am not looking for a reason to hang up on you. I am merely trying to decide whether to send you to marketing (if you are a seller) or someone in national accounts (if you are a buyer). Really. I don’t give a darn about why you are calling other than trying to make sure you end up with the right person. He can hang up on you.

For the company:

When someone calls and says she is charge of all purchasing for the City of Richmond and she is very unhappy with how your company’s Richmond factory has been treating her and she wants to talk to someone about it right now and spends three minutes giving me her tale of woe, whether or not she is right, she thinks she is right and should probably talk to someone high up to have her feathers smoothed.

So when I tell her I will send her to Joe Blow, the director of sales and marketing, it does your company no good when I hit the ‘send’ button for her to actually end up with Bill Smith, a clerk in accounting. Why would that happen? Oh, because your phone list is out of date and no one bothered to make a new one because everyone knows that Joe Blow has moved to South Carolina and is now working out of his home and that the local extension is no good anymore.

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