No Messages Please — We Only Use Voice Mail!

Posted on June 26, 2009 by LCT Magazine

GIVING GOOD PHONE: I called his office and asked to speak to him and was told he was on another line. I said that I could hold or you could just ask him to give me a call. The gentleman who answered the phone only wanted to put me in his voice mail. This operator is not the first person who this has done this, so I believe it may be a new norm.
 
The people answering phones don’t “take messages.” They try throwing everyone to voice mail. I hate voice mail. I have already explained what I wanted on the phone to the person and now I need to restate it to the voice mail. The kid realized he was frustrating me when I said, “I’ll just call back later.” He took my number and re-asked me my name, but by that point I was already frustrated with the call. I like this operator. So I will be persistent and still write the story, but I could have been a customer who thought it was just as easy to call the next company on the list. I realize that in a busy office the ultimate goal is to get the person off the phone, but at what expense? 
 
Customer service and exceptional experiences are two different things. I think back to a time when I was waiting outside Sean Duvall’s office (Golden Limousine, Ann Arbor, Michigan) in his reception area listening to the girl answering the phone. She made every person who called feel as though they were the most important person in the world. Some people have an innate ability to do this. I believe that you also can train people to do it. I have always gotten that feeling when I call into Golden. It is consistent. Why can one operator always hit it on the head while others miss it completely?
 
For those of you who use voice logging systems, I ask, how often do you pull the tapes and listen to the way your people answer the phones? Do you play the tapes back and let your staff hear themselves? Do you counsel them on how it should be done? I may have been impatient when I made the call but I won’t be the last impatient caller to your organization. Does your staff know how you want them to handle these types of situations?
 
— Linda Moore, East Coast Editor
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