As I mentioned in an earlier blog, layoffs at my office have forced me to take on a few receptionist duties for part of the work day. I have a new appreciation for receptionists. They filter through a lot of crappy people and I've learned some things that I'm sure people in customer service or in a receptionist type role can relate to. In general I have your average office related rants but maybe my time in reception hell has only exacerbated my irritation particularly with people who call in. So. Time for a vent.
1. Say "please" - I don't care who you are and I don't even care if you say it in an angry voice. Even through your angry tone, I can tell you are trying to suppress your inner-hulk when you say please. I appreciate it. I will go out of my way to try and hunt down the person you're looking for or try and figure out some way to help you.
2. Never call me "sweetie" or "honey". EVER. You don't know me you condescending bitch. Don't think that just because I'm directing your call I don't know what your talking about. As a matter of fact, I could probably help answer at least part or all of your angry question, but the minute you talk down to me I'm going to let you squirm and wait for someone else to call you back. If you do this and you're actually looking to talk to me, I'll pretend I'm someone else and put you into my voicemail with a note saying "condescending bitch" and call you back at the very end of the day. And you old guys who think you can call me "sweetie" or "honey" because I sound young and you're old and fat... you can suck it. My husband and friends don't call me sweetie or honey so you sure as hell can't.
3. Have your shit together. Who the hell calls some place of business without having any of the stuff they're asking about in front of them? Did you think I would just magically know who you wanted to talk to and who your call was supposed to go to? I'm picking up the phones, not reading your mind.
4. I get why you're pissed and actually it really is all your own fault.
5. Be extra nice. Please is great - it goes soooo far. BUT if you're that caller who is cheerful and patient despite your crappy situation, I'll help you out first. In the same vein, don't tell me to do something for you "now" and don't threaten me with "or else" because it actually makes me not care about what happens to you and I'll want to help you out last.
6. Listen and follow instructions. If I tell you to leave your name and phone number and property address, we need all three. So when you get a call back and you have to wait on hold for a few minutes while we look up your data because you didn't leave the requested information, that's your fault. When I ask you what state your property is in, the correct answer is not "Lake Elsinore" (state of disrepair, state of mourning... all those would also be acceptable answers if you were a smart ass... you would make me laugh, so you'd get a bonus point.)
7. Be nice in your voicemail. If you're rude, I mark it "rude," "angry bitch," "jackass," "asshole" etc. Typically I return calls in the order they were received, but if you get a mark like that on your voicemail note, you're bumped to the bottom. I also mark people who are really really nice... and call them back immediately.
8. Being angry doesn't help. Really, it doesn't.
9. Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Get it together. I'm not a doctor. You can't call me on my cell over the weekend and I'm not going to respond to your e-mail after I go home. Don't leave me angry messages and multiple e-mails on a Sunday telling me you needed the information yesterday. The recording says our office is closed (please see item #6). That's what you get.
10. I do call everyone back and I do respond to every e-mail. I promise. Now take a deep breath.