TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Best Way to Answer a Business Phone?

Re: Best Way to Answer a Business Phone?

Wed, 13 Sep 2006 21:23:55 -0400

Mark Atwood wrote:

> DLR <> writes:

>> As a side note there was only two times in the last 20 years that
>> the phones went totally silent. One was the OJ verdict. I forget the other.

> The morning of 9/11 I am betting.

No. Quite busy that day and much more so the next week or so. When you
put a few planes full of people down in the wrong city due to weather
or such, calls go up. When you put almost every plane down in the
"wrong" place, well things got just a wee bit busy for a while for
those on the phone lines. Mandatory overtime as I recall.

The other time was something similar to the OJ verdict. Something that
obviously was the front page of People and US. :)

Mr Joseph Singer wrote:

> Tue, 12 Sep 2006 23:35:50 -0400 DLR <> wrote:

>> At the major airline call center where my wife works in baggage
>> claims, they tend to start with a story and if not cut off can take
>> 5 or 10 minutes telling this story which may or may not, usually
>> not, be germane to the reason for the call.

> This may be fine for an airline call center, but like all nasty habits
> it's spread to *everything* without need and no real reason to do it
> other than they think "commercializing" answering calls makes them
> more "professional."

Actually no. I've been involved in several small businesses where
things got to the point where the 3 line phones on everyone's desk
weren't cutting it anymore. As the business grows they get to a point
where everyone is interrupted to answer the phone and it usually isn't
for them which means interrupting someone else to see if they can take
the call or taking a message and passing it on. At that point the
business has a choice. Hire a secretary or buy a phone system with an
automated attendant. Secretaries cost real money. Every day. Auto
attendants cost once. Most folks who don't need a constant greeter at
the door go the AA route. The biggest problem is so many businesses do
this very badly. Which I think is your real complaint.

Now doing this for a doctors office just doesn't make sense. But for
many businesses AA are a no brainer.

> This is about just as desirable as those stupid popups you now see on
> TV programs telling us what's going to be on in the next hour, the
> next week or the next year. Infiinitely annoying and hardly helpful
> at all.

>> And as much as everyone hates auto-attendant systems, including us,
>> costs would go through the roof if they staffed for full service
>> answering all the time. Calls come in waves. Somewhat predicable but
>> with lots of day to day variation.

> It's funny that people got along just fine for *years* without auto
> attendants and being handled by a real person. Auto attendants and
> IVRs especially when planned badly as some are that force you to go
> through countless obstacles when you really need to speak to a real
> person are crazy. The people who design these auto attendants and
> IVRs should use some common sense. It shouldn't be not obvious that
> if you want to speak to a real person you should be able to press 0 or
> just not say anything and time out to a real person. Countless times
> I've tried to let it time out and instead of being transferred to
> someone who can help me the designers of the system think it's better
> to just drop the call. TS for you! If I'm on an IVR and the IVR
> cannot understand "operator" there's something really wrong in the
> design of a system.

Well in the airline industry the cost of an airline ticket (in
adjusted dollars) was much more back then to deal with all the
employee costs of fully staffing. And if you had any idea of how messy
it was for them to sell and TRACK tickets and seats on flight back
then before call centers and computers, well, today no airline would
exist that was bigger than 1/20 of their size today. By the early 60s
they were in a crisis of being unable to handle any more growth.

The main point being AA systems (and other things) allow them to sell
you a ticket coast to coast that a middle class family can afford to
buy for a vacation.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: One other time that phones 'quit
ringing' for a few hours was the Sunday night in July, 1969
when the three astronauts landed on the moon. _Everyone_ was watching
Walter Cronkite sit there in stunned silence trying to describe it.

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