One of my projects this week included reaching out to about 100 potential new customers of ours to get a little bit more information about the facilities they manage. I'm still not quite sure how this fell on my plate - but that's a discussion for another time.
Over the span of the last three days I have made over 100 phone calls. Asking the same 10 questions over and over and over. I've learned a few lessons from this that I feel are worth sharing (also known as "ranting about").
1. Cube farms are NOT the most conducive place for a high volume of phone conversations. I hate making phone calls from my desk. I can hear the conversation the guy 5 cubes over from me is having and I *know* everyone can hear me. I know this may come as a surprise, but I have one of those "voices that carries"...which is really just a nice way of saying I'm loud. (Seriously, ask my dad, if he had a dollar for every time he has told me I'm talking at an inappropriate volume for the indoors, he'd be a rich man. And my brother would be half as rich if he was participating in the same deal. Sidebar: I blame this on living in a house with 44 women for a few years. If you're not loud? You're not heard.) It's not like I'm having inappropriate conversations, I just don't like everyone being able to hear me. Especially when I'm repeating the same "script" over and over and over. They've got to be beyond annoyed with me.
2. Receptionists / Secretaries / Admin Asst. are *very* important. I didn't really learn this lesson today, as I spent the better part of a decade in this role, but learned more from the other side in this project. Listen very carefully if you EVER have someone else answer your phone for you...are you ready? Make sure they are pleasant! I know everyone has a bad day from time to time and sometimes you're just not in a perky mood. But when it is your JOB to be polite and friendly - suck it up. I am amazed at how many rude, cranky, completely beyond the point of being able to be understood by a caller some receptionists are. This is the FIRST IMPRESSION of your company if someone is calling or stopping by your place of business. Hire a schmoozer, it'll go along way. (I was an A+ schmoozer when I was in that role...I learned it from my mom. She schmoozes with the best of them still!)
3. 99% of high school girls do NOT fit the previously mentioned bill. I hesitated sharing this point, as most of the above mentioned decade I was a high school(ish) aged girl. Laughing when you pick up the phone? Not knowing basic information? Being flat out rude with a side of attitude? TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. That's great that you decided to hire Bob's daughter while she's got the summer off. And I'm sure she's just a sweetheart. But on the phone? She's sounding like a moron. And I am, in turn, judging you for the idiot you have answering your phones. Got it? Good. If you do hire Bob's daughter, make sure she has manners and phone etiquette. And if she doesn't? Teach her. She'll appreciate it later, when she's a grown up and has to use them on a daily basis.
4. If you haven't been getting any voicemails, it's probably not because you're so efficient at your job. Your messaging system is broken. I have been cut off by more messaging systems than I possibly could have imagined when embarking on the 100 phone call project. Oh, I see you've chosen to completely eliminate problems 2 and 3 and use a totally automated messaging system. What a splendid idea! Except for when people who's names I have on my list don't exist in your automated directory. Not by first name, or last name, or part of both. Also? If your voice mail cuts me off after 3 seconds, no matter *how* fast I talk (and I can talk fast! Loud, but also FAST!) I cannot leave a message. And I have also learned my limit for number of tries is 2. If I get cut off twice, I no longer care to leave you a message. And really, my call isn't all that fun, so maybe you don't care. But boy are you going to be pissed when you miss that call about winning the lottery.
I'm sure I'll have many more lessons after this project...but I'll leave you with these for now.