The Telephone Runaround
The runaround. We've all experienced it, and it is maddening! Unfortunately, the runaround happens on our campus. People take notice of organizations that consistently provide excellent telephone service. As an institution that prides itself on personal service, we need to give more attention to our telephone communications and can begin by adopting the following techniques:
- If you have to transfer a call, make sure it's to the correct office. Make sure you really listen to what the caller needs before you transfer the call. To avoid making assumptions, ask the caller questions so that you really understand which office can help them.
- Let the caller know that you are going to transfer the call and give the caller the name and phone number of the person to whom you are transferring.
- Never "blindly" transfer a call. Before putting the transfer call through, talk to the coworker who is receiving the call and give that person as much information about the call as possible. Explain why you are transferring the call and, again, be sure you are transferring the caller to the right person.
- If a staff member is not available to take the transfer call, give the caller a choice -- would he or she prefer to call back or prefer to leave a message on voice mail?
- Thank the caller for allowing you to transfer the call.
Placing a Call on Hold
- Ask before placing the caller on hold. Then wait for and respect your caller's answer.
- Place the caller on hold rather than placing the open line on your desk or "cupping" the mouthpiece with your hand.
- Don't leave a caller on hold for more than 30 seconds without checking back.
- Don't use hold when a call back will serve the caller equally well - and probably better.
- Thank the caller for waiting!
- Ask for the best time to return the call.
- Ask for the correct spelling of the name.
- Write down the date and time.
- Use the caller's name during the conversation.
What YOU Can Do To Assist The Staff And Students Who Normally Answer Your Phones
- Let the people who normally answer your phones know when you are available and not available to take calls. If you are not available, let them know when you expect to be available.
- Advise them of any callers who should always be put through.
- Advise them of any callers who should never be put through.
- Let them know if you are expecting certain calls.
- Tell them when and where you would like to receive your messages -- do you want messages as they occur or at certain times during the day? Will you pick up your messages or should they be placed in a certain spot?
Commit To Doing Your Part To Stop The Runaround
- Be Reliable - Provide what was promised, dependably and accurately.
- Be Responsive - Promptly help the caller. Care.
- Be Resourceful - Have the knowledge and skills to respond to callers.