April 3rd, 2013

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How to get help on the phone

Why do people not understand how to have a useful phone conversation with someone in my office?

Let's look at how you order a pizza.

Step 1 - You call the pizza store you want to order from..  You do NOT call some other pizza store to ask about ordering a pizza and then ask if they know if it works the same way at some OTHER pizza store.

Step 2 - The pizza store answers the phone.  They store will usually start with some sort of identification, for example, "Joe's Pizza, how can we help you?"

Step 3 - You do NOT immediately ask "Is this Joe's Pizza?"  If you do, the response you SHOULD get (but probably wont because people are too polite sometimes) is "I don't know.  Why don't you hang up and call back and this time LISTEN to what I say when I answer?!"

Step 4 - You tell the person what you want to accomplish.  "I want to order a pizza."  You do NOT start with some long drawn out story "My girlfriend left me after 5 years.  The bitch took all my pots and pans.  Not that I know how to cook, but now I can't learn even if I wanted to.  Why don't girlfriends give two weeks notice the way you are supposed to do when you quit a job.  That way I would have had time to find a new girlfriend and she could have made me dinner tonight.  So here I am, and I'm hungry, and I don't really know what I want to eat, but I always used to eat pizza when I was little.  Of course, I lived in Chicago, so this pizza tastes different, but I guess it will have to do...."

Step 5 - The employee asks you the questions they need answered so they can help you accomplish your goal.  "What is your name?  What is your address?  What is your phone number?  What would you like to order?"

Step 6 - Answer the questions.  Do NOT use terminology without knowing what it means in context.  For example, do not order a "loaded" pizza without knowing what the term "loaded" means TO THAT STORE.  Different stores likely put different things on their "loaded" pizza.  Ask for the specifics.  "I want a pizza with mushrooms and olives and garlic and pepperoni and ham and pineapple and crushed red pepper."

Step 7 - If the store CAN NOT help you, for example, if you are outside of their delivery area, you say "Thank you anyway" and you HANG UP THE PHONE!  You do NOT argue that so-and-so told you to call them because they deliver to your area.  They can't help you accomplish your goal.  Deal with it.  If you are lucky, they MIGHT know of a pizza place that DOES deliver to your area.  If you are polite, they might even give you that information, despite the fact that it doesn't help their establishment in the slightest.

So WHY can people calling my office not grasp the concept?

  • Start by listening to the greeting to make certain you have called the correct place.

  • Next, state what you want to accomplish.

  • Ask the person answering the phone what information he or she needs so he can help you.

  • Answer the person's questions.  Again, do NOT use terminology without knowing what it means in context.  (In other words, if you want an official copy of a document on file with my office, you want a CERTIFIED copy, NOT a NOTARIZED copy.)  NOTE: If you are told you can't do something the way you want, the proper response is NOT "I've been doing it this way for 30 years."  I don't give a damn what you've been able to get away with in the past.  It's not happening today.  If you want me to help you accomplish your goal, you do what I tell you that you need to do.  ALSO NOTE: DO NOT INTERRUPT!  It will not accomplish anything other than pissing off the person being interrupted.

  • Accept the answers you get from the person answering the phone.

  • Say thank you.

  • Hang up the phone.

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