How do you respond...?

@capirani (1841)
United States
December 28, 2008 2:11pm CST
You have just called a business and asked for a specific person. The operator asks you if you know the person's extension number or department. How do you respond? Where I work, for certain types of calls, we do not have any kind of list of names due to the large size of the organization and the fact that there would be no way to keep the list updated adequately. What we do have is department extensions and extensions based on certain job titles. So when I get a caller asking for a person by name, I will ask them if they know the extension or department. Most people will answer appropriately. But then there are those who seem to not hear the question. They just keep repeating the name until I can let them know that I don't have a name listing. For example: "Could I speak with John?" "Do you know John's extension or department?" "John Smith." "I don't have a listing of names, do you know his extension number or what department he is in?" "I need to speak with John Smith." I have to end the call by saying "I am sorry but I need more information." Sometimes that doesn't get the caller to understand that I do not know who John Smith is and cannot transfer the call. Well, speaking of John Smith...I also have this problem with callers asking for people by their first names only. Of course most of the time the first names are very common first names. They know the business is large. Do they not understand that there could be multiple people with the same first names? It's not like they are calling their best friend at home. You call somewhere that has 150 employees, do you think there just might be more than one Bob or Mary in the building? What do you think?
1 response
@savak03 (6676)
• United States
28 Dec 08
Most people cannot conceive of a company so large that all the employees do not know each other intimately. In there world if you asked about 'John' they would exactly who you were talking about because they only know one. When you factor in the possibility that the person who is taking the calls may not even work for the company this compounds the problem. Many companies use a service to take their calls and messages so would be impossible for the operator to know the person being called. In my line of work I talk to schedulers from several different companies. And I am in email contact with others. I keep a detailed list of their names, phone number, extension and which client they represent as well as which company they are scheduling for. And when I have to call or email one of them I make sure I have the job or site number and any contact information from the store that has a direct bearing on my reason for having to contact the scheduler. This way I minimize the time spent in explanations and get the needed assistance in a timely manner. I have actually done this type of work for over two years now and have not once met any of the people I work for face to face. I love my job. I don't envy you yours because I know people can be unreasonable when you can't read their minds as to what they need and yet you have to respond to them graciously.
@capirani (1841)
• United States
28 Dec 08
This company everyone should not have any confusion about what size each branch is. Compare it with your local WalMart Supercenter. Callers would have to know that there could be more than one Bob, or Mary, or Sue, or John. It is just hilarious sometimes. And even funnier is that they somehow think that you automatically know that this person is the manager of such and such area. This company is not WalMart, however. I don't think that WalMart is using a corporate-wide call center. I know our local store isn't.