Should you even answer the phone?

@Theresaaiza (10487)
Australia
February 12, 2012 10:47pm CST
....Even if you are not the one in charge? Say you went to a different department at work for some errand or something, and the only person-in-charge had to leave you alone for some reason, only briefly though. You as a visitor in that department is quite familiar with the procedures but is not exactly well-versed. The phone rings. Should you pick it up? Should you leave it ringing to your annoyance? If you do pick it up? What do you say to the person on the other end. Believe me, this question sounds stupid, but I had to deal with this often.
6 people like this
20 responses
@Archaiwy (599)
• China
13 Feb 12
to be honest, how to deal with this question depends on what the situation is, i think.if one is very family with the persons in the office,he can simply pick it up and tell about it when others come back .On the other hand ,if one is just a visitor,not familiar with the people here,it's polite not to pick it up and just tell the persons who come back there was a phone. it's only my opinion,maybe it's wrong.
1 person likes this
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
29 Feb 12
Not to worry. Your thoughts are always welcome. As for me though, I'd probably pick the right time and place to intervene with phone calls. Some people don't appreciate other people picking up calls for them as there might be concerns that only they must handle.
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
In your situation you should answer the phone basically because no one was there but you, you will answer it just to inform the person on the other line theat the eprson in charge was not there in a moment & you could ask him/her to call later. Get the name of the person who called & tell it to the person in charge when he gets back. Don't feel that you sound stupid by asking this because somehow some of us do experienced & was in the same situation as your once in our life. I do have personally same situation as yours but the only difference is the phone that was ringing was on the other table/ department next to mine, in this case I don't answer the phone.
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
28 Feb 12
For me this is a very good answer. Not only will you help the caller but also the addressed person as well. Yes I might just be able to do this at work.
@derek_a (10874)
13 Feb 12
If I was lfet in charge of a department, then I would consider that to be in charge of the phones also and would consider it my job to answer it if it rang. I would tell the person on the other end that I was just standing in and ask to take their details (name, message and telephone number) so that I could tell the absent person-in-charge about the call when he/she returned. I have always been self-employed but those who have been available when I was away have always answered my phone and given me the message when I have returned. Nowadays, it isn't so much of a problem as I have a cellphone in which I can be contacted if somebody wants to talk to me personally. _Derek
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
3 Mar 12
I'm sure callers, in most cases, would appreciate such a gesture. And let me just say that your career path is quite interesting. Thanks for the response.
@SomeCowgirl (32191)
• United States
13 Feb 12
I work as a cashier for a grocery store, I can pick up the phone but don't as I often don't need to. I also wouldn't know which button to push to call over the intercom nor to hold the call while I called over the intercom, that and saying which line it was on would be difficult too, well not difficult but not been versed in the phone usage at my job. If I were to have to I would figure it out fast I guess, but if I was in a different department I would most likely just let it ring, or I'd answer and say hold please, and call over the intercom for the person that is in that department. Since I work at a grocery store, there are usually two or three people working in the department at one time anyway, so not to worry.
1 person likes this
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
22 Feb 12
Hi there. Yes, I guess it depends on the kind of work situation that one person is in. IN my case though, I work in a hospital and sometimes, it's risky just taking calls that aren't yours. Like you, I need to learn my way through some really complicated communication lines such as intercom and a phone with zillions of buttons to sort out. lol
@Porcospino (31366)
• Denmark
13 Feb 12
At the places where I have worked I have always been told that it was better to answer the phone than to let it ring. If it is not my department and I am unable to answer the questions I would answer the phone and tell the person who called that I was from a different department and that he or she would have to talk to the person in charge instead of me. I would ask them for their name and their number and when the person in charge returns I would tell her about the call and ask her to call the person back.
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
3 Mar 12
My dilemma is actually caused by a prior experience wherein I was scolded for answering the phone in a department where I was not assigned. Although I know not all callers are that, let's say, rude and mean, it has really affected how I would act in a similar scenario.
@bhonti (1246)
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
This also happens in our office. This is just a common thing, what we do when the phone that is not ours, rings, is just ignore it. Eventually, the caller will realize that the called person is not around to pick up the phone. But there is also exception, sometime we pick it up if the caller is persistent and phone rings over and over again.
1 person likes this
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
22 Feb 12
I would also feel annoyed if I called and it takes a long time for the other person to pick it up, much more if nobody ever picks it up. So I have that in mind when the phone rings and nobody will attend to it. But sometimes, it's probably not a great idea to answer the call and you have no solid help to offer.
@jdyrj777 (6530)
• United States
16 Feb 12
I would think it would be better to answer the phone. Try to help the customer if you can. If not explain the situation and ask them to hold or call back.
@yanzalong (18981)
• Indonesia
14 Feb 12
You have no right to answer it. Just leave it that way. When the person in charge shows up, you don't need to tell him/her that someone just rang.
@oxash222 (27)
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
hi Theresaaiza! if you are in the same company, different dept and it so happen that you are alone and left without anyone from the dept. at the time the phone rang. I think you should take the call since you are still part of the company and it is still your responsibility to take the initiative to still be of help to any department in the company which you belong at the moment. you can always forward the call to where the in-charge is at the time of the call if its really urgent or you can simply tell the caller to call again after a few minutes or you can get his/her contact number and tell her/him that the in-charge will call him/her later. hope i answered your questions...happy mylotting...???
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
3 Mar 12
Your suggestion is also good. I'll try to apply it when appropriate. Thanks.
@cttolledo (5459)
• Legaspi, Philippines
13 Feb 12
For me, you have to pick up the phone.. although you are from other department still you belong in the same company or agency.if you did not do it, what if that was very important call that brings very important information/message to the company?
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
29 Feb 12
i'd still probably have nothing to help in the matter as I am not from that department. It's hard to assume you know something when you don't. It would probably be a very diplomatic move to pick it up, get the caller's details and explain that I am not in charge. Other than that, you just cant hand out information in which you are not well versed.
• Malaysia
13 Feb 12
To me, you have to pick up the phone and you can tell the person that you are not a person-in charge here nicely.Maybe they can understand that.How about your feeling if you call someone but no one want to pick it up..
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
17 Feb 12
Hi, there have been more instances that I did pick the phone up and told the caller that I am not in charge and I just picked it up to not keep him waiting. Oftentimes, this gesture have been appreciated but I could also recall times when I got mean reaction for doing so.
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
If i am not the person in charge in responsing that phone, of course i wont answer a certain call.It is not really for me that certain call so why should i reply it?///// I just wait and tell the person in charge that there was a call when she is not around earlier...thats it...
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
28 Feb 12
I believe that would be a very sensible and safe thing to do.
@hunibani (720)
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
I think you should not answer the phone, if you are not from that department. Otherwise if the person who left you told you to answer the phone. Hmm. Better tell your friend or the person incharge in that department.
@Theresaaiza (10487)
• Australia
17 Feb 12
Believe me, I have been tempted countless times to ignore the phone but something tells me that I should so I do. So far, I could count with my fingers the times I got in trouble for doing so.
• Australia
17 Feb 12
Hi and a happy day to all! This is a normal question. Well, if you are working on the same company but you stated is different department, you still allowed to answer the phone. It is a bit of courtesy to answer the call when someone who is really responsible for it is very busy or away. If the call says, she or he wants someone, then politely answer him back that he someone will attend him in a minute or call back again. Its a different scenario though when you entered a company, say you are not working there but then your sitting in a table and the phone rings, its always good to ask the person responsible for it to answer it. You dont know their business so you have no idea how to answer the call anyway. Enjoy your day.
@suspenseful (40193)
• Canada
13 Feb 12
I would say if it i s a 1-800 number then let it ring. If the person has caller id and you recognize the number then answer it and tell the other person it is for you. If the one where you are says tell him or her to call back, tell the person on the other end to do so. Else give them the phone. If it is not a 1-800 number but you do not recognize it, ask do you know this number. This is if the person in the house is easily available. Of course, if the person is in the bathroom, and you may not know if the person has an answering service and you know the number, answer the phone and tell them to call back a little later. All this could be avoided if the person in the apartment or house told you if anyone phones do not answer because they have an answering machine and of course you should ask them what to do.
@LadyMarissa (12148)
• United States
13 Feb 12
Yes I would...I do it all the time!!! I think we ALL work for the same company & I'm taking care of the company I work for. If they ask for the person who stepped away, I offer to take a message & a call back. If they just ask a question I'm not qualified to answer, I respond that there is a departmental meeting going on & I'm filling in on the phones. I then apologize for not knowing the answer, take a message & offer a call back. It's frustrating to call a company & the phone just rings & rings. It makes me feel that they don't need my business & I call somebody else who actually answers. Once I offer a callback, I make sure to give the message to somebody responsible enough to actually call them back!!!
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
13 Feb 12
There's nothing wrong with answering to say that [name of person away for the moment] has stepped away for a moment, but you'd be happy to take a message and have [the person away] get back momentarily. It's better than leaving a message, or no message at all. If you're interested in earning points with the management, you might suggest that each department create a 'cheat sheet' of the 10 most common reasons for calls, and how to solve them. Doing that would make the entire company more efficient, and perhaps earn you a raise?
@free_man (7330)
• United States
13 Feb 12
No question is stupid if you don't ask how will you ever know? When I worked in a department store I had to know a little about every department so if I heard a phone ring no matter what department it was for I would answer the phone. When you work in the public eye you need to know and understand enough about each department to make a wise answer to those that are on the phone. And if you don't know the complete right answer tell the person on the phone you will get someone that knows what they want to know. I hate having to call a store and the person that answers the phone can't just say I don't know but I will get someone that does know. I hate hearing the phone just ring and ring and no answer quickly don't you? Put yourself in the shoes of the person on the phone how would you want your call to be handled?
@ardoy0731 (7308)
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
This is always happened to me when I go to other department or table.When the phone ring and the person that should answer it is not there I usually answer the phone then tell the caller that the person they look for is out of her/his table.Then ask if she/he will leave any message.
• Canada
14 Feb 12
I think it would be better to let the phone ring and not pick it up since if you are not familiar with that department than the chances are high that you wouldn't be able to help the person on the telephone much. You may pick it up if the person in charge of the department gave yopu instrcutions regarding it but otherwise it would be better to let it ring because if you aren't able to help the person than it would appear to the person that the staff of this store isn't very efficient and productive at their work giving a bad name to the workplace...