I recently read a post by a young woman who is a receptionist for a small firm. She handles the few walk-ins, directs incoming emails and deals with the constant phone calls. She wrote of the strange and wonderful telephone calls she has to deal with.
Like being a greeter at Wal-Mart, this is a job I could not handle. I like to talk to people, but I don’t suffer idiots well. By about coffee-break time the first morning, I’d want to injure someone. Since I couldn’t get at any of the fools on the phone, it would probably be the loud blonde in accounting, with the nasal, Fran Drescher voice, who snaps her gum as she chews.
The lady with the post estimates that she knows 83% (what an interesting number 😕 ) of her regular callers by their voice, even before they identify themselves. That’s a useful ability to have, but it should not be relied on unquestioningly.
It’s only good telephone etiquette, and business sense to identify yourself on the phone. When I worked as a Purchasing Agent, I always did so when I called someone – until that fateful day. I had called a supplier one day, and told him who I was. He replied, “Oh, you don’t have to tell me who you are. You have a very recognizable voice.”
Once upon a time, my company required a small amount of…widgets, ASAP. We needed them by 11 AM the next day, to allow assembly time, to make a 4 PM shipment. I called a supplier, and in the excitement, merely started off with, “Hi Bill, could you do me a big favor?”
He replied, “Oh hi. Yeah, sure! What can I do for you?” I told him what I needed, and how soon. He put me on hold, and picked up again in a couple of minutes. “You’re in luck. The machine running that item is in production right now, and we have a bit of extra raw material. I’ll tell the operator to run it out. We’ll load your stuff tonight, and you’ll be the second stop for the truck tomorrow. You should have them by 8 or 9 o’clock.”
I gave him a Purchase Order number, and promised to mail the confirmation. The next day, when I arrived about 8, they weren’t there – no biggy. They weren’t there at 9, when I took a washroom break – Hmmm. They weren’t in by 10, when I called the receiver – startin’ to worry. They hadn’t arrived by 11, when the receiver called me in a panic.
I finally got through to the supplier about 11:30. “What happened to my widgets? You promised they’d be here much earlier!”
“Oh, they’re there. I knew how important they were to you, so I asked the driver to call me when they were unloaded. He has a bill of lading, signed by your receiver at 8:37 AM.”
“But they’re not here! The receiver just phoned me.”
“They must be there. Maybe he unloaded them and just forgot. Just call him back, Bob, and ask him….”
“BOB!!?? I’m not Bob! This is Archon!”
“Oh shit. You and Bob sound so much alike.”
He didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell. The other company’s receiver unquestioningly unloaded parts they’d never previously ordered, on a waybill with a purchase order number not in their series. The truck driver got paid overtime, because he had to go back and reload, and deliver to our plant. And we still got a non-compliance late/short shipment demerit.
If it doesn’t say Styrofoam SM®, it isn’t, but you can be sure you’re getting the real Archon, because every one of my babbles is clearly identified as “Archon’s Den. ™”