Can I ask who’s Calling Please?

Ever tried to get hold of someone on the telephone recently? Enjoyable experience? I doubt it. I call people every day. Sometimes I make many calls in a day. So when it comes to receptionists, I’ve experienced my fair share. These are the people who have been selected to serve on the “frontline” for businesses everywhere. However someone seems to have forgotten to brief them with the right strategy. Their job, as I see it, is actually to enable the caller to get through to the right person. My experience, sadly, tells a different story. Can I ask who’s Calling Please? (Okay, I appreciate the need to know my name so yes, you can ask!) Can I ask what it’s about? (Well, no. I have limited time as it is and I don’t really want to explain myself twice – why do you need to know?) Will they know what it’s about? (Well, no. Not unless they are psychic. Which I very much doubt.) Will they know who you are? (How exactly does that make a difference to my call being put through?) Their defence strategy is second to none. The British Army could learn a lot from their tactics. Nobody’s getting through this frontline of defence. It’s clear to me that someone’s told them that everyone else who works there is far too busy and important to take phone calls from customers, potential customers, partners, colleagues from other companies…. the list goes on. Instead, genuine callers have to strap on the best of riot shields, tool up for the battle and make best use of their wit and agility to win the war: getting put through. What a missed opportunity.

Busy is Not an Excuse

“Oh, I was busy”. Simple enough. And I’ve heard it said more than a few times in the last few weeks.


“We haven’t received our products yet that we ordered a couple of weeks ago…..”
“Oh, I was busy. Sorry”


“You have only delivered half of what I ordered to eat, and that which you have delivered is wrong.”
“Oh, we’ve been busy. Sorry”


Busy, is not an excuse. If you’re in business, it’s your job to deliver to the customer. If that means setting and managing their expectations ahead of time, then so be it. By the time the customer has had to chase. It’s too late. The damage is done.


If you blame it on being busy what you are actually saying is “I’m disorganised. You weren’t a priority. And to be honest, I’m not willing to take the blame.”


Now, that’s no way to treat your customers.