For those of you who don’t know, I work for a Premium Business Services Company, and a large part of what we do is telephone answering/messaging services. I’m also a trainer there, so a large part of my job is to hammer the ultimate telephone etiquette into trainees and co-workers.
I am now fully incapable of answering the phone like anything other than the pinnacle of personal assistants. As soon as I hear a ringing phone, something inside me snaps, like one of Pavlov’s dogs, and I launch into work mode. “Hello, how may I help you?” is occasionally my greeting now, although I usually manage to snap it off at “Hello.” If the phone isn’t for me, my automatic response is “I’m sorry, she’s not in right now, may I take a message for you?” – no more “nope, can she call ya back?” When my roommate is home, and I happen to answer, it’s all I can do to not say “would you be kind enough to hold while I transfer you?” before I pass her the phone.
I also have absolutely no tolerance now for
a) People with little or no phone etiquette – it’s not hard; and
b) People or businesses who don’t answer their phones during business and/or reasonable hours. If you’re home, pick up. I don’t care if it’s probably not for you. If you don’t want to answer the phone, DON’T HAVE ONE. Get a pager. At least then I know I’m going to have to leave a message and wait for your lazy ass to call me back.
Also, I don’t give a shit how busy your business is. If you have more than 2 people working there, and can’t manage to answer the phone ONCE over a 20 minute period, you have a problem. May I refer you to the services of the company where I work? You probably need them.