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Not just a pretty face to answer the phone.

Many years ago when I was the UK's technical expert on range of computer graphics products, one of my sales and marketing colleagues had me return a call to a gentleman who was "Technical Director" of a small but high tech company in Cambridge.

Alas, my Technical Director wasn't available, but the lady who answered the phone asked me if she could help and - hey - why not tell her the reason for my call. She turned out to be knowledgeable - VERY knowledgeable - about the project I had called to discuss and how the company wished to use our computer graphics terminals, and I felt that my job was done. Being mindful, however, that messages can get lost as they're passed around I felt I should make a note of who I was talking to. "In case I speak with John Smith in the future and need to refer back to this conversation, who am I speaking to?" I asked. "Juliet Blackburn". "And what is your role with xxxxxx". "I'm the Managing Director" she replied.

I was reminded of this story as I was going through my weekend mailbox, having spend an exhausting week visiting every country except Wales in the British Isles, and I came to an email that started "I spoke to the receptionist who said that you were not available ....".

That's funny - we don't have a receptionist. This must be the guy who spoke with Lisa - and wouldn't tell her what it was about. Oddly enough, the question that he goes on to ask is one that Lisa could have answered for him just as well on Friday (if not better) than I can. Now I'm certain that Lisa asked if she could help the gent ... in fact, she's quite put out when people make an assumption that she can't help because she happens to be on phone duty and she had actually emailed me about this particular call to give me a "heads up".

It remains our target to have a knowledgeable team here so that anyone who phones or emails us can get a prompt, courteous and correct answer within a couple of hours - at least to the extent of having triaged requests. And yet we all get those calls from time to time where the caller refuses to speak with us if we pick the phone up, insisting on being put through to someone who can help. Of course, we do try not to say anything awkward when the call is passed back again a minute or two later.
(written 2006-02-26, updated 2006-06-09)

 
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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