Thursday, July 17, 2014

Don't Fob Me Off

In my job, I make a lot of phone calls. I don't think it's any secret what I do - I'm a collector. Essentially, I chase businesses for money all day.

Now I can understand why people don't want to talk to me - I'm asking them to pay their bills, gasp, how dare I? And if you're having trouble with cashflow at present I imagine the last person you want to talk to is your creditor.

But today I'm not talking about Bob from Bob's Services not being able to pay his bills. I'm talking about receptionists and office staff. I'm talking about the person whose job it is to answer the business phone, or the unfortunate staff member in the workshop or warehouse who picks it up when nobody else will.

I find that more and more, people are inclined to fob me off or be openly dismissive. I don't even think it's the fact that I'm calling about money - they're not even interested in who I am most of the time, let alone why I'm ringing. Nope, if they're not the right person to speak to, I get told:
- they're not here
- ring back later
- send them an email

I also don't care if that person isn't in the office today, or if they're sick, or on leave. The least you can do is offer me an alternative person or take a message. 

More than half the time I actually have to push to have them go to the trouble of writing down a message. (I don't want to send an email. Emails get buried and deleted. I want somebody to ring me back). And even worse, I can tell half the time they're not even bothering to write down my number. They respond too quickly and the tone tells me they don't care. I must leave about 40 messages a day and you know how many return calls I get? Probably 3-5. Woeful. 

And while I'm on a rant about business politeness and niceities, I am continually astounded by the amount of phones that are not answered in a way that identify the company. eg. "Welcome to XYZ, you're speaking with Gloria/Steve.". Nope. It's "Hello?". And then I have to enquire whether I've even called the right place. Basic stuff, but it really, really irks me.

I also believe that this is happening in my personal life. People just don't bother to get back to you, they don't identify themselves when ringing, emails are just templates. My husband had a very frustrating but hilarious argument with a telemarketer the other night who kept demanding "Who you?" with him replying "You first! You're calling me!"

I don't know what the problem is, or the solution. I just know that if I have a bad interaction with a company at work or in my personal life, I'm completely put off what they're selling. And I tell other people about it. 

Are you getting fobbed off left, right and centre? Does it give you the irrits like me?

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