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Small Business

 

The Voice of Reason

In my position as an investment portflio manager, I often have to make phone calls to other departments in the financial organization I work for. Several months ago, I placed a phone call to our accounting department, which is located on an entirely different floor in our building

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

In my position as an investment portflio manager, I often have to make phone calls to other departments in the financial organization I work for. Several months ago, I placed a phone call to our accounting department, which is located on an entirely different floor in our building. Instead of the usual voice I am used to hearing, I was pleasantly suprised by a sultry "Accounts receivable, this is Regina speaking". After inquiring on what happened to Ralph, the accounts receivable manager I had grown to know and loathe, I was informed that Regina was taking over his old position. This was great news for me, not only because of her voice, but also because Ralph was the one person in the company I could never get along with.

I conducted the inquiry I needed to, said goodbye, and didn't give it a second thought. A few days later, I had reason to call accounts receivable again. This time, in the process of conducting my business, I detected that I was being flirted with. Being a bachelor and hearing that incredible voice made me curious, but at the same time I realized that not having ever seen me, it was highly unlikely that this woman could be anywhere close to serious. I coughed it up to casual friendliness and again went back to my work. The third time I called after the changeover, Regina asked if I had been on the second floor with our mutual funds manager the previous week. I had been, so I surmised that she knew what I looked like and I answered affirmitavely.

This set in motion a conversation that wasn't disguised friendliness but instead, overt flirting on her part. Now I was somehwat smitten. I said goodbye and tried to go back to my work but visions of a young buxom professional with a voice that could break a heart with a whisper had me in a frenzy. The next day, I decided it was high time I introduced myself to the new employee. I made my way down to the second floor, somewhat exited and nervous and all the while hoping to not be disappointed. I opened the door to the accounts receivable office and saw the most beautiful woman talking on her headset. She smiled at me and made a "hold on a minute" gesture. After her phone call ended, I reached out my hand and said, "Hi Regina, I'm Jim from upstairs".

She answered, "Hi Jim, I'm Amy, Regina's clerk...did you need to speak to Regina?". My heart sank a little, and then the woman I would come to know as Regina came walking out, happy to finally meet me. As you might guess, she had the aesthetics of a water buffalo with a face that even a mother couldn't love. I smiled, shook her hand and had a polite but short conversation before retreatring back to my office. I have since heard that as Ralph was retiring, he was able to hand pick his replacement. Why do I get the feeling that somewhere, he is laughing right now?

 

The Importance of Holding

I now understand the importance of holding. No, I'm not talking about two lovers caressing each other tightly in front of a fireplace (although that is also certainly important, fireplace or not). I'm talking about being put on hold when doing business over the phone.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

I now understand the importance of holding. No, I'm not talking about two lovers caressing each other tightly in front of a fireplace (although that is also certainly important, fireplace or not). I'm talking about being put on hold when doing business over the phone. I recently took my automobile in to be serviced at my local garage. After they had it for a day, I called to get the prognosis and see just how much this was going to cost me. I was transferred over to the mechanic working on my car, and by transferred; I mean that the first person I reached yelled at the top of her lungs for a second person to pick up line 2. It was endearing, in a way, but not terribly professional.

After reaching the mechanic, I was told to wait for a moment while he checked on the status of my car. He then put the phone down (or let it hang, for all I know) and went to get the paperwork. It took him quite a while to get the information he needed, so I was sitting at my desk at work with my ear to the receiver, listening to other mechanics talk about everything under the sun. I certainly don't mind that, but the profanity I was hearing didn't really instill any confidence in me that I had chosen the right garage for my vehicle. These guys could have made a sailor blush, as the saying goes. Eventually, the mechanic came back and told me the amount of the bill and what they had found.

I picked my car up that evening. The four or five minutes I spent listening to the other mechanics curse with reckless abandon got me to thinking. I really do believe that ignorance is bliss. It's not that I'm such a prude that a few expletives will offend me, it's more about professionalism. When a person feels that the company he or she is doing business with exudes professionalism, it makes one comfortable in doing business. When the situation is otherwise, it makes you wonder if there isn't someone else you should be doing business with instead.

 

The Importance of Holding

I now understand the importance of holding. No, I'm not talking about two lovers caressing each other tightly in front of a fireplace (although that is also certainly important, fireplace or not). I'm talking about being put on hold when doing business over the phone.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

I now understand the importance of holding. No, I'm not talking about two lovers caressing each other tightly in front of a fireplace (although that is also certainly important, fireplace or not). I'm talking about being put on hold when doing business over the phone. I recently took my automobile in to be serviced at my local garage. After they had it for a day, I called to get the prognosis and see just how much this was going to cost me. I was transferred over to the mechanic working on my car, and by transferred; I mean that the first person I reached yelled at the top of her lungs for a second person to pick up line 2. It was endearing, in a way, but not terribly professional.

After reaching the mechanic, I was told to wait for a moment while he checked on the status of my car. He then put the phone down (or let it hang, for all I know) and went to get the paperwork. It took him quite a while to get the information he needed, so I was sitting at my desk at work with my ear to the receiver, listening to other mechanics talk about everything under the sun. I certainly don't mind that, but the profanity I was hearing didn't really instill any confidence in me that I had chosen the right garage for my vehicle. These guys could have made a sailor blush, as the saying goes. Eventually, the mechanic came back and told me the amount of the bill and what they had found.

I picked my car up that evening. The four or five minutes I spent listening to the other mechanics curse with reckless abandon got me to thinking. I really do believe that ignorance is bliss. It's not that I'm such a prude that a few expletives will offend me, it's more about professionalism. When a person feels that the company he or she is doing business with exudes professionalism, it makes one comfortable in doing business. When the situation is otherwise, it makes you wonder if there isn't someone else you should be doing business with instead.




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