The human touch

I have come to the realisation of late that many companies in Barbados have adapted automated machines to answer and transfer calls.

To me, as a receptionist by profession, this is so annoying especially when you have an urgent matter and are trying to reach someone.

The other day I called this particular establishment and it took me almost a half an hour to actually find someone. First the machine asked if I knew my party’s extension, then it prompted me to press the number zero for assistance.

After finally hearing a human voice I was sent right back to my friend the automated machine and it kept me holding for about 15 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, it was very friendly to inform me that my call would be answered in approximately five minutes but the music which accompanied it drove me up the wall.

I always believed that the receptionist is very important to the running of any business or organisation. He/she is responsible for the overall impression that any customer is left with and their role should not be taken lightly.

I am not sure why so many companies have now gone to the automated service instead of a person answering the calls. Is it that many are trying to lower their labour cost or is the call volume too much for the receptionist to handle? I would honestly like a member of corporate Barbados to answer this question for me.

Imagine you have an emergency and every time you call a machine picks up and there is no one to lend you assistance – that would drive anyone insane. Sometimes I sit and watch some NISE commercials coming through on the television but to be very honest we in Barbados are lacking when it comes to customer service.

Sometimes I watch many who are dealing with customers talking on their BlackBerry phones or some not even answering the phone when it rings. This amazes me because as a receptionist I was always taught that the person on the line is very important and to make sure I answer every call as it may result in lost business if I didn’t.

Some of these companies are so caught up in the profits the companies make and forget their employees. I think what some companies need to do is to send a fake customer too many of their establishments and be a witness to how their employees are interacting with their customers. Many of you will be shocked and embarrassed by what is reported to them.

I always repeat the golden rule – do unto others as you will have them do unto. If you are directly responsible for dealing with customers, treat them the way you would expect them to treat you if the tables were turned. I always say if many of us would adapt this rule in our lives what a simpler and happier world this would be. Have a wonderful week ahead!!!

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