I’m only a punter but when people are not only rude on the phone,
but then lie to me in an attempt to be put through to my boss, it really
gets on my nerves.
As the PA to the managing director of a large international company, I
frequently take calls from people asking to speak to him. Clearly
oblivious to the fact that they have mis-pronounced his name, these
callers then try to persuade me that they know him. Occasionally, I get
a couple of variations - ’we’ve spoken before’ and ’he’s done business
with me in the past’ - both of which I know to be lies.
It would be a waste of time connecting such a call, so I ask two
questions: first, ’Can I help?’ and, second, ’Can you tell me what it is
about?’ The responses vary from rude, very rude, to abusive.
I do not like being told, ’you are only the secretary’ or ’I will only
speak to the man himself’ or ’he will know what it is about’.
Nine times out of ten my boss has never heard of these people and the
reason for their call is very rarely ascertained. Which is why he
employs me - to filter out the time-wasters.
Receiving, as I do, an average of five such calls a week, I have managed
to glean that the majority of them relate to either corporate
hospitality or advertising.
I regret to say that the callers can be either male or female. It seems
neither sex has a monopoly on bad manners. Needless to say, their calls
are fruitless. Are they working to a call-per-week target despite the
outcome? There’s no excuse for bad manners and if these callers stopped
for five seconds, they’d probably realise that I could be more help if
they got me on side rather than alienating me. What on earth can be done
to stop these objectionable calls?