While not directly related to Blogger Local, I experienced amazingly bad phone etiquette today when calling a business – and I just can’t help but post about my experience. I won’t mention the business by name so as to save them from embarrassment – I’m sure they’ve got that covered already based on my brief encounter.

We needed someone to re-finish the front desk here at Leawood Office Business Center, which was custom-built when we constructed the building ten years ago. It’s starting to show it’s age a little – so I called a few hardwood contractors to find someone to come out and quote re-finishing it.

The first company I called went to voicemail – so I left a message and am waiting to hear back. When calling the second company, which is the inspiration for this post, the call went like this:

Business: HELLO? (Very loud, and sounded annoyed that he had to answer the phone.)

Me: Hi, my name is Kevin Downey… I own an office facility in Leawood…

Business: I’m not interested.

(Business hangs up phone)

What’s better is that I picked up my cell phone and texted the guy immediately:

Me: I was looking for work to be done. You hung up on me. Thank you.

Business: Sorry, sounded like a salesman. Give me a call back whenever possible.

Ummmm… no.

Here’s my rules for answering the phone if you’re a business:

  1. Answer the darn phone! If you’re so busy that you can’t take the time to answer the phone, then let someone else do it. Get a professional phone number, and hire someone to answer that phone – be it a full-time assistant, or utilize a call answering service that can forward phone calls to your cell phone. Many programs give you the capability to choose whether you answer the phone or not – and allow you to change that option at any time. There’s no excuse for your calls not being answered during business hours.
  2. If your cell phone is your primary business phone, you should assume every call is a potential customer. This is especially true if the call is coming from an area code that you service as a business.
  3. Answer the phone with a little happiness there sunshine! At least PRETEND like you want my business.
  4. When you DO answer the phone, use your name as part of the greeting. For example, “Premiere Hardwood, this is John.” This is important because it makes it much easier for the potential customer to address you, as they know your name.

Be professional. Be polite. Be personable.

Sometimes that’s all it takes to get the business – at the very least it starts things off on the right foot.