How do you answer the phone -- or maybe more to the point, how does your staff answer it? Are they warm and welcoming or bored and indifferent? Do they make someone want to make a reservation or do business with you, or turn them off totally?

I was thinking about this today when I cold-called an advertising prospect. A young woman answered the phone, sounding indifferent. I asked to speak with the person who would handle advertising or marketing.

"He's not here," was her reply.

I asked for his name and her response was "He's my boss." Okay, I dug deeper and asked what his name was so that I could contact him when he returned. She replied "Joe" (not his real name).

Getting a little impatient, I asked when he would be available and was told he was traveling on business. I asked when would be a good time to reach him when he returned and she again, did not answer directly but asked for my name and info - finally!

Should anybody have to go through so much digging for information just to leave a message? Would you want to do business with these folks? I do, but I wish they'd make it a nicer experience!

When someone is bored, tired, impatient, etc. on the phone, that comes across to the party on the other end. Is this the kind of message you want to send to a potential customer or business person?

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Comment by Keith Bernhardt on January 9, 2009 at 11:57pm
I believe I quoted this on another post. I as at a place one time and the
usual "receptionist" was called "Diector of First Impressions".

Then there are places that answer "Thank you for calling if you know the last name of the person you're calling press the first three letters."
If you don't know that or their shoe size, press "O" for the operator. Good luck if anybody answers !

Comment by Paul Paz on January 9, 2009 at 10:47pm
Also check the FOHBOH post below as there are additional perspectives on how important first impressions are when conducting business.
Just today I read this great quote, "There are no second chances for first impressions!"

Front Door Dynamics

Comment by Paul Paz on January 9, 2009 at 10:42pm
Try this link below.
While it's not exactly for the restaurant scenario, it could be used as a guide to create a restuarant focused template.

Telephone Etiquette Guide
Keep in mind the Golden Rule when it comes to phone etiquette. Don't make people dread having to answer their phone or call your business
Comment by susan holaday on January 9, 2009 at 2:49pm
It's also frightening - you get this mental image of someone driving and using a laptop or a Blackberry at the same time-
Comment by susan holaday on January 9, 2009 at 2:49pm
It's also frightening - you get this mental image of someone driving and using a laptop or a Blackberry at the same time-

Comment by Keith Bernhardt on January 9, 2009 at 2:13pm
That's funny !
Comment by Matt Urdan on January 9, 2009 at 1:18pm
Don't know Susan, but it happened to me on vacation in Florida...see my current blog post...I was headed to a movie theater in Daytona Beach. I asked for directions from I-95. I told the girl I was driving down from St. Augustine, coming from the North. She asked me if I had internet access and told me to google it. I'm not sure what part about I was in the car and driving there she didn't understand.
Comment by susan holaday on January 9, 2009 at 1:13pm
Makes you wonder how they get there themselves - or are they are home and call-forwarding calls?
Comment by Matt Urdan on January 9, 2009 at 12:56pm
Try calling a business and asking for directions these days....everyone wants your business, but no one can tell you how to get there. Hmmm....seems like a disconnect to me.

Comment by Keith Bernhardt on January 9, 2009 at 12:09pm
I've heard some places answer with the phone number (Good Morning "555 1212". You'll say is this XYZ Enterprises, get thrown for a loop, and forget who you're calling !




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