For those of you who don’t know, I’m the Director of Business Development at an internet company. Through the beauty of the interweb, it’s not necessary for all of our employees to work out of one office, so we have a small main office here in Brookline. Since it’s a small office, from time to time I answer the phone. Most of the people on the other end are very nice, but every now and then I get a doozie of a phonecall. This morning was one of them. Here’s how the call went.
Me: (company name)!
Guy on the other end of the phone: Hi, may I speak with (enter old boss’ name here)?
Me: He’s no longer with the company. Can I help you with something?
Guy: Oh. Hmmmm…ok. Can you point me to the person who makes business decisions?
Me: Sure – can I ask what this is regarding and where you’re calling from?
Guy: My name is Michael (something) and this is a business call. I’d spoken to (old boss) earlier about (company) and want to follow up with someone.
Me: Ok. And what is the business call regarding?
Let me pause. He seems a little shady (1. my old boss has not worked here for 2.5 years, so obviously it isn’t urgent, 2. Why won’t he tell me where he’s calling from), so I’m 95% sure he’s a telemarketer and I won’t want to talk to him. Buttttt on the off-chance that he isn’t, I’d like to know what he wants to talk to (ME) about so I can decide whether to reveal that I’m actually the person he wants to talk to.
Guy: It’s a business call.
Me: Yes, I understand that, but before I can figure out who you should speak with, I need to know a little more about the subject of the call.
Guy: ITTTT’SSSSS A BUSSSSSINESSSSSSSSSSS CAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!! OMG…whatever…I’ll just call back later…
So, there are three things wrong with this phone call.
First, he just yelled at the person he wanted to speak to without knowing it. If he had given me one clue about what he wanted to talk about, I would have either spoken with him or could have let him down nicely.
Two, when he calls back again, Arielle will be putting him through to me…who he earlier yelled at. Not the best first impression for a cold call.
Three, why would he think it’s ok to speak like that to anyone? That’s the main issue here. Sure, he just messed up one of the leads he probably purchased somewhere, but he treated a woman who he assumed didn’t matter to him like crap.
In the past I’ve had issues like this with where I told them that I was the appropriate person to speak with and have been told, “Whatever lady…just put me through to your boss” or “You are not. You’re just some woman behind a desk”. (The 2nd example was someone from the Atlanta Braves actually. I even like your team, man!! Be nice!)
Now, I know sales is hard. It can be really frustrating to you speak to no one after hours on the phone. I do online sales too…I get it. But one of the first things you learn is that you treat the admin sweetly because 1) they are a person and 2) they are the gateway to the decision maker.
When did it become ok for people to be a jerk to someone they don’t even know for no reason?
Ok…rant over…back to cute things soon. J