View Full Version : You Want To Talk to My Boss? Start By Answering My Questions

04-18-2008, 07:00 PM
Part of my job is screening calls for the owner. I'm hoping these guys have given up, but...

The first call from them today was picked up by Eugene, my co-worker, they asked for my boss Keith by name so he kicked the call up to me...

Me: Keith Smith's office.

Caller: I need to speak to Mr. Smith.

Me: May I ask who's calling?

Caller: David Bank of IPA.

Me: And what is the reason for you call?

Caller: I'm from Richard Cook's office in Springfield. He's going to be in your area and would like to see Keith.

Me: I'm sorry, but Mr. Smith isn't in right now. I'll let him know you called.

Caller: Do you know when he will be in?

Me: I'm afraid I don't. Can you give me a number where you or Mr. Cook can be reached?

Caller: That's OK. I'll just try again later. When is he in, again?

Me: I'm afraid I don't know his schedule. Would you prefer to leave a voice mail for him?

Caller: That's OK. Rich will be in the neighborhood on Monday and just wants to stop by.

Me: :confused: I'll let him know you called.

And we said our good byes.

The reason I was so polite is that we do get lots of calls from people we don't know who have a legitimate reason to talk to Keith. Keith is an expert in a certain area and he enjoys helping people who have the same interest. Most of these folks have enough sense to give me their names and their reason for calling, but some don't. So even though I suspected a cold sales call, it was important to stay nice.

So anyway, Keith comes in and I ask if he is familiar with either Richard, David or IPA. He says he isn't. Pretty much what I suspected. If they try again, they're going nowhere unless they tell me what they want and it is something Keith is interested in talking about.

I tell him that Richard is planning to stop by on Monday. Keith tells me he won't be in on Monday.

Later Eugene went to lunch so I was covering phones when I get this call:

Me:...How may I help you?

Caller: Hi. Is Keith in?

Me: May I ask who's calling?

Caller: This is Joe. I'm calling from Richard Cook's office.

Me: May I ask the reason for your call?






[Note: I can hear background noise during that entire round of silence.]

Me: I'm sorry. We seem to have lost the connection. Good-bye. [click]

So I told Keith about it:

Me: You know that guy who called earlier and sort of pretended to know you?

Keith: Yeah.

Me: Another guy from that office just called and tried it again. When I asked why he was calling he just sat there and didn't say anything. Maybe he thought it would trick me into putting him through to you.

Keith: And you didn't fall for it?

Me: It will be amusing if this Richard character shows up on Monday and tries to pretend he has an appointment with you. And you aren't even going to be here, so...

Keith: Dips?

Me: Yeah?

Keith: I'm not going to be here because we're closed for Patriots' Day. Nobody's going to be here.

Me: Oh, I forgot. That's even better. :D

Kogo Shuko
04-18-2008, 07:06 PM
That's awesome... I seriously do NOT like any sort of telemarketer (at one point in my life I really had self-image problems I suppose).

04-18-2008, 07:23 PM
I have a similiar duty at my job. The best is when they say, "Oh, that's ok, just give me his cell phone number." Right, because my very busy boss wants to get sales pitches on his cell. :rolleyes:

I've often told people that if they don't leave a message, the boss will not call back if he doesn't recognize the person or business. If they don't leave a call-back number and say they'll try again later, they'll never speak to him since he's rarely ever in the office.

The worst is when they call, ask for the boss, and immediately hang up when I ask to take a message.

04-18-2008, 08:22 PM
I had screen calls at my last job. It was soooo easy as he is foreign and has an unique name. If you spoke it how it looks, you would also think it was a female's name. Most of the the sales people would either mispronounce his name, or ask me for a Mrs.

Those go straight to voice mail, no questions asked. :devil:

04-18-2008, 08:55 PM
Way back when, I took a stint as a B2B 'telesales representative'. Yeah, doublespeak for Telemarketer, but they didn't like to use that word.

I put up with it for a while because I really was calling the people whose jobs it was to get information on new products, so I didn't consider it as bad as person to person telemarketing.

But I can tell you that I was not one of their acknowledged best, because I would take 'no' for an answer. Also, I would never hide the reason I wanted to speak to the person. I would be cagy at first, but if asked directly, I would say why I was calling.

There were any number of 'strategies' (and I use the term loosely) to get past gatekeepers, but a lot of them were things I wouldn't put up with if I'd been on the other side of the phone, so I didn't use them.

cinema guy
04-19-2008, 03:53 PM
In my last job, the boss' name was James M***** but always used Jim. We knew anyone phoning asking for James M***** didn't know him at all.

04-20-2008, 04:31 AM
In my last job, the boss' name was James M***** but always used Jim. We knew anyone phoning asking for James M***** didn't know him at all.

My boss goes by Jim, too! But his first name isn't anything close to that. I'm fairly certain he just goes by his middle name. I've never actually be curious enough to ask.

04-20-2008, 06:06 AM
You know how I leave telmarketers flat-footed when they try that "I'll be in the area" crapola?

Telemarker: We're going to have an installer in your area tomorrow and he can stop by and give you some info and maybe an estimate.

Me: Great! Which area?

T: What do you mean?

Me: Well, I have three properties. Which one will you be at tomorrow?

T::confused: Uh...

Me: Well, I'll need to know where to be tomorrow to meet your guy.

T: Um...well...actually, I dont' know.

Me: If you don't know where your installer is going, how do you know he'll be in my area?

T: :confused::( Ma'am, um...this is a script I'm reading.

Me: I see. So you lied.

T: :(

Me: I guess I don't need to tell you I won't be doing business with anyone who starts their dealings with me with lies and dishonesty, right?

(taken from actual conversations. They don't call back. :devil: )

Just an FYI here, I don't have three properties. If you want to see how legit this guy is, ask him which office he's going to in the neighborhood of. And don't lead him by giving him any choices, either. Just say, "Oh, great, which office?" and leave it at that.

04-21-2008, 08:05 PM
*snort* Oh I so have to try that one next time I get hit with that style call.

I personally loathe screening calls. ESPECIALLY when someone is legitimately looking for the owner for REAL business dealings.

Some of them can get really snippy - sorry arrogant - because I don't know every single one of his friends and random associates from twenty years ago... *rolls eyes*

04-21-2008, 08:28 PM
I actually was the sucky one once when trying to call my husband at work. He had this job at a place where neither of us was thrilled with how they chose to treat their professionals.

Example..I feel like a grown man in a professional job setting doesn't need permission to receive a phone call at night from his wife. Just sayin.'

So I call up there with a distressing situation I needed to inform him of. This was years ago, and I don't remember what it was... it wasn't life or death, but I do remember being pretty stressed out and upset. I call up and the woman answering the phone wanted to play twenty questions, presumably to decide if it was important enough to put the call through. Which really didn't help my mood. I mean, what? It's up to her to decide how important something is in my house?

It really wasn't any of her business, so I just repeated that I needed to speak to my husband immediately. Then she said "Is it an emergency?" and I snapped "It will be if you don't put this call through."

She put the call through. Sheesh. I was so happy when he got a better job. What, did she think I was some clever telemarketer calling late at night in the act of some diabolical ruse?

04-21-2008, 08:55 PM
I never question a spouse's need to speak to their husband/wife. If they let me know up front they are such and such's spouse, then I seek out who they need. The only time I ask the nature is if I know they're in a meeting. And that usually goes: "Such and such is in a meeting right now, do you need me to interrupt?"

I've had a spouse actually rip in to me for asking that once. Her hubby was in with the owner in a "closed door" meeting (i.e., don't try to interrupt). She felt, as the wife of a VP that I should immediately know to do so. She called me a name and then reminded me it was my job to get who she wants.

Oh I got him alright, at the same time I warned him if she spoke to me in that manner again I would hang up on her.

He forced her to apologise. Her emergency? The pedicurist she had booked an appointment with was running twenty minutes behind schedule so she had to miss her hair appointment.

Sometimes we have to play twenty questions, ya know? We're not nosey, we're only doing what we are "paid" to do ...

Hell, I don't want to know about anyone's personal life ... I get enough of that from pissed off customers - I certainly don't want to know about my colleagues.

04-22-2008, 12:53 AM
Once upon a time, I had a boss who had both a wife and a girlfriend. I worked only a few shifts a month with this boss, so I did not speak to either woman enough to learn to recognize voices, and neither one would identify themselves. Yet I was supposed to know which one it was, without asking, and if it was the wife, he was "busy." Yeah, that got old real fast. "Mr. So-and-so, there's a woman on line # for you, and no she didn't say who it was or what she wanted." And I would go about my REAL duties!

04-22-2008, 01:24 AM
I'm pretty that your boss requiring you to cover up his affair is workplace harassment of some sort; which is to say that he can't make his sex life part of your job description. My mom's boss did the same thing to her. She coped with it by putting the wife through when she called, even if the boss was having a closed door meetings with the mistress.

Andara Bledin
04-22-2008, 03:10 AM
I'm pretty that your boss requiring you to cover up his affair is workplace harassment of some sort; which is to say that he can't make his sex life part of your job description. My mom's boss did the same thing to her. She coped with it by putting the wife through when she called, even if the boss was having a closed door meetings with the mistress.

Ah, the other side of the "don't fuck with the person who controls the call gateway" rule.


04-22-2008, 04:15 AM
Well, I would have wanted to know if he was in a meeting, because I think that's a reasonable thing for someone to say. It's not prying, but it does give the option to the spouse to back off it is not a real emergency. Nothing wrong with that.

What I didn't like was her attitude that it was up for her to decide if I needed to talk to my husband or not. I thought that was a bit nervey and I sure wasn't in the mood for it.

I didn't get nasty until the conversation had gone back and forth a bit. :o