08.11.16: She’s on the phone
MEET MARIA. Well, to be honest, it’s a stock photo. And her name probably isn’t Maria. Dunno what her name is. But that’s not the point.
The point is: She’s a real person. On the phone. And if you’re running your newspaper right, she’s in your office—always ready to take that call.
When the phone rings, Maria picks it up. She actually talks with the caller and finds out what the caller wants. Only then does she transfer the call…to the right person. It may then go into voice mail But at least the caller has had contact with a real person. With a real brain. With a real interest in helping.
I don’t know of a caller who wouldn’t prefer that to a recording. And I believe it’s one of the reasons why smaller newspapers—with real people answering the phone—are perceived as more friendly and more responsive.
If you haven’t got a Maria—and someone as backup when she’s out of the office—I have two words of advice:
Next week: What if you get a call on deadline?