“Excellence” in Key Customer Service Positions --- Counts --- Even More…!

November 15, 2017

By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.

“This is Printing Industries of America…..and this is Rosy….How may I help you…?”……PIA Headquarters (Every word…. is clear…..distinct…….and warm --- conveying the unspoken message….I’m delighted you called…..…”)


When they hand-out “Academy Awards” --- for Receptionist --- “Rosy” should be at the front of the line.

No matter the competence --- or availability of personnel --- or resources --- at PIA, “Rosy” --- because of who she is --- makes everyone there --- look like they are part of a great, professional organization….!.

And if you want to hear what a “flawless Receptionist might sound like”….. call 800-910-4283…..she’s “flawless”……..and….. I’ve never called when she didn’t get me to where I  needed to be --- quickly…. even when I didn’t know exactly who I should be talking to, for why I called….!

All Talk No Action

However, in the last three days, I’ve dialed three long-term companies (they’ve all been in business for over 30 years --- one of them --- for over 100 years --- where I:

  • Heard only a voicemail….. that asked me to dial the direct number I really wanted. However, I had no idea what the direct number I needed…was….so when I hit “0” for the Operator, I was immediately told “Invalid entry….please try again….”….and that message…. repeats itself…. with additional dialing of “0”.
  • Heard to leave a message for the Operator. I did, leaving the Operator my cell phone number. It’s now been over four hours, and I’ve not received a return call, yet.
  • Called and asked to speak to the CEO. I was, however, connected to someone in bookkeeping. I called back, asked to speak to the CEO, again, and had a repeat experience --- though I was connected to a different person this time, but not the CEO. (I didn’t call back, again.)

One of our clients volunteered at a Peer Group Meeting that about six months earlier they’d intuitively changed instructions to their “live” Receptionist. For all calls not coming from a customer, not asking to specifically speak to someone in the company --- --- all calls of that “design” were to be given to the V.P. of Sales. His natural curiosity and social graces --- allowed him to ask the nature of their call, what their business was, and to also often learn --- who the caller knew --- that he wanted to know….!

His “Check-in Report” at the Peer Group Meeting concluded --- that --- he was averaging over one legitimate lead --- a day….!

So what do you do next?.......May I suggest:

  • You calling into your company --- at different times of the day. For instance, exactly at 8:00, during lunch hour, and immediately at…and after 5:00. Take notes on how each of your calls is handled.
  • Do this not once, but at least three times….to get a real sense of what prospects, customers, and “friends of the company” --- are experiencing.
  • Check your voicemail systems early, by 8:00, each morning, and see how many calls are left --- after 5:00 the previous day, and before 8:00 am. Many customers (and prospects) need a competent supplier person --- during off-hours, much because they are working longer hours. (We see this, often, in feedback on our Client Customer Surveys.)
  • Double-check to see how phone duty is handled during breaks and lunch. Important calls occur during these periods --- and good personnel who fill-in, don’t necessarily know the protocols for important calls --- like when a customer calls, who’s upset (I mean really upset).
  • Review your internal training for how to handle an upset customer. Those tend to be “critical moments” for when a customer is retained or lost.
  • If you are managing more than one time zone of customers, do your Customer Service hours adequately serve those additional hours….?
  • Are your Night Shifts and Weekend Shifts of Production Personnel --- trained on how to properly receive calls that come in? Is there a “Log” that’s required to be filled-in during those shifts --- for calls that come in? Do those Logs prompt your personnel on what questions to ask, and do your personnel follow-up on those calls --- to make sure the right personnel followed-up…?

(And don’t tell me you don’t have time to do this training…..It’s your company’s economic future, for heaven’s sake.)

Remember….. you probably have very good people, who possibly do not have proper equipment systems, or adequate training, or adequate support….or….they are in the wrong job at your company.


I believe every company, every day, either wins or loses.

And it’s not so much what the competition does to us….but rather…. what we do to ourselves……!

My world needs more Rosy’s…..!

“He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence…”…………….William Blake

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