Tag Archives: phones

Share your World 2014–Week 11

These are Cee’s questions this week:

  • If you were an ice cream cone how many scoops and flavors would you be and why?
  • Are you left or right handed?
  • Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
  • How many rings before you answer the phone?
  • Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

If you were an ice cream cone how many scoops and flavors would you be and why?

I would be a Ben and Jerry triple sundae comprised of Cherry Garcia, Karamel Sutra and Scotchy Scotch Crunch, with hot chocolate sauce, cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Why? Because it’s the perfect sundae.

Are you left or right handed?

I started out right-handed.  Because of tendon damage from an over-zealous fencing partner a while back, there are some things I now have to do with my left hand.   If I’d known how convenient it is to have the computer mouse in my left hand, leaving my right hand free to write notes, I’d have started doing it long ago.

Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?

Absolutely.  A large part of my work is customer support. If I want to do my job properly, I will have researched and rehearsed the solution to whatever the enquiry is so I can give a good useful answer, quickly

How many rings before you answer the phone?

That depends on whether it is in work or at home.  In work, we don’t let it get past two rings if we can help it.  At home I am happy to let it  ring out forever. As I mentioned in previous posts – I’m not that fond of this contraption.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Hmmm… I managed to divest The Diva of the overly shaggy carpet she fondly believes of her coat in one day, which is a huge improvement on the last three-day marathon we engaged in.  She’s not entirely happy about being groomed – she has made a number of posts on this topic on her own blog.


I’m looking forward to a half-day on this coming Friday and a day off on Monday, because I need to use up some annual leave before the cut-off date on March 30.  It’s also coming up to pay-day and due to the demise of Adolf the Oranda, I have a 60 litre aquarium to populate, so I will be bringing the dogs to visit their pals at Artane Aquatics to find some new finny friends.

Share Your World 2014 – Week 11Roundup

Daily Prompt: Careless Whispers

sa8120It happens: sometimes that filter in our head bursts and we say too much of what we’re thinking and someone gets hurt. Tell us about a time you or someone you know said something that they immediately regretted.

This topic brings me back to one of my favourite (or least favourite, depending on how you look at it) themes – phone calls in the workplace. 

I wrote on this subject a little while back, in Daily Prompt:  Truth or Dare, where I gave some examples of the kind of response a hapless phone operator would like to have given to some awkward callers.

Today I’ve got a story from when I was very young.  Picture the scene – my boss, already late for an appointment, pauses on his way out to give some last-minute instructions for something that has to happen straight away.  I’ve just picked up a call from a client who is a rather cranky, garrulous old lady.

Struggling with the antiquated switchboard and caught in the crossfire between boss’s rather stressed  directives and her high-pitched demands to speak to him immediately if not sooner, I manage to figure out he wants me to tell her he has already left, and to remind him to call her in the morning.

My mouth translates this into “He’s not here, but he says to tell you he’ll call you tomorrow….”


Daily Prompt:  Careless Whisper – Picture of the switchboard I operated back then from British Telephones

Share your world: Week 4

Cee tells us this week’s set of questions were inspired by Having an Introvert Day, which sounds like a perfect plan to me. I really enjoyed that post, it’s about time us introverts stood up and got noticed (if only we weren’t so – well – introverted….) Smile

Without further ado – on to the questions:

Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?

I absolutely prefer to recharge by spending quiet time – but not exactly alone.  An outsider might observe that in the Baskerville Beastie pecking order, I’m pretty much at the bottom of the list, having to make sure the needs of every furry or finned critter in the house have been met before I get to settle down to do my own thing.  It’s just as well that I consider looking after my menagerie as doing my own thing.

What is the most number of blankets you’ve ever had on your bed?

If I could count The Elder Statesman and The Diva as blankets (and I often have) then my maximum blanketage would be five.

You are invited to a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you never met. Would you attend this party if you were to go by yourself?

This entirely depends on what type of fascinating the people at the party would be.  Guaranteed to be fascinating? Yes.  Perceived to be fascinating? No.

Do you like talking to people on the phone? Or do you prefer voice mail or email?

I don’t like talking to people on the phone at all.  For incoming calls, you really can’t know who might be at the other end – never forget Ghostface’s modus operandi in Scream.

On the first day of my first full-time job, I was assigned to an eight-line switchboard with 24 extensions.  I thought I was Lt Uhuru from Star Trek – I loved it.  Because not everybody had a phone back then, most callers were uncertain enough about making calls to remain polite and reasonable.   When we finally got a phone installed at home, I was thrilled. Until the first time my parents went on holiday and left me home alone.  Some local yokel decided it was fun to inflict a series of very scary prank calls which I did not appreciate.  When I was about seventeen, my employer’s phone number was almost exactly the same as The Samaritans – to this day I admire the volunteers who are ready to pick up the phone and listen to the worst kind of pain and sorrow, but I really and truly was not equipped to deal with it.

But life goes on and if you want to work in an office, you generally don’t get away without taking at least one phone call through the day.  Some years ago I worked in an English language school, and was driven quite mad by potential students who would have carefully worked out their question about the course from Google translate or a phrase book, and never realise that if you ask a question, the most likely response you will get is another question, that you are not equipped to answer.  There is no room within a phone call for the expressions, gestures and sometimes little sketches that get you through a conversation with somebody who does not speak your language.   At least I could include a diagram in an email.

I also spent some time working online support and figured out very quickly that people on the phone only pick up about a tenth of the information you give them.  Callers seeking technical support can be so worried about what they can’t achieve because XYZ service is not working that they can’t take in the instructions they need to make it work. There was a classic call where the voice on the other end rained vituperations and curses upon me, my employer and all our works for several minutes because of the suffering caused by this terrible online service he was subjected to, only ceasing when I finally managed to tell him he wasn’t actually our client at all – if only he had looked before he dialled and yelled.

Calling people is also quite a pain, because, until your call interrupts whatever they are doing (and it could be something quite important that needs concentration) you have no idea whether they  really want to hear from you at that moment.  So voicemail doesn’t do too much for me either, unless I can respond by sending an email, or the caller specifies an exact time when it is appropriate to reply to them, and if they do, that the specified response time is miraculously something you can actually meet.  Scrolling through endless spam voice mails to get to a message you really want to hear is a complete waste of time.

Finally, at the end of a working day, when I get home, the last thing I want to do is pick up a phone unless there is a very good reason (for example, to arrange to meet somebody I want to talk to). My family and friends know I will only answer calls from people in my contact list. If you haven’t made it into my contacts, don’t leave a message, send me a text.


Share your world – Week 4    – Picture from Next Movie.Com

Daily Prompt: Truth or Dare

Phone_calls_can_cause_anxiety_in_select_individuals.Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

My answer to this is – honesty is often not the best policy.  What kind of world would we have if everybody expressed their true feelings in conversation?

To illustrate what I mean, here are some mild examples of phone conversations this long-time office worker has engaged in or heard of from colleagues.    I’ve given the caller comment, the appropriate response, and what the office worker really felt like saying.


Scenario: Office based in Dublin, Ireland.  A UK supplier calls

Caller: I’m calling from xx company on the mainland

Appropriate Response: Do you mean Britain?

Honesty: Did they not teach geography at your school?


Scenario: I’ve got the caller’s personal details on screen. Caller does not want to pay enrolment fee

Caller: How dare you make elderly people like me use an online payment service

Appropriate Response: I’ll transfer you to Finance who will help you

Honesty: (caller is 2 years younger than me and I AM NOT ELDERLY) – Are you tired of living?


Scenario:  Caller has not engaged with the service in 12 months and was sent a reminder about this.

Caller: May to April isn’t long enough, I need a year

Appropriate Response: The xxx service calendar begins on May 1 and ends on April 30 the following year.

Honesty: Sing along with me:  “Let’s do the time warp again…”


Scenario:  “Elderly” caller from previous scenario has still not enrolled:

Caller: I signed up two years ago and heard nothing from you since, your service is terrible

Appropriate Response: According to our records, you started your application but never paid the enrolment fee…

Honesty: (record shows several reminders to caller over the said two years) – Liar, liar, pants on fire…


Scenario:  Same Helpline:

Caller: This website is useless! I can’t access anything, I can’t locate your service …

Appropriate Response: Can you tell me the page you are looking at?

Caller: Names a competitor website

Appropriate Response: Our website is xxxxxxxxxx and the url is xxxxxxx

Honesty:  Can you not read or what?


Generally speaking, office workers are required to maintain patience and remain polite when they are dealing with incoming calls.  If they do not, there is a fair chance that sooner or later they will become unemployed office workers, and callers often use this against them.  Before you pick up the phone to castigate some poor individual who is not allowed to give as good as they get, think about what you are going to say, and don’t act like an idiot.

Daily Prompt: Truth or Dare

Picture By Nervous ned (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons