Friday, July 1, 2011

KeFactors Friday (Rewind): Adventures in Cold Calling

With the holiday weekend, I figured this Friday we could all use a KeFactors Friday Rewind. For more information on Lucy, visit her website -

I've decided the American workplace is increasingly impenetrable: Lawmakers fret our borders are too porous? Well, they should get corporate policymakers to re-engineer border patrol, because then even American citizens would have trouble gaining re-entry.

Assuming you access an organization that — commendably — doesn't use electronic greetings, what you get is that Darwinian holdout of a dying breed: the human receptionist. And, like the dodo, this animal does not understand it's already in God's waiting room.

Today's adventure went like this:

Me, the cold caller: "Hi, I'd like to speak with John CEO." (Name changed to protect blah blah blah).
Receptionist: "Who?"
Me: "John CEO."
Re: "What department's he in?"
Me: "Erm...he's your CEO."
Re: "Oh. OK. Hold on, let me check. Does he work in this building?"
Me: "If you're the corporate headquarters, I would assume so, yes."
(Muzak version of "I Wanna Know What Love Is")
Re: (returning) "OK, hon, I've done some research and it looks like Mr. CEO does workhere, but he's out right now. Would you like to speak to one of his assistants?"
Me: (unstated: "I'll speak to Donald Trump if you've got him in fishnet tights")..."Sure.Who would I be speaking with?"
Re: "Hold on, let me check."
(Muzak: "Mandy" is cruel)
Re: (returning) "OK, hon, I'm switching you to Delphine Admin. She'll help you."
Me: "Thanks."
Re: "You have a nice (yawn) day."
Me: "Thanks."
Next: (voicemail) "Hello. This is Paul Backwater of the Employee Picnics department.I'm sorry I can't take your call right now, but...."
Me: (ringing again) "Ma'am? I was supposed to connect with your CEO's office but got your Picnics department instead. Can we try again for Delphine Admin?"
Re: "Who?!"

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