Science - March 18, 2004

Answering the phone correctly can be a mouthful

Only four out of ten phone calls to receptions and secretaries at Wageningen UR are correctly answered, according to a survey carried out by the Corporate Communication Office. The Plant Sciences Group scores worst.

In the first week of March the communication office made three hundred calls to ‘official entry points’ at Wageningen UR and noted down the phrases used when the phone was picked up. They also noted how long it took for the phone to be answered. Top of the list were the staff of Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group, of whom 88 percent answer with at least Wageningen UR. The Environmental Sciences Group also scored above average with 56 percent. At other Sciences Groups less than half of the calls were correctly answered.

The Plant Sciences Group scored worst, with only five percent of the employees naming Wageningen UR when they picked up the phone. According to the house style coordinator for plant sciences, Astrid de Best, this is the result of a deliberate policy, which is to specifically mention the particular department when answering the phone, such as PPO. Many find that it becomes too much of a mouthful to add Wageningen UR to their own name. Also, for some departments it leads to confusion to mention Wageningen, as they are based in other locations. The group is considering requesting its staff to mention Wageningen UR as a result of the survey however.

On speed of answering the phone, the worst is Administration, where only 46 percent of calls were answered within three rings. Agrotechnology was once again best, answering nearly ninety percent of calls within the time limit.

Korné Versluis