Science - January 29, 2004

How to answer the phone

Quotes of the week

There’s more to the new house style that was introduced in October last year than just the name ‘Wageningen UR’ appearing on letter paper and websites. When answering the phone, employees are expected to make it clear that they work at Wageningen UR or Wageningen University. The ‘house style office’ is planning on doing random checks in February to see whether people answer the phone correctly. Killing two birds with one stone, Wb did a quick phone survey. How did people answer the phone and what do they think of the idea?

“Wageningen UR, Annette van de Wetering speaking,” answers head of the department of Communication:
“Many organisations keep a check on how clients experience their first contact with a company. House style is also about the way in which people present themselves. We have asked a group of students to do a survey for us in February of how the receptionists at the central exchange and secretarial staff answer the phone. We also want to look at how quickly an incoming caller is answered and put through or called back. We have announced that we are going to do this, as there is nothing secret about it.”

“Household Studies, Hedy Munro speaking,” answers the secretary of the Sociology of Consumers and Households group:
“I automatically say Household Studies. I keep forgetting the new name, even though I’ve put a sticker on my phone. If I make external calls myself I do get it right, and use Wageningen University as well. I have to laugh though, that they are planning on checking how phone calls are answered. Are they going to issue black marks as well? It should also apply to all employees, as most have outside lines through which they can be reached directly.”

“Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen UR,” answers Ab Verkerk of Research Institute for Animal Husbandry in Lelystad:
“I’ve been working here for 22 years, and it used to be simply CDI. Now we have to say Wageningen UR when we pick up the phone, and that sometimes leads to confusion here in the polder. People put the phone down because they want Lelystad, not Wageningen.”

“Yes, Jan Douwe here,” answers the chair of Rural Sociology, Professor Jan Douwe van der Ploeg:
“Sorry, I’m on the other line at the moment.”

“Biology degree course, Dos L’Ami speaking,” answers the secretary at the Education Institute for Life Sciences:
“Are there rules? I’ll have to have a look at them then. You know, the longer the name, the less people understand it. Why should I include Wageningen? People calling know they are phoning Wageningen University. A survey on how the phone is answered here seems like a waste of money to me. Oh, students are going to do it? Well, at least they can earn some money.” | Yvonne de Hilster

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