Author Topic: Question about phone calls  (Read 3194 times)

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MrsCrazyPete

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Question about phone calls
« on: November 30, 2012, 07:48:49 PM »
I work as a pharmacy technician. Part of my job requires that I make lots of phone calls. When I have to call a customer, it's no problem. My problem is when I have to call a doctor's office or a lab.

This is how a typical conversation might go when I place a call:
Person answers the phone (PATP): Thank you for calling Dr. Blah-blah's office, how can I help you?
Me: Hi, this is MrsCrazyPete from ABC Pharmacy. I'm calling to find out about Joe Schmoe's lab results. Has he come in yet?
PATP: ...complete silence...

Now I assume that the person on the other end is looking up that information, but without them saying anything, I don't know for sure. Sometimes I'm kept waiting for up to a full minute with nothing but silence. After a period of time they give me the information I need, but in the meantime I'm getting very frustrated.

A few times I have started to repeat myself or said "hello?", only to have the person snap at me that they are checking on what I need.

Is there anything I can say in this sort of situation? Or do I just suck it up?
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DottyG

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 08:19:59 PM »
I don't think there's much else you can do.  You're not rude by saying "hello?" to them.  If they snap at you, that's on them.


Yvaine

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 09:57:12 PM »
This happens to me from the other direction all the time. It's so awkward! I try to tell them I have to look something up and then to occasionally make a little sound or say something so they know I'm there--I always think I should be humming the Jeopardy! theme or something.

Luci

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 10:21:10 PM »
I usually  say, "Are you still there?" which seem a tad friendlier and less accusatory. I insert the name if it has been given to me earlier.

"Are you still there, Kathy?"

Sanity Lost

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2012, 01:18:37 AM »
I hum "Peter and the Wolf" and always congratulate the person who recognizes it. :)

Now I do that whether I'm calling or being called; it lets us both know i'm still on the line until one of us speaks. So maybe that will help?

DottyG

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 01:53:31 AM »
I hum "Peter and the Wolf" and always congratulate the person who recognizes it. :)

Now I do that whether I'm calling or being called; it lets us both know i'm still on the line until one of us speaks. So maybe that will help?

SL, I'd call you just to hear that! :D I haven't heard that song in so long!


Lindee

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2012, 02:40:32 AM »
There is a big difference between being told "I'll just check", "Please hold while I look" etc  and total silence.   I'd have no problem waiting for an answer if I knew they were looking but I would appreciate being told that.

MrsCrazyPete

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2012, 05:47:47 AM »
There is a big difference between being told "I'll just check", "Please hold while I look" etc  and total silence.   I'd have no problem waiting for an answer if I knew they were looking but I would appreciate being told that.

Lindee, exactly! If they would just SAY that they were looking it up I'd have no problem. I'm becoming increasingly aware that several doctor's and lab's staff need some serious phone etiquette skills.
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Giggity

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2012, 08:35:31 AM »
"Hello?" is perfectly appropriate. Their bad response is on them. I'd keep doing what you're doing.
Words mean things.

GreenHall

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2012, 11:12:17 AM »
At my work, I will often ask someone for information, and let them know I am looking it up.  A short time later, if needed, I generally wind up making an inane comment about how "the system knows when I'm on the phone with someone waiting for the information to pull up.". I try not to just chatter, but tat the same time to make it clear that I am working on it.  And thanks to social and generalized anxiety, I am now wondering how silly I sound narrarting the wait for the computer to respond....

Yvaine

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2012, 11:14:17 AM »
At my work, I will often ask someone for information, and let them know I am looking it up.  A short time later, if needed, I generally wind up making an inane comment about how "the system knows when I'm on the phone with someone waiting for the information to pull up.". I try not to just chatter, but tat the same time to make it clear that I am working on it.  And thanks to social and generalized anxiety, I am now wondering how silly I sound narrarting the wait for the computer to respond....

It's kind of the same thing I do too--"It's loading, sorry, my computer is full of molasses today..."

SleepyKitty

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2012, 11:41:31 AM »
And thanks to social and generalized anxiety, I am now wondering how silly I sound narrarting the wait for the computer to respond....

I, for one, appreciate the mini-narration. You don't have to have constant chatter, but just letting me know what's going on is really helpful. "Okay, I'm looking it up... Just one moment, the computer's a bit slow... It should be up in just a minute, the file's almost done loading." That kind of thing lets me know I haven't been accidentally hung up on (or accidentally hung up on you!).

Complete silence unnerves me as well. OP, it's fine to say something friendly like, "Whoops, have I lost the line?" or "Oh, are you still there?"

hobish

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2012, 03:32:44 AM »
At my work, I will often ask someone for information, and let them know I am looking it up.  A short time later, if needed, I generally wind up making an inane comment about how "the system knows when I'm on the phone with someone waiting for the information to pull up.". I try not to just chatter, but tat the same time to make it clear that I am working on it.  And thanks to social and generalized anxiety, I am now wondering how silly I sound narrarting the wait for the computer to respond....

It's kind of the same thing I do too--"It's loading, sorry, my computer is full of molasses today..."

"My database was built with the dinosaurs. You know how it is..."

I kind of hate making phone calls at work. Sometimes i have to and the companies i call aren't interested in niceties. They don't care what my name is or how my day is going, they expect me to tell them what i need and quickly.
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2012, 12:07:15 PM »
At my work, I will often ask someone for information, and let them know I am looking it up.  A short time later, if needed, I generally wind up making an inane comment about how "the system knows when I'm on the phone with someone waiting for the information to pull up.". I try not to just chatter, but tat the same time to make it clear that I am working on it.  And thanks to social and generalized anxiety, I am now wondering how silly I sound narrarting the wait for the computer to respond....

It's kind of the same thing I do too--"It's loading, sorry, my computer is full of molasses today..."

"My database was built with the dinosaurs. You know how it is..."

I kind of hate making phone calls at work. Sometimes i have to and the companies i call aren't interested in niceties. They don't care what my name is or how my day is going, they expect me to tell them what i need and quickly.

After a "let me look that up" I'd prefer silence to chatter because usually I'm at my desk doing something on my computer and if you are chattering to me, I feel the need to listen enough to form some sort of reply. 

O'Dell

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Re: Question about phone calls
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 02:02:14 PM »
A few times I have started to repeat myself or said "hello?", only to have the person snap at me that they are checking on what I need.

Is there anything I can say in this sort of situation? Or do I just suck it up?


In my experience, tone is the key. Be firm or even a little sharp when you prod them, and it tends to cut down on them snapping or being snarky.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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