Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 10

Basic Training

Who is your most influential team member? Who makes the largest impact on journalists and editors? If you answered "the marketing manager", "the CEO", or "the PR agency" - you may be wrong!

When you think about it, the first impression many journalists get of your company is from the receptionist who answers the phone when they call to follow up on a lead or a story idea.

If your phone is answered by a bored person who sounds like he or she would rather be at the beach, it will leave a negative impression with the journalist. On the other hand, a favorable impression is created if calls are consistently answered in a cheerful and professional manner - and directed to the appropriate person quickly and appropriately.

How outside inquiries are handled speaks volumes about your company's regard for the public. A voicemail "tree" or auto attendant tells callers that you do not consider incoming calls important enough to justify the expense of an employee. This practice, while becoming more common, can be off-putting to callers who want a personal response.

How are calls directed? All media calls should go to a designated person, and there should be a backup employee in case the primary person is not available. Since journalists are very often on deadlines, it is important that their calls are handled immediately - and by someone who can answer their questions properly!

Unfortunately, many companies treat the person answering their phones as a low-ranking employee - with pay rate and benefits reflecting that position. In actuality the receptionist is the company's front line - the person who receives the most exposure to the public!

Those responsible for answering incoming calls should be the company's best-trained employees. They should be selected based upon personality and efficiency as well as phone voice and manners. A little forethought and attention to detail in this area can pay big dividends.