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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.