Thursday, May 18, 2006

Administrative Procedures

One of the tasks that I’ve inherited at my temp job is to revise the outdated Administrative Procedures Manual.

I completely agree that having a Procedures Manual is important, particularly for a temp position where employees come and go more often than the NSA puts on new wire taps. A procedures manual can help ensure a certain level of continuity, and prevent the disadvantageous situation where you discover that no one in the office knows how to turn that machine on or what to do in an important yet exceedingly rare situation. (Like when Bush actually discloses relevant information to the public.)

All of this I understand and agree with. However, I think the type of content necessary in this manual is, surprisingly, debatable like a guest worker program.

This particular procedural manual is roughly 45 pages in length. The first 6 pages are a combination of telephone operation instructions and phone etiquette. Personally, I think the etiquette tips are excessive. They can’t just say “Don’t chew gum or hang up on people.” Oh no.

One of the suggested ways to make a caller’s first impression “the best one possible” urges me to:
Smile while you talk. You’ll feel good inside and this feeling will carry over the phone.
Really? That’s all you need to do to combat any type of bad mood or severe depression? Turn that frown upside down? If only more people could read this administrative procedures manual, we could cut Medicare funding even further and everyone could transfer calls straight to voicemail!

When I try to picture myself smiling for the benefits of callers, it looks distinctly like a threatening snarl. Kind of like the look on Bush’s face when trapped by angry journalists. Although I’m tempted to add some etiquette tips of my own, I think I’ll stick to updating how one transfers calls directly to voicemail.


cat said...

I'd have to disagree with you on the phone etiquette instructions--especially on a college campus. I've had several employee manuals that have said the same thing. From a customer service standpoint, you are to talk to everyone on the phone as if they are directly in front of you. It really does carry through on the phone. (I don't know if the one guy picked up that I was smiling and giving him the finger while speaking to him though.)

I think I'm the only one in this office who knows how to transfer calls to voicemail, listen to voicemail, and work the intercoms. I don't think a manual is going to help, either. A lot of people around here have Bush face--the chimpy confused one.

Bob said...

It doesn't sound like you were smiling while you were typing this entry.

Please hang up and try again later.