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d33dee1988

Receptionist Phone Ettiquette

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Just a quick phone ettiquette question - maybe someone else has experience with this?

 

I work in the Entertainment industry for a touring theatrical production company. Everyone once and awhile, I get a stray phone call from someone equesting contact information for former cast/crew members. I expect these are mostly debt collection offices or something of that nature. They almost never understand that our touring staff is under contract and are not permanent employees. Generally the callers are vague and refuse to disclose why they need the person's contact information. Therefore, I refuse to share it with them. I feel like saying "it's an important business matter" is not an adequate rationalization to issue personal information about our employees. We don't have  a real policy on this matter, so I usually just follow my instincts if I think it's a BS call. Even though the people we work with aren't exorbitantly famous or anything, I also worry about stalkers. Some of these people have been on broadway or are sort of famous within their circles. It's not that unreasonable to look out for their safety, right? Should I be taking messages and trying to reach out to our former cast members? This seems like a pain in the ass.

Sometimes I second guess myself because honestly, we get so many telemarketers, I almost automatically switch into kill mode if the call doesn't sound legit.

 

thoughts from any former or current admin professionals?

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No where that I have ever worked - retail, hospital, restaurant, big business - would give out personal info to someone without a legitimate subpoena.    So I see no reason why you shouldn't say that you are not allowed to give that out.  "Sorry.  We aren't allowed to give out that information.  Have a nice day" Hang up before they an argue.

 

It isn't your job to take messages for these people, either.  Except maybe while they are working for you.  I don't think your boss pays you to waste time trying to find people and give them messages.


 

 

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I agree with Karen. At the companies I worked at, you can never disclose anything about a current or past employee. That is a lawsuit just waiting to happen. Oh, that includes references!

By the way I was stalked. A security guard broke into the HR files and preceding to call me, mail me and even broke into my car and took just my CDs (though I could not prove that one). He was terminated and I had to move. I was creeped out for a long time.


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When I get calls here at my business (or even at home), I always ask who is calling. If they just say, "Jeff", I will ask, "Jeff whom?". If they respond, "Jeff Smith", I will ask, "And you're representing?" If they don't answer with the name of the company, I just tell them straight out that if they don't identify themselves I refuse to talk to them.


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Thanks all! Usually if it's an employment verification, i just forward it along to our PEO. I thought I was behaving accordingly, but it's just one of those things that no one has ever discussed at my job. Instances where I would consider it acceptable would include insurance calls related to worker's comp claims or something else legitimate where you can reference that it's OKAY. Phone solicitors are very pushy these days and it honestly gets to me and tests my ability to remain polite- especially when you hang up on them and they CALL BACK. Drives me crazy.

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T Instances where I would consider it acceptable would include insurance calls related to worker's comp claims or something else legitimate where you can reference that it's OKAY. 

 

 

Oh No!  Don't give them info either!  First, if the person actually filed worker's comp - they would have given them an address or phone number.  So its not likely it is really worker's comp on the phone. Second, if its a claim against your company in some way, a receptionist should not get involved in making those legal decisions.


 

 

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it was our company policy - we do not give out any personal info over the phone.   if you need something like a reference, then mail the request to me and i'll do that.  all the people who worked for us were truckers, therefore never present at the office (or very rarely) and anybody who wanted phone #s, addresses, etc i would take a message for the driver and relay it the next time i spoke with them.   something like an emergency, i would hunt them down and give them info (like if their wife couldn't reach them or kid was sick, etc)  but never did give info out to callers.  i told them i'm the information pirate:  i only *take* info, i never *give* info back lolz  :D


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Oh No!  Don't give them info either!  First, if the person actually filed worker's comp - they would have given them an address or phone number.  So its not likely it is really worker's comp on the phone. Second, if its a claim against your company in some way, a receptionist should not get involved in making those legal decisions.

 

I'm not just a receptionist. I handle a variety of responsibilities within my office due to my manager's unwillingness to bring on additional staff. I also work with our insurance broker and manage all of our company's worker's comp claims within the office. As a result, I am able to verify the validity of insurance calls since I file and submit the paperwork and deal with the claims records. When employees fail to fill it out correctly or have illegible hand-writing, the insurance company usually calls and needs to speak with the employee. Since they are on the road, I have to connect them accordingly. This falls outside of the normal realm of receptionist phone protocol, but talking to insurance adjusters is sometimes a necessary part of that process.

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Just to clarify, I'm versed on not issuing personal information willy-nilly. I was just wondering if I should be going above and beyond to contact former employees when people call for them. I hate to think that someone's credit report is getting hit because the collections agency has an old number on file. However, I think it's just too many people to keep track of and it's ultimately a time suck.

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I'm not just a receptionist. I handle a variety of responsibilities within my office due to my manager's unwillingness to bring on additional staff. I also work with our insurance broker and manage all of our company's worker's comp claims within the office. As a result, I am able to verify the validity of insurance calls since I file and submit the paperwork and deal with the claims records. When employees fail to fill it out correctly or have illegible hand-writing, the insurance company usually calls and needs to speak with the employee. Since they are on the road, I have to connect them accordingly. This falls outside of the normal realm of receptionist phone protocol, but talking to insurance adjusters is sometimes a necessary part of that process.

That is good to know.  If its part of your job, that is OK.

 

Just to clarify, I'm versed on not issuing personal information willy-nilly. I was just wondering if I should be going above and beyond to contact former employees when people call for them. I hate to think that someone's credit report is getting hit because the collections agency has an old number on file. However, I think it's just too many people to keep track of and it's ultimately a time suck.

  

 

"my manager's unwillingness to bring on additional staff"  Sounds like you don't have the time to be tracking people down who haven't paid their credit card bills!


 

 

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That is good to know.  If its part of your job, that is OK.

 

  

 

"my manager's unwillingness to bring on additional staff"  Sounds like you don't have the time to be tracking people down who haven't paid their credit card bills!

 

haha probably true. I wish we had more concrete policies in place in my office. I think i will just create a list for the next person when I hopefully get a new job within the next year. Sometimes I have flashes of self-doubt over the dumbest things because I'm only relying on my common sense to make decisions.

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