Author Topic: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work  (Read 2261 times)

Aleko

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2020, 06:59:08 am »
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In African culture it is considered rude not to properly greet first and ask the other person how they are.

Collakat, don't you mean "South African culture"? "Africa" is a pretty big place, with many different cultures.

And every culture has its own norms, which often they don't even fully articulate to themselves until people from somewhere else come along and violate them. For example, in France nobody expects or wants waitstaff or retail staff to ask complete strangers how they are, or wish them a nice day, still less ask them what plans they have for the weekend, heaven forbid! But if you walk into a smallish shop (i.e. not a supermarket) and don't greet everyone there, both staff and other customers, with 'Bonjour, m'sieurs-dames' ('Good day, ladies and gentlemen'), you are ill-mannered.
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Soop

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2020, 07:16:21 am »
I don't find the 'how are you?' particularly odd or annoying, although completely not necessary. I do find the 'Happy Valentine's Day' strange. It's an observance about close relationships, particularly romantic ones. Sounds odd to be 'wished' it by a complete stranger who knows nothing about my love life.
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lowspark

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2020, 08:30:48 am »
It was common for me to send an instant message with not "Hi, Tim" and wait for a response but instead I'd send "Tim, when can you send me your update" or even just "please send the update by end of day."

This is actually a bit of a pet peeve of mine. And it's going to make me sound anti-social, but believe me, I'm not!
I serve internal customers in my job and have the philosophy that, to the best of my ability, I should make every customer feel like they are my one and only customer. So regardless of what I'm in the middle of working on, if someone sends me an instant message, I like to respond immediately.

So if they say, "Hi Lowspark" and then nothing else, apparently waiting for me to say "hi" back, before they just go ahead and tell me what they need, it's annoying*. Because then I've interrupted my work unproductively, and I now have to wait for their next message to find out what they want. And then, if they come back with "how are you" it's another wasted exchange.

I would prefer they just let me know their question or issue. If they really want to go through the pleasantries, that's fine, but just string it all together.
"Hi Lowspark! How are you today? Can you please do xyz for me?"

Then I can reply with the "hi, fine, how are you" string, and my response to their request.

Maybe this sounds cold. And there are certain people who I have an interpersonal relationship with where it's not just innocuous pleasantries but a real interest in each other's lives, so that kind of conversation is more normal and welcome. But I have a lot of customers I've never met, many of whom live in different states or countries, and if they need something from me, I'd much prefer they just get right to the point.

Regarding the exchange with the cashier at the grocery store (as an example), I always take my cue from them. If they ask how I am, I'll reply and ask back. If they just say, "did you find everything you needed?" I'll reply "yes, thanks." But I don't remember ever initiating the "how are you" or "Happy [insert holiday here]" with them.

*Notwithstanding my annoyance, I do play the game and respond according to their lead. I'm just not a fan of it.
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Jem

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2020, 08:51:44 am »
POD to lowspark. In the instant messaging situation, I would choose something in the middle (and in my emails I do).

I wouldn't say, "Tim, when can you send me your update?" unless we had already been in contact earlier that day, but I would say, "Hi Tim! I hope you are well. When should I expect your update?"

The "I hope you are well" is sincere and does not require a response. Had I asked "how are you" it would NOT be sincere because I wouldn't actually expect a substantive answer, and Tim likely wouldn't want to give one. Asking "how are you?" comes across as phony to me, and I find it irritating. Expressing, in writing, "I hope you are well" is much smoother and far more sincere, in my opinion.

In face to face transactions I don't ask how people are either unless I actually want to know. In a store setting I might say, "Excuse me, does this top come in red?" I would feel weird going up to a person who clearly works at the store and pretending it is a social visit by starting with, "Good morning! How are you? Did you have a good weekend?" and have them look at me blankly wondering what this has to do with anything.
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lowspark

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2020, 09:11:38 am »
In face to face transactions I don't ask how people are either unless I actually want to know. In a store setting I might say, "Excuse me, does this top come in red?" I would feel weird going up to a person who clearly works at the store and pretending it is a social visit by starting with, "Good morning! How are you? Did you have a good weekend?" and have them look at me blankly wondering what this has to do with anything.

And this is the closest we've come, in my opinion, to more clearly demonstrating the OP's discomfort.
If the salesperson/cashier/CS rep initiates the "hi, how are you, happy valentine's day" banter, then that's sort of the face of the business trying to make things pleasant for the customer.
But if the customer initiates it, it's a bit off.

In the OP, the caller is presumably interested in info about the movies, so prefacing it with all that small talk is not necessary and potentially a waste of the OP's time, as she has other calls to answer and other customers to tend to.
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bopper

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2020, 10:09:28 am »
I think the problem is you have a "script" for calls and also want to efficiently get through this call so you can also help the next call.
The "how are you" and "happy valentine's"  questions stop you in that script. You want to help them with their problem/question, not chit chat.

Hmmm

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2020, 10:42:44 am »
It was common for me to send an instant message with not "Hi, Tim" and wait for a response but instead I'd send "Tim, when can you send me your update" or even just "please send the update by end of day."

This is actually a bit of a pet peeve of mine. And it's going to make me sound anti-social, but believe me, I'm not!
I serve internal customers in my job and have the philosophy that, to the best of my ability, I should make every customer feel like they are my one and only customer. So regardless of what I'm in the middle of working on, if someone sends me an instant message, I like to respond immediately.

So if they say, "Hi Lowspark" and then nothing else, apparently waiting for me to say "hi" back, before they just go ahead and tell me what they need, it's annoying*. Because then I've interrupted my work unproductively, and I now have to wait for their next message to find out what they want. And then, if they come back with "how are you" it's another wasted exchange.

I would prefer they just let me know their question or issue. If they really want to go through the pleasantries, that's fine, but just string it all together.
"Hi Lowspark! How are you today? Can you please do xyz for me?"

Then I can reply with the "hi, fine, how are you" string, and my response to their request.

Maybe this sounds cold. And there are certain people who I have an interpersonal relationship with where it's not just innocuous pleasantries but a real interest in each other's lives, so that kind of conversation is more normal and welcome. But I have a lot of customers I've never met, many of whom live in different states or countries, and if they need something from me, I'd much prefer they just get right to the point.

Regarding the exchange with the cashier at the grocery store (as an example), I always take my cue from them. If they ask how I am, I'll reply and ask back. If they just say, "did you find everything you needed?" I'll reply "yes, thanks." But I don't remember ever initiating the "how are you" or "Happy [insert holiday here]" with them.

*Notwithstanding my annoyance, I do play the game and respond according to their lead. I'm just not a fan of it.

I feel the same way actually. So I do the "Hi, Tim. I'm needing to chat. Let me know when you're free". Or Hi, Tim, I have a question about the report you sent." But I get it a lot from people who use instant messaging like they would a phone. If they called me and said "Hi, Hmmm" they'd wait for me to respond not just launch into "Hi, Hmmm, I'm calling about the annual report".

Jem

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2020, 11:49:11 am »
I don’t use instant messaging, but if I got a work email that didn’t explain it’s purpose, or a phone call with no message, I would not respond at all. If someone sent me a message of, “Hi, Jem,” I would likely hit delete and move on. It comes across, to me, as creepy almost. It reminds me of people I would block on Facebook or Instagram trolling for who knows what. If someone on those platforms DMs me with, “Hi, Jem. I wondered if you could share your experience with [thing I posted about]. I am specifically interested in how you got into [thing] and aspects A, B and C. Thank you!” That I might respond to. But just “hi Jem.” Nope.

lowspark

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2020, 01:04:08 pm »
I don’t use instant messaging, but if I got a work email that didn’t explain it’s purpose, or a phone call with no message, I would not respond at all. If someone sent me a message of, “Hi, Jem,” I would likely hit delete and move on. It comes across, to me, as creepy almost. It reminds me of people I would block on Facebook or Instagram trolling for who knows what. If someone on those platforms DMs me with, “Hi, Jem. I wondered if you could share your experience with [thing I posted about]. I am specifically interested in how you got into [thing] and aspects A, B and C. Thank you!” That I might respond to. But just “hi Jem.” Nope.

I think that emails and phone messages fall into a different category than IMs. Emails and phone messages do not assume an "instant" reply that "instant" messaging does. Now, given, IMs do not always get an instant reply, but it's sort of the nature of the tool that it plays out more like a phone call, with the back and forth conversation, than a phone message where you say something and then wait for an undetermined amount of time for the reply.

At work, if I ignored people who didn't state their business up front in an IM, I'd probably end up with negative feedback for being non responsive. I may be annoyed, but I still gotta help my customers!

TootsNYC

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2020, 01:34:27 pm »
I don't find the 'how are you?' particularly odd or annoying, although completely not necessary. I do find the 'Happy Valentine's Day' strange. It's an observance about close relationships, particularly romantic ones. Sounds odd to be 'wished' it by a complete stranger who knows nothing about my love life.

Well...when I was a kid, every kid in the class got a valentine. And there are people for whom it's about hanging a flag on the front of their house, leaving chocolate hearts on everyone's desk at work...

I wouldn't read that much into it.

(And I'm someone who would rather not get into too much social chitchat at work, because it's a professional interaction, and there are ways to treat someone like a person without the meaningless call-and-response.)

TeamBhakta

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #40 on: February 19, 2020, 03:49:23 pm »
I'm going to go against the tide here and say that I completely understand your discomfort. And I had a feeling that you were going to say it was mainly men on the other end of the line.


I go through that at work, too. Hate it. It's bad enough that any woman I train gets a mini lecture about "how to scare off the creeps."
« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 03:54:03 pm by TeamBhakta »
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collakat

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #41 on: February 20, 2020, 01:39:57 am »
Quote
In African culture it is considered rude not to properly greet first and ask the other person how they are.

Collakat, don't you mean "South African culture"? "Africa" is a pretty big place, with many different cultures.

And every culture has its own norms, which often they don't even fully articulate to themselves until people from somewhere else come along and violate them. For example, in France nobody expects or wants waitstaff or retail staff to ask complete strangers how they are, or wish them a nice day, still less ask them what plans they have for the weekend, heaven forbid! But if you walk into a smallish shop (i.e. not a supermarket) and don't greet everyone there, both staff and other customers, with 'Bonjour, m'sieurs-dames' ('Good day, ladies and gentlemen'), you are ill-mannered.

I do pick it up from our neighboring countries and friends from other (more north) African countries also.  So that is why I said African as opposed to South African. However, we are seen as a friendly nation  ;D
Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”― C.S. Lewis
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JeanFromBNA

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #42 on: February 20, 2020, 12:18:21 pm »
I'm going to go against the tide here and say that I completely understand your discomfort. And I had a feeling that you were going to say it was mainly men on the other end of the line.


I go through that at work, too. Hate it. It's bad enough that any woman I train gets a mini lecture about "how to scare off the creeps."
Care to share the lecture?
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TeamBhakta

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #43 on: February 20, 2020, 12:44:53 pm »
I'm going to go against the tide here and say that I completely understand your discomfort. And I had a feeling that you were going to say it was mainly men on the other end of the line.


I go through that at work, too. Hate it. It's bad enough that any woman I train gets a mini lecture about "how to scare off the creeps."
Care to share the lecture?

It's usually a long one. It goes something like this:

-"See Steve in produce ? He's a creep. He hits on every woman. Do not be alone with him. If he does anything creepy, you go straight to management."
-"If a customer asks for your last name, you don't tell them. 99% of the time it's a man asking. There's a LOT of men who act like him here and over at our sister stores across town."
-"They'll ask what town you live in, where you grew up, etc. You don't have to tell them. Be vague. It's okay to say 'uh huh, out that way' or even lie that you live in another town."
-"Men will ask you if Mary or Katie work here. Mary doesn't work here anymore. She got a a new job years ago. These men aren't her friends; I asked her. They're just customers who have latched onto her. That will happen to you, too. Never tell a customer what day Katie or I or the other girls will be in. Don't tell them what hours you will be working, either."
-"There's this one sample guy who used to sexually harass us. The company quietly dropped him instead of directly firing him. Let me tell you what he did and what he looks like...He comes in a lot and asks why he hasn't gotten any hours lately. Just tell him you don't know why."
-"There's this other sample guy we directly got fired for sexual harassment...."
-"If a guy hits on you or makes you uncomfortable, point to Bob [really tall, hulking manager] and say 'Would you like to tell that to our manager Bob ? I'm sure he'd like hear that.' It scares them off. Or you can lie and mention that your [imaginary] husband the cop / marine wouldn't like to hear that. You shouldn't lie about being married to a cop or military guy any other time, of course. If one of the county cops is shopping in here, just happen to call them over for a sample. That works, too!"
-"Men will say creepy things to you right in front of their wives or girlfriends. These women will just laugh and say 'oh, you have to understand Paul's sense of humor. Paul, you're so funny, tee hee!' Not much you can do about those kind of couples, besides not laugh and make the guy feel like an idiot for shooting his mouth off."
-"I had a customer tell me he had a dream about me. He really wanted to share about it. Gross. He has a crush on me and I don't wanna know. With that kind of man, just keep redirecting the conversation back to whatever you're selling, until they give up sharing crap like that."
-"Customers will recognize you around town, even on your day off. It happens to me a lot. It's not so bad when it's old ladies saying 'I know you from Store X.' With men, though, it usually leads to lots of questions about you, getting hit on, etc. You don't have to share anything they ask you."
-"Let me tell you about the customer who grabbed his crotch on purpose one day. Oh my god..."
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 12:51:22 pm by TeamBhakta »
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jpcher

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Re: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work
« Reply #44 on: February 20, 2020, 03:42:41 pm »
Thanks for sharing that TeamBhakta. That's good information for anybody in any type of job/position.
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