Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How Do We Control Cell Phones During Work Hours?

     The question that was asked of our consultant recently is the title of this blog post.  The business owner was frustrated that his staff was using their personal cell phones during work hours.  In many cases, the employee valued the cell phone call more than the customer service experience that he/she was expected and hired to provide.  What to do was the business owner's question.

      In today's 2013 world, the use of the cell phone, IPAD, Smartphone and all social media connection devices is well known and understood.  Everybody is "connected."  Everybody is everybody, even 6 year olds have cell phones to call Mom and Dad.  Gosh, we wonder how life ever existed before smart phones.  Somehow, the world did turn, but that is another post.

      What this business owner did was very creative in our mind.  Because he was told by numerous customers that his staff were using the cell phone in full view of the customer, sometimes making the customer wait, he asked the staff what they thought.  Interestingly, many staff were not aware that they were indeed using the phone and not waiting on the customer.  Well-- not sure that we really understand that answer, however, that was the answer given.  Expecting that this might be the answer, the business owner was prepared.  He calmly, but clearly pointed out that although he did not prefer folks to use cell phones for personal use during work hours, it would be nearly impossible to ban their use.  However, he strongly suggested that people take and make personal calls during their scheduled breaks.  Each employee was given a specified break time.  If the employee wished to make calls during that time, go for it.  If an emergency call came in during "non break" times, the employee should go to the back room and take the call, provided that the customer was NOT left without service or support.

        Our consultant pointed out that just because the phone rings, does not mean that it has to be answered!  Calls can be received and made at certain times of the day-- the break period being one of those times.  In all honesty, there are very few real emergencies.  Yes, there are a few, however, very few.

         Several weeks transpire and our consultant visits with the business owner again.  The business owner said that his staff being made aware of the phone call issue has helped tremendously.  The staff also figured out that their tips improved when they dedicated full time to customer service.  This particular business is a restaurant, so focused customer service is very important.

         In today's connected world, everyone is "connected."  Working with your staff and identifying when problems such as these occur will not only help staff modify behavior, but also insure that the customer is receiving the best service possible.


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