Search Results for: Cell Phone

GM – Road Safety – A Year-End “Take Safety Home” Message 2 – Let’s Save Lives

♦♦♦    Road Safety    ♦♦♦

Year-End Take Safety Home Message #2

The problem of texting whilst driving is of such concern to me that I simply must send a plea for driver mindfulness, not only for year-end, but for every day!

Let’s Save Lives

It’s a toss-up, nowadays, as to which is the more important message: “Don’t Drink & Drive” or “Don’t Text & Drive” or should we now say “Don’t Drink & Text & Drive” ?

But, since the former is virtually a cliché these days, my plea revolves around cell phone usage whilst driving (which even sober drivers are inclined to do).

graphic of vidclip snapshot with link to vidclip You may have already heard of or watched this documentary, “From One Second To The Next” by Werner Herzog. It’s about texting and driving. But if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out. The documentary is well done and drives home in a personal way the pain and anguish texting and driving can cause.
graphic of vidclip snapshot with link to vidclip Mobile (cell phone) use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel.

ACTION

Organise safety sessions to be held just before the majority of personnel take to the roads for their year-end break. Show them the video clips and hand out Road Safety Cookies to bring the message home.

RELATED MATERIAL

Road Safety – Year-End “Take Safety Home” Message
Manslaughter or murder?

ON OFFER

Road Safety Cookies

graphic of Road Safety Cookie with stop road sign

Unusual (and tasty) handouts to bring the Road Safety message home to your personnel and their families. They are branded with road safety signs and the cookie inserts contain road safety messages. They can be customised to suit your needs. One idea is to make up a small parcel of Road Safety cookies for each employee to “Take Safety Home” for the holidays.Road Safety Cookies™ have been specifically branded with road safety signs and the cookie inserts are road safety messages.
There are many ways to use this COOL TOOL™.

FEEDBACK

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

GM – Road Safety – Year-End “Take Safety Home” Message

♦♦♦    Road Safety    ♦♦♦

Year-End Take Safety Home Message

Those of you who have been following me for some time know how passionate I am about this topic. We kill nearly ten times more people on our roads each year than ALL industrial fatalities combined in all workplaces. Chances are that if you are going to lose someone over the holiday season, it will be on the roads. This is not only via vehicle accidents – pedestrian fatalities account for approximately 40% of road-related deaths.

graphic of ambulance with money

We are able to release last year’s crime statistics in the greatest of detail so the SAPS can plan and focus on the right hot spots. But, in spite of substantial funding, the Department of Transports Road Traffic Management Corporation is unable to provide road accident statistics, because they are “reengineering the Road Traffic information collection process”. In terms of road safety, we are effectively flying blind. I cannot give you the exact figure, but I can tell you that the cost of road accidents runs into billions – we could easily build and maintain our road infrastructure if we could halve our accidents.

We all know that we cannot improve something which we are not measuring and the latest road traffic data is from 2011! We can be as concerned as we like about the current situation, but we can only influence what is within our control. Therefore, let us influence our employees to become ACTIVE SAFE road users.

There are three things which kill people on the roads ( F S D )

The first is FATIGUE. If people are tired and take their eyes off the road, the likelihood of accidents shoots up dramatically. Thus encourage the habit of taking a break and getting enough sleep before a road trip.

SPEED is the second killer. Speed reduces the opportunity to react to any unforeseen event and stay in control!

DRINKING (Drugs) is the third killer. Alcohol has a disastrous effect on your reaction time as well as staying awake and alert.

ACTION

1. Draw up your plan for the year-end now! Involve your SHE Reps in that planning – empower them to play an ACTIVE role in implementing some of the ideas below, as well as coming up with their own suggestions.
2. Road Safety Cookie
  graphic of ambulance with money This is a small hand-out to engage ALL your employees in road safety and to remind them to take a safety attitude with them when going home for the holidays.
These Road Safety Cookies™ have been specifically branded with road safety signs and the cookie inserts are road safety messages.
There are many ways to use this COOL TOOL™.
  One idea is to put the name(s) of employees killed during the year in road accidents on the back of the cookie inserts eg. + IN MEMORY OF +
I will assist you with customisation to meet your specific needs.
More ideas
on how to use the Safety Cookies here.
3. Road Safety Toolbox Talks. I am offering this series of 6 CD’s at a special discount of R2,750. These CD’s are part of my COOL TOOL™ Toolbox Talks and cover the Road Safety Topics of Seat Belts, Attitude, Road Signs, Pedestrians and vehicles – download the overview.
3. Advanced Driving Safety Rules. Get your SHE Reps to hand out a leaflet, with advanced driving tips, to everyone leaving your premises when taking their year-end break.
If you need ideas for this, send me an email.
4. Look at activities you can sponsor at schools in your neighbourhood, for example driving lessons or driving simulators for schools.

RELATED MATERIAL

A Hong Kong movie theatre asks its patrons to leave their cell phones ON when they enter the movie house. Using that, Volkswagen made an eye opening advertisement.

Have you been tagged?
Caught at a road block
Taking your eye off the ball / road / task
Walking the circle of safety
Safety misconceptions – what we can learn from them
Manslaughter or murder?

REFERENCE MATERIAL

  • RTMC latest annual report is 2012- 2013. (If you look at Section 8, in particular the part which reviews the achievement of their strategic objective “improve collection of data” on page 56, you will find that they did not achieve KPI 32 = State of Road Safety Report. The financials are in Section 9 on page 71.)
  • Arrive Alive has no up to date info either – last report is 2011.

FEEDBACK

Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

SCnSP – Manslaughter or Murder?

♦♦♦     SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE     ♦♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to examine our behaviour when driving and working and be ruthlessly honest about our true concern for the safety, not only of ourselves, but those around us.

Manslaughter or Murder?

I am not talking here about the Oscar Pistorius trial or pre-judging the case with a guilty or not guilty verdict.

I am talking about using a cell phone!

Talking and texting (SMS) on a cell phone, while operating a machine, plant or equipment, like cranes, trains and planes, or while driving vehicles, is a major safety hazard. Just imagine being the cause of a fatal accident as a direct result of talking or texting on a cell phone. An astute prosecuting attorney would argue that keeping your cell phone on while driving constitutes intent and that hence you would be guilty of, at least, manslaughter! This might sound harsh, but the reality is that taking your eyes off the road to look at your cell phone screen, even for a few seconds, can result in you being directly responsible for the death of another human being.

Before you read further, I strongly urge you to check out Jill Konrath’s blog and the video link in her post (see Related Reading [1] below), to see what happened to her husband, Fred, and to Dave and Leslee Henson as a direct result of a driver texting while driving. Pay particular attention to “The eye-opening facts on distracted driving“.

www.stopthetextsstopthewrecks.blogspot.com

Cell phones, as enablers of instant connection, are a communication and networking blessing, but at the same time, they are a safety curse. There is nothing so important that it justifies compromising safety. Nowadays, we behave as though the world will come to an end if we don’t immediately answer a call or read and reply to text messages! Nonsense! What happens when you take a flight? The airlines insist you switch off your phone, period. Believe me, the world goes on for the next hour or even 10 hours. Calls and messages must (and can) wait. Why not adopt the same attitude when driving or operating machinery and equipment? And talking of air planes, how safe would you feel if you knew your pilot was texting on his / her cell phone while busy landing the plane you’re traveling in?

In the quest to save time we go for multitasking, which is another issue compromising safety (see Related Reading [2] below). Texting while in meetings has become a widespread practice and is now a habit which has spilled over into driving. Furthermore, the issues arising from using cell phones are valid in any situation where people “push the buttons and use the tools”. A ringing cell phone or a text alert breaks the concentration and tempts people to take their eyes off the ball / road / process. Cell phones should be PARKED while “on the job”.

ACTION

Park the Phone Before You Drive!

  • Share this Safety Tip widely and with all your employees, especially the video in Jill Konrath’s blog. Make a copy available for your employees to take home and share with their families (contact me if you need help with this).”
  • Review your company policy for cell phone use in your operating plants and when driving vehicles. This goes also for company-issued cell phones. Become tough with people who violate your “NO CELL WHILE DRIVING / OPERATING” instruction.
  • Why not suspend the ‘licence’ for six months if anyone’s caught using a cell phone while driving / operating a company vehicle / machine or while driving on your company property. That will send a clear message that you are serious! Alternatively, send them on paid leave for a week, to do duty at the ER of a local hospital.

PLEASE drop me a line telling me what you are doing in your company so I can let Fred and Leslee know / show them the good which is coming out of their tragedy.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Heartfelt thanks go out to Fred and Leslee for going public so others might learn from their experience, and to Jill Konrath for writing on this important subject of the dangers of texting while driving.

RELATED READING

[1]   Jill Konrath: “Avoid this Killer Strategy at All Costs”   Blog   Video

[2]   Jurgen Tietz: “Do Not Disturb

[3]   “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks

FEEDBACK

Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next

 

SCnSP – Do Not Disturb

♦♦♦     SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE     ♦♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to ensure that our people understand the importance of FOCUS time and allow them to incorporate it into their daily work schedule.

Do Not Disturb - people at work

Have you ever tried putting up a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign at work? Or blocking out time in your electronic diary? What happened and should this practice be allowed?

Multi-tasking is often lauded and touted as a desirable, even necessary, trait for efficiency. However, it is a misunderstood concept and is, in fact, *not* an efficient way to get things done and can introduce unnecessary risks[2], eg. consider the risks of using a cell phone while driving, or a pilot being distracted whilst landing an aircraft.

Similarly, distractions and interruptions have a detrimental effect on the task at hand. Attention is diverted and thinking disrupted. The likelihood of a mistake being made once the person resumes the task increases three-fold[1], posing a very real safety hazard. Furthermore, the associated “resumption lag”[3] means it actually takes longer to complete the task, so productivity suffers.

Interruptions and distractions are a reality of our times. In an office environment, this can mean that work is taken home and hours spent “catching up”. (See “Kill the In Tray” [4]) In an environment or situation requiring a person to interact with equipment or machinery or controls, I’m sure you can see that the consequences can prove to be fatal.

We all have 24 hours each day, but successful people have a commitment to remain focused on the important stuff. They use their time efficiently and avoid interruption.

ACTION

  • Schedule just 30 minutes today, where you can appreciate uninterrupted time to focus on ONE important priority task and aim to finish that task. Close the door, put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign and take the phones off the hook. Beware of the email / busy trap, where you feel busy with lots of little urgent things, but you do not tackle the important stuff. (See “Waiting at the Doctors” [5]) At the end of the 30 minutes, check how much productive work you actually got done. During the following 30 minutes, operate normally and see how little you will get done, during the same time frame. Repeat this exercise a number of times, until you are convinced that productivity and success depend on focus, prioritisation and zero interruptions.
  • Now that you are convinced, it is time to create a schedule to get uninterrupted time in your day. Make it a fixed routine and ensure that people who take up your time are aware of your routine, including your boss. (See “Kill the In Tray” [4])
  • Take the above lesson and apply it to your safety critical tasks. Reduce the amount of interruptions and distractions and increase the focus on the task at hand to minimise the potential of mistakes – vessel entry, lifting, working at heights, shut-down -, start-up – and lock-out procedures, etc. including answering a cell phone.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

With grateful acknowledgement to Andrew Horton, whose post “Do Not Disturb”, inspired me to write this Safety Tip, with a focus on the safety risks.

REFERENCES

[1]   Andrew Horton “Do Not Disturb”

[2]   On the hidden perils of juggling too many jobs at once

[3]   Resumption Lag = “the time needed to ‘collect one’s thoughts’ and restart a task after an interruption is over.” [Erik M. Altmann, Task Interruption: Resumption Lag and the Role of Cues]

[4]   Jurgen Tietz “Taking Responsibility: Kill the In-Tray”   Click here to download.

[5]   Jurgen Tietz “Time and Priorities: Waiting at the Doctor”   Click here to download.

FEEDBACK

Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

SoSSB 10P 00 Introduction

♦ SERIES ♦♦   SAFETY ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET   ♦♦ SERIES ♦
make time SIMPLY SMART
(and AFFORDABLE)
SAFETY

— a la Teddy
Safety plan

Today’s SAFETY TIP marks the beginning of a series of articles inspired by something the American president, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, said:

“Do what you can, when you can, with what you have, where you are.”

The purpose of the articles is to give struggling-but-eager SHE professionals and practitioners, who are working for financially-constrained companies, pointers on how to get the safety awareness message across to both management and workers, on a shoestring budget.

The first step to achieving anything has to be: ELIMINATE THE EXCUSES.

Insufficient TIME and MONEY are the 2 main excuses for NOT doing
“what needs to be done, when we can, with what we have, and where we are”
.

Think these are valid excuses? Let’s see:

We HAVE control over TIME. We CHOOSE if we want to spend time on something that is IMPORTANT to us by MAKING TIME for it – by spending a portion of the 24 hours we are given afresh every day on it.
(Consider a life-threatening situation – we will make time to survive.)
The same goes for MONEY. Even the person living in a “mkhukhu” (squatter hut) CHOOSES to spend a portion of the little he/she has on that which is important to him/her.
(Often it is a cell phone because being able to stay in touch with others is important enough.)
So, when it comes to SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE:
MAKE TIME
and FIND THE MONEY
to do those things
which do not cost a fortune
…. what I call The 10 ‘P’ Items.

I will be taking you through each ‘P’ over the next few months, so STAY TUNED!

If you would like a copy of the EXCUSE LIST, you can request it here,
using “Excuse List” in the SUBJECT.

I enjoy hearing from you, so do share your thoughts with me on this subject here.
© Copyright:Jürgen Tietz

SCnSP – The Snooze Button

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jan 2018
     

The  Snoo-zzz-zzz-e  Button

Delaying action

clock ticking countdown tick-tock

     

Growing up in Namibia, I spent many of my holidays on my grandparents’ farm, which is in the arid areas of the country. There was no electricity and every drop of water had to be pumped from a borehole. This didn’t worry my grandfather in the least. Regardless of the season, he was up every morning before sunrise, when the old cuckoo clock struck four, and in the kitchen making coffee, before heading out to attend to the work of the day.

He didn’t press a snooze button. In fact, I doubt he ever set an alarm clock. His motto was: “Today, Not Tomorrow”. He knew that when it’s time to plough, that’s what you do, because the rains don’t have a snooze button. The same went for the cows. When they came into the kraal in the early morning, it was milking time. No hitting the snooze button.

The snooze button is an invention which encourages the poor habit of delaying unavoidable action. Pressing the snooze button buys one a few extra minutes’ sleep, but doesn’t make a difference in the long run. Instead of hitting the ground running, we fall prey to this folly of delayed action, which often results in things taking longer in the end. Every time we choose “I-can-do-that-later”, we waste time picking up the thread and re-focussing.

In safety, there are a number of things that, like the rain and milking cows, don’t have a snooze button. Opportunity and risk are two examples. Opportunity normally has a short timeframe and if you press snooze, in most cases, you will lose. The expression: “There will always be another opportunity” is loser’s language. The same goes for risk. Once you have identified it, you have to deal with it, because you can’t put a risky situation on hold. Actually, if you don’t take swift action you will likely create an even bigger risk by breeding complacency.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Take time NOW to think about your personal snooze buttons.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • What (and why) will you put off this year?
  • How often do you say to yourself: “I don’t have time now, I’ll do it later”?
  • How often do you allow your work to be disrupted?
  • How frequently do you allow yourself to be distracted from what you are busy with?
  • Have you ever taken note of how many times you use your Inbox, or phones, or meetings as snooze buttons, thereby delaying making decisions, taking charge, seizing an opportunity and choosing to take action?

ESSENTIAL LINKS

Disruptive Safety™ and The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

Search the S.H.E. ATM  –  for safety and wellness answers, tools and methods

Contact Jürgen

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

SCnSP – The Weak Signal

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2017
     

The Weak Signal

signals

     

We’re surrounded by signals all the time, from radio, TV, mobiles and, nowadays, wi-fi. It’s getting to the point where there’s so much noise that we only hear the louder, specifically-targeted messages. The weaker signals just get lost, unless we move to a better spot so as to hear more clearly.

This analogy applies to many relationships, whether it is in the family through parenting, or in organisations through leadership, or in politics (Gupta). When there is power, or a hierarchy, at play, the situation often becomes one-sided. The one who is in power talks and expects the others to listen – a case of “Do as I tell you.”

In an organisation, the leadership has the strongest signal. They have direct access to wi-fi and call centres, while the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ can only use the much weaker signals. The wi-fi is made up of policies, procedures, papers and all sorts of instructions. It’s all top down, one-way communication and often complicated by conflicting and inconsistent signals such as “Safety First and Zero Harm, but meet the Production, Costs, Quality and other Targets first”.

The Suggestion box, BBS observations, H&S Rep reports and other tools and techniques used to connect with the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’, are the equivalent of the call centre. You hear clearly: “Your call is important to us, and will be attended to shortly … For quality purposes the call will be recorded … We are currently experiencing high call volumes … Please hold … ”. In the end, the call is logged but seldom leads to ACTION.

The weak signals are always there, if we care to listen carefully. Everytime there’s an enquiry or investigation into a serious incident or injury, we hear these weak signals clearly. They often start with “We” followed by “told; observed; reported; requested; asked; complained; warned you” and similar action words. Often the organisation’s culture weakens the signals further by virtue of the fear of speaking up or taking a stand, all kinds of threats, blaming and shaming, a lack of action and priority or being taken seriously.
These weak signals require little effort to pick up on at the time but, if lost in the noise, can lead to serious consequences.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Take a careful look at the different signals inside the organisation. The Critical Success Factors for a better reception are:

  • Create a climate which rewards weak signals, even if they turn out to be false signals.
  • Make it personal with a name / photo.
  • Provide prompt, direct feedback.
  • Show that the weak signals are being taken seriously and are making a difference.
  • Give the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ a REAL VOICE – a voice which will be heard and taken seriously – a direct line to the CEO’s or MD’s. The climate will change dramatically. All employees, without exception, own a mobile device, often even a smart phone and are using free apps like WhatsApp. So what’s stopping YOU?

ESSENTIAL LINKS

Icon: Jurgen-Antzi with a mike

The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

Search the S.H.E. ATM  –  for safety and wellness answers, tools and methods

Contact Jürgen

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

SCnSP – It’s just a project

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jun 2016

This is a really simple tip. Get this right, and you could turn your job on its head!

     

It’s Just A Project

Picture of a vegetable patch

     

Did you know you’re a project manager?

Seriously. You are. Every time you shop, decide what to wear, put air in your bicycle or car tyres, or catch a train or bus, you’re completing a task in what could be the project plan for your Lunch Project, or Date Project, or Career Project.

You’re the Project Manager of your life. The project may be as simple as hanging a picture on a wall, or a little more involved, like creating a vegetable garden or painting your home. It could be a project that only takes an hour to complete, or years and years. It might be a project to make sure things keep running properly (maintenance project), or a project for something new or better (development project).

So you can see that “project” is just the name given to the process of getting something done.
A project has a purpose: something that must be achieved, created, completed.
Whether or not you’re aware of it, a project also has a plan: by when you want or need it done (deadline), the steps that must be taken (tasks to be completed), what the right order is for those steps, how much time you think will be needed for each step, what you will need (people, tools, materials, money), how much of each you will need and by when, and, of course, it must have a start time and/or date.

If your project has a non-negotiable completion time or date, or if you have a limited budget, you may need to rearrange some of the steps, or get someone to help you with some of the tasks, or find a smarter way to do something so that you can finish it on time and within the budget you have available. Depending on the project, you may want to work out in advance what you will do if things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes, you might find you need to change your plan when you’ve already started on the project because one or more of the steps (tasks) has taken longer than it should have and you need to find a way to get some of the other steps done more quickly, or because a resource you need is not available at the time you need it, or something is costing you more than you expected it to. That, in essence, is project management.

Without even thinking about it, you already run at least some aspects of your personal life as projects. Maybe, without realising it, you do the same with your job.

Your “life” projects may be exciting (getting that new car) or necessary (eating a meal) or both. Whether or not they achieve their purpose (objectives) depends on the importance you attach to them (priority) and your self-discipline. The same goes for your job.

ACTION

See your job / role / function in your place of work as a series of pro-active projects which you choose (important). Such projects are exciting, about making change happen, about making improvements and exploring new options. They are about ‘now’ so give them deadlines. Make sure that the routine aspects of your job (emails, phone calls, meeting, reports, etc.) don’t suck up all your time so that you are too busy to complete the pro-active projects!

FEEDBACK

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Contact Jürgen

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING?

Try searching for it or use the search topics feature

Search the S.H.E. ATM
Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

SCnSP – Mirror, mirror on the wall

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Apr 2016

Do you use your safety mirror as a tool, or as a reflection of what you would like to see?

     

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL …

What is stopping me?

graphic depicting caller on the phone

     

Using a mirror in safety is nothing new. We’ve all seen the mirrors in toilets with the caption “Who is responsible for safety?”.

I’ve been using the metaphor of a mirror as a tool for many years. I hold up a mirror to the audience, asking them: “What do you see?“, followed by: “Is it good or is it bad and who is responsible?” [1]

I also use my ‘What Is Stopping Me‘ (WISM) Mirror to challenge people to look into the mirror and ask themselves that question! And what’s the answer? Usually, people will say “time”, or, “money”, or, often, both will be cited. But these are resource issues. The reality is that it is really a question of importance and priorities: you will always choose to spend time and money on things that are important to you.

There is of course another use for mirrors.
“Most people can’t resist a mirror. It makes the wait for an elevator more palatable, and we can’t help checking – how do I look? In many ways, though, this is futile, because we can never know how we look through other people’s eyes. Even the best quality mirror tells you very little. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to focus on this sort of grooming if you want to understand what customers or friends (or employees or leaders) are going to see. Far better to watch what they do.” [2]

This holds especially true for you as a safety professional. Are you looking into the safety mirror to see how your safety is doing? You should be rather spending time on your feet, talking to people. ‘Look to see’. The perception of employees and the leaders, is what you should be seeing.

ACTION

Take a good look, to see, how you are using your safety mirror? Do you use your mirror as a tool, or as a reflection of what you would like to see?

[1]    “How to put a face on safety

[2]    “The Foggy Mirror

FEEDBACK

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Contact Jürgen

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING?

Try searching for it or use the search topics feature

Search the S.H.E. ATM
Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

SCnSP – Your Call Is Important To Me

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Mar 2016

Phone etiquette is key to customer relations and, with the proliferation of ACD & IVR switchboards and mobile phones, it has evolved.  Has your corporate culture kept pace?

     

YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO ME

(Mobile) Connectivity

graphic depicting caller on the phone

     

The number you have called is not available. Please try again later.

I can’t take your call right now, I’m in a meeting.

I’m not available at the moment, but please leave your name and number, and I will call you back, as soon as possible!

My personal favourite: “Your call is important to us. Please hold for the next available consultant“, followed by Beethoven’s 9th Symphony alternating with advertising / information messages … over and over and over again.

And let’s not forget this important message: “For Quality and Training purposes your call may be recorded“. For heavens’ sake … If quality was important to them they would answer my darned call and not put me in a queue for ages! [1]

I’ve heard these and similar voice messages a hundred times, or more, and every time I asked myself: Really? Is the client really important to you? Are you really not available, or just in another meeting? Or is it just a question of you being unable to prioritise the urgent and important stuff?

Recently, for one of my projects, I tried to contact about 30 people. I say ‘tried’ because 80% of them couldn’t be reached on their mobile number and either don’t listen to their voicemail or don’t return calls. Why are we sitting with this endemic corporate sickness?

At one stage, I used to say to myself (as I’m sure many still do): “I am busy, if YOUR call is important to YOU, then you can call ME back!” That changed radically when I became self-employed. Every missed call is now, for me, a missed opportunity. Even when I am in a meeting, I will take a call from my wife, Heidi.

One of the reasons for carrying a mobile phone is instant connectivity. Even if circumstances dictate that you can’t immediately take a call (driving is a good example), you should still acknowledge the call by phoning the person back later.

ACTION

  1. Listen to your own message. What is it telling others about you, or your company? Turn the tables and try to see it from the caller’s perspective.
  2. Ask yourself: If I were self-employed, how would I deal with my phone calls? “Call back later” may be interpreted to mean that you are not interested, potentially losing you a business opportunity.
  3. Don’t use an auto responder unless you absolutely have to. Acknowledge the call. This doesn’t mean you have to take the call and enter into a long conversation. It means taking the initiative by offering to phone back or asking the caller to phone you at a certain time.
  4. Don’t use a term like ‘as soon as possible’. Make it a habit to follow up on missed calls and call-backs daily.
  5. Look at the 80/20 rule. 80% of people who call you on a regular basis probably need an urgent decision or want to share information with you. Ask yourself why? Has it got something to do with the way you manage and empower people? It’s your call!

[1]    Rod Jones, of Contact Centre Consulting CC

FEEDBACK

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Contact Jürgen

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING?

Try searching for it or use the search topics feature

Search the S.H.E. ATM
Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
Terms of Use

«  prev

next  »

 

Jurgen Tietz brings you Safety: by the people, for the people
Need a keyword?

H&S Rep Workshop

H&S Rep Training
The
Not Just Any
H&S Rep Workshop
that’s for everyone.

Read about it here

Share this page

Find me on

Connect with Jurgen Tietz via FacebookConnect with Jurgen Tietz via LinkedIn

Join the revolution

Disruptive Safety
The Safety Reps Survival Guide handbook