Good Idea: Put Away the Cellphones

cellphone_lockCellphones are great. I use mine all the time. They are incredibly useful and it is amazing how dependent many of us (including myself) have become on our cellphones. However, cellphones aren’t appropriate during customer service interactions.

I was at a medial facility today (not for me or a family member, thankfully) and at the check in desk there was a sign that said something along the lines of:

Attention Staff: Please keep your cellphone off and in your locker.

While the sign is rather unfriendly and not something that should be displayed prominently at a reception desk for visitors, it has a good point and offers a good suggestion. Lock the cellphones away while you’re at work.

A lot of companies don’t require cellphones to be locked away. If they aren’t required to be locked way, it is inevitable that a staff member will take their phone out and start text messaging or answer a call while they are working around (or even with) customers.

Having a locker or other central location where staff members can put their stuff is a great idea. Asking that employees place their cellphones, pagers, PDAs, etc. in there is also a good idea. If they are locked up in the staff break area, the chances of the employee using it in front of a customer are slim to none.

Little things like a customer seeing a staff member using their cellphone can really turn a customer off. It just looks very unprofessional and is so easy to avoid. Having strict policies about things like cellphone usage in front of customers is extremely important.

However, do not put signs relating to employee policies in front of your customers. Customers do not need to know about your cellphone policies or any other employee policies or procedures. All of those things should happen behind the scenes.

7 Responses to “Good Idea: Put Away the Cellphones”

  1. Beth Robinson said:

    Nov 08, 07 at 9:48 am

    Are you only referring to personal calls, etc.? If so, I agree completely, but how would taking a business call on a cell phone or using a PDA when the other service professional in the room is talking with the customer and no one is waiting be any different than using a landline or a stationary computer? Perhaps I am simply not familiar with the type of environment you are referring to where locking up some of the tools would be a good idea.

  2. Joe Jordan said:

    Nov 08, 07 at 10:43 am

    A great story and another valuable reminder that companies need to structure their processes and policies to focus on the customer first. Clients aren’t as interested in the “house rules” as they are in knowing they are a priority.

  3. Service Untitled said:

    Nov 08, 07 at 7:26 pm

    Beth,

    This would be referring to things like hospitality, restaurants, etc. Places where customer service providers are physically around customers. It isn’t so much an issue when there are business meetings, etc. That isn’t usually things that customer service representatives are involved in on a day to day basis.

    Joe, great point. Customers don’t need to worry about the policies. They want to know that they are important and that the service they’re getting shows that.

  4. Envision Blog said:

    Nov 09, 07 at 1:35 pm

    Cell Phones and Customer Service…

    Earlier this week, Doug at Service Untitled talked about putting away cell phones in the workplace….

  5. Beth Robinson said:

    Nov 09, 07 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you, that does make more sense.

  6. Brandon - Call Center Consultant said:

    Nov 16, 07 at 3:55 pm

    Another reason it’s important at hospitals is because some of their equipment uses the same frequency range as cell phones and cell phones could interfere with the reception.

  7. Cell Phones During Company Time? said:

    Nov 17, 07 at 12:42 am

    […] This post was inspired by Service Untitled’s recent post. […]