Friday, August 19, 2005

"So, what was that name again?"

"So, what was that name again?"


A friend and former colleague called a few weeks ago, asking me if I'd be a reference for a job search.  I was pleased to help.  I got a message from a background-checking firm about him yesterday and I called them back a few minutes ago. 


The receptionist answered the phone; I stated my name and asked for the interviewer who had called me.  The receptionist then asked me for the name of my friend.  I stated it.  Even spelled both names.  "Thank you," she said, as I heard her clack the keys of her computer as I spoke and she put me on hold.


The interviewer picked up in after 20 seconds of elevator music.  "Your name, sir?" she asked.  I gave it again.  "And about whom are you calling?" she asked, clicking away on her keyboard.  I gave my friends name.  "Oh yes, Mr. Ely, thanks for calling back," and we proceeded. 


So what happened to my name and the name of my friend between the receptionist and the interviewer??  Was it all a ruse?  Was she just IM-ing her friends as she talked to me?  Did their information system not have the capability to tell the interview "Joe Ely on line 5 about John Doe"? And if it didn't, why not? 


Pure waste.  My effort to give my name and my friend's name to the receptionist was for naught.  The firm did not value my time.  They were content to waste it. 


Pure waste.  And where in each of our firms do we do the same?  It is one thing to see this in a phone call elsewhere.  But where do we ask employees to constantly repeat their address or phone on forms?  Where do we expect customers to do silly work to tell us information we already know?   


I hope you can find a silly waste like this and eliminate it today. 


I hope this is helpful. 


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