AJ surprised me this week by implementing a Monday morning policy I actually enjoyed following.
Monday: AJ called us together for the morning meeting and said he'd decided over the weekend to implement an "extra service" policy. If someone rings up for information about something we all have to tell them what they want to know, and then tell them something else as well - something they didn't expect that would interest them - as added value. He accepts this means we'll all be spending longer on the phones, but that's OK as long as we all monitor it.
The first phone call I got was from Steve down in Store 1, who wanted to know which order three shipments were going out in this afternoon. I told him, then told him about the "extra service" policy, so I was now going to offer him the unexpected and interesting fact that AJ has now gone completely crazy. He said I'm not interested, and it's not unexpected either. I said OK, I'll try for something better next time you ring.
We all listened in when Amy took a call this afternoon from someone wanting the office fax number, as she'd got the wrong idea about the "extra service" policy, and wouldn't tell him until he asked her for something extra. He got a little confused, so James prompted him to ask her what's the capital of France. He did. Donna told her to say "Paris" so Amy told him, gave him the fax number and wished him a nice day. He said thank you. We all waited for the next one.
This one asked for AJ and wanted to know "what do you think you're playing at?", but she told him it wasn't a valid question if she couldn't answer it. We all signed to her to just put him through to AJ, so she did and wished him a nice day. Then she told us all he was very rude, he didn't say thank you.
Donna told her she didn't have to ask them for another question, she just had to tell them something extra and unexpected. I said no don't do that. Donna, Amy and I finally agreed that if someone phones through Amy will tell them the office opening times as well as whatever they ask, and if they ask for the office opening times she'll tell them the fax number. Donna wrote it out for her so there won't be any mistakes.
Tuesday: The engineer didn't come in to set up the new automated switchboard yesterday. AJ told Amy to ring up and find out what'd happened, but she couldn't get to talk to anyone as it was automated. It ended up routing her through each department until it cut her off. She rang again and got back into the automated system, and finally got connected to another customer who'd rang in too. They'd been expecting an engineer since yesterday as well. Amy exchanged numbers with the other company and promised to ring them if the engineer showed.
This "extra service" policy is fun. Fiona asked me to pass her post to her, as she was one end of her desk and I was standing next the other end where Amy had left it for her. I said OK, and what else did she want, as she had to have something unexpected. Did she want me to stop borrowing her stapler? She didn't get it, but James did and nearly choked on his coffee.
Wednesday: I'm enjoying this "extra service" policy. When James forgot and asked me what time was it I told him, then told him to ask me for something unexpected. We discussed it for a while and he decided that he'd ask me to shut up and leave him alone. I told him that's two extra unexpected things, so he said he'd kill me if I didn't.
The big printer wasn't working after the lunchbreak again. Walked over, pulled Mike's mobile charger, plugged the printer back in.
LeeAnn's said some very surprising things to people who've rung her over the last couple days. I asked her if it was true the packers were ringing her up more often than normal and she said yes but it wasn't just the packers - it was the whole shop floor. I said I'd heard a couple things when I'd been down in Stores, and she said oh, that's OK - I ran out of things to tell them so I started making stuff up.
LeeAnn said we should just tell people we think AJ's doing a great job - that'd surprise everyone.
Thursday: The engineer came in after the lunchbreak to set up the new automated voicemail system. He said he'd been due to come yesterday but there'd been an emergency call and he'd been diverted. It took him about five minutes to find out where the old switchboard was plugged in, as Amy didn't know. He then started to show her how the new switchboard worked, but she got overexcited so he ended up showing Donna and LeeAnn while she sat down and rested. After a while Donna called me over and the guy said OK, I'll show you how the admin works then, as both of these ladies say they won't be able to do it. I turned to find they'd both walked off. I said wouldn't it be better to show them, but he said no, I think it might be better to show you and then you can show them, as I was only supposed to be here half an hour and it's been nearly two hours now.
Donna said she could tell everyone something unexpected and interesting - there's going to be another reorganisation at Head Office. We all said it wasn't unexpected, and it wasn't interesting either.
Friday: AJ told us all at the morning meeting that the new automated phone system would be going live on Monday. Amy hyperventilated a bit, but she soon calmed down. Donna told him I was the admin for it, and AJ said good. It looks like I'm the admin for it.
AJ then said he wanted to talk seriously for a moment. Apparently we all have taken the "extra service" policy too far. When he said tell people something they didn't expect that would interest them he meant tell them something about the company or the product. He didn't mean tell them something about ourselves or other people in the office. He understands and appreciates that we all might have gotten a little too enthusiastic, and although he welcomes our desire to see his initiative succeed, we all can drop it - now.
We all waited until he'd gone to the Head Office meeting, and Donna said it was a shame. Amy said she didn't mind, as nobody seemed surprised at the office hours at all.