Most business owners and directors think that they run their own companies but very often it is being run by their employees. If you don’t have a strong management with clear and concise communication skills a counter culture can develop and the employees end up doing their own thing.
I once worked for an organisation where there was a policy written into the company handbook that the phone was answered on or before the third ring.
Although it was policy, it was largely ignored as management did not put enough emphasis on it.
The phone would ring and suddenly people were busy looking at their computer screens or delving into a filing cabinet. Everyone waited to see if someone else would answer the phone. We were aware of the third ring policy, and when the third ring happened, I would normally give in and answer it on the fourth ring.
I ended up answering most of the calls and started to become resentful that I was doing more work than anyone else in the office. My attitude changed, and if I was genuinely busy, I stopped breaking from my current task to get the phone on the fourth ring. Of course, everyone was surprised when I did not answer on that fourth ring and that meant it was five, six or seven rings before the phone was answered.
Customer complaints started to trickle in, and after a few weeks, this became a flood. The complaints went to the account managers who would ask us to “answer the phone as quickly as possible.” We of course genuinely felt that this was what we were doing. It was not until we started losing customers that someone on high intervened.
No one was deliberately avoiding the phones they were just following the wrong company culture.
For more advice on Communication Skills Check out my book. “It IS what you say”