Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cultivating Communication

"Daycare. What do you want?"  I'll never forget the day I heard those words coming from a staff member at the center where I was a brand-new Assistant Director.  Really??  That's the way our staff answer the phones here?  I was stunned.....I suppose I just figured that simple phone etiquette must be common knowledge.  All I could think was "Who is on the other end of that phone and what must they be thinking right now?"

Obviously, in retrospect, not everyone knows how to answer a phone properly.  Which also means that not everyone is going to respond to a parent's (or potential client's) inquiries in the same way either.  So, how do you protect your program by making sure that the messages you would like to have shared with people are the same messages your staff will be sharing?  You have to establish the standard and then train your staff so that they understand your expectations.

You will need to establish a policy that addresses situations that you feel are important to your program and how you expect your staff to respond. 
  • How would you like the phone answered? 
  • What happens if you are helping a parent when the phone rings? 
  • How do you handle a conflict with a parent? 
  • What verbal and nonverbal techniques should be used? 
  • How do you take a message for another staff member....and be sure that person receives the message in a timely manner? 
 After you establish your policy, you need to ensure that EVERY staff member is trained on it during their New Employee Orientation.  You work hard to ensure the success of your program.  Don't let a mistaken assumption of common knowledge undermine all of your efforts.


  1. How true. Many people makes their inquiry through phone calls and if they were to be asked like that for the first time, the first impression wouldnt be good at all. :)

  2. I must say, I was horrified when I heard it. You're absolutely right. All I could think was "What must that person on the other end of the line be thinking?" Argh!