I’ve taken this week to write a few tributes to my father in honor of Father’s Day, but today, I want to talk about something that really bothers me. One of my biggest pet peeves is receiving a business call from someone I’m sure is young enough to be my grandchild and having them address me by my first name, without asking my permission. To say, I cringe each time I answer the phone and hear, “may I speak to Savannah? Savannah this is…” is an understatement.
I am a proud Baby Boomer, who falls somewhere in the middle of my generation based on my birth year. As a child I was taught to address those old enough to be my parents as Mr./Mrs. Doe or Mr. John/Ms. Jane. If I made a call to someone I didn’t know or was not familiar with the same applied for phone manners.
Now, I’m sure somewhere in orientation, these young people are taught to address the client by their first names, probably to breed some form of familiarity, but I find it highly offensive. I may be a bit “old school,” but I believe we should ask permission to use a person’s first name as a part of good business phone manners. For all we know, Jane or John Doe may be seventy, eighty, or ninety years old. Is it me or am I just getting old?
Lately, when I receive a business phone call from those whom I do business with, I politely stop whomever is on the other side of the line and remind them, I did not give permission to them or anyone else from their organization to use my first name. Recently, I had a young lady ask me if it was okay for her to address me by my first name and I was so shocked, it took me a minute to respond.
I’m not sure if my perception of good business phone manners is becoming a lost art, but I do hope companies will begin to take a look at what good business phone manners entails from a public point of view. Although, I am not considered old by a long-shot, the seniors of this world deserve our respect. They have paid their dues to society and the world and for that alone, I believe they deserve to be addressed by their last names. After all, to me, that’s just good business phone manners.
Savannah J, she adds a little bit of sass to each page.
Comments welcomed; I’d love to hear your take on this.