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Who answers the phones in your store?

gsa4lyfe

Always here
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
3,004
If GS was constantly being paged to answer phone calls, then the FRO wasn't doing their job. Four out of five GS questions don't require GS knowledge - such as basic returns like no receipt/cash payment, return policies, hold policies, coupons or cartwheel after leaving the store, reassuring people that GS is open until store close, hours for FA/Starbucks and no that damn unicorn frappuccino is not available, and no you can't return your air mattress for money back and I'm sorry yours has a manufacturing defect but we'll be glad to exchange it only.
Exactly
 

happygoth

reshop till I drop
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
1,907
If GS was constantly being paged to answer phone calls, then the FRO wasn't doing their job. Four out of five GS questions don't require GS knowledge - such as basic returns like no receipt/cash payment, return policies, hold policies, coupons or cartwheel after leaving the store, reassuring people that GS is open until store close, hours for FA/Starbucks and no that damn unicorn frappuccino is not available, and no you can't return your air mattress for money back and I'm sorry yours has a manufacturing defect but we'll be glad to exchange it only.
At my store the Fitting Room Attendant was not expected to stay at the counter, at least not since I was hired, even before the position was eliminated. Softlines TMs took turns answering a portable phone, then later the Zebra. Nobody used the regular phone system, except to do the closing announcements.

Also, I would have no idea whether a Unicorn Frappuccino was available so that call would be passed off quickly. If anyone was expecting me to seek out answers over the radio and wait for someone to get back to me instead of passing the call to the proper party, they were sorely disappointed. Ain't no one got time for that.
 
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Tessa120

Current game: Surviving Mars
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
4,390
I didn't stay at the counter and I used a handheld and later a zebra. Put the stupid phone on the table you are folding, so it's easy and quick to grab when it rings. Hold the phone to your ear while carrying hanging clothes with the other hand. Other tricks too.
 

REDcardJJ

Service and Engagement TL
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,272
we've had fourth call backs happen (even a FIFTH call back at one point) because nobody on GM will pick up a call that's parked, let alone answer it before it rolls over to the guest services phone

we used to do it where team members who were logged in to the phone didn't have to backup cashier, but now we don't call backups anymore so no one cares about the phone
 

happygoth

reshop till I drop
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
1,907
I didn't stay at the counter and I used a handheld and later a zebra. Put the stupid phone on the table you are folding, so it's easy and quick to grab when it rings. Hold the phone to your ear while carrying hanging clothes with the other hand. Other tricks too.
We knew how to answer a phone, I answered it all the time. But I wasn't going to call on the radio and ask questions of other TMs because that usually lead to follow-ups and then I'm on the phone for 10 minutes trying to help a guest with questions meant for another department. I learned that very fast. What I'm saying is, if a guest had a question that was for something other than Softlines, I passed it off. If you didn't, more power to you, but I was not going to stay on the line a second longer than I had to, and that includes questions for Guest Services. Things like straightforward returns and forgotten bags were easy, other than that, I passed them off. I may have had to answer the phone, but that doesn't mean I had to field questions from everyone who called. I was an "operator" and I patched the calls through to the proper departments.
 
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Tessa120

Current game: Surviving Mars
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
4,390
A lot of questions were faster to answer than to try and get another department. Near the end of the existence of the FRO I even had leadership get on the walkie on a regular basis telling me to use the zebra to answer the questions rather than get another department to pick up. One day I even had to justify why I was trying to get hardlines on the phone when the quantity was 1 in my work. So obviously answering questions was part of the role.

One rare shift I wasn't FRO, that whole shift I'd hear the operator tell GS to pick up and then a few minutes later GS say "Operator go to 2" all night, because the FRO was sending calls to them that should have gone to hardlines/electronics/market or were simple enough to be answered by the FRO.
 

DBZ

Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
402
Everyone. That’s the point of the zebra. The operator phone should barely ever ring
Thank you for that reminder. If my phone starts ringing off the hook again, I'll ask a TL to remind the floor to log into their phones. I seem to forget that I don't have to look up and see if XYZ is in stock. There are other people who know what is on the floor better that I do (or the zebra LOL)
 
Joined
May 4, 2019
Messages
6
No one but TLs/ETls for the most part. Even my backroom TL let's the phone ring until he gets annoyed since no one picks up.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
6,589
Your point makes a lot of sense, but I don't think that's been happening in our store. In our store, all calls come to the service desk, except after hours when calls are routed to the LOD. ASANTS?
No they shouldn't. Everyone basically save for SFS and a few others should be answering the damn phones.. Cause the guest has the option to pick what area they think they need. The phone in theory should not ring much, but getting these people to log into the phone is worse than pulling teeth.. Bitch at the LOD so they put out a call that people should be logged into the zebra on the phone app.
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
12
I agree nobody in my store want to stay logged into the phone but they always want us to do their research shop and defects at guest service. We shouldn’t have to do everything for them when they have time to help guest as well Target supposed to be all about the guest not about pushing all the work on to guest service.
 

GhostShrimp

I used to believe people were basically good.
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
20
I’m typically up front and started checking the phone status when I’ve logged into the phone. It shows which departments have how many devices logged in. Then I call around on the walkie to get folks to log on or have a TL or whomever logged. If the team want us to run a SD that doesnt need constant back up, I need them to take the toy, electronics, outfit or obscure beauty product call.

At this point most of the after hours calls are for HR. Why isn't there a voicemail for HR?
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2015
Messages
2,293
Guest Service takes the bulk of the calls now because no one on sales floor ever signs into the zebra phone. Really annoying.
 

Nauzhror

GA, Former GSA
Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Messages
2,056
I answer probably 10 phone calls per shift on average while at guest service.
 

happygoth

reshop till I drop
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
1,907
@Tessa120 , TMs with HR questions, applicants following up, HR folks from other stores or corporate. Don't know why they'd be calling after hours, but those were the bulk of the calls when Style answered the phone. During hiring events or when we had job openings posted online, we would get crazy calls from people looking for a job.
 

Tessa120

Current game: Surviving Mars
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
4,390
For the job applicants, check with HR. All three HR-ETLs I worked with had the philosophy of "don't call us, we'll call you if we want you, email if we don't". Drove me nuts other softlines folks would tell the applicants to call back when HR was likely there when I personally asked each HR what they wanted and I did try to spread the word. So check with HR as that will simplify a lot of those calls.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2011
Messages
1,616
@Tessa120 , TMs with HR questions, applicants following up, HR folks from other stores or corporate. Don't know why they'd be calling after hours, but those were the bulk of the calls when Style answered the phone. During hiring events or when we had job openings posted online, we would get crazy calls from people looking for a job.
Before Or after hours only a leader should be answering.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
776
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #47
The problem of having somebody actually answer the phone continues to be difficult. I have taken some calls and, like others have mentioned, some of those calls involve a guest asking us to spend a lot of time seeing if something is in stock even if our zebras say there are zero on the floor and zero in the back. For anyone working on the front end, actually answering a call and attempting to route or process the request runs the risk of incurring the wrath of an understandably-PO'd TL or LOD who sees growing lineups at the service desk, self checkout or the register lanes.

Do other typical stores and businesses in your local area -- think of Home Depot, Safeway, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Fred Meyer, Costco -- have as much trouble actually answering customer phone calls? Answering phone calls is a big priority for most of our competitors. The speed of answering a phone call, as well as the time involved in getting an answer from the right person, is a key part of what many adults think of when it comes to the phrase "customer service".

Target's dialogue about "empowerment" and "guests first!" really should include assigning a store TM, on a given shift during the day, to answering the phones in the office or in a backroom area while also handling non-urgent but necessary tasks like sorting reshop, helping the ETLs with clerical tasks or so forth. Answering calls requires undivided attention particularly since some people's voices are hard to understand on the phone, some people have trouble expressing themselves, you may need to research the question on your zebra, or you may need to route the call to the correct person or department.
 
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Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
15
We are a integrated guest service desk and some brilliant person thought hey Guest Service doesn't have enough to do so lets make them the store operator and also put the phone way over the other side of the desk. I have had it with this crap. They say guests are number one well in my book the ones in front of me are more important than the ones on the phone.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2019
Messages
534
Answer the phone while I'm sorting reshop, dealing with customers face to face, pushing freight, zoning? Are they out of their fucking minds? Not a chance. Hire an operator, someone who is a pro, someone who can give the time needed to take care of the issue on the phone.
 

Tessa120

Current game: Surviving Mars
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
4,390
If the zebra says 0 on floor, 0 in back, why do you spend time looking? Why not just tell them that Target.com uses a different inventory system that doesn't update immediately in response to sales, it only updates overnight?
 
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