Switchboard operator vents frustration at rude Lawrentian

Becca Vande Hei

I work at the Lawrence University switchboard, and out of frustration I feel compelled to inform my fellow students. For such a distinguished university, there is a surplus of Lawrentians who never learned simple telephone etiquette! Here are some tips to keep in mind when dialing zero: 1) Speak clearly.

2) State whether the person you are trying to reach is a faculty/staff member or a student.

3) Give the first AND last name.

4) Spell the last name slowly.

For example: “Student, John Smith, s-m-i-t-h.” Even if you think that the last name is the most simple in the world, a switchboard operator may not hear you clearly. Please, do not react rudely if an operator asks you to repeat the last name.

There are several new faculty members this year, and staff is constantly changing, so don’t expect an operator to know the last name of “Sarah in the ____ office.” If you do not know the last name of the person you are looking for, the operator will not be able to direct your call. It is okay to say, “I’m not sure who I should speak with, but I need to know _____.” It is not okay to hastily spit out someone’s first name and then expect friendly service.

Remember, the switchboard operators are your fellow students. Treat them as if you were speaking face to face, and we will be as helpful as possible.