How pomposity damages a corporate image

October 4, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Hazel Speed

Some years ago it was quite popular with large Corporate Entities and a few esoteric Agencies to put in place a synthetic form of gate-keeping via instructions to their switchboard operators.

In short, anyone who called on the phone asking to speak to a department with a legitimate business enquiry was asked for a ‘named’ person in that office as an initial requirement to be put through.

If the caller was told that the named person had left employment they were asked for another ‘name’ which nine times out of ten was impossible to provide, (especially if it was a first time approach), therefore, their call was terminated.

This eventually proved so unpopular it seemed to have been done away with years ago.

However, I learned the other day that one ‘mega’ Company are operating this same discarded system. Apparently, the caller was asked what their name was, which they gave, (or it may have been given or offered first by the caller).

The person then asked to speak to a ‘named’ person and the switchboard put the caller on hold but soon returned, I am told, and were advised that nobody had heard of the person. The caller then asked to be put through to the department relevant to their business enquiry but without providing a second ‘name’ (because they did not know one), their request was denied. The caller made the rhetorical remark ‘how does the Company do business’, and that was received by ‘radio silence’ I am told. Having lost patience, they then stated they would do business with another company. It amused the enquirer that the switchboard person said ‘Yes, OK’.

The caller had been given a top level introduction and name to contact by a third person who is regularly hired to provide a Corporate Service, for this particular Company, and what is the stunner in all this, the person the Department ‘had never heard of’ was their own CEO.

This Corporate idiocy is pomposity at its worst. They pay serious money for good PR on one hand and do severe damage by what they say on the phone (or don’t say).

The caller found another source for the CEO direct, and will see how things go, so will decide from that whether they edify the CEO that their own employees do not have a clue who their CEO is by name.

Compounded with everything else, this particular Company really need good press this year.

Most of us would be livid if represented in this way.

The attitude and power of switchboard receptionists through such a situation often enjoy the remit of ‘just following orders’. Empathetic switchboard operators may often concede a word of encouragement to callers in most tricky situations, i.e. ‘I’m so sorry, etc’.

How we are represented is an extension of ourselves when we delegate tacit authority in diverse interactions whereby either our name or reputation are utilised.

It made me wonder upon hearing of the above, how does the Corporate Entity contact other Companies if they themselves do not know a ‘name’?

Their mindset and sheer pomposity beggars belief that they think so highly of themselves.

I am eager to learn, in due course, how the networking between their CEO and the caller pans out as little do they know as a ‘department’ that they are very low in the metaphorical food chain of this Company compared to the principals of the above story.

If it wasn’t so pathetic it is really very funny.

For a person to have ideas above their station is one thing but for a Commercial Company to be snobbish to their own detriment is a vice no commercial concern can afford on any level. At least, not if they wish to be remembered for the right reason!









Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing states of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: She has also written a book, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

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