Telephone safety

How safe is your telephone? Or, more accurately, how safe is the telephone policy which you expect your people to follow? 

It’s a question which has answers on so many levels from risk management and fraud awareness to health and safety and personal security. And it’s a question which hopefully is covered in some depth in your employee briefing and training modules.

Let’s start with physical safety. Now I know what your response is; how can a phone hurt us? For the answer we could start by looking at a US study which revealed that alongside the rise in smartphone use, the number of injuries linked to smartphone use has also risen. Setting aside injuries caused by mechanical failure such as the battery exploding or charging devices catching fire, the researchers found that being distracted by mobiles resulted in fourteen thousand injuries in the USA in a year. Half of those distractions came from using a mobile whilst driving with the rest coming from a variety of causes such as texting or talking on the phone whilst walking.

In an ‘always on’ society the temptation can be to expect your people to be available even when they are out of the office. What this study shows is that the company rule book should look to prohibit phoning whilst on the move. Businesses could also identify ways of removing the temptation to take calls whilst on the move. Potential solutions include encouraging the use of telephone divert or switching calls to an answerphone or another position within the office.

Then there is the physical danger caused within the office if appropriate equipment such as headsets is not made available. Holding the phone between neck and ear in order to take calls and make notes has the potential to cause neck or back injuries. At this time of year businesses may also want to arrange for phone equipment to be regularly sanitised to avoid the spread of flu and other germs.

However, there is also another type of telephone safety which businesses should look towards and that is the potential danger which comes from scam and fraudulent phone calls. It is easy to warn people about some of the more typical attempts which regularly circulate such as Amazon prime accounts purportedly being auto renewed or computer equipment giving out fraudulent reports. But other types of fraud may not be so easy to spot.

Countering telephone fraud requires training in spotting the techniques used by fraudsters. These include pretending to be from a bank or other trusted organisation, making unsolicited calls, asking for personal or financial details, and pushing people into giving a quick response. Even the provision of some simple telephone technique training can help people to spot and turn aside these types of contact.

As training of this nature teaches people to really listen and to think before responding it can bring other benefits including enhancing customer interactions and reducing the chance of incorrect information being given or received. Of course call recording can also help here, enabling training needs to be identified and complex orders to be reviewed.

How safe is your telephone policy? It might just be time to take another look?

Written by Alison