Career Skills Development

By Collette Mangold, Chief Financial Officer, Brentwood Services, Inc.

Recently our Company hosted a morning retreat featuring claims speaker, Carl Van, with a discussion geared toward providing outstanding customer service.  One of the take-away’s that intrigued me was his theory “Voice Mail Multiplier.”  He talked about a staff member who was letting all his calls go through directly to voice mail.  When addressed by his supervisor, the employee indicated that he was more productive when he focused on the task at hand and let his calls go to voice mail.  The supervisor asked him how many calls he figured he received in a week.  “About 200” was his reply.  But Van asks the question “does this really make him more productive?” 

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He had us do some math:  If you answer those 200 calls right way, you handle 200 phone calls.  But if you push those calls through to voice mail, you now have to listen to 200 voice mail messages; you return 200 calls of which you get through to 40%, or 80 calls and leave 120 voice mail messages.  The next day you follow up on the 120 messages you left, get through to 40%, or 48 calls, leave 72 voice mail messages…..and at the end of the process you have touched those initial 200 calls 600-800 times.  Not as productive as it seems in theory.

While sending calls to voice mail may reduce productivity for someone in a high volume call position, I really don’t come up with the same conclusion for someone who receives only a hand full of calls per day.  My online research came up with the same conclusion as multiple bloggers suggest they are more effective when they send calls to voice mail; specifically from numbers they don’t recognize.  I tend to agree with the bloggers as too many calls are from people I don’t know trying to sell me something I don’t need and not heading my “thank-you, but I’m not interested” signal as a sign to politely end the call. 

Now I just need someone to tell me how to effectively deal with the 200 emails I get daily.

IASA’s Career Development Committee is now accepting Call for Papers for the 2017 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Please follow this link for additional information. 


Carl Van is President & CEO of International Insurance Institute, Inc. and provides claims education seminars and workshops to the insurance industry.

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