Need some advice for work

I'm 17 and currently doing an apprenticeship as an admin clerk. Ive always had a massive fear with making phone calls and ive never really been able to pick up the courage to do it in previous situations. I believe it's to do with my social anxiety.

I have had my review meetings with my manager and they want my 6month target to be making appointments on the phone. I'm already panicking due to not knowing how to even work the appointment system (i'm sure they will show me) let alone making them as i am talking to someone on the phone. I know our customers can get grouchy due to the waiting times and i'm just generally scared for this.

I know it's only a phone call, i know it's only talking to a customer, and i know nothing seriously bad can come out of this - i'm just petrified for it and need to find a way to calm this fear.

8 Replies

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  • Hi Maisey, answering and making calls is one of my biggest fears. Even to the point I once had a job where I would dial the number and then just put my phone on mute before hanging up. the more I did it the worse I felt. Don't beat yourself up about it at all. It's usual for you to have nerves. But why don't you write down all the questions you think you might get asked and go over it with someone? Also if you're receiving calls and you don't know the answer you can always put someone on hold and double check. In my job now we're rarely allowed to give information out and people try to trip us up so I always just say I'll need to double check that and give you a call back. That gives you time to check with a colleague.

  • Very good answer Liberty. I also had this fear years ago. I did almost exactly what you advised. I practiced at home and I listened to others at work and said the same things. I practiced speaking slowly and clearly because when you're nervous you tend to get fast and garbled . Maisy , in 2 weeks you'll be over this. Pam

  • This sounds like a good idea! One of the worries were not knowing an answer to their question. I'll be sure to ask for all information they tend to give out and know how to put them on hold! I'm sure once i handle a few calls i shall be fine it's just this waiting for the 6 month mark to come and then the dreaded appointments come rolling in.

    Thanks to the both of you!

  • Hi MaisyMay2

    Please Please Take a deep breathe & try not to panic! I used to work in a call centre for 18 months & sold a lot of Insurance no probs 120-150 calls a day!! I was one of their best sellers!!

    When I went to my next job I was terrified about using the phone at all! Even if it was my friend phoning from another dept, I froze! What if I didn't know the information, what if I told them the wrong answer or information, what if I didn't know what they were talking about, SO Many What if's! I thought there was No Way I could do this, I was SO scared of doing it wrong! So I know honestly how you feel!

    My boss started to see my anxiety & reluctance to answer or make phone calls incase I got it wrong I Really was SO scared! But my boss put me on a telephone course, got someone to sit with me to listen in initially,I listened in to others on the phone, after that I learnt to ask the customer to wait a minute so I could Clarify the answer fir the customer, Then I developed a list of questions I thought I might be asked, and a list of my own answers I'd used before, or I'd heard others use! One day it just Clicked for Me! I Did It!

    You Can Do This! I'm gonna be right behind you as much as I can here cheering you on! Remember it is your 6 month Target! Tomorrow is Not your six month anniversary!

    I Really Do Understand what you're going through! Please remember We Are All routing for you! If you are anxious ask for support, extra training, take your time, don't let them push you until you are ready! You are New to the world of Work! It takes time to learn how the system works, using the appointment system & the telephone, booking appointments will take time!

    Listen to others around you, sit & watch & listen in to others in your team! Give yourself a break, we all have to learn to do our jobs! You might find that one day when you wake up it will just click & you will wonder what you were worried about!! Please Trust me! Take a day at a time, it's not something all of us are born to do! I'm one that wasn't!

    You're boss will allow you time to learn! Your boss will be impressed if you use your initiative & ask if you can listen to others voluntarily to get an idea of what is expected of you! But Please remember this is your 6 Month target!! You don't have to do be perfect by tomorrow! Please be Patient with Yourself life happens day to day, one day at a time & your confidence will grow a day at a time!

    You Will learn to do this! Keep us updated! We'd love to hear about your progression! I Believe in You & Very Soon You Will Learn to Believe in Yourself! Good Luck with it all!

    Take Lots of Care. Best & Warm Wishes spykey 🤗

  • I can't thank you enough for this comment, it feels like a weight is already being lifted!

    I believe my manager is noticing i'm wary of the phone as even though i havent mentioned it, if they asks me to listen to the voicemail i get anxious. In the 6 week review meeting they said they want my phone confidence to improve and so they'll set the 3 month target to be listening to the voicemail and answering some of the questions on there (which although i am scared for, it's slightly easier as i can ask my collegues and plan my answer before getting back to them, even though i am still scared they'll ask another question and i'll have no clue😂) So it's as if they are making baby targets for me before the big one of actually booking appointments!

    Thats a really helpful idea of listening in and making note of questions. Ive already started casually listening to their answers while theyre talking on the phone. I may ask my manager to sit with me and go through a list of typical questions and their answers, as well as how to put the phone on hold as that may be my lifeline!

    Since posting this and getting you guys support ive already felt relieved and a little confident like "yeah, i can do this!" So thank you so much.

    I still get anxious if i think about this 6 month mark but i might just look back to this thread when i do lose confidence just to remind myself there's ways to build myself up to this!

    What you said about taking every day as it comes, i think thats very good advice which i really need to focus on right now.. ive made myself so ill and unhappy this week thinking of what will happen in a weeks time, what will happen in a months time - but the truth is i shouldnt be worrying about that! I should just focus on each day as it comes.

    Thanks again, take care of yourself and well done for pushing yourself with the phone scenario!

  • I forgot to say talk to your colleagues, see how they felt?!? Be honest with them ask them how they felt? Can they give you any tips that worked for them?!? When they first started?

    It will also help you to interact with your colleagues more, & break down some of those brick walls down that are there when you are first join the team! As it it takes a few weeks or months to really fit into the team! Try not to be too hard on yourself, infact give yourself a break!

    Try to relax & allow yourself to blend into the team, even offering to get someone a cup of tea can break the ice, instigate conversation & break down walls! Get to know your team & let them get to that real you! I wouldn't tell them about any depression information not yet anyway! Listen to them show interest in the conversations as they happen! You can then learn about them, get to know personal information as you spend time with them, and be able to join in with their conversation's And when you feel more comfortable & Confident, Try to Come out of your shell, it is really easier to getting to know others when you are Yourself!

    Blessings & Warm Wishes & a Hugs Coming Your Way🤗🤗

  • Hello Maisy, why not make a few phones calls to relatives and friends as practice on the phone and get rid of any hangups you have about it. They'll be glad to hear from you and you can always explain that apart from the pleasure of talking to them you're also getting more used to the phone as you're having to do it a lot more at work. Try and do it on a landline so its more like the work environment. Back when people smoked at work, a lot lit up when they had to take or make a phone call so a lot of people found it a bit stressful.

    You have to do something like this as you're not going to get far in any job unless you get at ease with the phone. Spend a bit of one of your breaks listening to colleagues on the phone and you'll see how easy it is , its just talking after all.

    Now appointments. If the customers are wanting the appointments then that should be fairly easy. Just be your normal helpful self and try and make them feel at ease. Do that with your practice calls to friends too. Don't worry about yourself , concentrate on putting them at ease. Start off by clearly saying who you are, nice and slowly and clearly and tell them you hope they have n't had too long a wait to get through. That should start you off well altho you're bound to get the odd grouch , but not many . Most people are nice.

    Now if you're phoning to make appointments the customers don't really want to make ,say for instance debt collecting ,then its a bit more difficult but if you speak up. and speak slowly and clearly and try and put them politely at ease you'll get better and better and they will appreciate your telephone manner.

    The hardest calls are cold calls , say for instance trying to make appointments for double glazing salesmen. These are quite difficult and you won't get good at these until you've had quite a lot of practice and even then no one has many successes.

    At 17 , if you can get a bit of time listening to the people doing the job they will probably be glad to show you how the system works and should be quite flattered that you want to see and hear how they do it. At 17 they will expect you to ask and to watch how the "experts" do it. That's normal.

    Olderal

  • Hi have you ever done anything that your proud of? When your going to use the phone look back on that time and think to yourself "if I can do that, I can do this" take a nice slow deep breath and go for it, you may just find the more you do that the more you can face things, remember just recall that moment your proud of. I do and I'm 58, I look back when I went to Africa on my own and thats 18 years ago. Another thing is never be afraid to ask for help it shows your willing to learn. Let them get grouchy, just apologise its not YOU ok its them thats got the problem. I hope this helps a little. Best wishes hazebren

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