Understand how to make and receive telephone calls 1. Complete the table below with descriptions of at least two different features of a telephone system and how / when they would be used. FeatureHow / when used 1. Conference calls Conference calls make it possible to speak to multiple people simultaneously. This is extremely useful when the people required to be involved in the call are based all around the country. 2. Call back Call waiting is extremely useful when you are waiting for an important call. When taking a call from one person, this feature alerts you if another person is trying to get through. 3. Answer phone
An answer phone gives people the ability to leave a message for someone unavailable to take a call. 2. Prepare a brief report advising people on: •How to follow organisational procedures when making and receiving telephone calls Making calls 1. Confirm the name and number of the person to be contacted. 2. Identify the purpose of the call. 3. Have a pen/pencil and some paper at the ready, to take down any relevant information including recording the time and date of the call. 4. Make the call. 5. Ensuring you have a polite tone and without speaking too quickly inform the recipient who you are and tell them the purpose of your call. . Communicate information to achieve the purpose of the call. Receiving calls 1. Do not let the phone ring too long (ideally answer within 2 rings). 2. Always have a pen/pencil and some paper to take down the callers details and any relevant information including recording the time and date of the call. 3. Greet the caller according to the company guidelines (hello, company name, your name speaking, how can I help etc) 4. If the person the caller would like to speak to is unavailable be sure to take down the caller’s details and a brief description of what the caller wants. The purpose of giving a positive image of yourself and your organisation when making and receiving telephone calls. Whilst on the phone you are representing the company. This could be the customer or supplier’s first contact with the company and thus is extremely important to convey a positive image, and help create a good relationship. If you were to give a negative impression of the company this could impact future customer and business relationships. Sometimes received calls are complaints and a positive stance can help defuse difficult situations.
If possible, use specific information from procedures in your own organisation (or one that you are familiar with). Section 2 – Understand how to handle mail 1. Explain the purpose of correctly receiving, checking and sorting mail and packages (both incoming and outgoing). Incoming – If incoming mail is not checked and sorted correctly, order forms from customers may be lost, causing delays or even cancellations of orders. Invoices from suppliers may not be paid on time which could result in new stock not being delivered and orders not ready to be shipped to customers.
Stamping the mail with date of receipt can help with later disputes if mail is delayed in the post. Outgoing – If outgoing mail is not checked and sorted correctly payments to suppliers could be late leading to the supplier putting a hold on any further deliveries until payment had been made. Customers may not receive orders on time resulting in them taking their business elsewhere. It is important that mail is sent to the correct destination as errors can result in disputes over confidentiality and may ultimately result in a loss of income to the company. . Complete the table below with the following information: •At least two examples of internal mail services that are available to organisations •At least two examples of external mail services that are available to organisations Internal mail servicesExternal mail services 1. Intranet 1. Courier companies 2. Delivery van (branch to branch) 2. Royal Mail 3. Hand delivery 3. Hand delivery 4. Cloud computing (eg. dropbox) 4. Document exchange 3. Describe two methods that you can use to calculate postage charges for mail and / or packages.
One method of calculating postage charges would be to weigh and measure the items. The cost of sending letters and packages varies greatly depending on the size and weight. If you were to send a letter or package by courier, getting a quote based on the size/weight is another way of calculating the cost. Franking machines can be used in companies with high postal levels to minimise costs, these are usually leased from suppliers like Pitney Bowes. Section 3 – Understand how to use different types of office equipment 1.
Describe the main types of equipment found in offices and how they are used. Include examples of at least three different types of office equipment. Computers are one of the main types of equipment found in offices. They enable you to carry out a multitude of tasks, including email, accounting, word processing and database creation/administration. Printers are another example of one of the main types of equipment found in an office, and depending of the number of employees requiring use of the printer and the volume of printing, would either be an inkjet printer or a laser printer.
Used for converting documents to electronic files, scanners are a useful way of reducing paper-based filing. Franking machines can be used in companies with high postal levels to minimise costs, these are usually leased from suppliers like Pitney Bowes. 2. Explain the purpose of following manufacturer’s instructions when using equipment. It is essential to follow manufacturer’s instructions for a number of reasons. Tampering with equipment and not using it according to the manufacturer’s instruction could result in any warranties/guarantees rendered null and void.
It may mean equipment is not used safely and could cause harm to the user. It could mean equipment is damaged and faults may occur more frequently, or that equipment is not used as efficiently as possible. All this would result in avoidable costs being incurred by the company. 3. Explain the purpose of keeping equipment clean, hygienic and ready for the next user. Keeping equipment clean will not only prevent the spread of germs, it will also help it work more efficiently. Clogged up printers cannot possibly produce crisp clean pages.
Section 4 – Understand how to keep waste to a minimum in a business environment 1. Explain why waste should be kept to a minimum in a business environment. As well as the damaging effect it has on the environmental, producing excessive waste within a business environment can be extremely costly. Local council cost for the disposal of waste represent a significant cost to companies and thus minimising waste can help reduce these costs substantially. Being able to demonstrate a ‘green’ approach to the environment is one way of establishing a positive image for a company. 2.
Identify at least two main causes of waste in a business environment. 1. Whether through lack of training/knowledge or simply lack of concentration, human error is definitely a main cause of waste in a business environment. 2. Another main cause is faulty machinery. 3. Packaging material of products bought. 4. Staff bringing in waste such as lunch, newspapers etc. 3. How can you keep waste to a minimum in a business environment? Describe at least two ways of doing this. Employee training and/or monitoring is essential is helping to reduce the risk of waste being produced by human error.
Employees should be made aware of both the reasons for keeping waste to a minimum and the consequences of not doing so. To help avoid producing faulty/non-saleable products due to a machine malfunction, proper care must be taken of all equipment, including following the manufacturer’s guidelines with regards to the use, and regular servicing must be carried out. Waste such as cardboard and plastics can be recycled by arrangement with specialist suppliers. Good working practices with staff developed through training. Section 5 – Know how to make arrangements for meetings . Complete the table below listing at least two different types of meetings and describing the main features of each type of meeting. Type of meetingMain features Board meeting 1. Decision making 2. Exchanging information Spur of the moment 1. Urgent business/problems 2. Urgent decision making Conference 1. Large audience 2. Exchanging information 2. When arranging a meeting: •What sources and types of information are typically needed? When arranging a meeting it is important to have a brief to enable you to identify the purpose and focus on the meeting.
Logistical information including the date, times, venue, agenda and attendance list will be required. As well as content information including minutes of previous meetings, any papers to be circulated prior to the meeting and desired outcomes. •How should meetings be arranged? After confirming the meeting brief the venue needs to be booked, along with any additional equipment including sound systems, pens, presentation software etc. Catering also needs to be considered at this stage. The next step would be to produce the agenda and invite the attendees, sending them a copy of the agenda.
Attendance will then need to be confirmed and any changes made to ensure the requirements of all attendees are met (i. e. special dietary requirements or disabilities). If documents need to be circulated prior to the meeting there should be a note of who is doing that with a timescale that leaves sufficient time for participants to study the papers ahead of the meeting. Section 6 – Understand procedures for organising travel and accommodation arrangements 1. Explain the purpose of confirming instructions and requirements for business travel and accommodation.
The consequences of not confirming the exact location and requirements when booking a trip may be that the destination and/or timings are wrong. This could result in meetings being missed and money and time being wasted. 2. Complete the table below with an outline of the main types of business travel and accommodation arrangements that may need to be made and the procedures that should be followed when doing this. Travel and accommodation arrangementsProcedures International and domestic flights 1. Check for any corporate deals with a specific supplier. 2.
Check times required of outgoing and return flight (can times be varied to take advantage of cheaper deals). 3. Check with company policy with flying first class, business or standard class for longer flights. 4. Check prices against price comparison web sites. 5. Arrange long term parking packages/ means of getting to/from airport. 6. Notify the employee travelling. 7. Update company’s travel insurers/insurance register. 8. Find out if the traveller needs any travel health injections or advice. 9. Check any odd requirements of country being travelled to.
For instance company employees travelling in the Middle East will need 2 passports one for Israel and one for Arab countries otherwise they won’t get into the country. 10. Check visa requirements for overseas travel. 11. Check any dietary needs. 12. Check for any disabled issues. 13. Undertake a risk assessment as appropriate. Car travel For car hire 1. Check for any corporate deals with a specific supplier. 2. Check prices against price comparison web sites. 3. Check times required of outgoing and return journey. 4. Check driver’s driving licence for points.
Company car 1. Check times required of outgoing and return journey. 2. Check driver’s driving licence for points on a regular basis. Employees car 1. Notify employee of agreed rate of payment. 2. Check driver’s driving licence for points on a regular basis. 3. Check employee’s insurance that he/she is covered for business travel. All Check for any disabled issues. Overnight hotel stays 1. Check for any corporate deals with a specific supplier. 2. Check prices against price comparison web sites. 3. Check any specific room requirements.
Some hotels will make special arrangements if it is a female employee travelling alone re location of room. 4. Notify employee of company rules for meal costs and other incidental expenses they may occur. Some costs such as mini bar are not acceptable and need to be paid by the employee. 5. Check any dietary needs. 6. Check for any disabled issues. Train travel 1. Check for any corporate deals with a specific supplier. 2. Check prices against price comparison web sites. 3. Check dates required of outgoing and return journey (can times be varied to take advantage of cheaper deals). 4.
Check any dietary needs. 5. Check for any disabled issues. 3. Explain the purpose of keeping records of travel / accommodation arrangements in a business environment. Records relating to travel and accommodation would need to be kept as evidence of expenditure for the accounts department. The tax treatment of travelling and entertainment expenses are complicated thus detailed records will enable the company to be as tax efficient as possible. Certain travel/ accommodation expenses may be chargeable to a client so good records will enable these costs to be recharged properly and timely.
The company’s insurers will require records to evaluate the company’s costs and such records will help the company in minimising its insurance expenses. There are health and safety implications in travel by employees, and detailed records will help in managing this corporate risk. In addition the records can be referred to when reviewing travel budgets. Section 7 – Understand diary management procedures 1. Briefly explain the purpose of using a diary system to plan activities at work. Give at least two reasons. Keeping a diary system is essential in a business environment to avoid missed appointments/meetings.
It is also a very useful way of prioritising and managing workload. A computer based diary enables other employees/managers to track the whereabouts of employees. This will also help demonstrate to insurers that the company is fully aware of what it’s employees are doing to cover any health and safety issues. 2. Identify the information needed to maintain a diary system in the workplace. The information needed to maintain a diary system is should include the following: 1. Who the appointment/meeting with? 2. What the appointment/meeting about? 3. Where the appointment/meeting taking place? 4.
When the appointment/meeting is taking place? 5. Why the appointment/meeting has been set up? Section 8 – Understand the purpose of delivering effective customer service and how to do so 1. What are the differences between internal and external customers in a business environment? An internal customer will be connected to the same company they are receiving products/services from, and the supplier will be a colleague. It’s too easy in large companies for inter department tensions to be created. Treating a department that you are doing some work for as a customer ensures the smooth working of the company and improves efficiency.
An external customer will have no connection to the company from which they received their product/service. 2. Explain why customer service should meet or exceed customer expectations. Include at least three reasons in your answer. One of the main reasons customer service should meet or exceed customer expectations is to maintain company reputation. If a customer has a positive experience with a company they may recommend that company to a friend. But if they have a bad experience they are likely to tell many people which could give the company a bad reputation.
The internet and social networks mean poor service can be very widely known and talked about harming the company. Poor reviews on such sites as Trip Advisor can harm a hospitality business significantly. Customer loyalty is another reason customer service should always meet or exceed expectations. It is very easy to lose customers to a competitor with a promise of better deals and service. It is very hard to win them bad, especially if they have had a bad experience with regards to customer service, and it is easier and cheaper to sell to a satisfied customer than going out to find new customers. . Explain the importance of building positive relationships with customers. Outline two ways in which this can be achieved. First and foremost delivering a product/service that exceeds their requirements helps build relationships. In order to maintain customer loyalty and to have a thriving business, positive customer relationships are essential. Customer details such as first names, even names of their children and spouse can be held on file which can personalise contact. Addressing a customer by name and remembering their individual requirements can help make them feel valued.
Trust and honesty is a big issue in any relationship, and if it is not possible to deliver on a customer’s request, you should just be honest. Most customers will appreciate the fact they are not being lied to. Corporate hospitality can also help, anything from a pub lunch to tickets to sporting events. 4. How do customers demonstrate their own needs and expectations? Customer feedback forms and surveys can give a good indication of what a customer wants and expects from a company. Customer complaints are a good way at finding out when needs and expectations are not being met.
On a more informal level, employees who have contact with customers or potential customers can note any comments or remarks through conversation. Section 9 – Understand the purpose of reception services and how to follow reception procedures 1. What is the purpose of the receptionist role as the first point of contact in a business environment? The receptionist is the first person that a customer or supplier will meet and the attitude of the receptionist will be seen as reflecting the company. A positive and cheerful receptionist will give the impression that the company is a good place to work, is professional and will be good to work with.
Most people will make the assumption that if the reception is nice the company is a nice organisation to do business with. First impressions are important in any encounter between people. Sometimes a customer or supplier arriving for a meeting will find that the person they have come to see is delayed for whatever reason and a receptionist can smooth this over by a positive attitude and showing the customer or supplier to a chair and offering a drink. 2. Describe how a receptionist can present a positive image of themselves and the organisation and explain why this is important.
As the receptionist is representing the company and is the first person a visitor will meet, portraying a positive image is essential. Not doing so could make any visitor look at the company less favourably. Being smartly dressed, smiling as visitors arrive, and being polite are easy ways of making a visitor feel welcome. If the visitor has a short wait to be seen, offering them a drink, engaging in polite conversation or pointing out available facilities are also good ways of portraying a positive image.