What does a Ring have to do with
Hanging up on Callers?!
You will be surprised at one administrative
assistant's problem, the answer, and how one company solved the
problem using an ESD specialist.
by: Elizabeth Nelson
Have you ever had "one of those
days" when everything seems to go wrong? First, your alarm
doesn't go off, then you're stuck in a traffic jam on the Interstate
minutes (now hours) from the office. You finally get in the office,
in a bad mood because you didn't have time to stop at Starbucks,
and your day doesn't seem to be improving.
Your boss tells you he's waiting for
that all important call from Mr. Doe and before you sit down, the
phone rings. You quickly answer it and sure enough-- it's Mr. Doe.
You page your boss: "Mr. Doe's on the line" and before
you know it your boss pages back "no he's not." Next thing
you know Mr. Doe calls back and says you hung up on him. You thought
you were being careful and you end up blaming it on your lack of
morning coffee. Until it happens again, and again, and again.
You start to get butterflies each time
the phone rings in fear that you will inadvertently hang up on you
husband, your boss's wife, a new client that is being difficult.
Telling your boss may make you look inefficient and careless, when
you know that's not the case.
I am telling you this story for a reason
and the reason will shock you. A similar situation occurred with
the administrative assistant for the vice president at a major corporation.
She knew that she was following the correct telephone procedures,
but the phone would glitch-- it went into a power failure mode and
would have to be reset. Strangely enough, the problem usually occurred
when she was on the phone with the VP's wife or the President of
The problem persisted no matter how
hard everyone worked to correct it. The phone was replaced-- yet
she still hung up on people. The wiring was redone in her office--
yet she still hung up on people. The wiring was redone in the whole
building-- yet she still hung up on people. The central wiring was
redone-- yet she still hung up on people.
Finally, as a "last resort"
ESD specialist Ted Dangelmayer was called to investigate. This problem
had been going on for over a year. It took Ted about one day to
determine the cause was ESD. The phone was static sensitive and
the administrative assistant's ring made contact at the point of
entry where the wires enter the handset and thus caused the malfunction.
Strangely enough, Ted discovered that the assistant was prone to
To solve the problem Ted recommended
the following changes: The chair pad was replaced and grounded.
The carpet was sprayed with a solution to reduce ESD. And amazingly,
the phone company redesigned the unit that the assistant used so
that the phone is now immune to ESD.
Thank goodness this assistant no longer
has to dread the sound of the phone ringing. This story shows that
ESD lurks in mysterious places. We in the ESD community can sometimes
even be SHOCKED!
Do you have a similar story to tell? E-mail the
ESD Journal with questions, comments, and your own stories!
If you are interested in printing
this article, print from the Word version here...