January 2003
Issue 1
Volume 8

In This Issue
Customer Service--Handling Demanding Calls When You're Having a Bad Day
Who's Linking to You?
Grammar Trap: Recurring vs. Reoccurring

Customer Service--Handling Demanding Calls When You're Having a Bad Day

So, you're stressed out. You're feeling puny, you had a flat tire on the way to work, and, on top of that, your teenager ended up in jail last night.

Then you get this super demanding phone call. What do you do?

Maybe the above scenario is a bit far fetched, but I'm sure everyone has had the feeling at one time or another that the world is very heavy on their shoulders.

When you're on the front line dealing with customers or clients and having a bad day, how do you handle difficult, demanding calls?

Here are some hints to help you put perspective back into the situation.

  • First of all, take a deep breath. This helps you slow down. The person calling has no idea what you are going through. When answering the call, focus your attention on the caller. Answer as if he or she is the only person you're helping at that particular moment--because that's true
  • Answer with a smile, because your smile is heard and felt by the caller. A smile helps you come across as warm, friendly, and at ease.
  • Listen to your caller, who may also be experiencing some personal upheaval. How you treat your callers may make a big difference for them.
  • Maintain a sense of humor. In the long run, it not only helps the caller and Purdue, it helps you, as well. No one has died of laughter; they have from stress.

Paula Dillard

Who's Linking to You?

How anyone finds anything on the Web is a mystery. We are told there are billions of pages out there in the ether. They're like stars in the sky--we may never see most of them, but we are reassured of their existence.

While the art of finding a page can be mysterious, the art of helping others find your page is not. In the January 2002 story "Building 'High Traffic' Web Sites" , Ag Comm's Ginny Retzner wrote about using meta information and submitting your site to search engines.

Another way to cheaply increase your site traffic is to ask relevant sites to link to your site.

Who's Linking to You Already?

It's easy to find out. Go to Google and type "link:" and the URL for your site in the search text box. For instance, when I typed <link:www.extension.purdue.edu>, Google returned that we have about 830 pages that link to the Purdue Extension site. If you look through the list your search generates, you'll see sites that link to you that you may not have known about.

Each link to your site is more traffic. More traffic is more hits, and more hits means more people are likely receiving your information.

An Example

At random, I went to google.com in my browser and typed <link:www.extension.purdue.edu/hamilton/>. Google reported that there are 24 links to that site, about seven of which are internal.

If you only see your own site linking to itself, well then you've got some room to grow.


Who would link to your site? Who's your audience? Where does your audience go when they surf the Web? What further audiences do you want to reach? What sites do they go to?

Other Opportunities

Do you have a personal professional homepage? Link from your personal professional page to the site you're trying to promote. Do your colleagues have sites? Ask them to link to you, where appropriate. To borrow a term from Ag Comm Interim Department Head Chris Sigurdson, "peer to peer" marketing is very powerful.

So just link, link, link away!

Grammar Trap:

Recurring vs. Reoccurring

Hmmmm. The former word, "recurring," is preferred for a couple of reasons, but neither is incorrect.

"Recurring" means to occur again.

"Reoccurring" means--you guessed it--to occur again.

Examples: Talk about recurring events, the writer is late with his story--again. Talk about reoccurring events, the writer is late with his story--again.

Why do I say "recurring" is preferred?

The first reason has to do with the principle of economy. "Recurring" is two letters and one syllable shorter, and it's also easier to say.

The second reason is that, of the three unabridged dictionaries I checked, only one of them even contained the word "reoccurring." And it was the oldest of the bunch.

Thanks to Karl Brandt (Biochemistry, currently on sabbatical) for suggesting this topic. Do you have a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like to see discussed? Do you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one? If so, please let me know.

Archive: "Grammar Traps."

Laura Hoelscher

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