Inside the main doors of the Rutgers Camden campus center is a small information booth meant to help students and faculty with general questions. Aside from providing information services, IMPACT Booth employees like myself sell event tickets and create Rutgers IDs, as well as answer three different Rutgers phone extensions.
Our 6211 extension is the IMPACT Booth line, mostly meant for event questions, ticket sales, and general inquiries about IDs. The 6161 extension is the Campus Center line, which is meant for questions about any of the conference rooms in the lower level or the offices on the second and third floors of the Campus Center. Callers may also use this extension for requesting help from a Building Manager or for requesting to be transferred to a specific staff member.
Perhaps the most problematic of the three extensions is the one that ends in 1766, named after the year in which Rutgers University was founded. This is our most general information line, and it happens to be the number that shows at the bottom of most Rutgers Camden webpages, regardless of the department.
What this means is that a prospective student, for example, who is looking for information on how to apply to Rutgers Camden, would visit the admissions website for our campus and call the 1766 extension at the bottom of the page, thinking that it is the direct number to the Admissions office.
All IMPACT Booth employees are trained to transfer callers to their appropriate departments. The most common extensions on campus, such as those to the Admissions office, the Registrar’s office, or Financial Aid office are memorized, and any other extensions are listed in a general directory.
The issues arise when a caller is transferred by an IMPACT Booth employee to a department and the person on the other on the other end is unable to answer the call. The caller would then call the 1766 extension back and asked to be transferred again, at which point the IMPACT Booth employee might suggest calling the department directly by providing the caller with the correct extension.
By that point, however, callers are usually annoyed that no one is available to answer their questions, and they tend to take out their frustration on IMPACT Booth employees. The truth is that all IMPACT Booth employees are students and do not have overarching knowledge about the University in order to help the caller, so we reach an impasse in our customer service.
Additionally, the personal extensions for some of our staff members are not always disclosed online in order to preserve their privacy. This is especially true for employees working in the Financial Aid office, the Bursar’s office or the Registrar’s office, where students call frequently with questions, and there is often only one person to simultaneously help a line of customers and answer the phone.
Unfortunately, many Rutgers Camden offices play automated messages when you call their extensions, which can be especially frustrating when a caller has a question and is unable to come to campus.
IMPACT Booth supervisor Kadeem Williams has been notified of the issues with the 1766 extension, and he has been working on logging how many times calls are transferred to the same department or office. IMPACT Booth employees have also been instructed to ask callers where they found the 1766 extension, to which most callers reply “it was the first number I saw,” or “I found it on your website.”
Because of these recent findings, the IMPACT Booth hopes to work with other departments in the near future so that each department’s extension is clearly displayed on their corresponding websites. For now, all we can do is ask callers to be mindful of the limitations of Rutgers employees and perhaps suggest that they visit campus instead of calling for a more pleasant experience.