Cities Dial 'L' for Layoffs

Secretaries are being replaced by automated phone systems, and fewer people seem to be complaining.

by Matt Williams / July 25, 2012 0

Across the country, some smaller municipalities, like Rosemount, Minn., have found the cost of keeping a full-time receptionist is more than they can afford. And so far, not many people are complaining about the change, reported the Star Tribune.

"We want to make sure that we take care of our customers, but traffic through the front desk is very low," Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste said.

With the advent of Internet bill-pay and community portals, fewer and fewer people have the need to speak to a live person. Private companies figured this out years ago – between offshore call centers and automated phone systems, reception seems to be one area where everyone wants to cut costs. The live receptionist is quickly becoming an anachronism.

The mayor of West St. Paul, John Zanmiller, seems to be in the minority because he said he won’t replace the receptionist with a machine as long as he is mayor. "Residents deserve to speak to a human being," he said. Many, like Zanmiller, said the receptionist represents the face of the organization, without whom the organization can be seen as a faceless, uncaring machine.

Read the full story at the Star Tribune.