Phone call matters: When not taking a call nearly started world war three.

By Graham Hill

June 1, 2020

On 27th October 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, out of radio contact and mistakenly believing they were under attack, two out of three senior officers on board a soviet submarine voted to launch a nuclear attack against the US. Only one officer dissented, but fortunately, it was enough to prevent an escalation which could have started world war 3.

From start to finish, the Cuban Missile Crisis is a stand-out lesson in how good communication and picking up the phone can make a big difference.

Just pick up the phone!

The days leading up to the crisis were rife with espionage and proxy wars. The penultimate crisis of the Cold War was triggered by the United States’ government’s decision to back anti-Castro Cuban exiles in a land invasion of Cuba, known as The Bay of Pigs. The operation was a complete failure and embarrassment for the U.S. Government. It also led Cuba’s leader, Fidel Castro, to invite Soviet leader, Nikita Krushchev, to build missile launch pads to house their nuclear warheads. Once these newly built missile pads were discovered by the U.S., 13 days of intense communication took place between then-president John F. Kennedy and Krushchev. Imagine dedicating 13 days to negotiating an order or service with one single client! Why did one of the two greatest superpowers in the world not simply pick up the phone?

When the medium matters as much as the message

The methods of communication definitely weren’t the best. Extensive delays in communication caused significant damage to diplomatic relations and almost led to one-third of humanity being wiped out by nuclear missiles. Messages sent through regular diplomatic channels took on average six hours to deliver. This led to both Governments sending messages through television news broadcasts. This method was quicker but, obviously, quite public. Imagine confirming your client’s request via BBC Breaking News Alert!

Fortunately, with Verbatim, you don’t need to conduct your client communication on the world stage.

After 13 days of gruelling diplomatic communications, an agreement was made, and mutually assured destruction was avoided. The U.S. and the Soviet Union also agreed that quick and efficient means of diplomatic communication was necessary. The “Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Establishment of a Direct Communications Line” or the Hot Line Agreement for short, was signed by the U.S. and the Soviet Union on the 20th of June 1963 in Geneva, Switzerland. This agreement led to the installation of a direct line of communication between the Pentagon and the Kremlin. The goal was to expedite diplomatic communication between the two governments and thus prevent mutually assured destruction.

While in popular culture the line between the Pentagon and the Kremlin was known as a “red telephone”, no red telephones were used! In reality, it was Teletype equipment. At Verbatim, we prefer to use telephones.

We can help you keep the lines of communication open

At Verbatim, we understand the importance of focusing on your passion. Whether if it’s writing up an important legal brief or planning an event, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by a phone call. Answering the phone impedes your productivity and interrupts your flow. However, every abandoned call represents lost revenue. even if it doesn’t result in a nuclear war!

Leaving your phone off the hook could give a momentary boost to your productivity, but it could also hurt your overall strength and appeal as a business.

We’re here to help   

Whether your goal is to uphold world peace or ensure your customers orders are correct, Verbatim is here to help. Your passion requires your undivided attention. If your phone rings while you’re meeting with a client, how would you gracefully juggle the attention of your client without losing your prospective inquiry in the process? With Verbatim, you don’t have to make these difficult decisions. We’re here for you to answer your calls and even offer telephone answering support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our virtual receptionists are here for you and with lead qualifications, can handle any call. We go to great measures to ensure our team knows your business inside and out.  

Try us for 30 days: Luckily for you, signing up to Verbatim’s telephone answering service is significantly easier than flying to Geneva and signing an agreement. To find out more, just get in touch with the team today.

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