Today’s piece is somewhat ironic coming from a person who wears hearing aids. However, the issue is not really about hearing—the issue is about listening.
It is such a simple request but seldom garners the results that I’ve asked for.
Like most of you, my wife and I are not at home during normal working hours. That, however, is when we get most of our voice mails saying, “This is Doctor So-in So’s office reminding you of your appointment tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock. If you cannot make it, please call us right away.”
By the time we get the message it is supper time and too late to respond.
The solution is obvious. We have asked time and time again to have appointment reminder calls made to our respective work or cell phone numbers.
Gotta’ tell you, more often than not, it just doesn’t happen.
I was again frustrated a week ago when I bought a couple pairs of glasses from a West Des Moines store. “Here’s the deal, Stacey,” I reminded her, “Renee and I are never home during the workday so won’t get the message until 5:30 p.m. When the glasses are ready for me to pick up, please do me a big favor and call my cell phone. It will save me time by going directly to the mall before going home.”
“Absolutely,” she assured me. “That makes a lot of sense. I’ll write down your cell number and get in touch with you.”
I’m sure you already know, as Paul Harvey would say, THE REST of the STORY.
Several days later we come home for supper to see the voice mail light flashing. Of course, it was a message that had come at 9 a.m. indicating that my glasses were in.
Stacey was not there that evening, but I did tell the nice young woman who was fitting my glasses that it was disappointing to have made a special trip that easily could have been avoided.
She apologized and said they would be more careful next time. Frankly, since I only purchase glasses every two or three years, I am not holding my breath that it will be any different next time.
An incident such as this is a negative reflection on a company and their lack of good customer service. It makes me wonder what else they are not doing correctly in their business.
It is also a lesson from which we can all learn as entrepreneurs.
Regardless of our respective roles, we are all in sales. Our customers deserve undivided attention and respect. They don’t always get it.
We multi-task. We lose concentration. We jump ahead of the conversation. In short–we do everything we can to sabotage ourselves.
It is our responsibility not only to hear but to really truly LISTEN and respond to their legitimate requests. By doing so we build positive relationships that will result in happy customers and future sales.
Bill Sheridan—SHERIDAN WRITES
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