We had @thephonelady in to bring us up to speed on phone etiquette. There’s more to it than just talking into the right end folks!
What a lovely, simple statement of what I know to be true – there are skills involved in phonework like there are with written communication and face-to-face presentations. Too often we ignore this truth, allowing our customers and potential customers to receive less than our best when we pick up the phone.
Follow up/leaving messages is one area where we all need improvement. It is time to stop taking it personally when someone doesn’t return our calls; time to cease adding up the number of messages we’ve left, the number of days since “they” called us. Instead, we can make it part of our professional image to always take responsibility for great communication – regardless of the number of messages or the length of follow up involved.
At the core of making this happen is understanding that everyone is overwhelmed. All of us are living with endless lists and deadlines and obligations. Some of us have multiple meetings each day, spend time traveling, have dozens of decisions to make to keep projects moving forward. And that’s just at work. There’s also spending more time with our families, which often include both children and parents, and having some necessary rejuvenation time for ourselves.
So … when someone doesn’t return your call, be they an existing or potential customer, it isn’t about you. It’s about their very busy, hectic life. When you take their lack of response personally, you create a roadblock, a detour if you will, to good communication. You actually begin to create an attitude – a defensiveness – that can undermine the support and empathy you value and cultivate in other aspects of your business.
In the coming weeks, I encourage all of us to practice leaving messages without thinking about who’s turn it is, or how many messages we’ve left. Let’s practice leaving great messages that speak of our commitment to great customer relationships – and let me know the impact this has on your phonework!
Now, on a completely different note … as many of you know, I was priviledged to spend most of the week of May 6 in Paris. I went with my friend Vicki Walsh. For me, she is the best of traveling companions – we walked all day, everyday and took in every possible sight and sound that time allowed. In fact, during our one day in London, we over did it a wee bit – walking for close to seven hours – and suffering a few stiff and sore joints the next day!
Once in Paris, we met up with my dear friend, Mary Savage. Mary was my employer in Toronto in my early twenties and I speak of her often in my workshops because she is my mentor in many things – persistence, life-long learning, loyalty and friendship. We celebrated her soon-to- be 70th birthday by enjoying the city together, sharing great conversations and fabulous food.
I do realize that holiday photos are really only thrilling to those that were on holiday, so I won’t bore you with the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, etc, but here’s few pictures I think you might enjoy and …
One Last Thought:
“We must do that which we think we cannot.” Eleanor Roosevelt