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Who’s At The End of The Line?

October 8, 2012
Mary Jane Copps

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This past week I called the CEO’s office of a local corporation. I placed the call with great excitement because of an opportunity that’s brewing I believe is a perfect fit for them (more on this in a future post). I was also very relaxed making the call because: 1) I am a long-standing customer; and 2) I spoke with this executive assistant about 6 months ago. She was lovely.

Loveliness didn’t enter into our most recent conversation. Her response was cool, leaning towards irritated. My mentioning our previous discussion had absolutely no impact on her interest or warmth. She couldn’t get through the (very short) call without sighing and she didn’t listen. She’s directed me to another department, which experience tells me is incorrect (I’ll find out this week), and would not provide me with a phone number, only email.

In my world this isn’t an issue. I’ve spoken to the person during another project, so have their number. But a different customer would have difficulty finding the information.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because, to borrow a phrase from Scott Stratten  (http://www.unmarketing.com/) – STOP IT! 

In business, how we behave on the phone, no matter who is calling, speaks directly to our brand and our reputation. How we feel about our customers, our shareholders, our potential clients, our service providers, our job, our boss – we transmit this information in how we answer and behave on the phone.

If you doubt this at all, think about your own experiences as a customer. I know there’s one telephone encounter you’ve had that you’ve never forgotten and illustrates my point perfectly. I hope you take a moment to send that company this blog post.

When we answer a phone, even with call display, we don’t necessarily know who’s at the end of the line, what their relationship is with our company. So choose warmth and respect over irritation and disdain. Choose to represent the best of your company.

And if you are unsure how people in your company are answering the phone and dealing with calls – find out! You may be spending a lot of money on marketing and advertising that isn’t being supported when your phone rings.

My experience this past week did leave a small dent in my customer loyalty. Perhaps the next time the competition comes calling …

Telephone communication and its relationship to branding is just one of  the topics we’ll be investigating in my new course at Nova Scotia Community College this Fall – PhoneWork: The Art (and Science) of  Effective Telephone Communication. There’s one spot left so click through and register now: http://www.nscc.ca/learning_programs/coned/Course.aspx?I=690

One Last Thought: 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”– Chinese Proverb

 

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. jay says:

    so true… i’ve not thought about it that way before. but your branding is more than just a logo… it’s everything about the company and how it’s presented to the world.

    fun read.

  2. Bruce Allen says:

    So true, phone lady. You have a real insight into the world of phone effectiveness in brand building. In a world swamped in text and cyber-posting everything, The phone is a misunderstood and under-utilized powerhouse. People who rely totally on texting or email – and refuse to answer speak to someone on the phone with optimism and good vibes – risk losing the human touch so necessary in relationship building. In fact, the very thing you experienced on the phone recently could be product of a mind pounded day after day by the growing pixel tsunami. Keep up the good work of making the phone better known and understood! Best 2 U, Bruce

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks, Bruce, for the wonderful comment. You are right, the human touch is essential to relationship building. And I love your reference to “optimism and good vibes”! mj

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