Recently I ran a scenario nonchalantly by an associate at the end of our conversation, not expecting much of a response. I was shocked when he said “I have been in a similar circumstance, if you are having that scenario, let me give you some advice…” And he proceeded to steer my decision in a different direction that would ultimately save our organization hassle and lots of money. Once again I was reminded of the power of having advisors, a spouse, mentor, or coworkers that you can glean different points of view from.
No one likes to be told what to do; it removes the feeling of independence and our pride will want to resist. How we instruct or ask people to do things will determine if they do them with resentment or a willingness to contribute. I’m a big fan of Dale Carnegie; I make a point to listen to his audiobook How to Win Friends & Influence People at least once a year. In it, he lays out the importance and different ways when approaching people that increase participation of those around us.
Our office receives dozens of calls a day. My partners and I are old school in the fact that we would like those calls answered by a cheerful human being. That is not to discredit anyone who has chosen the automated answering route; it’s just not in line with our service objectives. One day a caller specifically requested a voicemail, at which jokingly he was told “I am the voicemail.” He proceeded to ask, “What kind of company doesn’t have a voicemail?” along with some other unflattering remarks. This conversation was brought to my attention and upon hearing it, I began to question all of our phone procedures. Perhaps we should reconsider automated phone systems? But after much further investigation, it turns out this particular caller has never called without a cutting remark about something, and this particular day the voicemail seemed to be an easy target. Dozens of happy callers every day appreciate speaking to a live human being, but one complaint can make you question everything.