Over the last week or two, I’ve had far too many frustrating moments with businesses that provide me with regular services. These have significantly diminished my experience of them, to the point of wondering if it’s worth the hassle of changing providers. And in two instances, it would be a MASSIVE hassle. 

An easy way to improve customer experience

Image courtesy of Shutterstock (thank you!)

What’s really annoying is that few of these frustrations would have occurred if the businesses in question actually picked up the phone and made a call, rather than relying on emails that were unseen, unanswered and in all likelihood, ignored.

More often than not, our phones are attached to our hip. Yet when was the last time you used it to actually call someone and have a conversation?

With every phone call comes the opportunity for a connection. A conversation. A relationship to develop and strengthen.

Picking up the phone to say hello or to solve a problem or to ask a question is a very powerful way of making your people feel valued.

I’m a keen (if somewhat hopeless) veggie gardener. After planting a new crop of seeds and seedlings I thickly spread a layer of mulch to help protect the soil from erosion and to add some fertility to the soil so my little plants grow to be big and strong. Think of the regular phone calls you should be making to your people as the mulch that helps fertilise your relationships so they grow stronger. How often do you pick up the phone to talk to a member or a client or a customer? Or one of your team? To say hello or to ask how they are or to ask them to do something for you? Or in response to an email they have sent you?

Ditch that reliance on email! Yes, email has its place, but not when you have an urgent request or when you want a favour from someone or when you want to say thank you.

I’ve been reading about companies that are introducing an email-free Friday policy and I have to say I love this! Every Friday they ban email and instead encourage their staff to pick up the phone. Especially when talking to colleagues internally. Pop an out of office on your email to explain your policy and that emails won’t be checked until Monday. Then let the recipient know they can call you for a chat instead – and make sure you leave a phone number!

If you don’t think you could last a whole day (possibly I’m talking about myself here…), then have an email-free three hours. Or six hours if you want to check email first thing and last thing in the day.

Watch your productivity increase, but more importantly, watch your relationships strengthen.

When was the last time you made a phone call instead of sending an email?

Mel Kettle works with CEOs, Boards and leaders of associations, not-for-profits and other organisations to help them communicate effectively and authentically so they attract, retain and engage their people. To inquire about working with Mel, and to find out about her Social CEO program, please email mel@melkettle.com or call her on 0404 600 889.

Order a signed copy of Mel’s book, The Social Association – 5 key skills not-for-profits need to increase member engagement, generate ROI and create a thriving online community, published in February 2018.

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