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Recently I was trying to call a Business owner on the phone.  I had sent him a letter in the post – the old ‘snail-mail’ as opposed to e-mail, which we all get inundated with every day.

As with any letter, I was following up with a phone call to see if he was interested in my proposition.   During the course of a week, I left about 7 messages for him to call me back.

And guess what – I never received a reply, even though I know he received my calls.   Now, I don’t know about you, but I kind of think that is rude.  I believe in having the courtesy to reply to people and at least having the decency to let them know if you’re not interested.

I have found during my years of experience in running businesses that those Business owners who don’t respond to other people in a courteous manner actually don’t have a particularly robust business, long term.

And here’s the funny thing that I guess many people don’t understand.   How much time and energy is tied up with your staff taking message after message that you don’t reply to.  It’s taking time out of their day that they could be usefully engaged doing proactive , money-making work for you.  I guess that it may have been 30 minutes for the guy I left 7 messages for, as I was speaking with his staff, and they were interrupted from their other tasks.

Here’s a thought that research has shown.   It takes 23 minutes for someone to refocus on the task they were previously doing before they were interrupted.   That means my 7 calls, potentially ‘stole’  161 minutes of productivity from the Business.

Staff see and understand a culture that the Business owner drives.  If they see that customer service by the Business owner is not a pre-requisite to great customer experience, then they too will follow that example.

This leads to a downslide in the company culture and values.

Imagine if the Business owner I had been trying to contact had rung me back and said either:

‘Yes Pete, let’s talk more on the value of this proposition’


‘Thanks for the offer Pete, but this is not for me at this time.’

Both replies are courteous, and respectful, and lets each party know where they stand immediately,  and what the outcome is.

I believe LEADERS who deliver the best service have a culture where customers and employees are valued, listened to and cared for.

If you model great service, people will share it.

If you want your team to serve, serve them.

If you want your prospects and clients to care, care about them.

If you want your team to love their work, love them.

If you want your clients and prospects to be their best, give them your best.’

Always respond.

Have that courageous conversation so both sides know where they stand.

It saves time and money and most importantly cements your reputation as someone who can be relied upon.


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