Deserving of our full attention

On our recent travels we have had our peace disturbed by people who are unable to resist talking and texting on their mobile / cell phones in public places and especially in restaurants. Call me old-fashioned (did I say that?) but I don’t like to have my breakfast interrupted by people yelling (why do so many have to bellow). Then there is all that texting by inconsiderate individuals who haven’t turned their beeps off.

The real issue is one of respect for one’s fellow human beings. Especially if we are having a meal with others or in a business meeting it is disrespectful when some suddenly answer their phones or feel compelled to look at or send a message. Yes, we are all connected now but that also means that voice and text messages are saved until it is polite to check them.

If we are sufficiently dexterous to take meeting notes on our smart-phone then by all means we can use it for that purpose. Otherwise, keep it in our pocket or bag and give proper attention to those we are with. It is seldom that we will have a more pressing need than that.

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Cold calls, warm calls and reputation

Recently I was called on our home telephone by a female person who immediately launched into a script along the lines of “I am calling from “Anonymous” Windows to tell you about our current special promotion if you order from us within the next month any new windows or doors”. As it happens I was still in the midst of some work for a client, so I said “Excuse me. I gather this is a sales call. My wife and I prefer not to have these on our home line and we have registered not to receive cold calls.”

The indignant response to this was “Well, your wife did enquire about one of our products last May. You are very rude, Mr. Stow” and with that she put the phone down.

Now, it turns out that my wife did indeed enquire about a new window in the porch (far too expensive and not good value), so the company has us on their calling list. Fair enough. However I may have my faults but I am always polite as I was to this person on the telephone. If she had stayed on the line we might have sorted out the misunderstanding and ended the call on a friendly note.

What happened was that the caller ended up being really rude to me. Of course she may have had a bad day, but she has guaranteed that not only will we not be buying from her employer in the near future, we probably won’t be buying from the company in the longer term. For all she knows I will be telling everyone I meet about the call and naming the company, which certainly won’t help them. I thought better of naming the business in this post because it might have an unfair impact on her fellow employees.

A few ill-chosen words can do so much damage to a business reputation.

© Jon Stow 2010

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