Hey, Billy Goat Gruff! Are Ya' Sayin' What Yur Sayin'?

From the Eye of the Potato: Train the people that deal with your customers.

I called a support number the other day—I got the message! A recorded female voice said that I must call during a certain time period and "goodby."

My first impression was: My this lady hates working for a living—and me!

Then I thought: She can't be that bad—just not properly trained.

Maybe she should listen to the telephone message systems of big corporations:

"Thank you for calling Big Corporation. Your call is very important to us. If you speak English, press one. Si usted habla español, toca dos"

This may go on for French, Italian, German, Japanese and Chinese. In fact, you could swim to China by the time you get to a live person. But still, your call is important to them so you sit there listening to music you hate, waiting, waiting…

I Called the Lady Back to See What She Was Really Like

Finally, I got the person who made the recording. Her name was Mildred. She was 75 years old and as sweet as a President Reagan Jelly Belly®.

Mildred was not a rude person that intentionally turns customers away. Yet I'm sure that some get her telephone message and never call back. I'm sure that some drop their affiliation with the company.

The problem was not with Mildred, but with the message. She gave the facts about the hours and the fax machine, but she didn't say it like the "Big Boys." She could have said:

Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to us. However, we offer telephone service only between 1.00 AM and 3:00 PM Pacific Time. Please call back during our telephone hours. Thanks again for calling!

Up Thar' in Canada

We were camping north of Montreal years ago when the owner of the camp said that we had parked our camper in the wrong spot during the night. He was, as they say, rude, crude, and unattractive.

What did we do? We packed up, drove to the office,, paid the bill, and moved to another camp. He lost a week's rent because of his rude behavior, and we easily found another camp that actually had numbers on the camping sites.

Forgiven Them For They Know Not What They Do

Here, I'm talking about perfectly innocent working people who don't realize that when dealing with the public (your customers), they come over as being rude, short (curt), even obnoxious. Haven't you noticed that some employees even avoid customers?

On the Jerry Seinfeld Show, the character Kramer shows obnoxious behavior. Typical is his entry into Jerry's apartment, barging in without knocking and going straight to the refrigerator. Would you buy a used car from Kramer? At times he drives me away from the show.

George and Elaine are also misfits—people who you wouldn't want to associate with other than at a beer bust in the park. Would you buy a used car from George when he's talking out of the side of his mouth? What about from Elaine when she's playing her silly mind games?

Newman, the mailman, is just dumb. Would you like to deal with him?

Jerry's role is of a person that is different from many people, but he typically is polite, tries to reason, and is often effective in dealing with people—Need a Porsche?

Training Is Needed

Everyone in the company who deals with the customers should be trained:

How to smile and greet people.

How to talk to people and satisfy their needs.

Technical aspects of their job and company products and services.

Businesses attract all kinds of creatures. We need to select the people who will interface with our customers based on their ability to cooperate and get along with people in a pleasant manner.

They are the face of our company. Do they look friendly?

Training will help. Even simple role playing can be effective in helping our employees learn to interact properly with our customers—and they should know their stuff—or at the least be able to get the customer to the person with the correct information fast.

But even after training, there may be some who should be relegated to other company activities and not allowed to come near any customer whatsoever.

And don't forget to look in the mirror!

You have to make people decisions. Isn't that what management is all about?

Home Business Tip: Make your business a people friendly business!

A Tippy from Flippy: Simply being kind and considerate can make you rich!

Keeping Up with the Jones': I can smile better than anyone in the Jones clan! I'll bet I can smile better than you!

Fiddle Dee & Fiddle Dum: May I help you? It has been a pleasure to serve you. Come again!

Can't Ya' Get Goin'?: Try harder!

All Things Come: If you treat people right in your business, they will tell their friends. They will come!

Life Success Quotation: A happy man sees God and loves his children. An evil man steps on the frogs and snares the birds.

Business Success Quotation: Pretend the business is your home and that your customer is your dear childhood friend that you haven't seen for years. That will put you on his side of the counter and you will be very successful in your business.

John Taylor Jones, Ph.D., author of books and novels (http://www.tjbooks.com), was a vice president of research and development of a Fortune 500 Company. He was a college professor at one time, teaching engineering at Iowa State University. Jones has twelve web sites at last count. At his e-commerce site, http://www.bookfindhelp.com, you find many books, kits, and newsletters to get the information and needed loan sources for many home- and office-based businesses. You can contact Dr. Jones at: tjbooks@hotmail.com.

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