Watch Your Mouth...and Your Thumbs, Too!
It all started with five simple words: “I need the Volvo tonight.”
Now, when you read that, did you interpret that as a demand or a request? Most would probably see it as an innocent statement. But imagine yourself as one of two teenaged girls who are sharing a car for the summer and read it again. It’s not hard to understand, then, why those five simple words resulted in an angry text to Dad (that would be me):
“OMG, Dad, Emma is so demanding. How DARE she claim the car without even asking me if I need it.”
The driving force behind this issue comes down to the word, “interpret.” Getting the two of them on the phone and straightening out this “major sibling crisis” took all of 15 seconds. Once Madeline realized that her sister was not demanding the car at all, rather just giving her a heads up, Madi apologized and the problem was solved. (As it reads at the bottom of an iPad ad, “Some sequences have been shortened.”)
The written word is far more powerful than the spoken word. Emma would have been well advised to call her sister and leave nothing to the interpretation of a 16-year-old drama queen.
You, too, need to watch yourself. In our attempt to save time, we often put communications into text or email formats. Be aware that in doing so, you open yourself up to being misunderstood. Some news can get delivered in electronic format, but the important stuff should be shared verbally.
That said, sometimes calling a customer is like calling your mom: You feel obligated to call, but REALLY don’t want to talk. If you just want to deliver a message and not chit-chat about how the person’s weekend was, make the phone call just after the top of the hour. Chances are, the customer will be in a meeting and you will be connected to voice mail. Perfect.