Using Technology to Benefit Your Business

Tips to give your customers a better impressions of your company.

To paraphrase “Network,” the 1970’s movie classic, “I’m mad as hell at the way people at work use technology, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Here’s why I’m steamed: We have great new job tools, and instead of using them intelligently, people are behaving like idiots. Let me share four examples:

Problem 1 – Brainless Friendliness. The intelligence of receptionists and assistants has been swept away with their jobs. In its place is the sweet know-nothingness of the “customer service representative.” How many times have you called a giant corporation, pushed 20 buttons to work your way through a frustrating voice mail menu and then reached someone who slurs: “Thisistammy, howmayihelpyou?” Heaven help you if you have to call Tammy back and she works for Mammoth Consolidated Industries (or should I say Mamtura, the conglomerate’s new meaningless identity concocted at a cost of $50 million.) Try to find Tammy and you’ll sound like a dope; you don’t know her last name or what part of Mamtura she works in. She didn’t volunteer that information – either because she’s trying so hard to be friendly that she believes mentioning her surname is way too formal, or because Mamtura wants to keep its “service” workers as unidentifiable as the corporation itself.

So Rule 1, unless you’re forbidden from doing so, always identify yourself clearly by your full name.

Problem 2 – Message Slovenliness. Leaving a voice mail message can be a great help. But the recipient must be able to understand you. Speak slowly and clearly. Let me say that again – S-a-y Y-o-u-r P-h-o- n-e N-u-m-b-e-r S-l-o-w-l-y and C-l-e-a-r-l-y. And repeat it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to replay voice messages because the caller rattled off sixfiveoneseveneightsevenfoursixeighttwo in about three seconds. Just when your brain makes sense of the crazy area code, it’s assaulted by seven digits spit out at the speed of a FedEx commercial. Go slowly and repeat the number.

Problem 3 – Email minimalism. An occasional spelling lapse in an email isn’t the end of the world. Nor is all lower case spelling. But I draw the line at messages so cryptic and telescoped the recipient can’t figure out the point of the communication. Identify who you are, where you can be reached and the point of your message.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is:

Problem 4 – Email maximalism. There are some people who just can’t stop talking, even in print. Email is a great way to go on and on and on at very low cost. Hey, maximalists, you’re being extremely rude. Be considerate of your recipients and get to the point.

(C) Copyright 2001 Evan Cooper. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.

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