Archives for posts with tag: Telephone

In the US it’s not uncommon for people to put the phone down or kill a telephone call without saying goodbye. It’s not considered rude. We’ve seen it on TV and film a hundred times. That’s not to say it’s not mildly unnerving to a European the first time it happens.

At the other end of the extreme are people that say bye multiple times at the end of a call. It’s as if they’d be terrified if the person at the other end didn’t hear them formally close the conversation, so they double- and triple-up to be sure.

I heard this staccato farewell a lot in Scotland when I lived there and you hear it a lot in Ireland. It’s a rat-tat-tat delivery of multiple byes that has a natural cadence of its own: 3 quick byes and 3 longer byes over a 3-second-or so period. Sort of a ‘ba-bye-bye [very short pause] bye-bye-bye.

I have a Belgian friend who always closes the call with a ba-baaaaaye, one short blast and a long blast, and then he’s done.

Me? I prefer a punchy ba-bye, that’s it. Simple, decisive, clear.

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I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of the adapted Maslow’s hierarchy triangle with wifi and internet added at the bottom. It makes me smile when I look at it.

Back in the late 90’s in Ireland there were vast pockets of no or poor signal, rendering mobiles useless. This was especially noticeable when you left the city for the country.

These days the mobile providers claim coverage in the 90’s per cent. That has to be by population, concentrated in the cities as they are, rather than by geography. In 2018, in the west of Ireland, there are still large swathes of land where you can’t use your mobile. One of them is my house, in fact it’s most of my small town, what you might call a village in the UK. Now I think of it, there are plenty of offices in central London too where you can’t get a signal…

Vodafone can tell you my area has poor coverage, which is why I’ve used their Sure Signal box, plugged into my landline modem, to boost our mobile to a belligerent 5 bars. Lovely.

Except that the box has stopped working, is no longer sold or supported, with no substitute technology solution in the offing.

Which brings me back to Maslow’s pyramid. I work from home a lot, and use my mobile phone a lot, or I used too…

Ah, the cold sales call. By cold sales call I mean the broad concept of any call to a person or company that may or may not remember you, or in fact know you.

I don’t know many people who enjoy picking up the phone and working through a list of cold names, trying to get through and then strike up a rapport with a near total or total stranger. Most sales people I’ve worked with, who are supposed to be good at developing a conversation, hate them and avoid them whenever possible.

They have good reason to, most of the time. A progressive, strategic and process-oriented business-to-business company shouldn’t have to make cold calls, but on occasion you can’t avoid them.

A couple of things I’ve learned about calling are these. First, you have to be in the right frame of mind. Positive, optimistic, keen to get things done. You have to want to embrace the call. An early and genuine ‘no’ frees you up to the next call where someone who’s not a time-waster might want to speak to you.

Second, it’s irrational to put them off because once we get started, we’re fine, we get through them. We just need to start.

Third, what’s the worst that could happen? Nothing much, except that the more we fail, the better we’ll get at them.

Have you ever been in a company, institution or building and you hear a phone just ringing out? No answer machine, no voicemail system to let them know you called and to ask them to call you back?

That’s because they don’t want you to be able to put the ball back in their court. You’re the customer but they don’t care about you.

My favourite places for this to happen are public sector organisations, local government offices, state and semi-state institutions. They don’t understand customers, they don’t acknowledge you as a customer. You’re not a priority to them; they are a priority to them. They are part of the bloated state administration system and they wouldn’t last five minutes in the private sector.

This is the equation: Your call is not important to us + we don’t care about you = your call rings out.

Your solution: bypass them. Find another way to get what you need to get done.