Singer Robert Earl Keen writes about "the little things that p-s him off." I had a similar experience last Friday.
I have a business relationship with an employee of one of the huge mega banks. On Friday, I needed to ask a question about one of her bank´s other services, one that´s in a different department. I called her direct line only to get her voice mail. Wanting an immediate answer (because it´s all about MY needs:-) I listened to her voice mail hoping for a clue as to how to get to the main switchboard. But she only had a polite message letting me know she would return my call "promptly." So I pressed the "0" button to no avail. @#$%!! Trapped in voice mail Hell! I was finally disconnected.
I then decided to check her e-mail hoping that she had left a main number as part of her e-mail signature block. No such luck. Not even her title.
Next, I googled her bank. More minutes of fruitless searching with no luck. Finally, I walked across my office and picked up the Yellow Pages. Because I usually use the Internet for stuff like this now, I had moved them to my bookshelves. I let my fingers do the walking (how "20th Century!") and finally found the telephone number for the branch. One call answered my question.
Total elapsed time: Probably more than 20 minutes for a task that should have taken two.
Later I realized that, when I have an e-mail from someone I need to phone, I usually just flip to it and get the phone number from the signature block. For the same reason I don´t rely on business cards as much as I used to.
Be sure that your employees´ outgoing voicemail messages instructs callers how to get to a human being. Then train your staff to include the appropriate contact information including your company´s Web site in the signature block below their name on their e-mails. It’s the one time in a hundred that could be a sale or help move a relationship in the right direction.
Finally, if you have a Web site, use search engines to see where your company’s name ranks. Do what you can to make sure that your Web site comes up as close to the top listing as possible.
Don’t let labor saving devices such as voice mail and computers come between you and your customers.
"Ninety percent of all management problems are caused by miscommunication."