A while ago I got a call from a hotel employee confirming the
headcount for an event I was responsible for. In her voice mail, she
asked me to call her back to confirm our final headcount, even though I
had sent in the final number earlier that day.
On the surface this seems like a customer-focused call. But it’s not. Here’s why.
Since I had already sent her the final number earlier that day, I
knew the headcount. I did not need her to reconfirm. Clearly, she was
calling to confirm for her purposes, not mine. And this is fine. I
would want her to make sure she has the right numbers.
Here’s where she went astray.
She asked me to call her back right away to confirm. But all she
really needed was to know if the number she had was correct. She did
not need a call back UNLESS the number she had was incorrect.
So, if she had focused on me (the customer) she should have asked me
to call back ONLY if her number was not correct. She should have said
if she did not hear from me she would go ahead with the number she had.
That approach would have told me she was focusing on me and how her
request impacted me. It would have required my involvement only if
It might seem like a small thing. But a lot of small things can add up to big things.
We’re all busy. I got her call as I was driving back home (across
the state of Wisconsin) after a long day that started at 5am and didn’t
end until 10 pm that night. I was in no mood to make an extra phone
call if I didn’t have to.
And, it’s not just an issue of time or inconvenience. It’s a matter
of attitude. Her focus was on what she needed. Her call did not help me
unless her headcount was wrong. If she had focused on me, she would
have realized she was asking me to make a phone call to help her when
it was not really needed.
Don’t ask your customers to do any more than they absolutely need
to. Find ways to minimize their time and inconvenience. Certainly don’t
ask them to do something you can take care of. It’s your job, not
Little things like this might not seem like much by themselves but
they do add up. And as a customer, I notice when someone has done
things in a way that respects my time. It makes a big difference in how
I view them. And it influences whether they get more of my business and