I’ve had one of those interesting weeks where I notice something (beautician answering the phone while cutting someone’s hair) and then, in a separate conversation, I hear someone say, “I hate it when I’m getting my hair cut and the person cutting it stops to answer the phone.”
In fact, I heard this a few times. Then I got my hair cut and this very thing happened, twice, so I thought I would post about it.
To me, a business owner stopping to answer the phone while working with a client tells the client they aren’t worth the business owner’s time. As a writer, I would never stop an interview for a story to answer the phone, even if the person calling was another client.
I feel the same way when I get my hair cut: If I’m the client, I want the employee’s attention from start to finish. It doesn’t take long to cut my hair – twenty minutes, maybe half an hour tops – and during this time I expect to be the focus of this person’s attention.
I’m not a picky person, either, and I let a lot slide when it comes to nits. I don’t mind if the waitress forgets some of my food or if something arrives on the plate. Mistakes happen. I’m easy going enough to understand this, and though I send stuff back, I do so sparingly.
But I wouldn’t expect my waitress to hold up her hand and say, “Excuse me,” when I’m ordering so she could take a call.
Since this came to my attention so much this week, I thought I would bring it out to you. Do you mind if someone who is working with you (and not just working in general – for instance, if a cashier takes a call while I’m in the shop but not asking her a question, I don’t care) stops to answer the phone?
In my belief, the person working in direct contact with me should let the answering machine answer and get back with the call later. (That is, after all, the reason those little devices were created!)
The lady that used to cut my hair would not only take a phone call, but she’d take them from anyone, friends or family, and then hold a ten minute conversation while I sat in the chair waiting.
It’s not that I’m impatient, either. I have kids, though, and a job, and my time is limited. If I wanted a large salon experience I’d pay top dollar and spend a few hours getting a treatment. I just want my haircut, and I need to have it done fairly quickly.
I consider this as I would with any professional. If I were on the table having surgery performed, I wouldn’t want my surgeon to stop and answer his cell phone, even if it was business related. Distractions often cause problems, and even if they don’t I’m the paying customer and feel the person I’ve hired should focus on me.