Recently I messed up a hotel reservation. I had myself departing one day later than I should.
Because it was a mistake on a reservation for a group rate, I had to call in the change. I couldn’t do it online. Their site even told me I couldn’t just do it online.
So, I called the phone number. The first thing I heard was a recording asking me, “Did you know you can make and change reservations faster online?” Yes, I did, but not this time. You just told me that on your site.
Then I was asked by the recording to input my membership number so I could be helped faster. I took the time to look that info up and then input it.
After that, I was told by the recording about a way I could register my phone number with them for faster service. I demurred with a simple “not now” to the voice prompts but with more colorful language in my head.
By the time I was done with all the ways that I could do things faster, I had wasted two minutes of time. It’s not a lot in the scheme of things, but pick up your phone, and sit there for two minutes not doing what you want to do and doing what the person you’re calling wants you to do. Suddenly, two minutes is an eternity.
As annoying as it all was, it was also a good reminder of the importance of making sure you’re not getting in your own way when interacting with the employee base. When employees call you or come through the door, how quickly do you let them raise their concerns? When you give training, how long are the intros before the real training starts? How long does it take between the time they call the helpline and a real person answers the phone and starts capturing the question or allegation?
If it’s only a few seconds, that’s great. If it’s minutes, you risk turning off employees from the start and they may be hearing: “Thank you for contacting the compliance department. Before you begin and before we take the time to listen to you, here’s what you need to do for us to make our lives easier.”
Of course, sometimes there may be a need to put the brakes on a conversation. You may have to make some legal disclosures, for example.
But if you don’t have to make them wait to say what’s on their mind, don’t.
Press 1 if you agree. Press 2 if you don’t agree. Press 3 if you wish I had gotten to the point sooner.