What’s the problem with the phone these days?

I recently had an experience with an organization where I was volunteering my time. To protect those involved, I’ve removed the names and organization names…primarily because that isn’t the important part here.

I worked with 2 staff members to discuss the volunteer role, and sign the appropriate legal paperwork protecting them.  We were all set up and ready to go. About a week later I was sent an email from the head of the organization, offering me an additional role for the event.  This role was also a volunteer role and was basically asking me to step up.

However, the key to the email I received was that it was lacking details and needed a discussion.  This is pretty standard in the world of email communication, so I wasn’t surprised and I phoned the person immediately after receiving the email. When I say immediately, I mean within 10 minutes. I got voicemail and I left a detailed message with a request for a callback. That was a Thursday.

I called again on Friday, got voicemail and left another message.

Monday, I called again and left another voicemail.

On Tuesday we emailed the person, indicating that we’ve called 3 times, left messages, and would like to identify an ideal time to connect. No Response.

Nothing. Birds Chirping. Crickets.

Three days later I hear from a friend that they are filling the role that was offered to me.

As it turns out, I may have recommended this person for the role over me, as that is what I had specific questions about.

The important part to note in this entire communication exchange is the LACK of communication on their part.

Why can’t we just pick up the phone these days?  Is it really that hard?

I know…I know….we’re all busy. And we are. We are constantly barraged by a lot of things in our day.  Ultimately we, as business owners and professionals are responsible for our own personal relationships, whether they are clients, partners, volunteers, or anyone we interact with during our lives.

I wrote an article on my blog before about your personality showing through as what you are known for. Check it out here: People Talk: What Are You Known For?

If the phone is not your thing, then you need to find a way to ensure that messages left for you are returned by someone in your organization. It’s all about the processes in business. Especially when you reach out to someone to fill a need for your organization, as a volunteer. This would frustrate me regardless, but I think it’s even more offensive when it’s an organization, looking for volunteers, and unable to pay for people to do the service that the volunteers are willing to step up to do.

As it turns out, after notifying the person of the situation, they profusely apologized and indicated that it’s something that they need to work on and be better at.  Only time will tell if they do in fact take that seriously and improve their process.

As some readers know, I’m not a big fan of sharing stories of bad experiences.  I’m a huge believer in sharing stories of amazing successes! That said, I think there is one thing that you can take away from this experience.  Make sure that you…

Call people back!

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…and don’t forget…

Live Happy, Smile A Lot, and High 5 Everyone Around You!