Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The little details count (about returning calls)

I committed a significant error over the past five days -- failing to practice what I preach. On Friday afternoon, someone called me to say they wanted to place a classified ad in Ottawa Construction News. About to head on a semi-vacation to New York City, I ignored the call -- since we don't have a classified section in our publications.

I didn't return t he call on Monday as I travelled to NYC; then on Tuesday, the same person left another voice message and also sent an email. Now I may be as thick as molasses, but this person clearly wanted to talk with me. So what did I do. Again, I ignored the call (I'm on vacation, eh) but replied with an email referencing the person to one of my employees who has responsibility for selling advertising for the Ottawa market.)

Then, yesterday, five days too late, I received a flash of rather delayed insight. Look, the person called me, not my employee, and she called on Friday; five days previously. And I thought it adequate to sluff this call off with an email to an employee -- without checking with or briefing the employee or person who called (and the employee just happened to be busy at a trade show that day).

So I finally did what I should have done the previous Friday afternoon. I returned the call. No, 24 hours after sending the email referencing the caller to my employee, the employee had failed to return her call. Bad. But even badder for me -- as I set the tone of what we define as acceptable responses to client inquiries -- in fact any legitimate in-bound call. The caller, indeed, had a legitimate advertising request; something of relevance to our readers and highly appropriate to our publication.

I'm responsible here for this failure, and hope I've learned my own lesson about the importance of returning calls promptly.

No comments: