Have you ever played a lengthy game of telephone tag? Of course you have! We’ve all been there and done that. Telephone tag is time-consuming enough when it’s necessary, but many times can it be completely avoided by following one small tip: leave the recipient all the information needed to take the next step without having to call you back multiple times.
For example, when I was a REALTOR, I’d often receive calls from agents who wanted to show my listed homes to their buyers. They would call and leave me a message: “This is Agent (whomever). I’d like to show your listing at 123 Smith Street. Please call me so we can set up a time.”
I would then call, and you can imagine what happened. I got the agent’s voice mail and have to leave a message, “Sorry I missed you. What time(s) are you looking for?” The agent would call back and… well, you can see that this probably got us nowhere fast!
How much more effective would it have been if the messages had gone like this:
“This is Agent (whomever). I’d like to show your home at 123 Smith Street. The dates and times I have available are Monday at 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. and Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. Please call me to confirm a time or give me an alternate time.” I could have then called back and confirmed one of those times (transaction complete with two calls), or offered a couple of alternate times which the agent could confirm back to me (transaction probably complete in three calls).
Although e-mail has alleviated much of this situation, e-mail is not always reliable, either, is it? Besides, there are times when phone calls are necessary and more expedient than e-mail… provided they are done correctly. While there are times when we cannot complete a transaction solely by voice mail, there are other times when we can. Looking for opportunities to do this can cut a telephone tag session down to 2-3 calls… a vast improvement over the time and effort delays seen when we force people to return calls with incomplete information.
Next time you’re in this situation, help the WOWplace along by allowing the machines to do most of the work for you (and your co-workers). After all, that’s why they were invented, isn’t it?