October 01, 2008: Excuses for not calling back
1. "I'm too busy." Nonsense. You are never too busy to communicate with members or customers. Make the time.
2. "It's an unusual question." Then think about it a little bit more and send a thoughtful answer. Unusual questions often alert you to issues you weren't aware of.
3. "I don't know what to say." So pause, think about it, gather some data if you need to, and craft an answer. A non-response is the same as telling someone you don't care.
4. "I need more information." Then get it. Acknowledge the calls and tell the callers you'll get back to them with answers or with the information they are seeking. Don't wait until you are ready to answer - they'll think they are being ignored.
5. "I don't like complaints." Too bad. Complainers need to be satisfied (if possible) so they will no longer be complainers. Their complaints may alert you to issues you weren't aware of so you can remedy them before other people complain. Remember, an unsatisfied complainer will tell everybody about their dissatisfaction with your organization (just like I keep telling everybody about the unresponsiveness of the Illinois PTA).
6. "Only one person is complaining." But many others may have experienced the same problem. One complaint may be an indication of greater dissatisfaction. Besides, even if only one person encountered a problem, you should still want to correct it.
7. "It doesn't matter." It always matters. Don't lose members or customers because you don't care, you're lazy, you are afraid to act, or you just don't know what to do. Focus on the problem, think of a resolution, and execute it. Even if you can't give callers what they want, give them the courtesy of a response.