Thursday, September 18, 2008

Frendors and Venemies - Pick Up Your Phones!

I raise money for a living. I have done so for several years. Some parts of my job are difficult - writing long proposals, organizing big events, preparing complicated budgets. But perhaps the easiest and most important part of my job is returning phone calls. It is often the tiny, crucial difference between yes and no from a donor. I want to teach our vendors the why and how of using telephones to make money.

To assess their current competence with regard to telephony, I have created this short quiz:

1. Let's say you are the manager of a transportation company. You receive an email from a customer confirming coach service for a date four weeks from today. You reply with a terse email demanding a phone call and immediate payment. The customer quickly dials the number you have provided. What do you do? Do you a.) answer the phone or b.) let it go to voicemail? If you answered b.), do you ignore the message or reply?

2. Let's say you are the manager of a wine store. An engaged couple has visited your store to talk about wine selections for their upcoming wedding. Of course, you are extremely courteous and helpful in discussing their preferences and their budget. You send them home with a few bottles to taste, and tell them to email you with their entire order within a week. You provide the store's email address and emphasize that they should write, "Attn: Manager" in the subject line. They send you an order amounting to almost $2,000 of wine - a major and serious purchase for this young couple. Do you reply to thank them and confirm their order and arrange for payment? Or, do you leave them hanging with no response for 5, 6, 7 days???

3. Let's say you are the menswear manager of a small, posh boutique. An engaged couple has ordered custom formalwear for their wedding. They are prepared to spend more on these garments than they have ever spent for anything other than their car. After they place their order, let's say you make a little forgivable mistake, and forget to send it along to the workshop. But, that's okay! You fix the problem in plenty of time. Later, one of the grooms phones you to check on the delivery date. You say, "They have not arrived yet, but I'll check on them, and call you right back!" What do you do? Do you check on it and call back right away? Or do you ignore the question and never call back at all???

I know some of these questions may be tricky for neophytes, luddites and (apparently) people who make their living through sales. But try your best! There could be a career in it!


Anonymous said...

"Venemies"! Genius!

jennifer said...

oh brother. I didn't realize this HAD become an epidemic on a national scale. I say tsk tsk to all ye non-repsonsive sales people!

Kristy said...

I work in sales, albeit (and for my sanity, thankfully) not anything wedding-related. But I am obsessive about customer service. I hate when people are unresponsive (and I swear, 85-90% of the people I deal with are unresponsive), so I try to be as responsive as possible. Even if it's just to tell you that I don't have an answer to your question yet. And why? Because that's how I'd like to be treated. I really don't think it's too much to ask. I'll step off my little soapbox now.

Unknown said...

This is tied with guests-who-don't-send-back-their-pre-stamped-RSVP (and then refuse to call you back when you try to hunt them down) for my number one wedding planning pet peeve. I'd like to tell you the "venemies" get better about their communication when your wedding is a week away, but in my experience, they don't.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

Report their salespeople and company names immediately to the Better Business Bureau and blog them to the deepest reaches of hell.

Love, Regan