It’s been a tough year for people and businesses. We’ve had the worst recession since the Depression. But it’s clear to me the recession is over. No, it wasn’t Ben Bernanke’s reassuring comments the other day. He’s just the Chairman of the Fed, what do they know, they’ve been wrong before.
There is definitive proof the recession is over. Sales people are too busy to return my calls and to take my money. Things are definitely on the upswing! I have one of those major home improvement things going on. It’s driven by necessity, something broke, and it’s causing untold annoyance to my wife. So I have a high sense of urgency to solve this problem.
I’ve called the salesperson 4 times in the past week, leaving urgent voicemails. I’ve pleaded with the receptionist, making sure she understands that I am serious about buying. I’ve left all my numbers. I’ve said, please have him call my mobile phone, tell him not to worry that he may be interrupting that meeting I am having with the CEO of a Fortune 50 company—after all, my priorities are clear. I know who’s important. I’m delighted to have him interrupt me at any time so that I can buy something from him.
I’m doing my best to be a great customer. I want to give him thousands of dollars of my hard earned cash. On my last voicemail to him, I felt like Sam-I-Am of Green Eggs And Ham fame:
Would you take my money on plastic?
Would you take my money on a check?
Do you want cash?
Would you take my money in a cashier’s check?
Do you want me to pay you in dollars, pounds, euros, yuan, or yen?
Can I bring it in a wheelbarrow?
You’ll really like my money if you just try!
I still can’t get him to return my call. I’ve asked his boss to call me, maybe he’ll take my money, but I don’t think he’s interested. The receptionist is sympathetic, but she can’t take my money.
Despite my problems, it is reassuring, clearly he is so busy taking orders, he just doesn’t have time to take mine. That must mean people are spending their money, the economy is in full recovery, the recession is becoming a distant memory. In some way, it is comforting.
There is one confusing thing though. Year to year revenues for this company are down a little more than 25%. Profits are down almost 50%. But what do I know, I’m just a business management consultant. This profit and loss stuff is complicated. I do hope we are on the road to recovery, afterall, if they were worried about revenue, wouldn’t their sales people want to take my money? They must not be worried—things must definitely be getting better. I’ll be anxious to see their next quarter’s report.
I’m, also, a little confused. They have an interesting Mission, Vision, and Values. In their Mission, they say:
“….We plan to achieve this by exceeding customers’ expectations through superior service delivery….. ” I get it, I’m not a customer yet, so they are meeting their objectives.
Their Vision is: “We will become the company most trusted to provide our customers with the best quality systems, services and solutions ….” Yeah, yeah, I get it, I’m not a customer yet. I guess they will provide me the best quality service when I become a customer…. I probably have to earn the right to get that service. I hope paying them my money will help me earn that right.
Finally, they have some interesting Values. A couple really resonated with me:
- “Performance: We will be the team that meets its performance objectives every time, every way with no excuses, no exceptions.” I may be overly harsh, I’m just guessing their sales people are supposed to return calls and accept orders, but my expectations may be off.
- “Empowerment: We will empower team members to do what is necessary to exceed the expectations of external and internal customers.” There it is again, it’s that customer thing. I really can’t wait to become a customer. I have so much to look forward to. I just wish they weren’t making it so hard.
Well, I’ve wasted enough time. I think part of the reason I’m writing this is that it keeps me in the office longer. I know when I go home, I’ll get one of those very interesting performance reviews from my wife…….. Wish me luck!
Susan Oakes says
I wonder if you ever get to talk to them what they will say is the reason for not returning a phone call.
Your post is a very good example and in some ways a warning that perhaps you should ask your customers or potential customers if you are living up to your stated values. You might be surprised by the answers.
David Brock says
Susan, thanks for the comment and tweets. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post: Do As I Say, Not As I Do. It’s very related to your comment. Too often our behaviors and actions are in conflict with our words. These actions and behaviors drown our words out. Thanks for your continued support and comments. Regards, Dave