Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Human Interactions 103

At 7:20 PM Monday night, a woman called one of our enrollment counselors and left a message, asking if she could bring a large group in for a tour on Tuesday morning. Several problems with this:

  1. The counselor she called is not the one who arranges the tours. She does not have access to the tour guide schedules. It is therefore difficult for her to set up a tour for anyone.
  2. The person who does set up tours was not in the office at all on Monday. She works from home in the mornings on Tuesday, but she does not check her voicemail from home. And this Tuesday being the day before a national holiday, i'm not sure if she will be in at all today. There has therefore been no opportunity for the tour request to be passed along to her, leaving it to the counselor who received the voicemail to do everything herself.
  3. Calling thirteen and a half hours before you intend to show up is not really ideal. Especially if you are calling after normal business hours. (Hint: normal business hours are 9-5, though 8-6 is not totally unheard of.) If you call outside of normal business hours, you should do so at least 24 hours before you plan to show up, giving the other person time to hear your voicemail, call you to confirm your visit, and set up the tour for you.
  4. Group tours are harder to arrange than individual ones, and really really really need advance notice. We can throw together a really good individual visit at the last second, but group tours are very tricky. 
  5. If you have left a voicemail for someone but have not yet spoken to them in person, you should not assume that they are prepared to handle your request. They may be on vacation, especially if you are calling two days before a national holiday. If their job requires travel (like, for example, a college enrollment counselor who goes to lots of college fairs and teen camps during the summer), they may not be in the office at all this week.
  6. Having left a voicemail thirteen and a half hours ago with the wrong person, and having failed to talk to anyone at all to confirm your visit, when you come strolling into the office at ten minutes after nine AM, it does not behoove you to demand that the tour be "quick". Our campus is a certain predetermined size and has a certain predetermined number of buildings. In order for the tour to be worth your while, it will necessarily take a certain predetermined amount of time. But showing up ten minutes after we have all gotten to the office and demanding that we abbreviate the service that we have not yet agreed to render you is a little presumptuous. 
So what can we learn from this?

Be considerate of others, especially when you are demanding a service from them. I know this goes against much of what you were taught. You are the customer, and the customer is always right. However, this is not true. The customer is always the customer, and always deserves respect, patience, and our best efforts to make you happy. But you are not always right.

Remember that this is our job, and we know a lot more about how it works than you do. Defer to our knowledge, experience, and skills. Ask us how we can best serve you.

Give people plenty of advance notice when you are planning to visit, especially if you are asking them to do something special for you on that visit. When you drop in with no notice, you are only hurting yourself. If the abbreviated tour you demanded does not meet your expectations, that is your own fault.

Respect normal business hours. If you have to call outside of them, that's fine. We understand. But leave a voicemail with the understanding that we won't be able to even listen to your voicemail until 8 AM at the earliest, and more realistically, 9. We won't be able to return your call until after that. We won't be able to talk to you personally and set up a visit and make sure  your needs and requests are met until after 9 AM. This is just how businesses work.

Know what you're asking for. Some requests are small and some are large. And when you don't work in that particular business, you don't always know which is which. Don't assume that a request that seems simple actually will be. There might be a lot more to it than you think.

There will be a test on all of this. Be prepared. Class dismissed.

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