Don't Kill A Relationship By Not Returning a Call

You have the time and it's a simple courtesy

At Your Service



When the editor of this paper asked me to do an article on the importance of returning phone calls I said “Now that’s an article I can’t wait to write!” This has always been a stickler with me. It drives me nuts that people do not have the common courtesy to return calls anymore. As each year passes it gets worse and worse.

When I complain to everybody I know on this subject, the response I get is “That I am real busy and I just didn’t have the time.” I even get that answer from Brad who is one of my best friends after he ignores my call.

Zig Zigler the motivational speaker says it best. “Isn’t it amazing on how much stuff we get done the day before vacation”. We all do the things we want to do and put off the things we do not want to do. Bottom line is is simply rude not to return a call. It is not complicated and easy, and there really is no excuse.

I have found that the higher up you go in a corporation, the easier it is to get a return call. Middle managers are notorious for not returning calls. It must be their first taste of power. In fact the nicer the people, the easier it is to get a return call. I guess this comes from an old word that is not used much today called empathy. Along with that I feel if you treat people with respect and they will treat you the same.

I have timed it. Along with dialing, saying your name and even leaving a brief message on a person’s voice mail takes less than 45 seconds. I find that most people have that amount of time available. In fact with 93 million cell phones in use today there is even more time available to return those calls.

It has gotten so bad that my friend Bob Shook, who is one of America’s leading business authors wrote a book on this subject with a humorous twist giving readers at least 150 ways to get people to return their calls. In case you already guessed, his book is titled “I’ll Get Back to You.”

What is amazing to me is that more people return emails and not phone calls. I don’t know about anyone else but I type about 3 words per hour and can talk about 3,000 words per minute. It is still much faster to talk than type for most people. If you are afraid of confrontation, then simply ask for that person’s voice mail and leave a straight forward response.

Here’s a few simple reasons and tips on how and why you should return your phone calls.

  • It is just the right thing to do. If you think I am wrong go ask your mother.
  • Even if you are like me and you get 40 plus calls per day, return them quickly and you find it is not a big deal, just part of a normal business day.
  • Trust me you have no idea what is down the road or in your future, and you will be glad that you returned the call to the person who is now your new boss or even a new client.
  • Don’t you hate is when your calls go unreturned? Well guess what Sparky, so does everyone else!
  • Relationships are everywhere. Even if you are telling a salesperson no to their service or product, they are a person like you and me and are trying to do their job. One day this person could become your future daughter in law! Would it kill you to spend an extra minute with each person you might encounter. It’s not that tough to be nice to people.
  • Small towns still do business like the way it was. “People deal with People”. They are considerate and can also slow down a bit to realize that life is more than a constant rush hour.

To sum it up it all comes down to an attitude and doing the right things in life whereby you treat your fellow man with dignity and respect. I am not preaching or judging but maybe being just a little bit Southern in my philosophy and opinions!

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