on window installation and dripping wet hair

I knew as soon as my husband told me he’d called the window installation guys that I would be sorry for that call.

Me: “You told them to call me? They’re going to call me tomorrow. They’re going to ask what’s wrong with the windows. I’m not going to be able to explain it, and we’ll both hate that entire conversation.”

Him: “No, they won’t, because I left detailed information on the answering machine as to what’s wrong.”

Me: Can’t speak. Laughing too hard. Because I know exactly how things rae going to go down the next day.

There isn’t any profound wisdom in today’s blog post. Just an observation. But I hope it’s one that can help anyone who deals with the public, whether in sales, writing, the medical field, church work, or waiting tables. Can I make a plea that will make you an instantly popular person? Really, if you just do this, you will have clients, patients, customers–whomever you work with–begging to work with you again. It is that rare.

Listen to, read, or research what the person has already told you before you see her.

You know how it goes in a doctor’s office, don’t you? They hand you a six-page form to fill out. You explain on the form what you’re there for. You may have already explained this over the phone. Then, they stick you in a cold room, and at some point a nurse comes in and asks you the same questions. The ones you just answered on the form. Then, far in the future in that freezing room, the doctor enters. And asks you the Exact. Same. Questions. And it drives you nuts.

That’s what happened this morning, as predicted. The window guy called. He asked what was happening. He asked several question I knew were on that message. But he hadn’t bothered to listen to the message. Since I am a woman of few words who usually operates on a need-to-know basis, I hate repeating myself. I was not the friendliest customer in the world on that phone call. The fact that he had gotten me post-shower and I was trying to talk, hold on to a towel, and keep dripping hair away from the phone did not help a lot.

On the flip side, those doctors who enter the room, shake your hand, and ask about the last sickness that brought you there and how it’s going? Who ask how your kids are and remember how many you have? I had an eye doctor—an eye doctor!–who always remembered my medical history whenever I came in. She’d ask how the kidney transplant was going. She knew my medications. Of course she looked at the chart before I came in. Of course they don’t memorize that stuff. But shelooked. And it inspired a lot of confidence that she wasn’t going to do anything not in my best interests.

My business keeps returning to doctors, repairpersons, and others who prove they want it enough to prepare ahead of time.

So there’s the revolutionary advice for today. Take the time to do your homework. Listen to messages. Read charts. Go to files and find out why that person has been there before or what she usually looks for. Spend some time before that appointment thinking about any history you have together and remember it. People like to believe you have taken that little bit of trouble for them. They will reward it.

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