Recently, a colleague suggested I contact a specific company because she’d been made aware that they were seeking leadership development training for their people. Given what I do, it seemed like a perfect fit. While my colleague couldn’t direct me to a specific person, she was quite familiar with the company and so was able to direct me to the right department. I called and spoke to their receptionist, who promptly transferred me to the appropriate manager, who I’ll call Kara Close. I left a voice mail for Kara, explaining who I was and why I was calling. I acknowledged that she may not be the right contact for this particular matter, or the company may have already met their requirements through alternate means, but asked her to call me back to let me know or to direct me elsewhere. I also gave her my email address. That was two weeks ago. I’m still waiting for a response.
Now I know all the likely reasons Kara Close didn’t call me back – she probably gets hundreds of phone calls from potential vendors, the company doesn’t need my services, I called the wrong person, she is too busy. But here’s why she SHOULD have responded to me. This company is a well-known corporation in the cruise industry. And so I am not only a potential vendor, but I am ALSO a prospective customer. Kara Close’s lack of response to me as a possible vendor is ALSO a very visible indicator of what kind of customer service I might expect from this organization as a consumer. The cruise industry is fiercely competitive with many top-notch lines aggressively battling to get vacation dollars. So, the next time I plan a cruise holiday, how high on my list do you think this company is going to be?
Kara Close may not have the words “Customer Service” in her job title, but she is definitely (not) a customer relationship ambassador. It doesn’t matter what jobs your employees do, they are always representing your company, your brand and your organization’s values. By not responding to my call, Kara Close gave me an unexpected insight into this organization’s values and culture, and in the process, did her company a great disservice.
So what do you think? Am I right? Or am I being too sensitive?