I am firmly convinced that our world is going to hell in a handbasket because people don’t listen. Yes, they may hear, but listening requires concentration, which in our multi-tasking, scatterbrained society, is in very short supply.
Here’s an example based on recent experience:
I ordered a new swingset and border the end of July for my daughter as her birthday gift. Due to size and weight, it was determined both items would be shipped freight. Since both were coming from different locations, the trucking companies were different. Each called recently to schedule a delivery date. Here’s how the conversation went:
Company X Rep (border delivery): “We can have a truck in your area Wednesday afternoon. Will that work for you?”
Me: “Yes, my office is closed Wednesday afternoon, so I’ll be home anyway. Can you make it between 2 and 5 as I have a lunch appointment at noon?”
Company Rep: “Yes, ma’am, I have it noted.”
The next day, the rep. calls me and says the liftgate on the truck broke and we need to re-schedule for the next day. I tell her that Thursday is a regular work day for me, so when can I expect the delivery? She replies, “The soonest we can get a truck out is 10 am, so I’m anticipating delivery between 11:30 and 1 p.m. We’ll also have the driver call you an hour before delivery so you’ll know to be home.” Awesome!
I tell her this fits into my lunchtime, so I’ll just go home for lunch and wait.
I eat lunch. And wait.
I pin some things to Pinterest. And wait some more.
I check and respond to email. And wait even more.
I re-roof my entire house (no, not really, but you get the point)……
Finally it was around 2:30 and I was fuming. So I called and politely asked where my delivery was. The lady I spoke with (which was not the original lady by the way) looked up the order and told me, “Ma’am the driver is currently in Richwood right now. We have it noted that he was to make the delivery today between 2 and 5.”
I politely respond (although I’m fuming) that was the original timeframe for YESTERDAY, not TODAY. She tells me the driver should be there between 4 and 4:30.
Sure enough, he arrived about 10 after 4 (and to his credit, he did call in advance).
Fast forward to my conversation with the shipping company for the swingset:
Company Rep: “The soonest we can have a truck in your area is next Tuesday.”
Me: “Can you have the driver call me when he’s a half hour away, so I can go home and meet him?”
Company Rep: “Yes, we can do that.”
And this time around, I give the rep. both my office and cell number and ask him to call either of those since I won’t be home. So I’m out visiting clients Monday afternoon. When I return to the office, I’m told the delivery driver called pretty upset because I wasn’t at my house waiting for him. WHAT??????
Correct me if I’m wrong, but when did Monday and Tuesday become interchangeable days? Didn’t we confirm for Tuesday? And that isn’t the same as Monday right? Whew…thought I was losing it there for a moment.
Thankfully, my staff asked him if he had other deliveries and could swing back past my house. He agreed and said he’d be there by 5. It was more like 5:45.
And I’ll also point out that although I gave my cell and work numbers to the shipping companies, he didn’t call either. He called home.
By the time this was all over, my head was pounding. The whole experience was just plain crummy. And it didn’t have to be.
And that’s my point.
If the delivery companies had actually listened to me, how I wished to be communicated with, my availability, then I bet most of the issues would have never happened. We could have avoided ill will, headaches and some spikes in blood pressure.
Folks, quite honestly, we suck at listening. We need to do better. So, my question to you- “What’s it going to take before we up our game and make a concerted effort to actually listen, and not just hear, others?” Any examples you want to share, based on personal experience or otherwise?