by Jack Warren, host of the Top Coach podcast
I was prompted to bring up a topic this week that I last visited in a column back in 2017. The message remains much the same, as the problem appears to be getting even worse. That is, an ever worsening gap in communication — namely, responses (or lack thereof). This is an issue that will have most of you nodding in agreement, as you’ve no doubt had this experience more than once in the recent past. However, as you’re sitting there nodding, you must ask yourself, am I guilty of the same behavior?
What brought this to mind recently was a sign I saw painted on the side of a household services company truck, which stated in large letters: “WE’RE THE COMPANY THAT CALLS YOU BACK!” Seriously? That needs to be said? Frankly (and unfortunately), yes. While it would appear that this is the equivalent of your favorite restaurant advertising, “We’re the restaurant that washes our dishes!”, it’s not so simple. The fact of the matter is a large percentage of service businesses will not call you back promptly or will not return your call at all. Recently, after sending 11 inquiries of various types to a drywall contractor, I began to think, “It must be nice to have so much business that you need not consider how you treat prospective customers.”
You all are in the customer service business. For most of you, your customers are made up of athletic departments, players, prospective players, parents, administrators, the media, equipment suppliers, fans, staff, and more. How good are you at communicating with your customers? What plans do you have in place to ensure that your communication is effective and timely without being all-consuming?
Communication these days is overwhelming. Most forms of modern communication require little effort. Even something as simple as a phone call 20 years ago required some measure of effort when it was landline to landline. And — get this — people used to have to write letters (ask your parents about that).
All that to say, it is so much easier to get a message from point A to point B these days. What that means, of course, is that the volume has increased significantly.
So what does that mean for you? Primarily it means that you must plan to attack your communications the same way you attack your practice plan, game plan, or staffing plan. Organize. Prioritize. Just because you got 40 emails, six voice messages, and three social media inquiries today doesn’t mean you should just ignore them and hope for the best. Implement a systematic approach to your communications as part of your daily routine. Find technological answers. Enlist help. Follow through.
You see, you are in the customer service business. Not answering your email and phone calls is a self-defeating strategy. Don’t complain about it. Figure it out. Be that person who says, “I’m the guy that returns your calls.”
Next week, let’s look at some strategies to help you navigate the communications onslaught.
Jack is available to speak to your team or organization or at your next function. He also provides individual and organizational coaching and consulting. You can get more information on these services at Jack’s professional services site, JackWWarren.com.