Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let's Not Forget the Importance of a Phone Call

I recently received an e-mail invitation to moderate a panel discussion at a well-known industry event. It is an event I have spoken at before. I e-mailed the person back to say I was not quite ready to make a commitment. Time went by and the person e-mailed me again, this time framing the e-mail as if I had already committed to speaking and asking me to supply the name of the presentation I would be moderating. I e-mailed again to say that I was not quite ready to make a commitment. Time went by and I received another e-mail, this time saying that the deadline had passed and that the person needed to know when she should expect to receive all of the information from me for the presentation. Keep in mind that I still had not committed to attending the event!

What I was really waiting for was a phone call from the person to ask me to moderate the session. I thought I deserved at least that much after helping at the event in years past. I finally called the person and expressed my disappointment at not receiving a call. It was the protocol that I had expected and believe I deserved. I still have not made a final decision about participating.

Am I making too much out of nothing? What do you think? What would you do in this situation? Would you have felt hurt? My point in all of this is that we cannot forget how important a phone call is when dealing with a customer, a potential client, business partner, friend, or anyone for that matter. There are times when e-mail just does not cut it. Has e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging and all of the social networking tools out there gotten us to a point where we have forgotten how to communicate over the phone? I frequently deal with people who respond to my phone calls with e-mail. It bugs me to no end.

For goodness sake, we are in the hospitality business. Let's not forget the importance of a simple phone call. Your thoughts?

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