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I received one of those calls today from an energy company wanting me to have an energy audit on my home. It was obviously scripted because when I interrupted him and said “I have already had this done”, he continued on as if I had not said anything. I interrupted again and said “excuse me, I really don’t need this, I already have had an energy audit”, he moved into reciting the benefits again of doing one. Finally, in exasperation, I hung up while he was still talking. I don’t like to do that because I know telemarketing is a hard job and he was just doing his job, but he was doing it WRONG!

Does this ever happen to you? How does it make you feel? I can hear the scripted call as soon as they begin. Doesn’t matter what it is for – political vote, renew a subscription, clean my attic ducts, etc. As soon as I hear the robotic voice, I tune out.

The same automated performance happens in person too. I suppose the post office clerks have to ask the specific questions, but some do it much better than others. When I tell him upfront, I am mailing a book and then in the very next line he asks me if I am mailing anything liquid or perishable, I want to scream.

Animated people use voice tone to vary their questions, animated people pause and listen, animated people respond appropriately, and animated people treat customers like human beings, not just “next” in line.

Try calling into your business without telling the employee who answers the call who you are. Ask the typical routine, mundane questions your customers would ask and rate how she responds. If automated, do some training and coaching, if animated, congratulate and express appreciation.

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