A little less conversation…

21 Jul

I was actually off work last week so hadn’t intended to blog – but, I experienced something that made me think and reflect if I could be guilty of too much communication in the workplace. So, I thought I’d do a quick post about it.

I’d booked the week off to get round to those things that I just kept putting off until ‘tomorrow’. One of them being getting my car serviced. For some reason, it’s one of things that I really wish I didn’t have to do – I just can’t be bothered, it’s hassle and it always costs an arm and a leg. But, with all sorts of lights starting to flash in the car, along with some strange noises, I thought I’d book it in. So, with much trepidation, I organised for my car to be picked up from home on Monday morning between 9 and 12.

By about 11:30 am, my ‘man’ hadn’t arrived to pick it up so I thought I’d give the garage a quick ring. Several attempts later on navigating through the IVR and ending up in the wrong place, I got through to Tony, my extremely French ‘account manager’ who would be looking after me and my car.

He apologised profusely saying that the driver wasn’t too far away and that he’d contact me as he was about to arrive – strange I thought as I do have a doorbell – in fact I have two. Anyway, about 15 minutes later, Tony called (call #1) to say that my driver was round the corner. And, low and behold, he was right as within 5 minutes, my doorbell rang, my driver was here and off went my car.

About 30 minutes later, I received another call (call #2) from Tony to say my car had arrived safe and sound at the garage. Great, I thought but I’m not sure I really needed to know that. Oh well, at least he’s being conscientious.

I then set about getting ready as I was off for a trip to Windsor races. A couple of hours later, I got another call (call #3) from Tony to let me know that the car was mid-way through its service and all was going well. BUT…… I needed my indicator changing (£90!!!), my ignition was a bit dodgy (£50) and my front wheel was slightly damaged (£150!!!). That was all on top of the standard service charge of about £350!! After a good 10 minutes of Tony explaining why I needed to go through with each piece of work, I negotiated the indicator and the ignition – as I figured these would be the most likely to avoid hefty fines from the boys in blue! So, Tony agreed to go ahead with that additional work.

About half an hour after that, Tony called again (call #4) to say ask me when I wanted my car back. By then, I was on the river taxi from Windsor station to the race course, so I asked for it to be dropped off in the morning and for the key to be posted through the letter box.

Incidentally, I didn’t win a bean at the races – in fact, I lost on every race – which didn’t help the huge hole burnt in my pocket by my indicator!

The following morning, I had a missed call from Tony (call #5). He then tried again about 1 hour later (call #6) to tell me the car was ready to be delivered. No idea why he called as we’d already agreed it would be simply dropped off with the key posted through the letter box. Anyway, he was charming as usual and I thanked him for his help.

30 minutes or so on from then, I heard the key drop through the letter box. I checked outside, and there was my shiny serviced car in its usual spot. And, yes, you guessed it, within about another 30 minutes, Tony called again (call #7) to say my car had been dropped off. I obviously already knew that but made out I didn’t so as not to offend the lovely but by now rather annoying Tony.

And, I think the icing on the cake, was when I received ANOTHER call (call #8) about 2 hours later to ask me how I felt the service had gone!

So, in total, I received 8 calls from Tony where I’m sure I only needed a couple with perhaps a follow up email to ask for feedback.

Ok, I know they’re obviously following some sort of ‘customer experience’ process to ensure their customers are looked after, but, frankly, by call number 3, Tony’s French charm was starting to wear thin!

It’s amazing to think that one member of staff has to spend that much time and that the company are funding that many phone calls – surely that’s a bit OTT isn’t it? Especially when at least half the number would have been ok.

So, when I relate this to comms in the workplace…are we doing too much, are we doing it in the best way, are we spending time and/or money on the right things and, most importantly, are we getting on our employees’ nerves with too much noise?

I could obviously go on about the extreme opposite – ie no communication at all – but, can there be too much?

I’d be interested in your thoughts!



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