Do you remember the last time you called a big company and got stuck in their voice mail system that left you feeling you were in the Twilight Zone? Just this morning, I spent at least 45 minutes on the phone with Dell, speaking to 4 different people on at least three different continents trying to figure out how to buy two notebooks. Alan Weiss, the famed consultant and speaker, always says “Make it easy for the customer to buy”. Geez! I found myself screaming at my phone begging to talk to a real person. The phone just kept telling me that wasn’t an option.

Last Friday, I went online to buy a notebook for me and one for my daughter, Mindy who is going away to college. I have a Dell Business account so I wanted to purchase them with that. The system didn’t recognize me because I wasn’t a “personal” customer, so I had to wait through the weekend to talk to the business office. Between the phone and the “real” people I talked to, I got transferred, switched and stymied all over the place until I reached a guy named Guy (really). The guy named Guy figured out that my orders needed to be re-built into the business section because, well I guess the “personal” and “business” side of Dell must have as hard a time communicating with each other as their customers do! Bottom line…Guy could fix the problem (I think. I haven’t heard back from him yet as I write this article). I guess Dell is lucky I have a business account with them or else I would have taken my business elsewhere.

This is a great lesson in communications and customer service. If you’re in the business world, make it easy for your customer to buy AND to talk to a real live person. Technology is great but the advent of convoluted answering services has really made personal communications much more difficult. In the end, that’s how we build relationships and sell more of our wares. This has made me look at my distribution system to make sure I’m client-friendly. Perhaps it’s a good time for you to look at yours, too.

P.S. Want to learn how adding humor to your business marketing and practices will make you more attractive to customers? Why don’t you sign up for my workshop with Sandra Kolb on Tuesday, October 23rd in Bremerton, WA? Click here to learn more. You can also buy the book Laugh and Get Rich by Darren LaCroix and Rick Segal. It’s a groundbreaking look at how humor will leave you laughing all the way to the bank while having fun yourself. What a concept! Click here to learn more.

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