I began a little experiment today. I was back from my wonderful week long, blackberry free vacation and was determined to turn over a new leaf. After reading Simon Meth's recent posting, Should You Return All Voice Mail?, I was going to see what it was like to really do that, return all voice mails, not leave any loose ends out there and head off some unwanted repeat, "you probably didn't get my last message" messages.
How did it go? Well, I had an in-box about 12 inches thick with just about every page waiting for my signature, my wonderful boss (truly) updating me on the progress she made on actions I really should be taking care of but for my sheer workload madness (much guilt), 513 uncharted e-mails to read (remember, blackberry free for one-week), a very tired looking staff who needed some of my attention (had none to spare), oh and a child with a possible "throw up germ" napping on my office floor.
Bright spot, only 7 phone messages with 2 hang-ups (yeah). 4 internal that I was unable to connect with today but will first thing in the morning and 1 external. The external was an advertising rep from USAToday who felt it was imperative that I return his call because he absolutely must to speak with me soon, very soon. Let's see, we don't advertise with USAToday, have told them in the past that this little Midwest medical center is not interested in their paper, his imperative definitely did not meet my definition and really, I did not need to speak with him and frankly, I did not want to speak with him.
But you know, I was turning over a new leaf, one return call could eliminate many others. But you know, he didn't get the message the last time why would I think he would get it this time? What if I just try? One more time?
My little experiment crashed and burned at 10:13 a.m. CST as I hit #6 and deleted the message. Maybe I should change my message . . . ."Beep, please leave a message unless I have told you before that I am not interested and in that case, save us both a little bit of time and hang up the phone, now. Oh, and by the way, please don't call my medical center director and then tell me that you spoke to him and he expects me to talk to you (I talk to him more than you do certain third party recruiter who shall remain nameless) because this is definitely a battle you will not win."
I won't return all voice mails but I will return, or ensure someone in my office returns, every call or contact I receive from a customer or stakeholder. That you can depend on. "Beep"