Mobile phone etiquette is a little out of left field today, but I want you to stay with me on this one. It's important because I'm seeing a lot of glaring issues that most network marketers and home based business owners have that need to be addressed. Mainly, it revolves around the fact that I believe we treat our customers and prospects differently than everyone else, and that's a crime when it comes to mobile phone etiquette.
Why should you care about this? Simple, because your public image and professionalism is at stake if you don't follow my rules for mobile phone etiquette!
I've categorized the 3 dis-services we do to proper mobile phone etiquette for entrepreneurs:
1) Violation #1: failing to return communication in a timely manner
Mobile phone etiquette is understanding that CALLS are the primary purpose of a cell phone. Not text. Note internet browsing. Not email. CALLS! So if your business partner, prospect, or customer calls you, get on the phone and call them back! Return every phone call, because in this day and age, if they are calling you, it's probably something that needs immediate attention.
A bad habit I see is that once people listen to voicemails, they immediately delete them with the intention of calling people back. It's almost like a trained motor response to push "7" on the dialpad. The problem is that once they delete it, they forget the number, or get distracted, and thus, no call back. Only delete messages if you have the information recorded to be used as a reminder.
Call your people back within 24 hours if you're busy. I always call back within, at most, 2-3 hours. Sorry, but if you're an entrepreneur, your business is open all the time.
For emails and texts, I apply this rule of thumb: within 48 hours. People are busy, and so are you. If you're available and not on vacation, be a professional and RESPOND!
I immediately disqualify people if it takes them 3 days to respond, unless there is valid reason (no smartphone, vacation, and family emergency are the only 3 reasons I will allow). It's a complete ignorance of mobile phone etiquette. You don't want your time to be wasted, so why waste theirs by leaving them hanging?
2) Violation #2: failing to understand your prospect's communication style
Mobile phone etiquette also revolves around something a bit more advanced: understanding your audience. As an entrepreneur, you need to understand the rhythm of doing business. One of those facets is being able to decipher the preferred mode of contact of the convesation participant on the other end of the communication. On top of that, you want to emulate your prospect's communication "language".
What do I mean? It's more than just replying to whatever is thrown at you. For me, when I receive a text or email, I immediately pick up on my person's communication style and try to emulate it back to them, while maintaining professionalism and structure.
I escalate communication to an immediate phone call if there is urgency. You should too. As a leader, you have to take charge and resolve issues in the quickest and most efficient method possible. Wasting time texting an answer when a call is faster to explain something is inefficient use of time. Remember, time is more valuable than money.
3) Violation #3: failure to confirm
I've worked in customer service for quite some time, and a habit that many people fail at is confirmation.
In terms of mobile phone etiquette, there is absolutely no excuse to fail to confirm a task, project, or request from another party. All you need is an "ok" or "got it" or "will do" to resolve the issue via email or text. This is telling your people that you are committing to getting something done, and you acknowledge that they are of concern to you.
People who fail to acknowledge generally don't get things done efficiently. It's basically saying "maybe, when I get to it". As an entrepreneur, you don't run off "maybes". It's a yes or no business. I am a taskmaster, so if you can't get something done, I will find someone who will, or I will do it myself.
Relying on unreliant people will ruin your business and reputation.
Mobile phone etiquette is merely just a list of habits that we integrate in to how we communicate with others. Just like eating dinner at a fancy restaurant, or driving, it's a result of practice and inherent integration. Take note of yourself when you communicate next time. If you are lacking in any of these categories, make it a point to rectify it. It could be damaging your image more than you think.
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