Use Your Telephone to Save Yourself & Everyone a lot of Unnecessary Aggravation! (written July, 1994)

What do I mean? I highly recommend you start utilizing your telephone so that when you deal with people, there can not be any miss-communications.  I have found that in my many years of doing business by mail, the only times I have had misunderstandings are with people whom I never spoke with first. The people who feel cheated and accuse others of things never spoke to me first. Guys & Girls – I am here most everyday except the weekends and the telephone rates are certainly cheap enough. I mean a 10 minute telephone call from California to New York will cost you less than a dollar.  I personally have never done business with anyone that I didn’t speak to first – what does that tell you? To Use Your Telephone to Save Yourself & Everyone a lot of Unnecessary Aggravation!

Please allow me to give you a few examples: #1) The other day a guy sends me a very nasty letter accusing me of everything under the sun.  His letter started something like this, “Since you didn’t answer my first letter, I know you are a scam artist who doesn’t do what he says….etc…”  You get the gist.  First off, I never got this guy’s first letter, so whatever he said in that letter, who knows?  What this guy should of done is maybe pick up his telephone and say, “Hey Larribe, you didn’t answered my first letter and it has been over two weeks now – what’s up?”  Sounds reasonable to me – how about you?  I would reply, “I didn’t get your first letter, but while you got this knucklehead on the line, what is up?”  I don’t know about you, but that seems very simple, straight forward, polite and reasonable to me – and very quick to boot!!  Do you think it is a little more professional and just a tad bit better scenario than the first try? I suggest we all start trying this method! It works! #2) Another time not too long ago, I got a letter from a lady who tells me that what I mailed to her was offensive. That’s OK by m – she’s certainly entitled to her opinion. No Problem!! But wait – it gets better. Her next paragraph seems to ream me a new behind with accusations based on the offensive stuff she believes I sent to her.  This lady never did any business with me, didn’t know me from Adam, yet she spent an entire handwritten page accusing me of everything under the sun!!  Seems unproductive to me. Well I wrote her back to advise her that I appreciated her expressing her opinion about what I mailed because it helps me understand my target audience, however, I didn’t appreciate her opinion regarding my character as she didn’t know me. I thought what I wrote was very professional, understanding, polite and to the point!  No insults!!  Well lo and behold, I got a second letter from this woman and this one was even more insulting than her first one.  According to her letter, she is more offended than ever than I didn’t apologize to her. What can I say?  I called information and got her number and left a very detailed, polite and explanatory message on her answering machine and explained that though she is entitled to her opinion, so am I. I have no rhyme or reason to apologize because I did not do anything wrong.  Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I have to apologize.  We are all entitled to our opinions and that is what makes our country great!!! Opinions are great. Slander is illegal!! Guess what? A third letter arrived – even more ridiculously offensive and threatening this time than the combination of her first two.  What’s the point?  All she had to do was call me and tell me that the mailing I sent her was offensive.  I would have advised her that I am sorry and I will do my hardest not to let it happen again. That is a lot less aggravating and a lot quicker!! And Cheaper!!  3 letters cost her valuable time to write them out and at least 89 cents postage. A 2 minute telephone call would have taken 2 minutes of her time and about 20 cents.  Seems to me many of us our not utilizing technology and communication.

What’s my point?  Who really knows? Oh yea, that’s right – Be a Professional and use your telephone.  I get two buckets of mail everyday and I am sure some of it gets lost from time to time. Keep in mind also that mail is sometimes delivered slowly – even by first class mail.  So always allow a few weeks for a reply.  Or better yet, just call in a week to make sure your order or your letter was received. Give people the benefit of the doubt.  You can save us both time and aggravation if you simple pick up the telephone, act professional, and ask ‘em, “What is up?”  Not only that, you may find out that I am a very nice guy.  I have met so many great people over the telephone in this business. Basically, I would have no friends at all if you didn’t call me. So just pick up the telephone now instead of writing that letter and save yourself time, aggravation, and all misunderstandings!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.