The other day I was reading a newsletter by a sales and marketing guru in which a contributor told an interesting story. Wanting to buy insurance, he called an agent. When informed the agent wasn’t in, he asked the assistant for the agent’s cell phone number. She wouldn’t give it out, so he said he would take his business elsewhere.
I commented, asking why he couldn’t just leave a message and await a call back within an hour or two. (He was buying insurance, after all.) Further, I said that I don’t give my cell phone number to clients because I don’t want to talk to them (or anyone) while I’m eating lunch or driving my car. In 20 years of business, no one has complained about my not being available at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m. In fact, clients say I’m very responsive to their needs.
Well, the guru himself sent me an email, saying, "People call me all over the world – they don’t care if I’m eating – and neither do I. I make myself available to my customers 24/7 – they love it (and respect it)." He then added this unsolicited advice: "Change your perspective, and you’ll change your income."
In my opinion, the only person who needs a cell phone attached at the hip 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a person who is waiting for a transplant. I am wondering what Mr. Guru does when he’s in a meeting with Client A. Does he accept a call from Client B? How does he drive his car while consulting his calendar and jotting down notes? And how does he talk with a tuna sandwich in his mouth?
What do you think? Are you available at all hours of the day and night? I would expect that someone specializing in crisis communications might HAVE to be on call at all times. But what about the rest of us doing internal or external communications or communications consulting?