A close friend read this blog to be and said: ”kind of a downer.  Can you reverse-engineer it so there’s a story of someone who returned a call promptly and something great happened?”  I emailed back that “sometimes a downer is good for people.  It may help them reflect on their own behavior….”

It has been my experience, that there are far too many instances to recount of people not reaching out to each other, even in business situations….

Having worked in the service industry so long, especially marketing communication groups, I‘ve seen the human mistreatment up close.  It always reminds me of the comment by Charles Dickens when he was talking about children:  “aren’t they people, too?”

It goes both ways.  I got a voice mail the other day:  “Tom, are you mad at me?  I have called you three times and you haven’t called me back nor have you responded to my emails.”

But, oh, there are so many times that I have reached out and it is as if the voice mail, the email, even the letter went nowhere.  Hello?

What has happened to us?  Is it because at one time we had secretaries or assistants or the desk next to us (or the mom and dad) that had to answer the phone and take a message that compelled us to communicate “back?”

And with email, it takes….s-e-c-o-n-d-s….you hit reply (or type in their email address) and simply say “got your message, am tied up, let me get back to you, thanks.”  Communication is reciprocated.

I remember once trying to set up a new business appointment for a client who had been the college roommate of an owner of a large Dallas corporation.   “Tom, Dan said for us to call Joann, who is the Marketing Director, to set up an appointment for me to show our capabilities.”  I called and called and, of course, I referred to the owner’s request for her to visit with my client.  All these calls went to voice mail.  No return phone calls for weeks, yes….weeks.  I then called Dan, the owner, and indicated that I was having trouble reaching his Marketing Director.  He put me on hold, walked down the hall and then came back and said, “how about next Tuesday at 10 o’clock?”   When my client and I met with the Marketing Director, I noticed that she did not have a phone on her desk.  It was across the room on a conference table.  I asked her about that and she proudly said, “oh, I never answer my phone and sometimes I never check voice mail.” 

I have a client in Houston, a large agency, and he always seems to take my calls, even leaving a conference room to say, “hey, Bud…can’t talk now….can I call you back?”   That is special.  And, as I understand it, he has always been that way and this has kept him in high esteem with all those that know him.

The people’s  touch….where has it gone for so many of us?