Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Simple Actions Still Count

For a long-time, I’ve had a simple yet effective practice. When someone calls me and leaves a message, I return their call or email them a response. It is almost a lost art in our culture or so it seems to me.

I meet many authors in my travels and offer to help them with their book publishing needs through our robust publishing efforts at Morgan James Publishing. We receive over 5,000 submissions a year and have a publication board where I champion books for authors. The process is selective and we only publish about 150 to 200 titles each year. I’m actively looking for great book proposals and manuscripts. As a part of my search for quality materials, I will email and/or call authors to find out how things are going with their book or ask about the update on their book project. Many times the person will never respond through email or phone. 

I understand we live busy lives but there seems to be a basic courtesy for returning calls which is missing from many people.

I’d like to know if the author has set their book concept aside for now or if something else has happened in their life. Without any response through email or phone, I’m left to wonder.

I recommend you use the tools which are available on your phone to make this process effective and efficient. For example, consider the feature of forwarding your phone number. Do you use it?

It is part of my standard practice whenever I leave my office that I forward my office phone to my cell phone. If someone calls my office phone it rings my cell. If I’m unavailable then the person can leave a message.

For example, at the moment I’m writing this article in an airplane and my cell phone is turned off. When the plane lands, I turn my phone on and any messages will show up. I will listen to these messages and return my calls. It seems like a straightforward business practice to me. Yet the longer I’m in business, the fewer people who seem to practice this simple customer service action. 

Maybe one of you can leave a comment and explain it to me since I believe it is the proper way to conduct business. These simple actions like answering email and phone calls make a large impression.
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4 Comment:

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Audrey Left a note...

Terry, I can't speak for others but I was taught to return all kinds of messages and inquiries. If some day I am blessed enough to send a script to you that you are interested in...believe me, I will return any messages you send my way. Opportunities aren't limitless, and only a foolish person would pass one by. As always, thanks for sharing yourself with us!

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Peter DeHaan Left a note...

Email spam trained people to just press delete. Once they learned that, they applied it to voicemail, too. Then it expanded from there.

Of course email delivery is not 100% reliable, so it might sometimes be a technical issue and not an etiquette issue.

What frustrates me is the phone call: "Did you get my email?" and the email: "Did you get my voicemail?"

At 5:21 AM, Blogger MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA Left a note...

Terry, I totally agree with you that common courtesy seems to be a lost art these days. Thank you for addressing this increasingly common problem.



At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

b/c people are overwhelmed, self-interested, or unschooled? not sure. but i noticed more slow drivers putter in the fast lane and "no problem" has replaced "thank you." jesus holds me to a higher standard. about the no-call-back issue...at least it narrows the possibilies of who needs to be in your life.


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