Friday afternoon a tree fell in our back yard taking out power, and our bundled tv/modem/telephone cable. Naturally we started calling service providers. The power company was out in minutes, and we were fortunate to find an electrician who would come out in short order. The cable company was another matter. Strange that a company with “communication” as a part of its name is so poor at it. (I’m not angry enough to put the name of the company in this post.) Here’s what happened:

  1. I got an answering machine and went through a very extensive menu which didn’t include, “press 5 if  a tree has removed the cable from your house.”
  2. I chose an option, and learned that my wait-time would be approximately one minute! Yay! About five minutes and several annoying commercials for their service later, I got an announcement “We are experiencing unusually heavy number of calls. You may want to hang up and call back later.”
  3. Back to the bad music and the commercials, and most annoyingly a suggestion that I could probably get my problem solved if I would just log onto their website! (I would if I could, jerk!)
  4. 20 minutes later I spoke to an actual person, who wanted to know the last four of my Social Security Number before he would tell me that someone would be out soon. He hung up.
  5. Saturday, I wanted to leave the house and decided to call and find out if I had to be present when they came to hook up the cable. Repeat 1 through 4 except before hanging up the person explained that it would be Monday before they came to reconnect the service. When I asked why so long, she said, there were a lot of people who have phone service with us and we have to serve them first.

 “I have phone service with you.” I shouted.

“Oh,” she asked, is it working?”

“No Ma’m, the line in on the ground, under a tree.”

Well long story short, because I had phone service with them I was placed on their priority list, and a very professional technician came and re-attached the cable. But It got me to thinking about communication, and lessons learned from this experience. At Laugh2Learn we have several exercises to help improve communication skills but we don’t list a bunch of rules. But here are some rules to think about based on my experience with the cable company:

  1. Be present. You are a person and not a machine, so you are already ahead in this department. But you can be really present and listen.
  2. Be honest. If you can’t deal with a co-worker or customer’s issues right away, give a realistic time frame. And keep it.
  3. When someone is angry with you is not a good time to tell them how good you are. If you want them to think you are good, deal with their problem.
  4. If you want all of your employees to be good communicators, call Laugh2Learn. I promise you will speak to a real person!



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