Just stop it!Joe Cornoe-mail auto response, train, consult, standard operations procedure How I prepare when a company hires me to train and consult on fraud is I pick up the phone and dial their number. I dial it until I get to speak with almost every originator who represents the company. I play the role of a potential borrower and ask questions like: "I am not actually going to live in it, but I want to take a second home loan out on it - is that OK?" I may ask: "Can I state more than I actually earn on the stated application?" Now, I do not call them myself. I have paid people to do such for me and tally up the results. After the "I want to add the brother-in-law, even though he will not be an actual occupant," and the "It is going to be a vacation home - not!" are tallied up, I have a strong basis for precise training. Oh, let's not neglect management. If the originator does fare well from verbal inquisition, my caller requests to speak to management. The next phrase is: "If I cannot lie about my income - the occupancy, who are the actual borrowers, etc. - then I am taking my business elsewhere!" Depending on the response indicator, being stellar or in the dirt, I contact an attorney friend of mine to go pay the lender a visit because they need his services. His job is to sue lenders for wrongful practices. He is making a great living on just lender fraud. I attempt to send him in and show the costs of doing business poorly before the company gets sued. I have three words: just stop it! This article is not going to delve into the evils of poor business practices in a way that other articles attempt. This article is going to show you how idiotic you are in doing such business practices. Let's take e-mail auto response, for example. When someone e-mails you requesting some manner of resolve on something, pick the most correct multiple choice answer: A. He is very interested that you are out of the office. B. He is very appreciative that you only return calls twice daily. C. He loves that you take care of yourself and not him. D. He wants a response to his situation, not yours. I know when we format the question in such a manner, we really are idiotic in the voice-messaging that we leave. If he phrased his e-mail to express that he did not write you to discover that you are out of the office, on vacation, have prescribed periods (six out of eight hours a day) where you are a jerk in customer service, you may wish to re-think your e-mail messages. After all, e-mailing is to be easier, faster and not tie up other communication services. The best e-mail response, to be a true and certifiable idiot, is: I am on vacation, so please call my assistant at (888) 555-5555. Oh, this has miraculously transformed e-mailing into degrading phone call voice-messaging and auto receptionist recordings explaining that the assistant is "out of the office." I have three words: just stop it! I am not writing this article to find out what you are doing, when you leave on vacation or to have your assistant read it. Suppose a customer is attempting to refer over a neighbor/friend for a loan. He receives your auto e-mail explaining that you are on vacation and to call Peter. He calls Peter and gets a recorded message that he is on the phone or, worse yet, out of the office. Wow! Why would your customer go anywhere else? You just degraded from rude to being stupid. Rude was using e-mail responses to tell people what you want to tell them when they e-mail you. Stupid is having the customer call your competition when he gets angry at you for being such a fool. You effectively take care of yourself with blatant disregard for the customer. You know, the people who pay for your vacations. I am out of the office more than 209 days a year. I have several options for being able to serve my clientele. First: I answer my phone when it rings. Wow! What a novel approach. I get paid for training such one-liners. When a call comes in, my staff knows that I will take the call - period. When the caller is sent to voice-messaging, I do not excuse my existence. No one hears that I am training a class, traveling, etc. They hear my voice and I will return their call as soon as it is possible. The coaches who train you to schedule your return calls by telling the callers when you return calls are not training customer service. Let me support this with the following statement: It is self-serving to have an auto play response as part of your operational procedures. Three words: just stop it! Options to refrain from idiocy include a PDA device, laptop computer, hotel business center, internal airport device, wireless card and internet café. Shoot, even libraries could be a communication hub. However, there is one great source that can lift your communication burden. I am always amazed at the amount of originators earning six-digit incomes in this industry. These same originators complain to management and trainers that they have to deal with so much paper work. These same people are dollars waiting on dimes. This means that instead of hiring and paying a part-time assistant to manage the paperwork, they waste dollars spending their time on dime items. The opportunity to earn more and make the assistant full-time vanishes as their angry customer goes down the street. The new originator is idiotic enough to lose them to yet another and lose any repeat, two-peat, three-peat business because they lose dollars doing dime functions. Three words. Are you getting the message? An assistant can realistically and completely respond when someone sends you an e-mail. At worst, he can screen and forward ones that he cannot take care of. This is called "filtering," without having your customer know that you are filtering messages. If your customer requests an immediate response and the assistant immediately responds with: "He cannot respond right now," get a new assistant because he is an idiot, like you were. You are dealing with timed documents, timed escrows, timed contracts and timed paychecks for others involved in the transaction besides you. I train how to always be communicating and ahead of time, but you may simply need a cold wet rag in the face at this point. Here it is, you already know it and it is your responsibility to make it happen. Change your standard operations procedure to fit your job description. I am sure that this article may offend some of the sensitive readership. They will retain idiotic past-proven pitfalls and dungeons for operations that will miss business opportunities and have attorneys calling. However, other readers will take this article as a wake-up call to explore and expand on additional business opportunities. Who are these readers? One word: competition. Joe Corno is president of Utah-based We Be Consulting and Seminars. He may be reached at (801) 836-2077 or e-mail [email protected].