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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.