Leave a Message at the Tone
My son is a recent college graduate.
Since his last year of school started, our phone has been inundated with calls from Student Loan Consolidation Services. They’re calling, asking for my son. Their objective is his business. His name is on some list of the class of 2007. They want to refinance what they assume to be my son’s school loans.
To say these calls are an irritant is to say that major dental surgery is not fun. It’s a relentless one-a-at-time water torture — daily ringing, the same hour, the same number. No message is left on the machine. Eventually we have to answer each one to make it stop.
The call routine is almost word-for-word predictable. The waste of time is pitiful. A bored caller goes through a call script, and we go through our own to get off the call list — the list we shouldn’t be on to start with.
Then this week, Maria called.
When I said, “Who’s calling?”
She said, “Are you his mother?” It was authentic and transparent. Imagine that. She wanted to know about the person — me — answering the phone.
Before she got much further, I had to ask her name, thank her, tell her how nice that was.
We had a great conversation. She asked my son’s situation. She told me two things she liked about what she had to offer and why she believed in it. We both knew it wasn’t my decision.
Then, I did something I’ve never done before. I asked a telemarketer if I could have her number. I took it down and gave it to my son. One day later, I explained to him why he should call her.
Maria, the caller from National Student Loan Division, deserves this mention. She made me a person, when her whole industry had made me a target.
Thank you, Maria.
Yeah, I’m thinking it’s sad that I find this remarkable.
I’m also thinking that maybe if we tell everyone . . . Maria might be the first and the only.
[Please know that this is not an endorsement of the company or a recommendation of their financing. I have not done the research. This is as statement of an outstanding example of customer relationships.]
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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See the Customer Think Series on the Successful Series page.