Customer Service Hang Ups

hanging phoneIf you are tempted to think that how you handle in-coming calls as a business isn’t top priority…think again.

I had an experience recently to prove my point.

I called into a big box company to try and order a waterfall for my backyard.  I don’t want to mention names but I’ll give you a hint…it wasn’t Home Depot.

The department I wanted to reach wasn’t listed in the company’s phone directory, so I hit zero for the Operator. After not one, not two, but count them…five attempts to get through without being cut off, misdirected or simply left holding a ringing phone, I finally found someone to help me.

As I was wading through my five attempts to complete what should have been a very simple and straight-forward request, I made the decision to cross this company off my list of potential vendors to hire for remodeling a rental property I was preparing for market.

WOW! That’s the power that lies in the balance between a well-handled call and a bungled one.  All told, as a rough estimate, I could have easily thrown over $10,000 their way in remodeling business, but I won’t be doing any contract business with them at all. That sale (and future sales) was lost while I was on interminable hold. I figured, “Hey, if trying to buy a waterfall is this hard, what hell would I be in for, if I decided to remodel a bathroom with these people?”

This is EXACTLY what YOUR customers are thinking when they are on eternal hold…they start to question you as a company and then they start to question whether you are worthy of their business, since you seem so willing to waste their valuable time. It’s in this moment that they may decide that it’s time to find another vendor/contractor/supplier/retailer, etc. altogether.

How my call is handled speaks VOLUMES about the quality of the infrastructure within your organization and its overall dedication to providing great customer care from points A to Z.

So the next time the phone rings, answer it as if your paycheck depends on it. It does.

P.S. I decided not to buy the waterfall.

Karyn Ruth White is an Organizational Humorist, Funny Keynote Speaker, Comedian, Author and Speech Coach. When you call her office you will be handled with care, either by Karyn Ruth personally, or by her trusty assistant, Ms. Voicemail. (Quick responses promised.) Visit her at, email her at or if you’re feeling brave, give her a call at 303-369-8277.


February Blog Series   Theme: Heart At Work

#3) …And They Call It Vendor Love…

Do you treat your vendors with the same love, attention and respect you give to your customers?

How an organization treats its vendors tells me quicker than any Mission Statement on the wall, where the true values of the company lie.

I have been on both sides of the Vendor Desk. I have hired vendors for large companies and for the past 25 years I have owned my own business and have been a consultant (vendor) to many Fortune 100 and 500 Companies.

Here is what I have learned.  The bigger the company, oftentimes the more frustrating the vendor process. 

I am happy to report that an exception to that rule and a glowing example of how a large corporation can run like a well-oiled machine is Home Depot. (

I work with them as a consultant, and from day one have been treated with the utmost respect and immediately made to feel like a valued member of the Orange Team.

Without your trusted vendors your business wouldn’t be able to function. So, it is in your best interest to treat them well.

Trust is a two-way street, treating people shabbily is a dead-end.

Here’s a newsflash…vendors are like teeth…ignore them and they will go away!

My personal business philosophy is to make sure that my vendors are paid promptly every time.  I make a point to tell them frequently how much I appreciate them and I continue to reward them with my business.  And guess what? When I need something…they have my back.  They are there day or night willing to go to work to help me shine. That is a beautiful thing!

If you want to get a read on how well (or not) you are treating your vendors…imagine this…

You see a very important prospect getting into the elevator with your smallest vendor.  Are you nervous about what might be revealed about you and your organization during their conversation ?  What would your smallest vendor say to your prospect about how you treat people and how you do business?  Would they win the prospect’s business or sabotage it? 

This is how important vendor relations are to your business. Your expensive marketing campaign, shiny brand launch and snazzy PR can all be annihilated by one unhappy vendor. 

So hug a vendor today, pick up the phone and let them know how much you appreciate them, send a gift or better yet…send them that overdue check they’ve been waiting for!

Karyn Ruth White is a Motivational Comedian, Humorist, Funny Keynote Presenter and Author. Her presentation style is high energy, clean, clever and very funny. She headlines conferences throughout the U.S.  Check out her Programs at For speaking inquiries, go to or email or call 303-369-8277.  For daily hope and humor follow her on Twitter @karynruth.