Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Yesterday was an interesting day. I had two appointments. A friend also had two appointments. Both of her appointments cancelled. My first appointment did not show up, no call or contact prior. (She did message later and apologized profusely. Mistakes happen, no big deal, we will reschedule!) Then I had to cancel my second appointment because something big came up and I couldn't say no!
But, regardless, out of 4 appointments, zero actually happened. It got me thinking about how we communicate. All 4 appointments were set up via texting or messaging online. Does the fact that we have no actual conversation make it easier to cancel and/or forget? Salespeople use the phone to sell for a reason, right? They contact people on the phone to make an impact, a connection. People are more likely to remember you and have more of a need to be loyal when they have personal contact with you.
So, is that why it's so easy to just not show up for an appointment or to cancel? Do we perceive written communication with less importance than verbal communication? Years ago, I feel the opposite was true. If I got a letter in the mail (written communication), it held a high level of importance. And, actually a letter still feels important to me. I believe it's the quick, electronic written communication that is the issue. The anonymity, that the internet affords, influences the credence we place on the message, both as sender and receiver of a message.
This is evident in people's personal lives. I just read an article discussing the acts that constitute cheating in a relationship. The debate included electronic communication and when boundaries were crossed. In the survey, many people felt that any questionable communication was, indeed, cheating, while others responded with a response similar to "it was just a message, I've never even seen the person." The survey was about 60/40 as to whether or not electronic communication constituted cheating. Regardless of which side you land on, it's evident that we, as a society, aren't completely clear.
I think in business, we must be clear. Communication is key and if we choose to communicate via electronic means, then we also need to treat it as important as other methods of communication. If you agree to a meeting via text, that should hold the same importance as agreeing by phone or email.
How do you prefer to communicate for business? How do you set appointments? Do you ask your clients their preferred method of communication?
-Any communication is communication...don't forget that tidbit.
-If you make an appointment by any means, put it on your calendar.
-If you make an appointment, understand the other person is carving time out of their day for you. Keep the appointment if you can.
-If something comes up, weigh the two choices and only cancel if the other option is unavoidable or something you just can't pass by.
-If you have to cancel, make sure you contact the person, apologize and ask to reschedule. Otherwise, it just feels like you never wanted to meet in the first place.
-Finally, keep the rescheduled appointment. Once is understandable, twice is questionable.