Rediscover the power of phone calls, says Reality Training managing director Bob Morrell

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve talked to many travel people going through turbulent times. The value of a quality conversation cannot be overstated. To sit, ask, listen, consider, re-state and challenge gets us thinking and engages the positive elements in our brains. When times are stressful, then coaching helps us get our thinking into a clearer form.

I think what John and Irene Hays have done, apart from saving thousands of jobs, is to put a value on the conversations that agents have with customers, and by continuing their travel shops they ensure that customers can value that experience too.

Most of us do the following:

1. We focus on emails
2. We avoid unplanned conversations
3. We arrange ‘meetings’
4. We cut off conversations to prioritise emails
5. We measure productivity, digitally
6. We turn our phones ringers off
7. We never expect people to answer their phones
8. We assume we won’t get through to people
9. We don’t leave messages
10. We’ve forgotten how to leave great messages

Not so long ago we would all telephone people, and agents still have to do that, so they totally get the importance of conversations, they can’t ask the customer to wait for a reply to an email.

Emails are a great business tool, but you can’t create a relationship with email. You can’t speak to someone, and argue, help, coach, counsel or persuade them, effectively through email.

And those of us who turn our incoming lines off, or have our phones permanently on silent, and actively avoid unplanned phone calls – just think about what you could be missing! Not every call you receive is offering you something you don’t want, or something you don’t have time for. It could be the best call you take all day! Or try ringing someone out of the blue – it could be the best call you make all day.