If I call you, will you call me back?

Shop Girl by Kitty Kaufman

How many phone calls do you get? Think about it but I don't need to know the number. All I really want to know is: if I call you, will you call me back?

My friend Mike and I always talk about who doesn't call back even when we use our cheerful voices and repeat our phone numbers. Still, no one calls back. Not even the lawyer who, for many thousands of dollars and an impressive retainer, could get you a divorce. If only she would call back.

It is not just people who offer a service that won't. And I could see why some of them might drag their feet in the callback that involves a clogged sink. Or worse. Sadly, none of this does anything to explain the merchant with a 0 handbag I can't live without, who doesn't call back and who, after all, is in business to sell things for money.

There was a time and it's not so long ago, when everyone did. If you didn't want to actually talk, you could call when I was out. You'd leave a message and then the whole thing was back on me. Which I now understand, when I finally do get you on the phone and how I know you know I've been calling, I hear: "We're playing phone tag."

This is a true story. A friend who worked at a publicly-traded company told me her customers were simply stunned when their calls were returned even when they were reporting a problem. After she got over her own astonishment at being thanked, she said: "I always call back." And they assured her that no, no one ever calls back. Interestingly, the company said she was "spending too much time on customer service." Of course.

So here we are. You could look at it this way: the call could be from someone who actually wants to buy something from you. I mean, really, is there anyone out there with that much business? Call me.

© December 1, 2006
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