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Friends Who Only Phone When They Want Something

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Friends Who Only Phone When They Want Something

friends who callI am sure that you, like me, have friends who only call when they want something. I recently realised I have become tired of phoning them to ask them out to places and they never proactively phone us. As I reflect I realise this really tells me what they think about us, which is clearly not very much! As a result I have come to the conclusion they aren’t really friends. If we have to make all the effort it doesn’t feel like it’s a productive, equal, fruitful relationship. It’s now all too much hassle and I feel disenchanted so, sadly, I now don’t bother calling them anymore. As a consequence we haven’t spoken for a while as they haven’t phoned me. I am sure we all have ‘friends’ like that.

Why am I telling you this story? I have just had a call from one of the charities to whom we contribute each month. If I am honest my reaction to the phone call was similar to the one I have when our ‘friends’ call.

The call started with them telling me how much they appreciated our regular donation and how the money we donate is being used well. But as they were talking I couldn’t help thinking ‘….any minute now you are going to ask me for more money’. I wasn’t disappointed. After the call I reflected on how I felt. I knew I should be thinking of the good the money was doing and I should think they are only trying to do more good by raising more money, but the reality was I felt disenchanted. I donate money regularly and the only call I get from them is asking for money – they only contact me when they want something.

The great Steven Covey talked about the concept of an emotional bank account. The concept is simple. People do positive and negative things to you. They do things to you that you like and make a deposit into your emotional bank account. There are also times when people don’t do things you like and make withdrawals from your emotional bank account. When I get calls like this from my ‘friend’ asking for something, he is making a withdrawal from my ‘emotional bank account’. When the account is at zero they go into overdraft and as that overdraft continues to increase I start to question if they are really friends, as surely this is meant to be a two way process.

The same applies with organizations and their Customer Experience. It seems that most organizations rarely invest in a real relationship with Customers. I believe companies and charities, should just call their Customers and say thanks and tell them how much they appreciate their custom/contribution and do nothing else on the call. This would make deposits in the Customers emotional bank account. Then when they phone and ask for more money, or tell them about a great deal they have I may listen to them a little longer and thus improve Customer retention and the charities/companies would gain more money. I would love to know if anyone has tried this approach….

By: Colin Shaw, CEO, Beyond Philosophy | Leading Customer Experience consultancy | Author | Training | Research | Keynote speaker

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