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Pick Up the Dang Phone

February 13, 2024

A few years back, ADDO was named the best place to work in Atlanta for consecutive years.

When asked how we did it, my most consistent response was “We don’t buy cheap toilet paper.” It was a funny response, but it was meant to illustrate a simple truth: We take good care of our people.

Today, I want to highlight another simple truth, but it has far reaching implications for our interactions with our clients and customers. Here it is: Pick up the dang phone.

If your organization delivers a product or service to clients and customers (I would say this is the majority of us), you have likely received an email expressing disappointment. Maybe they were unsatisfied with the product. Maybe they thought the service advertised wasn’t what they received. Maybe your response time wasn’t fast enough. 

Whatever the case may be, our natural reaction is to start drafting an email in response.  After all, this provides you ample time and space to think through and write out a counter-argument that defends your position. It sounds like a great plan, right?


When you receive bad news and need to respond…PICK UP THE DANG PHONE.

I recently saw a post on LinkedIn that unpacked the benefits of phone calls over emails. It explained that when a person makes a phone call in response to an email, they immediately establish a closer connection with the recipient and have natural tangential conversations that lead to more relational capital.

Not only do phone calls help to diffuse conflict, but they often reveal other underlying issues that may be exacerbating the situation.

You might think a client is upset about one thing, but then you learn something else is going on in their business that is causing strain. Or you may learn that the person who just sent the disgruntled email has a mom in the hospital and is going back and forth from the office to her bedside.

This principle doesn’t just apply to the corporate setting. 

This is true for the teacher who receives a disgruntled email from a parent about their child’s recent test grade: Pick up the phone.
This is true for the church leader who receives an email outlining the problems with the children’s ministry: Pick up the phone.
This is true for you when your sibling sends a passive aggressive text about your most recent holiday gathering: Pick up the phone.

Our relationships matter, inside and outside of the workplace. The best way to strengthen them and work through conflict, disagreement, and disappointment is to skip the impersonal email and text message response. . . and just pick up the dang phone.


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