You are my customer and I am yours

Why is it people do not respond to telephone calls, email communications, or requests for meetings? Some take weeks to respond and others do not respond at all. It’s a source of frustration across most non-profit organisations – internally and externally – when people make contact with others and there is no response or the response takes days or weeks. The frustration is within our non-profit team members and also between non-profits and suppliers. We hear excuses like “I am flat out”, “I have been really busy”, “My schedule has been nuts”, etc.

Yet, these same people who are non-responsive often times expect others to be responsive to one another. They have a different standard for others than they have for themselves.

There may be legitimate reasons – holidays, meetings, and other tasks. These can be managed via out of office messages or other outbound notifications to set expectations. It’s the radio silence that is aggravating to people. The unknown.

You are my customer and I am your customer. We need to treat one another as customers. We ought to set service level agreements or standards of communication whereby we pledge to ourselves, and others, to be responsive in a certain length of time for online and offline communications. We can’t expect people to adhere to our standards when we do not have them for ourselves.