Keep Your Promise – Phone Back When You Say You Will



I rang a consultant’s secretary at our local hospital for the 4th time this afternoon. I phoned and left two messages last week, she didn’t get back to me. The 3rd call last Thursday she actually answered the telephone.

I was requesting some information from her and left it in her hands to get back to me with an answer. I left her my telephone number and my email address.

I had to call again for the 4th time this afternoon.

I could tell by the way the conversation went that she hadn’t done what was asked of her. No apologies, no reasons why, just that she hadn’t done it and with another empty promise she would look into it and get back to me. She actually tried to put the blame onto someone else which I felt was unfair as I had left the query with her and not a 3rd person.

By this time I was getting rather frustrated. I need to have this information so I can act accordingly. Had I voiced my annoyance that she hadn’t done the task asked of her she would have probably taken offence and the good communication we have had so far would be broken.

Will I have to ring a 5th time? I suspect I will and quite possibly she will be the one who will start to get frustrated with me – because to her it seems that I am always on the phone to her. I could possibly turn into one of those people who vent their frustration over the telephone, something that really go against anything that I believe in – but there is a limit.

Do I go over her head and speak to her supervisor or line manager? I could but I don’t really want to turn this into a complaint – yet!

Whilst I appreciate she is probably very busy, she had taken voicemails from 2 calls, and two telephone conversations all of which has taken up time, my time and her time. Had she dealt with this sooner I would not be bothering her as much as I have. I use the word “bothering her” as that is probably what she feels I am now.

I ask myself how many other people are having a similar experience and what a completely waste of time.

I feel that I am a fairly calm person, I think I need to be in my job, but there are plenty of other people who would not be quite so calm. If someone else was in my shoes they might not be quite so understand about the situation. This could have resulted in one angry caller, and one very upset secretary.

If you received a call and you promise to get back to the caller please ensure that you do, even if it is to say that you do not have what they are looking for but you are dealing with it. That’s all that is needed.

It is also important that if you expect someone to call you back that you are available to take the call, if you know that you might be tied up with other things you could ask them to leave a message.

Communication is vital; let people know what is happening at all times. Return their calls, even if it is just to say I am still dealing with your query.

Treat people with respect.


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