Ghosting productivity

Albert Einstein :

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Welcome to our first Robertson blog.  Simple, creative, enjoyable thoughts and calls to action from everyday situations.  We’ve done 2-minute skills videos before but this is the first blog.
I will tend to read them out till I improve my performance.  Same with all things, clunky at first then smooth as silk. It would be great to get your feedback. This first blog I’ve called, Ghosting Productivity.

Is it just me?  After all I am a man of advancing years.  Am I naïve? Am I out of touch?

If I call people and am told they will call me back I expect that they will.  If I email someone I expect them to reply.  When it doesn’t happen apparently, I’m being ghosted.  Why should you care?  You should care because if our experience at Robertson is the same across the country, a googolplex of resource is being wasted that could be channelled to higher value pursuits.  Pursuits that solve problems, create wealth, meet KPIs or whatever success measures you have.

For the uninitiated, ghosting is basically when someone ends a personal relationship by withdrawing all communication suddenly and without explanation.  Usually this is accompanied with a social media black-out, blocking them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well ignoring all their texts, WhatsApp’s and calls.  I’m crossing the dimensions to apply it to business.

The evidence

Recently I’d cite:

  • To get a meeting, 17 emails to an ex-colleague with whom I’d worked for over a decade
  • To get an update on a previously agreed action a massive 29 calls to a charity
  • To get feedback on a proposal they asked for a combined 47 emails and phone calls to a student support organisation

The implications

We are one small business.  I can’t help feeling that business ghosting must be a part of the productivity malaise in this country.  Taking GDP per Hour Worked1 only Greece and Portugal are less than us.  We are 72, Spain 77, Germany 92 and Norway 130.

If we are to enhance our quality of life we need to produce more of real value with what we currently put in or the same with less.  If not, you can forget future prosperity.

Think of the receptionist at the charity who spent at least 60-minutes with me putting me on hold 29 times, coming back to say the person wasn’t in 29 times, taking my details 29 times, emailing my contact 29 times, my contact to read the message 29 times only for them to ghost me.

Gross this behaviour up from one caller and one receptionist to 365,0002 businesses in Scotland never mind public and third sector organisations and you can see why I coined the googolplex term earlier.
And I haven’t enough room here to write about brand damage.

The culprit

Who knows.  I first thought it was Tim Ferris and is 4-hour working week, then the fall back of “I blame the parents”.  In the end I’ve decided that there are several culprits.  There is the easiness to ghost someone you don’t know, the short-sightedness of today’s ghost potentially tomorrow’s £1M client, and perhaps a lack of genuine customer surveys.  

The solution We don’t need to know the culprits to work on the solution.  Simply take the lead from a mate of mine whose mantra is “It’s nice to be nice”.  Take my call even if it is to say “Thank you and we will not be proceeding with your proposal.”  Reply to my email even if it to tell me you will be back in touch by close of business on Thursday.”

There are six of us in our business.  We see it as our duty to get back to people, even if it is to say no thanks.  As the mahatma said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

The call to action

  1. Encourage your people to get back to people.
  2. Point out the hard business benefit to them, and others in the business, of getting back to people
  3. Publish your standards on getting back to people
  4. Include it in your induction and customer service trainings
  5. Monitor how you get on.  Do straw polls with clients and suppliers to prove you are doing it and t’s working.

And finally, if I or any of our team ghost you please let me know.

Have a SÜPERB day.