Communication breakdown

Today started like every work day. Well, ever since I have been working from home due to Covid-19. I did log onto the system later than I would have normally; perhaps, that was the start. I am being a bit melodramatic to sell the story I would assume. Actually, the morning went by pretty much without a hitch. Lunch was here before I knew. It was after lunch that things took a turn for the strange.

Do you know the game, “Telephone?” It’s a game where you whisper to the person beside you a message, and they, in turn, whisper the message onto the person beside them, and that person on the person beside them until 10, 15, 20 persons have passed. Until, the moderator asks the final person what announce what the message was, and then asks the first person what their message was. Most likely, it will be completely different than what the original message was at the start. This is what I was dealing with this afternoon. And, it all had to do with back and forth emails.

Emails are a double edge sword. They’re convenient, simple and a fast way to communicate. However, they can be a bane to one’s existence some days.

Have you ever come back from vacation and dread opening your work email? I haven’t personally, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of email after vacation. The reason I don’t panic about email is that the first thing I do is prioritize my emails from the most important to least important. Then I answer the most important group starting with the oldest date attached to them. These can take about the first half hour of the day. The next step is to delete the obvious trash, namely spam, phishing and junk emails.

After I have replied to the most important emails, I start my daily work chores. For example, daily reports, get applications from front of house, and retrieve other paperwork from the mailbox.

While do my daily work tasks, I answer the phone, or internal clients’ queries. I am the primary clerk for my department. I am first contact (in theory anyway). I do a lot of customer servicing; that’s my job. Anyone who has worked in customer service, knows there are trying times. I had this, this afternoon. It almost pushed me to my limit and it was all due to misunderstanding because email does always get the point across the first time.

I had three clients who emailed me back and forth because either they forgot a part of their questions, or the answer triggered another question, or as try as I might, I wasn’t clear enough in my email to explain the answer to their query. Eventually, I just gave up and called because sometimes calling is easier and faster.
—Robert Confiant 25 June 2020

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