For most of us, the ease of calendar scheduling links via tools like Actuity, Book like a Boss, or even my personal favorite Calendly - are a godsend. The eliminate the endless e-mails trying to schedule a simple introductory meeting or quick chat.
But did you know that depending on the generation, personality, or even type of interaction they can set you up for failure before that first meeting?
Picture this- you're a top executive at a large organization who is on the side looking for coaching or consulting. You feel alienated by millennials at your workplace or whatever narrative is justifying you taking the plunge to getting help. You see an article on LinkedIn that hits home and are in shock because it was written by a millennial coach - and BINGO- that's the coach you need to work with- they speak your language. They have hit the message hard that as a boomer or a millennial you have to learn business empathy.
So you reach out- pour your heart about about how that article really hit home and how it couldn't be more perfect because of timing - and the coach (or virtual assistant they hired) responds with "Great! Here's a link to my calendar so we can chat".
The executive looks at this and thinks a few different things:
1. "This is PERFECT! How efficient! No back and forth!" <This is always nice!>
2. "What a jerk, I told him what I needed and now I have to schedule my own stuff?" <Yup, Happens>
3. "These millennials can't even bother to respond on a personalized message- whats the point." <The narrative about millennials has been further reinforced and he shuts down.>
Now, you might think that #1 is the client you want to work with ( chances are they are probably a great fit) - but why should you worry about #2 & #3? Because, sometimes a one size fits all approach doesn't work with everyone. It can come off canned, unfeeling, and over processed.
I had a person last year, reach out and tell me the following which I took to heart - I blocked his name at his request, but he's letting me share this message:
I know we're from different generations and I realize that you must be very busy. I also realize that I took time out to draft a personalized message to you about how I admire your work and would like you as my Marketing Coach - but I'm not sure if I'm overthinking this.
When someone takes the time to really spell out their needs and wants - even though your calendar system is great- it feels really impersonal- and it made me hesitate. Are you as caring your recommendations say? Or am I just another person. Maybe it's me or how my generation does business- but as a customer I want to feel that you care and that my service is personalized.
I hope you don't mind me sharing feedback with you. I'm already overwhelmed with all this technology coming at me- and I feel disconnected- maybe I'm the one that's wrong.
I read this an immediately understood where he was coming from. So, I decided to use business empathy to realize that my response although perfectly acceptable lacked feeling and connection. So, right then and there I changed how I respond. This simple response can help make sure that you give your customer or consumer options - and make sure you work with them in the way they want to receive information. Feel free to copy, past, and use it!
Thanks so much for reaching out! I really appreciate the time you took to do so. If you would like to schedule some time to chat, feel free to give me 3 dates & times that work for you and I'll check my schedule. Or, if it's easier for you, you can view my calendar here and grab a time slot.
I look forward to chatting!"
It gives every customer what they really want - options.