Reaching our customers and job candidates

In May 2010, while transitioning to my new life as an employee in Policy Sales and Service from my job as an American Family agent, I was closing my office and packing my household, ready for a move to Phoenix. However, I was leaving behind three young adult daughters in Illinois and Missouri.

We discussed how we were going to remain close although we would be more than 1,000 miles apart. We talked about Facebook, telephone calls, emails, weekly Skype sessions and texting frequently. In other words, we were armed with many ways to communicate and maintain our close relationship.

I’ll admit, with the time difference, this has become a challenge. I would dial them in the morning on my way to work only to find that my daughter was ALREADY at work. Or, I’d try on my way home from work to find my daughter was in a class at school. I’d leave a message telling them I was thinking about them and rattle off something I wanted or needed to discuss with them.

After a few months, two of my daughters – within 24 hours – both said to me, “Mom, why do you leave voice-mail messages? I NEVER check my voice mail … I usually see that I missed a call from you and I just call you back!”

I’m thinking to myself, “What in the world?”

I thought back to our agreed methods of communication. On the surface, I couldn’t initially understand what the problem was – we were still missing the mark. Apparently the way I wanted to communicate with them was not working.

It’s the same kind of problem we face as we deal with our customers and potential job candidates. Our policy reps are diligently calling people who have requested information from us, but they don’t seem to want to pick up the phone to get the very information they were looking for. We hear the same from our HR partners – reaching potential job candidates by phone is a hit-or-miss proposition.

So what’s the solution? Well, with my daughters, I asked them, “If I want to tell you something but don’t necessarily need to speak to you at that very moment, should I email you?” The answer I received was NO – either text or send a message on Facebook.

So I’m wondering if we’ve done a good enough job simply asking our customers and candidates what they think is the best way to reach them when we need or want to communicate with them? Should we be texting more often?

Both my daughters told me that while at school and work, personal calls were not acceptable, but texting and checking Facebook on their smart phones were an option.

I’d like to hear which communication methods fit your life best. When you’re job hunting, would you rather hear from potential employers via phone? Email? Text? Do employers even offer you choices?

Let us know in the comments. It may change the way we do business with you!

** Terri started her career with American Family as a customer service representative in 2006 and she next moved on to become an agent in Illinois in 2007. She left agency in 2010 and joined the team in Policy Sales and Services. Her current position as Team Manager required a relocation to Phoenix, Arizona. Terri enjoys reading, decorating, hiking and discovering all the beauty Arizona has to offer.


  1. Timur Nezhmetdinov
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    For me email is the best way to reach me. I check my voicemail, so it is ok if you call me and leave a message. However, I check the email more often and would be able to respond sooner. Employers usually ask in the online applications what the best method to contact me would be.

  2. stan
    Posted October 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great info, will tell all friends and family. Also please visit my blog and leave a comment, thanks.

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