During the early days of our company, we were viewed by many as the ‘underdog’. “They are new” people would say, but they can not say that now, we outlived many of them…
The day after my husband Herman and I acquired the telephone answering service, I walked into the office and saw him holding the phone. He looked up at me and then stretched his arm out and said, “Here it’s a sales call.” I stuttered, “Sales call … what do you mean sales call? I don’t know how to sell this, it’s all new to me! What do I do?” Herman knitted his brows and responded sarcastically, “What do you mean, what do you do? You sell!” and he handed me the telephone and walked off.
I remember talking to the caller and he asked me, “How do I know you are going to take care of my business?” I paused to ponder the question, and then I answered very truthfully, “I have four children, and I did not send them to nursery school because I never felt like anyone could watch my children or take care of them like I could. And, that’s how you know your business will be in good hands.” He chuckled and responded, “OK Dorothy, sign me on! But how much is it?” I chuckled too and then playfully responded, “Oh one hamburger less a week!”
The truth behind it all, however, was that our answering service always followed the golden role, “treat others as you would like them to treat you.” Even today, that is what we teach our employees, to handle each caller with respect and treat them how you would like to be treated.
Even during the preliminary stage of the company, we always ensured that our clients felt that they made the right decision using our answering service. My husband was always available to speak with our clients and was very proactive with the company’s development.
Within months after we acquired the business, the Ding-A-Ling Answering Service became a force to be reckoned with. Whoever called our company searching for an answering service was ‘signed on’. They were always impressed because our agents were friendly and lively and they felt like they were talking to people who actually cared, but more importantly that their business would be in good hands. And even though we were a small group, an onlooker would believe we had a staff of a thousand, because of how well we took care of our clients.
We also knew that it was important to have happy employees, people who were doing something that they wanted to, and enjoyed doing it. Internally, we kept the atmosphere very warm and everyone was always smiling. I can recall one day, I had just ended a telephone call with a client. Usually if I was chewing gum, I would remove it before speaking on the telephone and stick it on a piece of napkin. This particular day after I ended the call, I turned around to speak to the young woman sitting behind me, and she began laughing hysterically. I asked her what was wrong, but she could not talk, she just kept touching her ear. I came to realize that the gum from my napkin was stuck to my ear. Suddenly, I understood why she was laughing, here I am, the boss’ wife, and I have gum stuck to my ear. We all had a good time talking about that day and they never allowed me to forget it. But, events like these are what kept the business going.
Our company and our success was always focused on how we treat others; how each caller felt after they spoke with a member of our company. For nearly four decades, one rule has remained constant … “Treat others how you would like to be treated,” treat everyone with simple courtesy and respect. That’s how we survived the test of time, so we will continue to follow it…