Following the script
Yesterday I talked about breaking through the script in order to escalate an issue. I briefly mentioned that I always start out following the script and using the channels ISPs have provided. There are a number of reasons to do this all of which benefit you, the sender.
First off, when you use the designated communication pathway at an ISP there is a record of your contact. There are procedures in place to make sure your communication is addressed and you get a response. When you’re escalating to an individual, you’re using their communication channel. IMs get lost, email ends up buried in the pile, other things come up and a week later you’re still waiting for your answer.
Secondly, when you use the designated communication pathway at an ISP your contact is logged and tracked. This means that if the person you’re used to dealing with gets another job, moves on or otherwise isn’t able to communicate with you any longer you have a history with that ISP. The next person to move into the position and deal with issues can see that you’re a legitimate sender with a history of dealing fairly and professionally with ISPs.
Thirdly, handling direct and personal escalations are often outside the official job description the people directly contacted. This means that when they come up for review, the work they’re doing for people who won’t use channels is not as important as the other work they do. Sure, they may get some credit for helping people with problems, but they may not get the review they should get. This hurts not just the senders who believe they shouldn’t have to follow channels but also those of us who do follow channels, particularly in the current business climate. Do you really want to lose that awesome person you use because some dork thought they were too good, too important to use the provided form and that awesome person lost their job because they didn’t meet their official work goals?
Fourth, you’re not the only one escalating. I had the opportunity to visit my friend Anna from AOL a few years ago. One morning both of us had to actually get some work done, so we were parked in her living room on laptops. I was astonished at the number of IM windows she was juggling constantly. We’re talking 20 – 30 separate windows open at once, many of them troubleshooting sender issues. After seeing that I do as much as possible through the official channels that AOL has provided. She is my friend, and a very good one, and I still avoid using her as a contact point unless there is some emergency.
Remember this next time you are searching for that email address of the person from that ISP that’s currently blocking your mail. Use the official communication channels where possible, and always use them first. Using back channels for issues where the intended workflow works causes a lot of overhead and doesn’t scale at all well.