I was presenting a customer service program last week when a participant asked how to handle customers who exhibited “bad cell phone behavior”, i.e., continued to talk on their cell phones while she tried to help them.
“Isn’t that rude?” she asked.
She was obviously a nicer person than I am, since she had to ask.
Of course it’s rude, disrespectful, arrogant, and unprofessional to carry on a phone conversation when a “live” person is in front of you waiting to communicate with you.
Hopefully, you’re not guilty of any of these bad cell phone habits. However, if you are, it’s time to end your dependence on your phone and put it away — or someone may decide to take it away from you.
1. Talking on the phone while checking out at a store.
If your conversation is so important, complete it before you get in line at the checkout. Not only is it rude and disrespectful to the clerk trying to assist you, but you delay the checkout process and hold up the rest of us in line behind you.
2. Checking your phone, taking calls, or texting during a meeting.
When you decide to attend a meeting, you’re making a commitment to being a participant, not a passenger. You can’t participate when you’re engaging in a “conversation” unrelated to the meeting’s topic and with parties who are not even at the meeting. If your calls or texts are that important, don’t come to the meeting, or in emergency or other special circumstances, such as a hospitalized relative, at least step out of the room.
3. Talking on your phone while at your table in a restaurant.
Those of us trying to enjoy a rare, quiet dinner out don’t want to hear you loudly arguing with your sister, boyfriend, or mother-in-law. It’s about as enjoyable as listening to a screaming kid in a restaurant. As with the meeting situation above, if you must take a call, get up and take it outside the restaurant— and if you come across any screaming children on your way out, take them with you.
4. Continuing to talk on your cell phone when your:
walks into the room for the appointment that YOU scheduled. For anyone who has seen their appointment time come and go, maybe it’s because these folks fell behind schedule waiting on cell-phone dependent patients who just had to finish those “important” calls.
5. Forgetting, (or refusing), to silence your phone in all of the above situations.
Unless you’re an emergency responder, are on an organ transplant list, or have some other “life in the balance” situation going on in your life, you can and should shut your phone off for the length of a meeting, appointment, or one-on-one time with a colleague or loved one while enjoying a meal. Whoever is calling can wait.
6. Talking on your phone in an elevator, restroom, or other space where those around you can’t escape your conversation.
In the case of the elevator, wait until you get out. How tall is that building that you can’t wait 30 seconds until you reach your floor? And “stall calls”… really? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public restroom and listened to someone having an extensive conversation while in the middle of “using the facilities.” Not only weird, but I’m thinking pretty unsanitary.
What other habits would you add to this list?
I would add the following: working on your computer while on a phone call. The other party can most likely clearly hear the tap tap tap of the keyboard – and if they can’t , they can surely sense that you are not giving them your full attention!
Good one and so true!
I think that cell phone usage while in the entire grocery store should be a no-no, not just at checkout. I was at the store the other day, and customers are walking around like zombies while they hold their phone calls. Carts were bumping and aisle were getting blocked. It was almost as dangerous as using a cell phone while driving.
People forget that before, life was ok if we didn’t answer every single phone call in an instant. We managed!
Yes we did! Great point Jason! I think also that our grocery trips would be quicker without the distraction of a phone conversation!