The Human Touch

It’s a digital world.

Everything is going digital.

Every time I get to speak to bankers all over the country I would chide them and poke them with this provoking thought.

Straight into their eyes this is what I say: “You guys boasts of your excellent service. Your TV ads show your tellers transacting with a smile. But every time I call up your bank I never get a chance to talk to a human being. I get to talk to an answering machine.”

Why? Because everything is digital these days.

My friends have installed answering machines in their homes.

I used to have one but I removed it.

Somebody says, this is the recorded message in one of the answering machines he heard:

Hi! This is John. If you are the telephone company I already sent the money. If you are my parents please send me more money. If you are my friends you owe me money but if you are a female… don’t worry… I’ve got lots of money!”

Don’t you hate those answering machines?

Call up your service provider and you have an urgent need yet what do you hear?

“*ring*… *ring*… *click* Thank you for calling so and so… your call is important to us… but our operators are currently busy now…so please stay on the line and listen repeatedly to our awful company jingle and we’ll be with you with a few hours because we care for you!”

It’s like their company slogan goes this way: “We’re not satisfied until YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED!”

I got this material from the Internet and I could not remember who made this up but it’s crazy:

*ring*… *ring*… *click*

Hello! Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline.

If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.

If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you what number to press.

If you are manic-depressive, it doesn’t matter which number you press. No one will answer.

Technology may have made us more efficient yet it has isolated us from human interaction as well.

Sally Toh is my friend residing in Kuala Lumpur and she who handles my speaking schedule and invitations there. I will never forget what she said one day. Sally said: “I am so busy that can only use the email to communicate with my daughter who is in the next room!”

Now before we become judgmental and condemning how many among us use the SMS as the main means of communicating with our children?

I guess we are not very different from Sally are we?

Here’s the key.

In an era of high tech we need high touch.

My children need it and so do the people in the organization and more so with our customers.

In his leadership newsletter, Stan Toler wrote:

“There she stood in the line at the post office, a line that wound its way almost out the front door. A fellow customer spoke to the elderly lady waiting to buy some stamps. “Ma’am, you must be very tired. Did you know there’s a stamp machine over there in the corner?” He pointed to the machine built into the wall.

“Why yes, thank you,” the lady replied, “but I’ll just wait here a little while longer. I’m getting close to the window.”

The customer became insistent. “But it would be so much easier for you to avoid this long line and buy your stamps from the machine.”

The woman patted him on the arm and answered, “Oh, I know. But that old machine would never ask me how my grandchildren are doing.”

Stan says, “Leaders would be well advised to spend less time on the organizational machinery and more time on the people within the organization. Remember, people will not sweat, invest or risk for an organization. But they will stretch beyond themselves for human connections.”

In other words, it’s “People first!”

Now you know why I removed my answering machine and now you understand why there is no answering machines in my own companies.

We take each call personally.

Just an idea. What if we run our business and boldly advertise: “We don’t use answering machines…we take each call personally because you are important to us.” Now that’s a lot more credible wouldn’t you say so? Put your money where your mouth is.

Just a thought. I’m glad that God does not use an answering machine. Because He takes each call (prayer) personally…the line is high speed…the earthquake in Taiwan or anywhere in the world will ever disrupt it…you don’t need gadgets, all you need is a pair of bended knees and guess what? The line is never busy. Because HE really cares!

25 thoughts on “The Human Touch

  1. mae bernadette

    hi! i heard your segment in the morning show today. can you give me some info about IQ,EQ and AQ. i dedided to make a report about it. its my first time to hear AQ. im a first-year college student. i am very interested about this topic. and i think my classmates would be very interested too. i hope you will hekp me. thank you very much. pls. send me an e-mail. i know you are busy. but i really need this. Thank you again.

  2. rio nonan

    huuh…I agree. “People first”! It was full of realization and a good thing to share to my family and friends..I enjoy reading.

  3. rio nonan

    Oh I also watched umagang kayganda. Your topic regarding to IQ,EQ and AQ stop me for a while in what I’m doing. And I learned something new! Thanks for always giving such knowledge. My professor in speech com. always take you as an example of a good speaker and I think she was definitely right.

  4. Daisy Olarte

    I am blessed and inspired always because I always read your inspiring messages sir….Thank you and God bless you!

  5. Judy Morcilla

    Question, What is AQ? 🙂

    Im so thankful I found your blog. Your articles really struck me as very timely and helpful especially now that I’m having difficulty in my work.
    Keep it up. Looking forward to more inspiring articles from you!

  6. manya lay

    Hello sir francis…
    im happy to see ur website here…
    Thanks for sharring wonderful messages… you inspired me…
    I just bought your book Life’s work and i gain confidence in dealing my problems…
    Thanks…
    Wish to see u personally in Davao city
    God bless.

  7. Annie

    AQ is Adversity Quotient.

    I learned about it while listening to a recorded speech of Mr. Francis Kong in “Business Matters”.

    Thank you Sir! I learn so much by listening to “Business Matters”. I always look forward to turning my radio on, on the way to the office. I also bought a cellphone with radio so I won’t miss your talk even when I am walking from my parking to my office.

    Thank you!

    You are really blessed for being a blessing to so many people!

    Annie

  8. Fritzie Gay R. Dulla

    Hi sir francis,

    I really admire it.. my boss love you so much.. she really love your articles, because some of it are even in reality…hehehe..
    Hope you’ll contuinue to share some of your articles..

    Have a great Christmas & A Happy New Year!

  9. marj

    hi sir,

    i heard more about your readings and talks…can you send me one related to this human touch i think im guilty with this……….need your inspiring thoughts…

  10. yen

    hi sir francis! i always catch your talk on DYFR and you inspire me a lot. now, i used to work for call centers. one of the experiences i will never forget is when customers say, “Hey, are you an answering machine?! I want to talk to a human!” It’s funny and offensive at the same time. i realized that people nowadays are used to talk to machines yet there are people who longs for human connection. The too good to be true thing is that God stays the same, you can call Him anytime of the day and He always answers.

  11. Mae

    funny though very true and so0o0o inspiring.. Thanks for the reminders sir!!! more power!!!

  12. Tara

    Last year I was so troubled with my work and partner in business… I was depressed, stressed and even doubting my capabilities as an architect… At that time I didnt wanted to talk to someone or a friend who could give advise that’s why I went to a bookstore and look for a book that would help me fine answers and control my unwanted thoughts… bad vibes’ I got my first inspirational book -LIFE’S WORK – it’s so awesome that when I got home I almost finished the book and wasnt able to sleep early :).. and i am planning to buy my next… is there any book that may help me solve my problems with my long time boyfriend?

  13. Tara

    Last year I was so troubled with my work and partner in business… I was depressed, stressed and even doubting my capabilities as an architect… At that time I didnt wanted to talk to someone or a friend who could give advise that’s why I went to a bookstore and look for a book that would help me FIND answers and control my unwanted thoughts… bad vibes’ I got my first inspirational book -LIFE’S WORK – it’s so awesome that when I got home I almost finished the book and wasnt able to sleep early 🙂 .. and i am planning to buy my next… is there any book that may help me solve my problems with my long time boyfriend?

  14. gina

    I’ve always encountered that same situation waiting for so long while listening to company’s jingle and at the end of the line is “Sorry the operator is busy now,please press star sign to hold”…hay ang tagal naghintay tapos di naman makakausap.Truly enough that most of us or all of us needs to talk to a human not to an answering machine..Like Jesus He wants to talk to us…all we need is time to listen..

  15. ms jo

    hello Sir Francis,
    We met in Bacolod twice on your talks.

    This is awesome! This is true! Thank you so much. Was writing the catchy lines you’ve said. Will share this to friends and lectures.

    You are a God-given gift to mankind. Tahnk you for mentoring me all these years.

    God bless you.

  16. Lia

    sir francis,

    you put a smile on my face reading your short anecdoctes 🙂 very enlightening and inspiring!

  17. cynthia

    i have listened to your talks in an annual convention. your talks and readings in your website are very inspiring, funny stories. yes i agree…nothing can equate with the human touch…though we cannot do away with technology in the 21st century…but remember…the inhabitants of this earth are still HUMANS not machines. thank you so much sir for all the inspiring words, stories you share. God bless you, your family & your company. may you continue to be a blessing to each & everyone. God speed!

  18. Joanna Toreja

    i couldn’t agree more.=) it’s just so comforting to know that someone genuinely cares for your concerns., thank you for this article Mr. Francis. I’m not a long time fan, but at least I am now.

  19. Donica

    in my province it seems so rare to listen to people who has the “power ” to inspire. I find your articles very relieving, very educational and very inspiring especially in my situation where I am handling the whole studentry in our school. Thank you so much.

  20. gina

    Dear Sir Francis,

    Before i love to read pocketbooks especially my high school days…and then i stop reading actually not totally stop i became busy and loose interest to read…for some reason i saw my sister reading a book…an ordinary like that intrigue me then i personally read one of the stories and i cant stop reading all of the stories in it, as a matter of fact i read it again and again why? because your book somehow touches me and educated me. I learn so much from it that book is Life’s Work…and it really work for me…I hope to have more of it…can you send me please to my e-mail…i really thank God for giving such talent to change one persons life…God bless you and your family Sir.

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