Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mea Culpa Because Mea was Wrong

When I was a college president I was always told never to admit you are wrong, don’t apologize and strike the phrase I’m sorry” from my language.  Well, those people were wrong then and they are still wrong now.
When I made a mistake, and yes college presidents do make them, I admitted it. If I were wrong on an issue, I admitted it. If I hurt someone’s feelings with a remark which I could sometimes do because I am such a shy person….. Or if I told an “untruth” (like other politicians, presidents don’t lie they tell untruths or were misquoted even if they were the ones who did say it and wrote it and cast it in bronze) I said I was sorry. Sometimes I think I wasn’t sorry but I said it anyhow. And yes there were times when I was nice to someone who I really could not stand for one of many reasons like they were on the Board of Trustees. And for that I am sorry. Truly sorry.

But today I have got to apologize, say I was wrong and say I am sorry because I broke one of my own rules on telephone use.

If you call my number 413-219-6939 I answer the phone when I hear it ring or can do so. When I can’t, the call goes to voicemail. My message says I will call back in 48 hours. By that I mean normal person hours. 24 of them to day. The only proviso I give is if I am in Europe or elsewhere out of the country. 

Well, I screwed up. I checked my voicemail today and there were phone calls on there from three days ago. Yes, I was busy. And yes, life intervened. And yes, there was a plumbing issue at the house and my grandson was over and I was babysitting and I had to complete the writing on a large proposal we were asked for and yes, I was going brain-dead from all of it and answering all the emails from folks on the free fee presentations I offered. BUT, none of it is an acceptable excuse for me not calling people back in 24 hours. I just forgot to check my voicemail and that was and is not acceptable. 

There is no valid excuse for me not getting back in the 24 hours I had promised. See I know it can be sometimes easier to talk about what is right than to do it but I won’t do it again. I was wrong and I am sorry.
So I am taking the pledge to make sure this never happens again. I will get back to folks in the 24 hour period I promise. That is part of good customer service. If I am going to talk about what to do I must do it myself.
So to anyone who called and I didn’t get back in time, I am sorry. For anyone who needed to talk with me sooner, I apologize. For anyone I may have offended with anything I have written, I am partially sorry. For not telling some board members to be fruitful and multiply with themselves, I am truly sorry. But not any of you at Briarcliffe. You were great to work for and with.

Fee Free Presentations Weeks
Oh yes, another apology. We were really close to overwhelmed with requests to have me come and present on academic customer service and run some workshops at colleges and universities fee free. I was glad to make the offer and thrilled to see that so many schools replied. We went strictly by first come-first presented to. As a result, we could not respond to everyone with a positive answer. There just weren't enough dates. Every day was taken.

We may do something like this again depending on how much money we lose. We do give back 10% of what we earn through free services to colleges and universities but I cannot guarantee we will be able to do this again. My business manager does not like to have the firm giove up two solid weeks of earning power but I am thrilled to do so.  But we will likely do something like this again since there is so much need and not enough revenue at schools until we help them learn how tomake more money through retention.

I also want those schools that applied but were not quite quick enough, WE WILL NOT BE USING YOUR INTEREST AS A SALES LEAD! No one will call and say "well, you couldn't get a free presentation or workshop, how about a paid for one?"  That'd be unethical and we do not work that way.  We will of course talk with you about helping imrpove retyentiuon and revenue but yo will have to initiate the contact. We did not do this to get leads. We did it because we had a big project move out of that time slot to another and felt we wanted to give back in the open dates.

So sorry if you did not get to schedule this time and I am also sorry I did not tell some of my board members what and the college really thought of them. Wonder if I should rectify that by calling them up in 24 hours?

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