Poor Jack, he could never get hold of me on the phone. Little surprise. We both work in construction and spend most of our day lining up work and crews, securing materials, overseeing projects out in the field, and dealing with the general problems that arise each day on a construction site. With all that, who’s got time to play phone tag. But when Jack needs to get in touch with me over a project his company is building for the city, he needs an answer right now. On a construction site time is money and problems don’t wait.
I have to give Jack credit. He has patiently put up with this through the years, usually working through my secretary or other city employees who could track me down to find the answer. Why was I so hard to get hold of? Because communication takes time, and Jack is not the only one trying to reach me. Over the years, I have wrestled with how much time to spend talking on the phone and listening to voice mail. If I took care of 100% of all calls, I would never have time to actually work – my whole day would be spent on the phone. I really needed some way to communicate with people like Jack who are just looking for a quick answer, but who need it right now.
Then I got my new phone with an unlimited texting option. And then I asked Jack if he would mind trying to text me instead of calling. He took to it right away, and we have been successfully communicating for many weeks now. In fact, by using this method, Jack now has a better connection to me than anyone else on any other project. I can be in meetings with developers and the mayor and still answer Jack’s questions immediately.
Sometimes our texts consist of only one word, but sometimes only one word is needed to get the message across. For example, one day he texted “KFC.” Because we are in the process of deciding which contractor will pave the alley behind the KFC restaurant, I knew he was asking me what we decided.
Now Jack and I are not the typical text user – we are both in the over 45 crowd and grew up with rotary dial phones. But Jack, like many contractors, is a focused man of few words, and I think he would agree that texting fits his communication style and works as a successful communication solution. Now I want to ask other contractors, “Do you text?”