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One simple gesture will get people talking about you

John Elert sent me this story:

I was calling a rural hospital in the Carolinas. The first voice I heard when calling the hospital general number was a voice saying something along the lines of, “Hi I’m xxx xxx, CEO of xyz Medical Center. I want to thank you for considering our facility for your medical needs. For the operator, please press xxx, If you know your party’s extension, dial it now.

Imagine, a CEO who was humble enough to want to thank his potential and already customers, while being the helpful voice of the phone system.

John told his supervisors, then he told me, and I assume he told a bunch of other bloggers.

Lesson: Word of mouth doesn’t come from some fancy campaign. It comes from simple gestures that make people want to tell their friends about you.

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  1. Roy Murphy September 22, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    Spot on. simple and effective communication wins hands down every time. All the PR fluff, press releases and advertising campaigns in the world won’t help. Unless your company or service actually wants to connect and converse with customers new and old, friends, colleagues and other businesses – meaning everyone from the CEO down

  2. Forrest Frazier September 22, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    Wow a taped message from someone claiming to be the ceo. I’d prefer to hear an actual human when the call is answered.

  3. Ophelie Lechat September 22, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    I love that. I’ve actually been calling a lot of hospitals for work lately, and a message like that would make me smile, and surely would make me remember that place. Really, anything that isn’t a bland and unfriendly “press zero, or wait for the operator”, is memorable.

  4. John Elert September 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm #

    Wow! Forrest Fraizier. I made that call during a temp job during which I called well over a thousand hospitals to talk to their pathology labs, and in this instance the CEO took the time to be the first voice I heard. I passed along what I thought was wonderful outreach with a real message from a CEO who cared, and all you can do is denigrate it.

    I’m amazed that you choose to belittle this. I’ve made 10,000 calls in market research and this instance inspired me to applaud someone who I thought got it right. And you chose to question not only his sincerity, but the validity of his voice. Your pessimism astounds me. Much more, it depresses me.

    I hope when you are in your darkest hour, a comforting “robobvoice” like this is the first to greet you.

  5. Jamie Birch September 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    I’m not sure Forrest was denigrating anything. I too would rather hear a live human on the other end of the line. Phone trees drive me nuts. Just send me to the operator so I can ask a few questions.

    That being said, I think the personal touch is important. I think it goes beyond social media, as you point out, and into all aspect of one’s business. It’s hard to be successful as an individual and a company without building personal relationships with your customers. One can’t always do that with thousands of customers, but a step like this goes a long way. I think of Dave Thomas of Wendy’s.

  6. lilly September 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    I’m glad to see this topic being addressed. One of my local hospitals is using the voice of the CEO on the main greeting. I can’t say that I have much of an opinion on it except for the fact that it’s memorable because his name is Schindler and it always evokes images of Liam Neeson.

    That said, I work in a doctors office, and over the years I have called other doctors offices for various reasons. On occassion there are a few ansering machine messages that are recorded by the doctors themselves. I always found them kind of odd wondering if was an ego/control issue. I often wondered if patients thought maybe the doctor had too much time on his hands, or if they actually liked it. In many cases, I have found the doctors voices not so much unpleasant, but just not “phone friendly” therefore leaving a negative impression

    Please opine….

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