Have you ever had this experience:

You are in a store, any store, large or small, and you are waiting online to check out. The line is getting pretty long. You shift from one foot to the other. Back and forth. As the line…inches…up.

And then, the store phone rings.

And you see one of the few cashiers stop what they are doing to answer the phone.

And you shift from one foot to the other. Back and forth. And the line basically stops moving as the person on the phone gets priority service.

How do you choose who to service when you have competing priorities? If I am the person waiting in line, ready to pay for my items, I would like priority service. After all, I am a “for sure” sale. All they have to do is take my money.

On the other hand, if I have a question, I like to be able to pick up the phone and call the store. Perhaps it will save me a needless trip, if the store does not carry the item I am searching for. If I phone the store, I certainly don’t want to be put on interminable hold.

The same thing is true in non-retail interactions. At work, I have people walk in to my office, call me on my landline phone, call me on my cellphone, text me, Skype me, ping me on instant messenger, send me direct messages via Twitter, chat on Facebook – the list of people and the various ways they can communicate with me is truly endless.

If only I could clone myself. I’d have one “me” answer the phone all day. Another “me” respond to emails. A third “me” would be active on instant messenger. My fourth “me” would be the social media maven.

And the real “me” would go to lunch.

Val Swisher
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