A Business Call and a Crying Baby!

Did you ever take a business phone call when you knew that you shouldn’t?  Last Monday, I had to fill in for my daughter’s regular babysitter.    I received a phone call from a prospective customer and explained to him the situation and asked if he wanted me to call him back, he told me that it was fine, he had his assistant there and wanted to see how the system worked. 

The call was going great until my 14 month old grandson fell backwards, pulling a chair down on top of him.  Needless to say, he started crying and what is a grandmother to do but to tend to her baby.  I apologized for all the noise and tried very hard to calm him down quickly, but it wasn’t happening.

When I finally got him calmed down, and tried to explain all the packages my company had to offer, I talked in circles.  I apologized and explained that my grandson getting hurt and scarred really had me frazzled.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I should have just ignored the call, but with my daughter at school and having phone problems I figured it was her.

I sent him and his assistant a card apologizing for the interruption and for the baby crying in to the phone.   I haven’t heard from him since but will see him in the morning because his business is our Chamber of Commerce’s business of the week.  Once again I’ll apologize but what else can I do?

What would you have done, if you were me?

**** UPDATE!! *******
I met this potential client in person this morning. As soon as I introduced myself he said, “It is so great to meet you and I loved the card!” You see the card I sent apologizing, had a picture of my grandson on the front. His facial expression, looked like he was saying “Uh Oh!” The gentleman told me that, if he would have been upset about the baby crying, the card would have completely changed his mind. He asked me to come in and talk after he was presented with Star Business of the Week! Of course I did and it was great!


36 Responses to A Business Call and a Crying Baby!

  1. I can’t believe anyone would hold this situation against you. After all, you gave him the option of rescheduling the call and he decided to go ahead.

    You did the best you could and honestly, if this is the only reason he doesn’t do business with you,then you probably don’t want him as a client!

    Good luck!

  2. Jean, you can only do what you can do. When we’re supporting our kids and grandkids, that’s it.

    I think if he’s the kind of client you want, he’ll get it.

  3. I so agree that if that puts a client off then they are not worth having! I’ve been there though and it’s no fun. You can’t think straight and you feel as if you sound so unprofessional. I think he’ll ‘forgive’ you though and it will all be fine. Oh, and I think I would have done exactly what you did.

  4. Family & Friends says:

    I think you are absolutely right…better to not pick up the call when you might get distracted. Being a grandmother myself I would have absolutely jumped to take care of my grand baby! If he holds it against you, you probably wouldn’t want to work with him anyway. I wouldn’t over apologize. You already did it, and now, you know that next time you won’t answer the phone.

  5. Like everyone else, I agree that you did the best you could and if he was going the have a problem with it, he was a client you didn’t need. I’m very glad to read that he was fine when you saw him at the Chamber event.

  6. Peggy Maffeo says:

    Jean, I think you did what you had to and it always works out when you are sincere. And the card with your grandson on it was a great touch…who would be upset after seeing that!

  7. Donna McCord says:

    Jean, I think being a mom or a grandmom outranks everything else! I would have done the same thing. As was mentioned before, you gave him the option of rescheduling the phone call and he opted to go ahead under the circumstances. I also agree that if he was going to be put off by what happened he would probably not be the kind of client you would enjoy doing business with. So happy it all worked out for you!

  8. Jean, I love that you sent him a card with your grandson on the front…great thinking! I agree with everyone’s comments and am so glad to hear that he turned out to be the kind of client you want, understanding. I think your added effort was what turned this ‘situation’ into an ‘opportunity’. Congrats!

  9. Great decision to send the card with the picture of your grandson! If the person is upset after that, then you are not well matched anyway. I agree that letting the call go to voice mail would be helpful, although by giving the person the truth ahead of time, you acted very responsibly.

    I have to say that if I were doing business with someone by phone and that person was distracted by a baby, I would be put off UNLESS that person had been up front from the start. That’s not to be unkind toward parents or grandparents; it’s just a matter of what you expect from a business call. But clarity and honesty about the circumstances make all the difference.

    • Jean Bentley says:

      Thanks Judy for your comment. I appreciate your kind words I have decided to not answer the phone, if don’t recognize the number, while I’m watching the baby. The next person may not be as understanding.

  10. KathyAlice says:

    What a good way to turn a bad situation to your advantage. I do admit babies crying in the background would lessen my impression of the professionalism of the person talking to me. But I’ve had car alarms go off and other noise occur on my side so I can’t complain too much.

  11. Hi Jean,
    I’m a single mom and I often work from home. Sometimes I have to do work while my daughter does her “work” (play). Most of the time my calls are uninterupted but once she did get hurt running up the stairs and cried out. I said into the phone real fast, “My daughter just got hurt, I’ll call you right back” and just hung up. I was able to take care of my daughter without distraction and call back my client afterwards. They didn’t hold it against me. Think about how often a call is dropped on a cell phone! Your solution to send the card with his picture was so clever 🙂 In my opinion, I think that we often think being “professional” means not being real or human. Instead, I think our “realness” (just made up that word), is what creates the connection that leads to the deeper business relationship. Of course, along with always delivering what we promise – results still matter!
    Thank you for sharing your story & please forgive the longest blog comment I have ever written!!
    Brandy Mychals
    Split Second Perceptions

    • Jean Bentley says:

      Brandy thanks for the comment, love it. I should have hung up and told them I’d call them right back. It sure would have saved me a lot of distess. The card did open the door to a great conversation.

  12. In today’s telecommute work-at-home world, there is a much different attitude toward the experience you described.

    You set the stage by letting him know the situation and giving him the option to reschedule. When he declined, he became a willing participant.

    The card and the picture was a great touch

  13. lol- You couldn’t have set up a better situation to show off Send Out Cards! If he didn’t ‘get it’ on how you can use the cards, then he wouldn’t have been interested anyway! That was perfect.

    If you do work from home, I do think that there needs to be a time and place for business and a time and place for family/etc. Sometimes conflicts will be unavoidable, and like Brandy suggested, a quick request to call them back may have been the better route.

    However, I still think that you did the best thing with the card and turned around a potential bad situation into a positive selling situation. Good work!

    Candace Davenport
    http://www.OurLittleBooks.com ~ Little Books with a Big Message

    • Jean Bentley says:

      Candace, Thanks for your comment you are right, I couldn’t have planned it better if if I tried. The thing is with the card, Send Out Cards has so many to choose from and I wanted to get one sent. It was easier to create one from a picture than to go through all the wonderful cards to choose the best one.

  14. Pat Zahn says:

    What a great idea to send the card! You know, really, in a corporate situation there are times when you have to re-schedule a call, so handling a personal crisis when you are working at home is no different. Being real and explaining the situation, then offering a professional solution is all you can do, which you did.

  15. Ann Evanston says:

    I believe in the authenticity of the moment. I always tell my clients: “be who you are not what you do” and you will attract the BEST customers!

    Ann Evanston
    Discover your REAL Edge

  16. Diana Placiakiene says:

    Such a real situation-I have been in many of those. Love the idea of the card- very graceful way to solve an uncomfortable situation.

  17. DogWalkBlog says:

    Life happens! The best clients are those who understand that. Card was a really cool touch and instead of you being the crazy woman with the screaming kid, you became the lady who sent a cool card. Handwritten cards are so rare nowadays they always get you remembered.

  18. Elissa says:

    I feel your pain! The card was a great idea.

    Just a thought to anyone in a similar situation, the MUTE button is also your friend.

    If they’re talking and it’s just going to be loud for a few seconds, mute it without interrupting if you can still listen.

    If you’re talking, or you need a minute, just a quick excuse me, mute it, handle the situation. (Mommy, can I XYZ? Mommy the dog’s licking my eyeball..) Even if worst case scenario the person hangs up and you call them back, you don’t subject them to the wailing of the kids or sirens or barking dogs or whatever.

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