The Words We Use…

Communication is a powerful medium when used correctly. Sometimes, the terms we use can make or break a deal.

I could probably make my point better if I spend some time working on this, but I just want to dash this post of quickly. Last month, I was really burning to get started toward a Master’s degree. The MBA was interesting to me, so I did some checking and sent off for information from several schools. I only heard back from one, in center city Philadelphia. The representative wanted to get me in for an interview right away, and we tentatively made one. I was going to go after work on the Tuesday after MLK day.

As the appointment approached, my wife and I decided that we needed to get the house back on the market. She’s also not eager to have me locked away working on course material so soon after finishing my bachelor’s degree, plus there’s the student loans and we’re not sure how we would pay for a Master’s program without going farther into debt, which neither of us wants right now. That and an appointment right after work on that day was a major inconvenience to my entire family, as we had plans every other day that week and my wife needed me on Tuesday for something else.

I emailed the admissions counselor back to say that I needed to cancel my appointment. I also said that I talked to my wife and we needed to set this as a 6 month or greater goal. I told the admissions counselor that I would get together the information that she needed, but I wouldn’t be able to start for a while.

Just tonight, I get a call, but my phone only rang once and hung up. I found an email that I have a voice mail on Grand Central. It was the admissions counselor reminding me that I had an appointment in January that I “missed” (I remember CANCELLING the appointment) and that I need to call her back to schedule another one.

Gee, when you put it like that… as if I have some sort of duty to report to this admissions counselor, it makes me want to delete the email from Grand Central, thank the Lord that I put down my Grand Central number rather than my cell number, and when I’m ready to go for a Master’s program, find another school.

Please, when dealing with prospective customers, please consider the words you use. I’m sure it was unintentional, but this admissions counselor came across as if she were in a position of authority over me and I was a naughty little Master’s program candidate. It does not make me want to call back, or to give that school any more thought. When I think of how poorly most academic and financial counselors at the University of Phoenix were, I expect admissions counselors to be top notch.

I should also make a note to use my Grand Central number more. Grand Central rocks!


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