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Try Listening for a Change

I got an email this morning that was so frustrating.  Let me give you some context.

My payroll company also handles our company 401(k).  My annual Form 5500 is due, so they sent me an email with the instructions to login and submit the pre-populated Form 5500.

Easy enough, right?

I went in to file it and the instructions stated to click the “Next” button after reviewing each page.  The problem is there was no “Next” button anywhere to be found.

I emailed tech support…no response.

So I emailed my payroll rep that is assigned to our account, and specifically asked where the “Next” button was so I could get this filed, and here is the response I got:


I have no experience with Form 5500. Please contact our 401k/ Retirement Services department for assistance.

Here is the web link from the IRS with instructions as well.

I was really surprised by this response, not only because I thought it was poor customer service, and not only because they spelled my name wrong, but mainly because it had absolutely nothing to do with my question and the problem I was experiencing with their website!

This got me thinking about how much we all simply don’t listen very well to our customers and employees.  We oftentimes don’t take the time to listen to their questions or their issues, and we aren’t curious about asking questions so that we fully understand.

What often happens is we ask a question, then, as they are talking, our mind races to what we want to say next.  And then we fire off another question or offer up a “solution” that really doesn’t solve anything.

By not really listening to our customers and employees, we can never know how to provide an answer or a solution.  We end up spending an inordinate amount of time coming up with a solution to a problem that we “assume” we know all about.

So, try actually listening for a change…your customers and employees will thank you for it.

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