My views on life, love , career and…well just about everything.

Don’t clean the toilet with your toothbrush.

Don’t clean the toilet with your toothbrush.

Aug 18, 2012

I talked with a client the other day who was considering moving his business completely to cell phone. “ I think we can do everything on our cell phones.” he stated.


I tried to explain to him why that wasn’t a real good idea. I failed miserably. Now do I think he will eventually see the problem with this and change his mind? Yes I do but I wish I could have explained it a little better and saved him AND HIS EMPLOYEES some anguish. Maybe if I write about it here I can do a better job of explaining this.

Cell phones are one of those technologies that have become indispensible  very very quickly. Think about how long you have felt like you couldn’t get through the day without yours…it probably hasn’t been very long. For me it has only been in the last decade that I have become permanently attached to mine. Now granted “the last decade” is a pretty long time but it pales in comparison to my forty year relationship with the automobile .

Like the automobile , our cell phones are a very personal piece of technology. Mine has MY email and MY contacts it also has MY pictures. MY customers , close contacts and friends call ME on MY phone. “ I have his cell phone.” is a phrase we use to express our close relationship to that person.  I don’t have that kind of relationship with the phone on my desk. It’s a business tool like my calculator (yes I still have one) or stapler. My Dad always used to say that the key to doing a good job was having the correct tool for that job. To use an analogy that Dad used….” You CAN clean the toilet with your tooth brush , but you aren’t going to be very pleased with the results .”

The major problem with cell phones is their lack of ability to transfer a call. Have you ever called someone about a business matter on their cell phone and found that to accomplish your task you really needed to talk to someone else at that that business.  Then what do you do? Hang up and call that person? Cell phones are designed to communicate with a specific person directly not a group of people. They aren’t a collaborative tool. We all learned in Business 101 , that businesses grow by becoming a group endeavor and incorporating the talents and efforts of many people. Entrepreneurs expand their businesses by delegating tasks and “cloning” themselves. The ones who don’t do this well FAIL.

The good news is that modern phones systems are able to incorporate cell phones into the mix and enhance their collaborative power . For example , yesterday someone called my direct number at the office. I didn’t happen to be at my desk so I answered it on my cell phone which rings along with my desk phone. I needed something at my desk to answer the question so I sent the call back to my desk phone. I looked up the information I needed and answered that question. We then found that to complete the task , he needed to talk to another person in my office. I transferred him to that persons phone and we were able to take care of that customer and let him get back to doing what he does. Without our phone system , satisfying that customer’s needs would have been a lot harder and probably more irritating for him.

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