It's wonderful when people act like - well - like they should. To me this means being superbly professional while also being just plain human and downright likeable.
It's all too rare; so when it happens let's all be sure to rave about it. After all, it's a fact that bad behavior ignored increases while good behavior ignored goes away.
So I want to rave about an IRS phone representative I spoke with the other day. I called because both my wife and I got the same notice from the IRS saying we owed them money for our 2009 taxes and that interest was already being incurred. The notice claimed to be a "second notice" although neither of us had received a first notice. And we were especially unhappy about it because we had a document rom our preparer advising us that we would be receiving a sizable refund.
So, naturally, I called.
The phone wait time was lengthy while "all representatives" were "busy helping other callers"; but happily the music was quiet, unobjectionable and completely instrumental. Note to all planners of phone services - we all have distinct musical preferences and they probably aren't yours. Keep it low key, upbeat and as classy as you'd like your service to seem.
Also, I was grateful with the relatively few number of times I was advised that my question could likely be answered on-line at their website.
Then, just as I was starting to think I would never find an agent with time. A real person picked up. She gave me her name and number and worked with me for at least 40 minutes. She listened to my concern and asked me if I would wait while she looked into it. Over the space of our call, she found they "they" (meaning some IRS clerks somewhere)hadn't posted some of our payments over to our account. The net was that, yes, they owe us money and we should not worry about to dunning notice. If our refunds do not arrive within a couple of weekes we should call her, yes her, back.
Throughout, she was eager to solve the problem and to explain to me what had happened and, maybe just as important, we shared a few laughs. She had a sense of humor and seemed like a person we'd enjoy having over for dinner.
In my view, THAT is personable professionalism.