Thursday, August 1, 2013

Voices of The Salvation Army

What do our voices reveal to a listener?  Do we sound friendly and empathetic or rushed and annoyed?  In this age of technology many business transactions are handled by phone.  Most times we know very little about the person at the other end of the line,and our voices play a large part in the message being conveyed.  In my position, one of my responsibilities is to receive credit card donations by phone, and occasionally I recognize a repeat name or voice almost like a past acquaintance.  A few weeks ago a gentleman called in to make a donation and we talked a little about the unusual spelling of his first name.  From his voice, I could tell that he friendly, elderly, and from Oklahoma and from my voice, he must have thought I was friendly at least.  About two weeks later, the gentleman called again to make another donation and I recognized his name which seemed to please him although he sounded a little melancholy.  He noted, “You remembered me from the last time we talked.”  We visited briefly about the strange Oklahoma weather, and then ended the call.  Last week, the gentleman called to make another donation and specifically asked for me. This time he remembered my name.  Of course, I recognized his name and voice once again.
He started the conversation by saying, “The Lord has blessed me and I want to share my blessing with you.” 
 He made his donation as usual, but then he started to tell me that he had lost his wife about eight months ago and although he had kids and grandkids he felt like a part of him was missing.   “She was the love of my life and I miss her so much.  People tell me this hurt will eventually end and I keep wondering when.”  My heart was breaking listening to his story.  I just hoped my voice conveyed the compassion I felt at that moment.  I told him if ever he wanted to talk to someone he could call me with or without a donation.  He said, “Thank you; I’ll remember that.”  I haven’t heard from him since then.

When we answer our phones, many times the calls are routine, but every-once-in-a while we encounter someone who needs to hear a genuine, “have a nice day, “ or, “we appreciate your donation,” or simply a genuine, “thank you.”  Our voices need to convey those words with sincerity because they do make an impression on those at the other end of the line.  It might make the difference between calling back with another gift to support the work of The Salvation Army or never hearing from them again, or possibly calling back to hear that someone remembered them.

Donor Services Assistant

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