Social media switch off

You never answered the phone when I called, and "I've messaged you on facebook - whatsapp, instagram, twitter or google - and I'm still waiting for a reply" are words I would hear so very often. 
The reason I don't answer the phone during shop hours is because I am with customers in the shop; I'm certainly not going to ignore them to answer a call - how rude of me would that be?. There is an answerphone message that asks you to call back a bit later - I do love those who hang up and call again immediately! The reason the message doesn't say I will call you back is because I have had people leave messages, I've called them back and then they've not bothered to answer, so in the end I found it easier to stop returning calls. There were also a lot of people calling on mobiles in bad reception areas whose phones would cut out meaning I only got a partial number from them. To me it's better that nobody is able to leave a message, than for someone to do so and think I've ignored them because I've not called them back. It also helps to weedle out the spammers and scammers.

My favourite phone complaints though are from the customers who call when the shop is closed. If the shop closes at 4pm and you call at 6pm I'm not going to answer; if you call at 8.30am and the shop doesn't open until 9am, I am not going to answer. It's really that simple! As I've said above, if you call during opening hours and I don't answer it is because I am with a customer in the shop. Please try again in 5 minutes.

Onto messaging services. Oh my goodness; some people expect the world and more. As a result I have now switched them all off, or logged out of them. On FB I was having people message me at 2/3am and expecting me to reply immediately, even though I had a greeting set up explaining I do not get chance to check social media every day, and that if their message required a quick answer it would be best to email or call the shop. I most definitely would not reply to someone in the middle of the night. I may have trouble sleeping, struggle with insomnia, but my phone gets switched off at night, and isn't turned on until the following morning. My auto message gave the shops email address and phone number to make it easier for people to get hold of me during opening hours. I also included a link to the website in case they wished to order online. That was never good enough, or was totally ignored. I logged on many times to find the message senders had completely ignored my message, yet had continued messaging me asking how long it was going to take me to reply, with many of them getting quite abusive if I'd not replied to them until later in the day. 

I work alone. I order the flowers, condition the flowers, tidy the shop, scrub the vases, make the orders up, serve the customers, check the emails, organise the daily accounts and banking; I write the cards, envelopes, take the orders over the phone and in the shop. I do it all on my own; finding time some days to even pop the kettle on for a well earned cuppa is non-existant. To then have to find time to log onto social media is nigh on impossible. It wasn't just FB; some customers, if they didn't hear from me on there, would then message on other social media platforms, and whilst these are a great way to interact with people, they can be overwhelming to keep up-to-date on a good day; to open up and find 30 messages waiting for me on just one platform would often find me spinning. To then find the same customer had also sent multiple messages on others was often infuriating.

The amount of people who would use a messaging service at 11am (and later) asking if I could organise delivery that same day was astounding. Ignoring my auto response, they'd then message an hour later asking if I'd got their message. When did we begin living in a world where people find it impossible to pick up the phone. The abuse I have experienced because I've not picked these messages up until the following day (in some cases a few days later) was astounding - and also quite shocking. Just this week I have had someone call the shop multiple times outside of the opening hours. They then sent me a message having a moan because I'd not answered the phone. I tried to explain to them I wasn't there and they replied "well have the calls transfered to your mobile then". Uh, no, I don't think so.Would you be prepared to finish work then have calls transfered to you in your 'down time'?

I had a lot of repeat offenders too which was more than a little frustrating. People I would remind time-and-time again to call me at the shop, or email me, who would still message me on social media, get a grump on if I didn't reply, then not bother to order anything because - and these are words from an actual customer "you left it too late and didn't bother getting back to me and now the occasion is over and I look like a (insert expletive word) because I never sent them anything". They could have easily dropped me an email (some days I may not check them until later but they always get checked) hopped online (we take orders for collection on the website too) or called the shop, yet it was my fault they didn't send flowers to whomever they wanted them for.

As a result I have now switched off all social media messaging options - even deleted my facebook page, because if people couldn't get me on the shops messaging services they would track me down and message me on my personal page -  google talk is off and I've deleted whatsapp. 

I love my job, I love my shop, I love what I do, and for the most part I love my customers, but I also love myself, I love my own time, I love my family time and I like to be able to keep the 2 (shop and home) separate. I spend 60+ hours each week in the shop, am available to customers for 36 of those, admittedly not as many as some but I don't have a team to share the workload with, so when I lock the door at night that's me done until I unlock the next day. I don't think it's too much to ask to be allowed a few hours to myself each week. 



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