Where’s the Gatekeeper?

gatekeeperFor any membership organization there is no greater asset than our members but a very close second is our member’s contact information.  I’m a bit geeky so I thoroughly enjoy spending hours verifying that I have the most updated address, email and website for our members.  Really, I’m not kidding!

So, while recently reviewing our membership in preparation for the annual printed directory publication, I noticed something I found interesting. In many cases the  gatekeeper is gone!  I used to assume that we would not disclose the direct phone number and email address for the owners, presidents and CEO’s of our largest member businesses and organizations.  They were protected and hard to reach. But to my surprise, this is changing. I think it is one of the more positive signs of the time.  Not only do many of these previously “protected” individuals willingly share their contact information, but they encourage customers to contact them directly. This includes Oil City’s Manager, Ryan Eggleston, UPMC Northwest President David Gibbons and Penelec’s Regional Manager Linda Routzan.

One mystery remains.  Why do many small businesses make it difficult to contact them? I understand that everyone is very busy, but in this day and age we expect to be able to reach the people we do business with by phone, fax email and hopefully cell phone, maybe even facebook and twitter.  Are you making it tough for customers to find you.  What are you afraid of? May I suggest that you take the chance and share your numbers, online, in your chamber listing or on your business card. You just may meet someone that can’t wait to do business with you!