Listening Is Good Business

By Ron Montgomery
Wednesday - June 01, 2005
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Chad Higa, Michelle Cordes, Christa Dillon, Ron
Montgomery, Erinn Woods and Les Daijo team up to
bring the telephone company back to being locally
managed and operated

LISTEN. It’s a simple word I’ve jotted down in capital letters many times on note pads during the course of my career. It also sums up what I believe is one of the most important skills a person or business must have to successfully deal with people.

Listening to what your customers want makes things easier. But more importantly, it produces the best product available. It’s probably the most important lesson I’ve learned in business, experience that’s taken me from Texas to Germany to Kuala Lumpur over a publishing career spanning three decades.

Listening to my wife and children led me to where I am today, in Hawaii as Hawaiian Telcom Directories vice president and general manager. For years I traveled extensively on business, missing out on time with my family. When they finally told me they wished I didn’t travel so much, I decided to take this job and make Hawaii home for us all.

As Hawaiian Telcom’s purchase of Verizon Hawaii operations brings the telephone company full circle — that is, back to being locally managed and operated — the focus is on Hawaii and its people. That means all of our customers — both residents and advertisers.

We have always had Hawaii’s most accurate directory. We do this by purchasing the most updated information from our phone company. The other yellow page companies here in paradise publish their books with year-old information that has been taken from the telephone company’s previous directories, giving you outdated listings.

Over the past several months, we’ve listened very carefully to your ideas on how to make the Official Yellow Pages better. Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages is splitting the book! Even though research indicated that retention of the directory has been up since the books were combined last year by Verizon, the majority of people in Hawaii told us they wanted the book split into two separate white and yellow page directories, so that is what we are going to do.

Our Yellow Pages will also have new and exciting features everyone will find useful. Some of these features you requested, while others are our contribution toward making this Hawaii’s best directory. Our new directory will feature University of Hawaii sports schedules, personal profiles, ticket information, and stadium and arena seating guides. The book will also include keiki art from local students, and larger print to make it easier to find what you need. The directory is being finalized this month and will be delivered to homes and businesses by the end of October.

Overall, we’ve returned decision- making to the Islands. Our decisions are not based on mainland interests, but on Hawaii’s interests. We are also returning customer service employees to Hawaii. Our business customers won’t have to deal with different time zones and a lack of product knowledge from customer service representatives in out-of-state call centers.

All this we have learned by listening.

At Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages, we are confident these decisions about the directory will satisfy our customers. And at the end of the day when I’m driving home to my family, I know I have the people of Hawaii to thank. We listened, and you provided the insight to truly make it Hawaii’s Official Yellow Pages.

Next week: Lynne Kaneshiro, president and CEO of Island Title Corporation

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