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Updates: Trainer basically refusing to talk about her background and experience unless over the phone...??

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  • Updates: Trainer basically refusing to talk about her background and experience unless over the phone...??

    I recently contacted a trainer in my local area via Facebook. Her website and the facilities Facebook page did not provide any information regarding her background and experience or what her lesson clientele were doing in terms of showing. I sent her a message asking about these things. She responded with her phone number saying to give her a call. I replied the next day apologizing for the delay but saying I couldn't make a phone call at the time due to my location. She proceeded to say that she preferred to talk over the phone and still did not address either of my questions at all.

    I am finding this strange. Not the best customer service, at minimum. I cannot imagine why the format of communication would matter so much to her. Personally, I have a mild hearing impairment that can make understanding people on the phone very difficult. I prefer to communicate via text or in person. When it comes to something like this I'd like to establish some basic information before driving out to a facility to talk to anybody face-to-face.

    Does anybody see this as a legitimate red flag? The fact that she doesn't have any information about herself publicly available and seems oddly controlling about how she delivers that information to a potential customer almost feels a little suspicious. Or am I being paranoid?



    Update: I clarified things regarding my preference for not talking on the phone. Trainer then engaged with me on Messenger. However, she still didn't provide real details about her background/experience other than saying how many years she's been working.

    I do not have a USEF membership so I cannot look her up. On the same note, this is actually an eventing trainer, so I don't believe her results would be on the USEF site anyway. I looked her up on the USEA site and only found a couple recent HTs with one horse at a low level. I'm not sure how far back USEA shows scores, but these were within the past year or two. Nothing on Horse Show Results or Centerline (dressage show scores).

    The absence of info on the barn website and Facebook plus the lack of recent, substantial competition scores leads me to suspect she may not have an extensive amount of show experience or education. Judging by the photos of clients I get the impression she teaches mostly beginners or casual older ammies.
    Last edited by alternate_universe; Apr. 9, 2019, 08:20 PM.

  • #2
    I'd say a yellow flag. Some people aren't "written/electronic communication" people. Hubby and I met online and spend a lot of time on the interwebz, but we've managed to find the two hobbies worst at online/text dealings: aviation and horses.
    ??????
    Your situation with some hearing loss is a bit different. Perhaps if you explain to her that phone conversations are challenging she'd take a bit more time to communicate in writing?

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't see it as a red flag. Trainers are busy people, and responding to texts or emails or facebook messages is a longer, more drawn-out process than one condensed phone call. She may be less-than-stellar with typing or technology and have trouble communicating that way. Requesting a phone conversation is also a good way to weed out tire kickers that message an obscene number of trainers/buyers multiple questions about services they aren't really serious about pursuing.

      If you explain that talking on the phone is difficult for you she may be understanding about texting or emailing.

      Comment


      • #4
        I take lessons occasionally with someone who is older and who doesn't really do well with texts/ email, but is very good with young horses. Maybe say something like, "I have hearing loss so phone conversations don't work well for me. I am looking for a low-key barn to take lessons weekly with the goal of someday leasing and showing (or whatever your need is.) If you think your barn would be a good fit, please let me know so we can work out a time that I could come by for a tour."

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the responses so far. Trainer looks about late 30s/early 40s and has multiple personal social media accounts, so I'm not buying that she's not tech savvy. I do agree that this could be a method of avoiding tire kickers.

          Comment


          • #6
            As someone who is mildly dyslexic and finds written communication difficult at times I would much rather talk to someone over the phone then through e-mail or text, especially for the initial contact. First impressions matter. If talking on the phone is difficult I would be willing to e-mail or text but it is not my preferred method.

            Ann
            ~\"Think today so you will be here to think tomorrow\" Burma Shave~

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Bearx2 View Post
              As someone who is mildly dyslexic and finds written communication difficult at times I would much rather talk to someone over the phone then through e-mail or text, especially for the initial contact. First impressions matter.

              So are you saying I should explain why I would prefer text communication at the moment?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post


                So are you saying I should explain why I would prefer text communication at the moment?
                Honestly I would have answered basic questions through text or e-mail (things like rates or lesson availability ) anything else I would prefer to either talk over the phone or in person. Yes, if you told me why you would rather do e-mail or text I would try to answer your question but sometimes with the way I write things can get lost in the translation.

                Ann
                ~\"Think today so you will be here to think tomorrow\" Burma Shave~

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bearx2 View Post

                  Honestly I would have answered basic questions through text or e-mail (things like rates or lesson availability ) anything else I would prefer to either talk over the phone or in person. Yes, if you told me why you would rather do e-mail or text I would try to answer your question but sometimes with the way I write things can get lost in the translation.
                  I guess my mentality is: What can get lost in translation with "I've been doing A for B years, was a working student for C and D and have shown multiple horses through E. My students regulary attend F and G shows."?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is not a red flag.

                    In fact, if the trainer had responded with a lengthy text with all the information you requested, I would consider that a red flag. No serious, legitimate, respectable trainer has time on their hands to send lengthy texts to unknown people making inquiries. Texting at a barn is quite awkward if a person is actually busy (vs. just hanging out at the barn). Personally I'm usually either handling a horse, riding, driving the tractor, or doing something important, wet, or dirty with my hands, or it's cold out and I have gloves on, and I'm usually also trying to field calls and texts from vets, farriers, and current clients, all of whom have first dibs on my attention.

                    I'm sympathetic re: your hearing loss and your difficulty making phone calls during the day. However, determining if a barn/trainer might be appropriate for you is an impossible conversation to have via text messaging. It isn't reasonable to cold text a trainer or barn owner and ask them to text you back their entire resume and/or a list of what their clients are doing. I think if you are genuinely interested, you should ask a few specific questions--Is your program more geared towards adult amateurs or to junior riders? Do you have school horses? Do you attend rated shows? (Whatever is most important to you.) Then make the effort to make a personal visit.

                    Additionally, from a "customer service" POV, texting is not a good communication method for anything except very specific, brief, information. It's extremely easy to mis-communicate tone or to mis-state information, and very difficult to convey details and subtleties. It's very easy for people to misconstrue or misunderstand texted information, and voice recognition programs often add their own oddities to the mix.
                    Last edited by BeeHoney; Apr. 8, 2019, 09:18 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post

                      I guess my mentality is: What can get lost in translation with "I've been doing A for B years, was a working student for C and D and have shown multiple horses through E. My students regulary attend F and G shows."?
                      Maybe she thinks that after answering your questions you will have more and it is faster for her to just have a phone conversation. I know there are times where things I need to tell people or the answers they need take too long to write out and I can get it done quicker with a phone call. A phone call also allows me to multitask more than text/email.

                      I am sure if you explained the real reason for preferring an email or text she would comply. I personally would rather handle your questions with a phone call or face to face rather than an email. However, if you explained to me why beyond I have no service right now, I would try to accommodate that request.

                      And what BeeHoney said too.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        and what BeeHoney said, too!

                        It is surprising her social media presence doesn't have the basics of her background and past successes, and things like basic rates.. but I would not expect her to text/email back. Explaining your hearing loss would be the right thing to suggest. But is it possible you can go visit in person? That is what I always did when I wanted to learn about someone -- ask to see them do a lesson, etc.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          BeeHoney said it much better then I could. I know I have personally sent texts and e-mails out where I either left out a word or transposed numbers. This is part of my dyslexia. So understand it can take me 30 minutes to write the type of e-mail/ text you are asking for. 10 to type it up and then 20 -25 to proof read and make corrections . I am not saying this is what is happening with the trainer you are talking about . All I am saying is there might be legitimate reasons that the women would rather talk over the phone.
                          Ann
                          ~\"Think today so you will be here to think tomorrow\" Burma Shave~

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Everything BeeHoney said.

                            It takes a lot more time and effort to communicate information via text/email than in a phone conversation.
                            "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                            that's even remotely true."

                            Homer Simpson

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I feel as if this essentially boils down to the fact that different people can have very strong preferences (for a myriad of reasons, all of them valid!) for one form of communication over the other and that in and of itself should not be a red flag.

                              Moreover, one person with specific communication preferences engaging in a conversation with another cannot necessarily expect the other party to yield to their preferences. If there is a strong need for a certain style, it helps to be upfront with why there is a necessity for it. While professionals generally should be relatively accommodating, they are also in a position with finite time and the ability to pick and choose their own clientele (especially if they are successful in their own business already).

                              Ultimately I guess to me what it comes down to is that is this really a hill people choose to die on?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Not hard to look up her current showing background via USEF or Google. Typing "Jane Doe, equestrian " usually brings up results. Everyone has an online presence. Depending on where she shows, would allow you to look up results of her clients also. Most shows use some sort of software system to track entries, results, order of go, etc. Equestrian Sports Productions, Horseshowtime, Horseshowsonline, etc are a few. Also type her name in YouTube to see any videos.

                                Facebook Messenger is an easy way to respond without worrying about texting or email mistakes.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post
                                  Thanks for the responses so far. Trainer looks about late 30s/early 40s and has multiple personal social media accounts, so I'm not buying that she's not tech savvy. I do agree that this could be a method of avoiding tire kickers.
                                  I agree with you. I figure if you want clients, you should be able to respond in some sort of written fashion. Nothing wrong with tire kickers. Someone you may blow off as a tire kicker, could be a great client. It is hard for those of us who deal with technology everyday in our jobs, to not be able to communicate that way.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I 100% agree that requesting to talk via telephone is an effective method of weeding out time-wasters AND getting a feel for future client compatibility, disposition, goals, maturity, etc. if there's a reason why phone conversations are difficult for you personally, I'd be up front about it, but I wouldn't expect a business owner to give up what she probably has found to be a valuable piece of early communication with eventual clients. I'll also co-sign on the idea that some conversations are better conducted in real time, either in person or over the phone. Tone is more apparent, and questions can be asked/issues clarified as they come up.

                                    I don't consider this a red flag at all. Were I the trainer, I might do the same.
                                    "With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come" (Shakespeare).

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post
                                      This is not a red flag.

                                      In fact, if the trainer had responded with a lengthy text with all the information you requested, I would consider that a red flag. No serious, legitimate, respectable trainer has time on their hands to send lengthy texts to unknown people making inquiries. Texting at a barn is quite awkward if a person is actually busy (vs. just hanging out at the barn). Personally I'm usually either handling a horse, riding, driving the tractor, or doing something important, wet, or dirty with my hands, or it's cold out and I have gloves on, and I'm usually also trying to field calls and texts from vets, farriers, and current clients, all of whom have first dibs on my attention.

                                      I'm sympathetic re: your hearing loss and your difficulty making phone calls during the day. However, determining if a barn/trainer might be appropriate for you is an impossible conversation to have via text messaging. It isn't reasonable to cold text a trainer or barn owner and ask them to text you back their entire resume and/or a list of what their clients are doing. I think if you are genuinely interested, you should ask a few specific questions--Is your program more geared towards adult amateurs or to junior riders? Do you have school horses? Do you attend rated shows? (Whatever is most important to you.) Then make the effort to make a personal visit.

                                      Additionally, from a "customer service" POV, texting is not a good communication method for anything except very specific, brief, information. It's extremely easy to mis-communicate tone or to mis-state information, and very difficult to convey details and subtleties. It's very easy for people to misconstrue or misunderstand texted information, and voice recognition programs often add their own oddities to the mix.
                                      100% this. It is by FAR my experience in this business that the more professional they are, the more they prefer TALK instead of text.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'll have to disagree that talking on the phone is "faster" or "more condensed." Especially with horse people, people tend to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk when on the phone. At least 2/3 of every phone call I get for boarding is an hour-long event.
                                        I personally would MUCH rather email correspondence than over the phone, for several reasons:
                                        I like to have things accessible in writing, that I can review at a later date in case I forget important information.
                                        Having a phone conversation requires that both people are available at the same time. If, say, trainer is busy in the barn from 8a-6p and can only talk on the phone after 6p, but potential client has a job and a family and after 6p is busy with dinner, helping with homework, getting kids to bed, etc., it can be extremely difficult for them to both be available for a phone conversation. In fact, I've played phone tag with a person for TWO WEEKS before, because our schedules conflicted so poorly. Progressing with the business relationship is then stifled, because it takes forever to relay information that could easily have been delivered at either person's convenience in an email. Trainer could email potential client with answers to their questions at 11pm if they so wish, and potential client could respond back at 9am when they have a moment.

                                        Texting I would not consider a reasonable form of initial communication, it's too informal.

                                        Demanding to talk on the phone in no way says someone is more professional, IMO.

                                        However, I would not see the refusal to communicate outside of a phone call to be a red flag. More an annoying inconvenience of a person who is probably not very technologically-inclined.
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