I was in the latter half of a long and frustrating experience that I named “Project Car Import.” Throughout the process, I relied on my “service providers” to act on my behalf as a customer should expect to do. Well … after two and half months of unanswered questions, a car collecting dust at the port, and a “You’re just used to American business standards, it’s different here” excuse, I decided act on my own behalf.

Now … I know that presenting my blue-eyes, blonde-hair person has often smoothed along many processes … especially in the West Indies.  In this case, I was reluctant to go that route but after it became apparent that my representatives were not doing all they should to handle my business, I decided to implement the Laura-In-Person tactic.

Sure enough, within minutes of personally meeting with individuals of authority at the port and with Customs, I was given answers, counsel and assistance that far outshined those of my presented through my “service providers.” Within one day, I had more assistance and progress than I had garnered through weeks of sticking with the work-for-your-client approach.

This experience again attests that face-to-face interaction will, in most cases, prove most effective and efficient.  Most people like to see the face and hear the voice of the person directly influencing or affected by a situation.  It adds weight and validity to the circumstance.  It shows genuine interest.  The person affected by a situation feels they received deserved attention and the person influencing a situation gets the opportunity to view another perspective. Communication involves more than just words, and face-to-face interaction facilitates the other aspects of effective communication – body language, listening, voice inflection, observing, questioning, immediate exchange of ideas, etc.

The result in my case was I reduced my costs by a third, complete the process in one week, received a personal tour of the port, given direct phone numbers of those in authority for future assistance, and gained much appreciated peace of mind.