If you have ever worked in a Customer Service or Account Management role, chances are you have encountered an unhappy client or overzealous Sales person.
With the introduction of technology, rating services, like Yelp, and an over abundance of competition has enhanced pressure on customer service roles to provide consistently high quality customer experiences.
By mastering 3 key skills – Transparency, Communication and Time Management – you will minimize mishaps costing your company revenue loss. In the process, you will build stronger client relations, internally and externally, by developing trust & solidifying your Brand.
Related Article: Book review: I Love YOU More than my DOG, by Jeanne Bliss
Transparency, Communication & Time Management
Transparency in business is essential to building trust and accountability. It’s the honesty and openness of a commitment you are making to your customers, employees, employer and most importantly to yourself .
When being transparent in business, it’s important to know who the key stakeholders are & who is responsible for tasks in all phases of a campaign’s lifecycle, as well as knowing how much transparency is needed. Managing transparency can be challenging and requires dedication to the process.
We’ve provided the below recommendations help get you started:
- Schedule weekly or bi-weekly Internal and External kick-off calls to discuss project timelines, challenges and next steps.
- Conduct with daily scrum meetings with relevant key stakeholders needed to resolve immediate/urgent needs. These daily meetings should be no more than 15-30 minutes & used only to discuss daily priorities and next steps.
- Use a Project Management or Task Management
system to keep track of ideas, conversations and files as it is
stored in one common area for all to access and reference.
- Ensure you are sending Follow-up notes immediately after the meeting to attendees outlining the priorities and next steps discussed. Always add a Task owner to avoid confusion on who is responsible for the action. Either send a status update at the end of the day, or provide a recap during the next daily scrum or weekly meetings.
Nowadays, everyone seems to always be connected, working from their mobile phones. So while it’s easy & fast to respond to an email from the dinner table or watching a movie, it’s often the biggest deterrent from having an in-person conversation.
Using these tips to develop stronger communication skills may help drive quicker resolutions:
- Minimize emails by having in-person meetings, when possible.
Emails can always be sent as a follow-up, if you want documentation of to the discussion or at the very least confirm everyone walked away with the same understanding. Add next steps as needed.
- Manage up! This is probably the least used method of Communication. Always keep your manager & key stakeholders informed on any challenges you may be experiencing in resolving an issue. Your manager should never be surprised about an important client issue.
- Best Practice: Don’t spend more than 20 minutes resolving an issue. Ask for help!
- Communicate with ample time when deadlines will be missed. Work with colleagues to re-prioritized and stick to new date, especially if you are working in a fast-paced environment where client needs are constantly changing. Review task priorities and communicate to key stakeholders if timelines and due dates need to be adjusted
In a recent Time Management training I conducted at a client-site, participants shared their most challenging areas. The most common theme from the group was always feeling they were being Reactive, not Proactive to a client issue.
It made many of them feel unproductive and as if they did not have enough time in the day to get to their planned tasks. This resulted in in poor quality of work as they rushed to get through tasks, building misconceptions from their colleagues resulting in bad working environment due to tension & mistrust.
The take away from our meeting was – Your are the Keeper of your Time. Become aware of how you use it throughout the day by owning where your time is being spent. So how do you go about doing such a thing?
- Create a task list to plan out your day: Every morning, carve out 30 – 45 minutes to review your emails and & prioritize daily tasks. You can use your calendar as a reminder.
- Best Practice: Bring this list to your daily Scrum to ensure everyone is on the same page. Schedule time for interruptions!
- Block time on your calendar to complete important projects and tasks. This will avoid meetings from being added to your calendar to ensure you are sticking to your deadlines.
- Best Practice: Set time to re-group/think throughout the day. Update and re-prioritize your task list and be sure to communicate any changes in due dates.
- Take assumption out of the equation! Don’t take on tasks when you are not clear of the ask – once you take it, you own it!
Incorporating these tips in your daily routine is sure to help you increase your productivity and minimize the issues that plague you and your brand. I recommend using these methods consistently for 30 days. Reassess each week on areas for improvement.