It is hard to find time to improve in a busy and hectic everyday life. There are just 168 hours in one week and things tends to pile up. It is hard to create a great customer service if everybody wants to talk to you about their problems, and you just can’t find time to solve the real underlying issues. Modern technology is here to help, but for most people it results in a more hectic day with more stuff to do before going home. I know firsthand that there is a huge difference between customer service theories and applying those theories in reality. I think we all need to acknowledge this in order to become better at what we do.
I feel extremely frustrated when I manage to forget to return a call or when I am unable to help a customer. For me, it is the worst feeling and it ruins my day for five minutes. (I was born with an extreme case of positivism, so that is pretty much as bad as it gets for me) – I know that I have performed below expectations and I have lost business and customers too. I know quite a lot about customer service and one thing is true – it can be difficult to succeed.
A colleague of mine once said: “As busy as a man running next to his bike” – an expression of holding your bike with your hands and running next to it, too busy to stop and get on it.
This is the worst feeling ever – so how do we get out of it?
You actually need to stop for a short while, make time to imagine how it should be and describe this new situation as a future vision. What do you want your day to look like? This is the “Destination” – the next thing is to decide on the road you need to go to get there. And in all business endeavors, you will find obstacles. The obstacles are new challenges. Don’t worry too much about them as they come along. Find a good enough solution for now, and if it works – GREAT. If it fails, well then, you have just found one way that won’t work, try another.
But you don’t have time to stop, that is actually bull’s eye to describe your situation? -Plan a stop, plan for 70 % of max speed for a week or two. But how can we make this plan? Start by drawing a diagram on your whiteboard. Like the image below.
Give your team post-its and asign a task to each post it. Place it somewhere on the scale, not just in the box, but all the way to the edge if it is really simple and all the way to the bottom if it is really a waste of time. If you get any tasks at all in the red zone – this are the task that can wait, and maybe the simple unimportant too. You might also find this as a good tool to evaluate what task you need to make either more important, or more simple.
You can do this diagram in a various versions if you like. Simple – Complex to profit – no profit. Fun – boring, noisy to quiet and so on. Rigid rules to no rules. This will vary a bit, but the whole idea is to classify tasks in a order of prioritizing. If you are a software developer you might want to spend 100 hours solving one complex but important task or 100 hours solving 10 simple but important tasks?
You might not get the result you want at first, but change it around a bit and see what happens.
Leadership vs management when turning things around.
Leadership is inspiration it is big thoughts and direction oriented. Management is hands on creating routines and systems. Creating a new process or a way to do things. Now you need 10 % leadership to kickstart the events and the rest is pure management. It is all about analyzing and finding time consuming tasks. You might even find task you can completly stop doing and nobody will notice ever.
Don’t go to deep into plans and documentations. It is about action, trial and error. It is about inspiration and about creating a momentum. If you succeed you will have time to create the documentation later. But whatever you do, don’t leave your bike behind.
I hope this will inspire you to action…