Jan 29

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: Keep a waiting customer patient

waiting-customer-patientWhen you’re the middle person between your customer and your company’s executive decision-maker, you’ve got to play double duty on the communication front lines. You have to coordinate the problem solving and stay in touch with both parties.

For example: You told a customer you’d get back to him with information regarding his account, but unfortunately the ball is out of your court. You’re waiting for someone else in your company to get back to you with the information you need to relay to the customer.

What you can do for your customer: Let him know that you’re waiting for the information and you’ll get back to him as soon as you get it. If a week goes by and you don’t have that information yet, be sure to get in touch with your customer anyway. Tell him that you’re sorry for the delay and you haven’t forgotten about him. If the issue is urgent, copy your manager in on any email correspondences you send.

Then, get in touch with your company’s decision-maker and politely remind him that your customer needs this information.

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Apr 22

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Anticipate problems before they happen — and stop them

There are two ways to deal with problems: solve them as soon as they arise or put measures in place to prevent them before they ever happen. Every manager needs to deal with problems at some point, and there are times when you’ll need to come up with a quick, efficient solution to an issue that you couldn’t foresee.

However, you can look like a management superstar if it appears that problems rarely spring up to begin with. That’s where predictive management comes in — you anticipate possible problems before they happen and execute solutions to prevent them before they can actually blossom into full-blown catastrophes.

There are a few traits you must exhibit to be a successful predictive manager, according to coaching-for-new-women-managers.com:

  • Thoughtful and analytical
  • Awareness of issues that are important, not necessarily just urgent
  • Ability to pick out trends in data, including failures
  • Effective analysis of why a problem occurred, instead of simply how to resolve it
  • Ability to see the “big picture”

The best way to hone your predictive management skills is to take time out of your schedule after a problem arises and analyze it thoroughly. Coaching-for-new-women-managers.com suggests asking yourself the following questions about a management problem you recently had to deal with:

  • When did it happen?
  • What caused the problem?
  • What kinds of warnings or indicators were apparent prior to the problem happening?
  • What (if anything) was done to address the problem before it happened?
  • What could have been done to prevent the problem?
  • What can I do to stop it from happening again?

After you answer these questions, you can develop a solid plan for dealing with the same problem when the warning signs appear — as opposed to scrambling to solve the problem after it’s become a full-scale emergency. Once your predictive management skills progress, you’ll stand out from the pack. Coworkers will wonder why it seems that your team deals with fewer problems. And of course, they’ll attribute the smooth sailing to your excellent leadership abilities.

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