Friday, August 19, 2011

Time Management - Lesson #1

I recently received an inquiry from a client with respect to managing her time at the office.

Seems her employer expects her to respond to her voice mail messages as soon as they're received and to leave an outgoing message that says she'll respond to all voice mail messages within the hour.

Personally, I don't like this method for two major reasons:
  1. By allowing only a one-hour window of opportunity during which to return calls, you're not allowing for emergencies, other clients, and ... lunch! If anything time-consuming happens during that hour, you'll break your promise--which is recorded for all the world to hear.
  2. You're setting a precedent. If you inform people that you'll respond instantly to their requests, they'll believe you ... and expect you to do it in the future. All the time. No matter what.
I prefer recording an outgoing message that says I'll return all calls by the end of the day and asking callers to return to the operator if they have an emergency or a situation that can't wait until the end of the day. This alleviates any "issues" created by #1 and #2 above:
  1. You're allowing yourself time to handle emergencies, other clients, and lunch. If you can return a call in 15 minutes, or 60 minutes, then you've not only kept your promise, you've done so in a super-efficient way. And if you return someone's call at 5:00 p.m. (or whenever your office closes), you're a person of your word.
  2. You're not setting a precedent and you're letting people know that emergencies are handled immediately and non-emergencies are handled on the same day they arise. Sounds reasonable, and professional to me.
What do YOU think your outgoing voicemail message should say? And why?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How do YOU do it? - Book Giveaway

I'm working on a project that involves the development, writing, and presentation of three customer service webinars. Of course, I know how I've done certain things in the business world during the past 30+ years.

But I'm wondering how YOU do certain things.

If you make a comment and share details about how YOU do one or more of the following, your name will be entered a giveaway for a free copy of Taking the Mystery Out of Business: 9 Fundamentals for Professional Success. Your name will be entered for each question you address in your comemnt; so yes, if you comment on each of the three questions, your name gets entered three times.

Here's what I want to know:
  1. What's the single biggest time-waster you face during your work day ... and how have you managed to overcome it?
  2. How do you manage to stay current in your business industry? Specifically, I want to know the challenges you face with inforamtion overload and what techniques you use to hone in the most beneficial resources to keep yourself current and up-to-date.
  3. How do you successfully manage the conflicting need of clients, vendors, employers, ... and yourself?
Deadline for your contest entry is 11:59 p.m. on 8/31/2011 I'll announce the winner on 9/1/2011. If you don't want to include your e-mail address in your comment, feel free to email me directly at