Effective time management & customer service

Today I would like to have a moan about a particularly annoying habit, linked to an event, which is irritating me so much I feel like I am losing the will to live.

It is something which I am sure you will have experienced at some point too.

So what has got my goat? Well the route of my annoyance, when I examine it in an objective sort of way as much as I can, given my outrage, is that my time is not seen as valuable as the person I am trying to contact.

Alternatively it could be the lack of time management skills these people must have. After all, what is the point of saying you will do something when perhaps realistically you have not got the time to do it.

Let me give you a bit of background. For the last week, within a busy schedule I have been seeking advice from a professional body. The advice I require is urgent and important and I am paying for it. They are well aware of the urgency from my initial enquiry by email and the many subsequent telephone conversations I have had with a Very Helpful PA. (Who must be inwardly groaning when she hears it is me on the phone again!)

Initially my request for advice was met with a very positive and efficient response. “If I don’t speak to you Monday, we will talk Tuesday”.

Because I wanted to ensure I was able to have a pen and paper to hand when I received this important telephone call I telephoned The Very Helpful PA who gave me a heads up as to when this was likely to be.

No telephone calls were forthcoming on Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday morning I telephoned again. “He” will call you in the next hour or so I was assured. No telephone call. Annoyingly I had waited in especially and changed my own work schedule to make sure I was not on the phone myself.

Early Wednesday afternoon I called again. The Very Helpful PA said I will speak to him at once and get back to you. As promised she returned my call five minutes later to inform me that “He” who had promised to speak to me Monday or Tuesday was too busy, but the information had now been passed to “A Lady” who would call me either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.

It is now coming up to 3pm on Thursday, still no telephone call despite another rather mutually apologetic call to the Very Helpful PA. a little earlier.

The thing is, not only has my time been wasted, but so has the very helpful PA’s time.

OK, so “He” and “The Lady” are very busy people. I can understand that. I am busy too. But in an age when we can communicate by phone and email 24/7, would it not have been good etiquette to have got back to me in some form, or at least send me a holding message.

The result of all this is that I am feeling under pressure and as a result quite stressed. Worse than that – I have not got back to the people who are waiting on me to make a decision, based on the advice I have been waiting for. So a bottle neck has been created.

Managing your own time is not just about you – it’s about the people around you whether it is in the workplace or home. It is really important to build in slack, and not set unrealistic deadlines, which is what effective time management is all about.

And right now I am guessing that there are three people who may feel under pressure, on the time management front, the very helpful “PA”, “He” and “The Lady” who has now been passed my information.

Even that doesn’t make me feel better though. Maybe it isn’t their time management skills which are in question perhaps they just don’t care. After all they may just think their time is more valuable than mine.

And guess what I won’t ever be using this company again! And I certainly won’t be recommending them to anyone else!

This is an important reminder for me, that time management is not just about my own time management it is about respecting other people’s time too.


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