The Habits Of Amazing People: Look Beyond The Clock
In his book, Be Amazing or Go Home, Shep Hyken discusses why “Amazing people” are amazing, including the habits they have in common. In previous blogs, I discussed several habits, including showing up ready to amaze, what it means to be amazing, always being on stage, and always showing up early (“Lombardi time”).
In this post, we talk about acting like you’re on the clock—even when you’re not.
Have you ever stood in line at a business and been ignored by the person standing in front of you because they were not “open” yet? Have you ever walked up to an employee at a store and asked them where something is and have them ignore you and walk away because they were not working yet? This type of behavior can turn an excellent customer experience into a bad one immediately. It is essential that you do not ignore a customer when they depend on your response because you are "off the clock."
As remote employees, we don’t see this much because we are not physically in front of our customers. However, if we work with customers regularly, they might have access to our instant messenger. If they have this access, they might see an indicator—in the case of Microsoft Teams, a little bubble that changes color—turn “green”. The moment they send you a message, it becomes vital that you send them a message back in a reasonable time to let them know when you will be able to provide them with your full attention. I know I am not always able to give my full attention at that moment, but I try and send a message letting the person know approximately when I will get back to them—just one quick message that I will respond in the next hour lets them know that I am not ignoring them and that I am setting an expectation of when I can work with them thoroughly on their questions.
Other essential ways our clients connect with us is through email and phone calls. Most of our repeat customers know our work habits. An example might be: Crystal comes in at 7:30 every morning to read her email and drink coffee before her "start-time" of 8:00. If they call or send an email at that time, it becomes essential that I answer that call or email, so they do not feel ignored because they “see” me standing in front of them. I am often amazed by how much customers know about my work schedule, so they will call/email me early because they know I am working (probably because I am sending out emails first thing when I get in). It becomes vital that I respond to their emails and calls during this time frame. I do not want to leave them feeling like they are standing in line, ignoring them while I am present in my work environment.
When I was reading this chapter, I could immediately see the reasoning behind this philosophy, but I could also see that, because I work from home, I must set boundaries, too. It becomes too easy to work a 10–12-hour day when your office is in the next room. Most of our customers know we work from home, so it is essential to set expectations up front. I have had customers ask me to work at 9,10, or 11 PM. Because I work from home, it should not be a big deal, right?
It is up to me to make sure my customers know that I will work late as needed, with preplanned scheduling. (This will change for emergency calls and situations.) This scheduling enables me to provide the amazing service they are looking for but also provides for the work-life balance necessary to be a productive employee.
What does "Look Beyond the Clock" mean to me? Remembering that, if the client can "see" me, I need to respond to them, even if that response is that I am not able to help them immediately. Making sure that I never let the customer feel ignored is critical to their continued support and happiness. If they “see” you, you are there, so you need to respond. With the technology today, I need to make sure my clients know that, while I might not be able to help them immediately, I need to make them aware that I see their request with a response of any type, even if it is a note that I will not be able to help them today but can tomorrow.
How do you manage your on- and off-the-clock time? How do you respond to customers or clients to ensure they know they’re being heard without losing your boundaries? What do you think you could do better? Please share your thoughts, and let’s discuss how we can help you with ArcherPoint's customer service offerings.