Does your brain ever speak faster than your ears can listen and eyes can read? I’m certainly guilty of this, and over the years I’ve started to understand the importance of slowing down and ensuring all information is properly delivered to the party I am working with and vice versa. Communications through email, instant message, phone, and delivered face-to-face must be managed properly so you do not misinform yourself or others.
Communication is highly important no matter what setting you are in. Suppose you are working on gathering statistical data for your board report and your supervisor is looking for how many member accounts were opened in 2019. Unfortunately, you skimmed over the directions and provided numbers for open accounts from 2019 to current date. This information is now incorrect for the board report. However, you are the only one who is aware of this, so now your board is making executive decision’s based on invalid reports. These types of executive decisions could lead to financial success or financial failure for your institution.
If we took the time to slow down and not skim over that long email, complex syllabus, or overwhelming requirements page, these types of mistakes would not be made.
Instant communication helps clients faster
I currently work in Client Services and we have methods in place to help ensure we are all sufficiently communicating with one another for day-to-day work and projects. The Skype for Business application allows our team to communicate with one another via instant message. As we spend so much time on the phone with clients, this is particularly useful for communicating information back and forth while remaining on the phone, or if we need a quick response and have little time to run to the individual’s office.
Instant message also make it easy for us to speak with other departments who may be located at different offices or who may be on a different floor. Because working with our clients via telephone is highly important, we encourage ourselves to stay at our desk as much as possible and instant message allows for this. If your customer service reps are not currently using a similar software, I recommend trying it to improve communication efficiency.
Keep the lines of communication open
Our department also has a mentor relationship built into our daily work. We have Level One, Level Two, Account Executive, Team Lead, Assistant Manager, and finally a Vice President. Our Level One and Level Two team members work together each day to research client inquiries and sometimes other department inquiries. Both levels also have open communication with our Account Executives who have more experience and can assist with pointing each level in the right direction.
We then have two team leads, one for the Client Services portion of our team and one for the Education. Level Ones and Level Twos have open communication with our Client Services team lead for client inquiries that might be out of our knowledge scope. Each level also has open communication with our Education Team lead that helps with scheduling training sessions and helps ensure we are all on task with our yearly educational goals.
Finally, our Assistant Manager and Vice President work with us in researching escalated incidents and ensuring we are on track for growing in the department and company. If we did not have this open line of communication and this drive to grow in knowledge, then we would not be who we are today; a department that strives to be better for our clients, for our families, and for ourselves.
Stay informed on things you missed
Managing email can be tricky, especially when you work the late shift. As I now currently work the 3 PM to 12 AM shift, I often arrive in the office only to find dozens if not hundreds of unread emails. It can be intense.
This is why I ensure that all my emails are thoroughly read and replied to by 3:20 PM. Having my emails managed right away allows for me to meet with whomever I need to between 3:30 – 5 PM without the worry that I am missing something highly important. Managing my emails properly and by priority also ensures that the information being transferred from the day shift to the night shift stays in check. Last thing we want is for the shifts to be out of sync and not focused on what’s needed most.
Double and then triple check
Overlooking a detail can be harmful to you and the client. Read through your assignment thoroughly so you do not miss an important piece of information that can lead to important decision making of others. Create mentor relationships so your employees grow in knowledge and ensure they learn to problem solve. Multiple minds working together is always better than one.
Last, but not least, do not wait until last minute to read through your emails. Emails are important especially when you are in a company that allows for first, second, and third shift. Communication can be tied into so many areas and you cannot be successful if your communication with others lacks. One does not build a company or department from the ground up by keeping to themselves.
Coming soon: Part 2: The Customer is Not Always Right, But Neither Are You