Break The Costly Habit of Intervening. Get More Time and Grow Your Business

One of the hardest habits to break is intervening to solve problems that your employees should handle. For instance, your customer calls you directly about a problem or concern related to a project. Of course it’s faster for you to just handle it then and there. You love taking care of your customer and It might be even be a rewarding distraction to deal quickly with an issue where you have great expertise.
Unfortunately, each time you do this there is a long-term impact that reduces your capacity for future growth/profit/time. Think about it…
Your Customers:

  • Become trained to call you if they don’t get the answer they like from your representatives
  • Lose respect for your Account Manager since they got a different answer or response from the boss
  • Learn how to get the answer they want by exploiting (consciously or subconsciously) multiple channels of communication. This is a great negotiation tactic for them
  • Get used to ignoring any organizational structure you might put into place

Your Customer Account Managers (Project Mgr, Relationship Mgr or whatever term you use):

  • Become discouraged and lose confidence in their ability to handle client issues
  • Stop taking ‘ownership’ of the relationship since they come to assume that it really belongs to you
  • Walk around afraid of getting into trouble if they make a decision that the client (or you) may not agree with
  • Lose the opportunity to gain the experience and formation around dealing with difficult customer relationship issues

If you are serious about getting more time and being able to grow your business you need to break the habit:

  • Start by making sure that your customers understand your organization and the processes you are putting into place
  • Practice saying “Let me talk with {Enter Employee Name Here} and we’ll call right you back.” Put a sign on the wall or on your phone if you need to be reminded
  • Listen to your Account Manager. Let them explain their perspective and thought processes before you jump to the solution. There’s always more to the story
  • Use the opportunity to ‘form’ your staff. Have them make the follow up phone call – with you present if it is going to be a really tough conversation
  • Make sure you show support of your staff. If you don’t show confidence in them, how do you expect your customers to?
  • Give them the freedom, resources and authority (with appropriate accountability) to take care of your customers. They will make mistakes – just like you did. And if they are keepers, you will reap the benefits in the long run.
  • Also, pay attention to ‘core strength’ issues with systems, procedures, knowledge sharing, etc., that may be contributing to the problems being experienced by your customer

It’s not easy to let go and old habits are hard to break – but the effort usually pays big dividends.
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