Our building has had a run of bad luck recently with water pipes bursting and because we’re at street level and water flows downhill, it means our office gets affected the most. I’d like to think I’m fairly level headed and accept that things go wrong and pipes do burst.
So my cracking point was that the property maintenance people promised to clean up the latest flood from Monday night. After they failed to appear for 3 nights, I’d had enough.
The problem for me was that the maintenance people emailed me promising that they would fix it on Tuesday night. So in my mind, it was going to be fixed on Tuesday night. That’s why I was angry on Thursday night as it is a broken commitment plus it’s disrupting the business. Now this wasn’t the first incident that I’ve had with the maintenance company. We also hired them to clean our offices as it made sense since they were also doing the shared areas. I am by no means a tidy freak so if I notice that the job is poor then it is usually woeful. Anyway the maintenance people have now been dismissed as life is too short to be working with organisations that can’t deliver on their promises.
One of our other suppliers is very poor on matching his non urgent promises. I’m currently waiting for a hard drive to be sent back that was promised to me in the mail on Monday last week.
So here’s my tip. If you are not good at delivering on time, then avoid giving a time. Here are some ambiguous words “soon” “shortly” “before long” “won’t happen this week” “we’re onto it” “I’ll get started right away”.
The difference is that you haven’t put a time expectation in the customer’s head. Now in my experience, people who are not the best time keepers often try to compensate for their tardiness with the promise of prompt action for a minor request. So a relatively small request that is non urgent gets a reply with an unnecessary time promise.
For example “Next time you’re in the office will you fix my computer”. The response is “No problem I’ll be there in the morning at 8am”.
So why add on a time when there was no need. Now all this person has done is make a deadline. Instead the reply for such a non urgent request should have been “no problem”.
So here’s your takeaway. If you make a time commitment then make sure you note the commitment in your diary. I think it’s better to put the deadline date in so at least you know when it’s looming. And finally if you can’t deliver on the time commitment, then let the customer know before the deadline. A quick call to the customer to extend the deadline works really well. For those of you that are reading this and are blaming the state of your busyness for your tardiness, then you need to attend a time management program – here’s a link to a course:
Roosevelt read 2 books a day when he was in office. Are you busier then Roosevelt?
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