Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Handling delegated items - how do you?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Handling delegated items - how do you?

    I'm not sure how to handle things that I delegate but won't receive follow-up on. This happens a lot, and now my in-box has 3 or 4 emails that i'm not sure how to file/process/delete.

    Example: my customer calls me and requests a catalog. I contact someone in our home office and ask them to send the catalog to the customer. Said person says "OK".

    What do I do with this email trail? If I put it in 'waiting' and the catalog gets sent as normal, I won't ever really hear anything back. But if two months from now my customer says, "hey, where's my catalog?", I need to be able to make sure that I delegated the sending. It's not often the same 'delegee', so folders for those people won't really help. I could file it under the customer in reference, but i've been resisting that for some reason...

  • #2
    I'd like to ask a question about your question.
    Are you designing your system around being sure the customer receives the catalog, or is your objective to be sure you CYA on the catalog request? The answer will determine how you set up your tracking process. Here's mine:

    When my customer calls asking for literature or a quote, I get their email address along with other relevant info. I then email the request for the llt/quote - this can be one of a half-dozen persons at different principal companies. This email is now moved into my "WaitingFor" folder. (I also keep a "Review Weekly" folder to hold "W/Fors" which I know will be a week or more out.)

    Once sufficient time has passed, I email the customer asking if they received the lit/quote and prodding them for the next step. Do they need more info, is an order in the works, is there anything else they need from me, whatever...

    My next action depends upon my customer response. However, once the project is complete (catalog received, order placed, etc) , I move the email into a folder housing all completed projects (one folder for each principal). Periodically, I purge those folders when I'm sure each project is completed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow.

      Excellent question -- I've had to think about it a lot.

      In the past (i.e., last month), I was not organized enough to actually follow up on the request to see if the customer had received it. I see now that using GTD, I actually *can* do that ... and I can see how it would help me provide better customer service and be more productive. And that's the goal of it, after all, right? I have been so focused on getting the paper off of my desk and my 'to-do' list items crossed off, that I haven't focused on the bigger picture.

      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        If not your area of responsibility.

        On the other hand - if contacts with customers are not your area of responsibility - simply send e-mail to appropriate person and mark it done (it is not your WaitingFor).

        Then redirect any subsequent communication from this customer to this person.

        TesTeq

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd like to inject another point based on your last post.

          I believe it is a fact that in business nothing really meaningful happens until the sale is made. All other functions (engineering, advertising, shipping, accounting, manufacturing, customer service, admin, etc) are useless unless sales take place. Some people, even those in upper management, sometimes lose sight of this simple fact.

          The reason I am nit-picking on this point is because while "better customer service" and being "more productive" are important, they are only steps toward the real goal. If the ultimate goal isn't to produce/increase sales then increased efficiencies in any area are nothing but wasted effort.

          You are a point of initial contact for the potential customer, so I suggest that everything you do in the way of organizing your effort should have as its ultimate goal the facilitation of sales. That should impact how you organize your work.

          Comment


          • #6
            Tracking Delegated tasks

            Simple answer.

            Assign the task using MS Outlook.

            You create a task, "Send catalogue to X". Give the task a due date.

            Assign the task electronically using outlook. When the task is accepted it goes into your task list as well as the person you assigned it to.

            When the person at head office completes it (checks off the completed box) you are notified via email.

            Easy.

            Comment


            • #7
              bassdrone's solution is very elegant, efficient, and neat
              (provided your objective is to check off boxes)

              To me, its weakness is that you still don't have the critical piece of information - did the customer get the catalog?

              The only way you will know is if:
              1) The customer places an order;
              OR
              2) The customer calls you again. He's ticked because he hasn't received his catlog. Maybe he will buy from you, but he's inclined to think your delivery policy for your product may be as bad as your delivery policy for your catalogs;
              OR
              2) You never hear from the customer again - he didn't get your catalog (the post office lost it, his mail room lost it, his secretary tossed it, <insert excuse here>)). He gave up on you and called your competitor who took the time to follow up.

              Simple

              Comment


              • #8
                Hmmm... I think I actually confused the situation here by trying to simplify. I used the term "catalog" because I thought it was a generic term that anyone could understand, but really, it's not a catalog and isn't quite as crucial. These are things that are sent to my existing, finite customer base, with whom I transact business on a monthly or more frequent basis. It's an information piece that may not be needed by my customer right away, or may not be yet created by our home office (we work 4-6 months in advance) and what often happens is that they have forgotten that they requested it until they suddenly think about it 2 months or more after our conversation.

                An example might be a sign promoting our product -- when I sell her the product, the customer agrees that she will display it when the product arrives in her store 4-6 months from that date; I have someone in our home office add it to the list of people to receive this signage -- if the customer doesn't receive the sign and calls me, I want to know if a)I forgot to request it, b) who was to send it and c) did they send it?

                Anyway, spectecGTD pointed out a flaw in my thinking -- it's not so much aobut what happened with the sign if it didn't come, but rather, a follow-up to the customer asking if it *did* come might result in better sales because the customer might have forgotten about it also, and so not requested a replacement -- then I lose because my product does not have the visibility.

                Which muddies the water a bit, but I have gotten a lot of information out of this discussion that I can put to use. Thanks.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rather than muddy the water, you clarified IMO. This type of discussion always intrigues me because sales is so dependent upon the proper focus. I deal with long life cycles in the sales process as well, and am constantly aware of how many ways things can go wrong over time.

                  From what you posted, it's crystal clear that the objective should be getting confirmation that the information piece is in place, on time, and in use without any hitches. If your focus is on that outcome, then you will see better results. I believe this focus will also automatically determine many of your intermediate steps.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by spectecGTD
                    Rather than muddy the water, you clarified IMO. This type of discussion always intrigues me because sales is so dependent upon the proper focus. I deal with long life cycles in the sales process as well, and am constantly aware of how many ways things can go wrong over time.

                    From what you posted, it's crystal clear that the objective should be getting confirmation that the information piece is in place, on time, and in use without any hitches. If your focus is on that outcome, then you will see better results. I believe this focus will also automatically determine many of your intermediate steps.
                    I fully agree with SpectecGTD. The whole sales business is simplyabout follow up. Your customers (both new and old) need care and attention. Of course a good product is important too but the difference between good and very good product lies in the quality of the customer service - not in the quality of the product itself.

                    TesTeq

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      About my Delegating process

                      Certainly follow up is important, however, following up on a piece of non-critical information, is often not practical.

                      I need to trust that the people I delegate things get done, when they say it's done.
                      In my case, I have that trust.

                      If you cannot trust the people in your team, the only way to be sure is to simply do it yourself and forget altogther about delegating.

                      Here's a great D.A. quote that I read and re-read all the time:

                      "I need to trust that any request or relevant information I put on a voice-mail, in an e-mail, in a conversation, or in a written note will get into the other person's system and that it will be processed and organized, soon, and available for his or her review as an option for action. If the recipient is managing voice-mails but not e-mail and paper, I have now been hamstrung to use only his or her trusted medium. That should be unacceptable behaviour in any organization that cares about whether things happen with the least amount of effort."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        While I agree with David in principle, I also recognize that in the real world not all organizations live up to the standards he discusses. I would also like to point out that efficient delegating involves sufficient feedback processes to insure a reliable level of follow-up proportionate to the importance of the task.

                        In this case, I was focusing on the external organizations more so than my internal operations. And the fact is that if the customer asks me for something and I accept the task, then I also accept responsibility for completing the task. Completion is defined as the customer getting what he/she requested, not checking the boxes on some administrative task list. Most customers don't give a hoot about how efficient or reliable our individual organizations may or may not be or how much trust is embedded therein. They don't care if the foul-up took place within our organization, within a third-party organization, or even within 10 feet of their own desk. They just know that if they don't receive the material they requested and nobody cares to follow up, then maybe it's time to seek out the competition.

                        But then, maybe the Canadian post office is more reliable than the US Postal Service so perhaps this would never be an issue for you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The other issue that comes into play is that in order for someone to earn your trust, you have to give it to them in the first place ... when they consistently follow through, then you can be comfortable (or not) with how much control is needed on tasks delegated.

                          In my particular case, working from a remote location, I rely on administrative help in our home office. Unfortunately, the turnover for those positions is high, and it may not always be the same staff handling requests.

                          I would love it if our organization was committed to following GTD principles, or heck, any principles at all, from the top down. But in a large, 1000+ employee company, everyone has their own methods (or not). For this reason, even the 'delegate through Outlook' method would not work.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X