Delivering work on or before the expected deadline is a quality that can define and grow your business. But if your business consistently passes deadlines by not making them a priority, it will definitely affect the way your business is perceived and the chances of you receiving return customers.
Prioritizing deadlines is extremely important in customer service as customers normally contact customer service when they encounter an issue with your product or service, therefore, your team must put forth their best efforts to solve the problem as per the promised deadline.
What are the pitfalls involved in allowing your staff to ignore deadlines?
It is essential that you communicate a correct, realistic deadline to your staff and then equally, communicate when a deadline is missed. Here are some of the pitfalls of ignoring deadlines and not bringing them to the attention of the concerned staff member:
• It communicates that the task is not important
• That good time management and work on time does not matter as there are no consequences for late work
• In your organization, late work is tolerated
• Your commitments to clients are not of value These above points illustrate why it is crucial not to take deadlines for granted, here are a couple of guidelines to follow to get your team back on track:
1. Emphasize that deadlines matter:
Ensure that every employee in your organization works towards the fruitful completion of the task at hand, on time. Remember to engrain this into your work culture.
You are at the helm of your business, you will need to communicate a clear project or task deadline to your employees. Follow this up diligently, keep track of and a record of the progress of each task.
Often deadlines are missed as one person is saddled with the bulk of a task. It is necessary to delegate to make sure you get the best out of your employees. Remember each employee has different skills and strengths, ensure that you take note of these differences to enable the best performance by your employees as a whole.
4. Manage Expectations:
When you work with clients and customers, it is a vital practice to manage their expectations, giving you and your team a realistic chance of not only meeting them but also of exceeding expectations. Have a clear deadline with a little bit of extra time tagged on for non-routine tasks so you will be able to impress your customers by meeting their target each time.
5. Organize and Plan:
These two activities are the key to having a smooth-running organization. Before you assign the task, it is necessary for you to plan its progress and visualize its completion. After this step, meet with the team who will work on this task- talk to them and get their inputs on the matter to remove any obstacles or roadblocks that could otherwise delay the project or task.
Different consumers may face different issues but you can create a system of putting these issues in different reference buckets in order for your staff to learn the correct protocol for dealing with the issues at hand. This will aid your organization in streamlining this process and they will be able to achieve a faster turnaround the next time they face a similar issue.
The first and most important step to meeting deadlines is to set a realistic deadline, if you find that the deadline you have decided on is not reachable due to unforeseen obstacles, take the time to communicate this to your client and to renegotiate a second deadline.
Do remember to use this only in case of an insurmountable problem and ensure that this does not become a habit.