Commercial Web Services has been busy rolling out new services, adding new employees, redesigning websites, and much more! With all of the hustle and bustle, we thought it would be a great idea to reach out to our new Customer Service Manager, Jen Hansen, to get her take on staying focused during the busy times. Here’s her advice to you!
At any time a business can experience a period when customer demands are more than the staff can handle. Whether it be due to a busy season, business growth, downsizing, employees leaving, etc., the gap between workload and employee capabilities to meet those customer needs can be divergent. When a team’s capabilities are pressed beyond their limits, frustration, anxiety, and burnout can occur. And sometimes this causes the expectations of our customers to not be met and their satisfaction with our company to decline. With this comes stress and guilt on behalf of customer service representatives.
In times like these, when a representative wants to be the best face of the company and feels like that is slipping, they need to try to find a way to avoid becoming too overwhelmed and instead, stay focused on the tasks at hand.
Here are some strategies to help find a way to keep sane and balanced with an overwhelming workload.
- Recognize you’re only human. Give yourself a break and realize there are only so many hours in a day. Take credit for the work you have achieved and recognize that you can’t get it all done in one day. Validate your own effort and don’t minimize what you have accomplished. There is always more work to be done, so don’t dwell on what’s left, be glad for what is complete.
- Empathize with your customer. Remember that misery DOES NOT love company when it comes to work. When customers are demanding or questioning your timeline, remember that they too may have bosses that have set expectations, and that is driving their focus on the task. All business “are busy”. We don’t need to reiterate how busy we are or how backed up we are, but rather try to be more positive in response. Let them know their request is acknowledged and it is being worked on, and whenever possible, set an expectation for when it will be complete. They may not always like the expectation, but it is better than vagaries and excuses.
- Get Organized! There are many times, even when we have the right tools in place, that we may need to go outside of what already exists because that is not enough. Create a personal system that will help make your workload more manageable to you on a personal level. Try color coding emails, creating a personal task calendar, or generate specific folders or tracking documents based on job type. When the workload is high, you may need to stretch your creativity to help keep yourself on task.
- Knock out the small stuff. Each day take a look at the work remaining from previous days, identify new tasks, and try to identify and complete small quick to finish jobs. If you spend a portion of the day knocking out the “small” tasks, it helps set the tone for the time needed for tasks that require more time, detail, and/ or involvement from others. You not only can ensure that your time is well spent and organized, but it helps create a sense of accomplishment to be able to cross items off the large to-do list.
- Keep up to date. Set some time aside at the end of each day to ensure you have logged your work. Remove the completed tasks from the to-do list, and prepare a plan of action for the following date. Recognizing and officially closing one piece of business builds on your sense of accomplishment. Then for incomplete and new tasks not achieved that day, you have a sense of what to prioritize and how to allot your time for the next day. When you lose sight of where you are in your workload, even when you are finished, you can create extra stress, so be attentive to your schedule.
- Ask for help. Many times employees get overwhelmed but never voice their concerns. Don’t ever be afraid to let your managers know when you have reached that point of being overwhelmed, too stressed, and burned out. Sometimes just talking through it helps lessen the burden, but sometimes real help is needed. Whether it be a day off, or helping in task completion, or getting organized, allow your leaders to lend the assistance you require. But you have to have a voice in the business. You peers, your manager, and maybe even other departments may have the extra hand or idea that can help ease you through. Don’t be afraid to speak up. What you have to say may help make necessary changes, and if company changes can be made, maybe task related changes can, too. But without your voice, no one knows.
In stressful times, it isn’t always easy to be the positive, efficient, and diligent customer service representative that people expect, but you wouldn’t be successful if you didn’t care. Remain confident in yourself, and you will conquer the work.