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Eliminating Time-Wasters

Time-wasters come from the people around you as well as from within yourself. Some time-wasters are unavoidable, but reducible nonetheless. By identifying the most frequent sources of time-wasters in your day, you may be able to make headway into reducing them, and therefore increasing your available time.


As a means of comparison, I've included a list of time-wasters. Many researchers find the same handful at the top of their lists, which indicates that they are problems common to all of us:

1. Scheduling less important work before more important work.

2. Starting a job before thinking it through.

3. Leaving jobs before they are completed.

4. Doing things that can be delegated to another person.

5. Doing things that can be delegated to modern equipment.

6. Doing things that actually aren't a part of your real job.

7. Keeping too many, too complicated, or overlapping records.

8. Not having systems in place

9. Handling too wide a variety of duties.

10. Failing to build barriers against interruptions.

11. Allowing discussions to wander.

12. Conducting unnecessary meetings, visits, and/or phone calls.

13. Chasing trivial data after the main facts are in.

14. Socialising at great length between tasks.

So, what are your major time-wasters? And, what can you do to address them. Finally, get a handle on your time every day.


Voicemail can be a lifesaver for the busy customer contact department. It can also be a source of annoyance and frustration for customers.

Often the key to customer-friendly voicemail lies in the personal greeting and the follow up.

Here are five steps your staff can take to move your voicemail from frustrating to friendly:

  1. Update personal greetings at the start of each day. Customers will have more faith that you will return their calls promptly if they hear a newly recorded greeting each day. Be sure to include the date or day of the week.
  2. Tell callers when they can expect a return call. Be specific as possible; for instance "within three hours" or "by 4pm". But never make promises you can't keep.
  3. Offer callers another person to contact. If you know that they'll be away for an extended period of time, give callers the name and extension of someone else in case their request in urgent. And more importantly, don't make customers hang up and call back. Give easy-to-follow instructions such as, "To reach Jane Smith, dial 422".
  4. Give callers a "live" option. If your phone speaker allows callers to talk to a receptionist by pressing zero, be sure to let them know that in your greeting. It can be as simple as: "To reach our receptionist press zero".
  5. Check messages regularly. You should be checking messages at least every two hours and responding promptly.

Discipline and commitment will ensure that your voicemail becomes an asset as opposed to being seen by customers as a barrier to making contact with you.

'Voicemail' Article was sourced from KiwiHost Ideas & Inspirations, April 2007 Issue.

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