The world has changed, and what we knew about providing excellent service and managing expectations has changed along with it. With more of us working virtually, we'll need to enhance the service we provide If we want to stay connected to our members, customers, and coworkers.
But there is hope. This article will guide you through four quick tips for extraordinary service in this new, unexpected world.
Showing up on time – or early – for meetings and appointments demonstrates respect for your coworkers' time. If possible, sign on a few minutes early to get settled and ensure you have audio and sound.
If your calendar fills up with back to back meetings, it can be hard to stay on time for all of them. Try to schedule some downtime between appointments. This will also give you time to let your brain process the meeting you just finished and come into the next meeting refreshed.
If you're running late for a meeting, let the host or another participant know as soon as you can. When you're ready to jump in, make sure to mute your microphone, so you don't disturb the other attendees.
As a rule of thumb, if you are going to be ten or more minutes late, consider asking if you can reschedule.
Ideally, a lot of consideration is put into who should be in a meeting, so the right people are around the (virtual) table. If you're invited, it means people want to hear your opinions, interpretations, and questions. They want you to be engaged. Don't be afraid to share ideas, ask questions, or confirm understanding.
And, just as it is important for you to speak up, you can play a role in making sure everyone in the meeting is heard. Many meetings will have a variety of personalities, including both introverts and extroverts. Though some individuals will not say a lot, their body language might. Be sure to check-in, or test for a reaction, with all meeting participants before making any final decisions. That can save time in the long run by getting all the details ironed out right away.
It's also helpful to remove distractions, like other work, phones, or even pets, so you can stay on track and pay careful attention.
Agreeing on a meeting time is the first step toward achieving your objectives, but there's more goal setting to do. While setting a goal for every meeting may sound intimidating, it really isn't at all. Just ask yourself: 'What do we hope to accomplish?' and BOOM! You have your discussion topics (aka: goals) laid out.
Some people prefer to have a meeting agenda; others are perfectly comfortable without. As long as everyone understands the goals of the meeting, whether they're sent out ahead of time or stated at the beginning of the meeting, you're golden.
Now that you have your goals set, don't forget to set a time frame. Knowing the goals before scheduling the meeting is a key factor in determining how long you should plan to meet. Use your best judgment here and, to stay on track, start winding the meeting down with 10 minutes left.
If you run out of time, it might be necessary to set a follow-up meeting (it also might not). If you choose to follow-up, make sure the participants are clear on the progress you've already made so you can pick up from there in the next meeting. This will save the time you would have lost on a recap or more discussion.
The pandemic has put us all through a whirlwind of emotions. For those working from home have had to create new work/life balances, build make-shift work areas, and accept the distance between them and their coworkers. Those in the office have had to implement safety precautions into their already hectic jobs and adjust to a workspace emptied from the personalities that once filled it. With 'normal' being thrown out the window, we have all had to re-center ourselves.
Empathy has often been described as 'walking in someone else's shoes,' but, as we've seen through the last few months, the way we all cope can vary wildly. While we all find our 'new normal,' instead of walking in someone else's shoes, take a walk with them. Instead of saying, 'I understand' DEMONSTRATE it with your actions.
This can take many forms. It may mean walking someone through using new technology, being patient with coworkers who have back to back meetings (because nature calls), offering a few encouraging words to make them smile, or encouraging them to get help when they're feeling overwhelmed. The little things we do are big things for the people who need them.
The service you provide connects you to members, customers, and coworkers, and those connections are vital as we move forward. Use these service skills in your daily virtual life and see the difference. The world has changed, and we need to change with it.
About the Author: Ashley Landwehr has grown a lot since she joined the family, and she’s excited to help others grow too. She joined our team in 2010 as a school-to-work student and found her passion for helping people through financial education, motivation, and goal setting. Today she’s a Training and Development Specialist with the Exclamation Team and oversees the Fin Ed program at our primary sponsor, Simplicity CU. If you want to know more about how Ashley and the rest of our Training Team can help, check this out.