Mar 21, 2013
Okay, we didn't post a recent article about a big tax chain's blunders because we don't enjoy badmouthing the competition. However,if you've read it, you know that they were responsible for delaying over half a million refunds because confusion over certain check boxes caused their preparers to check them off incorrectly or not at all.
We all make mistakes--another reason why you shouldn't revel on others' errors--but in this case, the error affects many people, it embarrasses your company, and could even lead to the loss of clients.
But how do we stay error-free in the work place? The answer is, you can't. However, there are many simple ways you can try to reduce your error rate. These range from simply paying attention to getting advanced training in your field. Let's look at some.
HEY, LISTEN UP!!
Yes, one of the most obvious and simplest ways to avoid errors is simply to listen. When a client is telling you something, pay attention. How many times have you ordered food with that special request that didn't get honored, only to find out once you got home, instead of no onions, they put on extra onions? How many times did you tell your kids to mow around the little sapling in the yard--only to find the poor thing 1" tall with its little trunk looking like a party horn? How many people tell their doctor that they just didn't feel right, were given some heartburn and pain medicines, only to find out they had lung cancer? How many times did you tell your parents that the teacher really does have it out for you, and that you're doing your best in class, only to have them say you were crazy and lazy and should stop lying and try harder? (yes we went from cancer to school drama!).
Anyway, you get the point. When you focus on your clients, everything turns out better. Even if you make a terrible mess of things, if a client sees that you were really involved and tried your best to provide them with the best outcome and minimize any negative effects is often enough for them to give you another chance.
Yes...another chance. Look at your own personal lives...how many times have you forgiven a friend and how many times have you not? When there is a history of mutual respect, fairness, and looking out for each other, that relationship is worth keeping, whether business or personal.
When you come here, we will listen to what you have to say.
TO ASK, OR NOT TO ASK? THAT SHOULDN'T EVEN BE A QUESTION
Sure it sounds good when some crop-haired military type chewing on a quarter length cigar yells, "Alright, boys, kick butt first, ask questions later!" as he runs toward a fiery Armageddon, but is that really the best approach?
We all know the old saying, so why do we keep assuming when a simple question can clear up so much. Who hasn't messed up taking the Z-pack antibiotic because you just assumed you'd know how to take it, and you took the day 5 dose instead of the day 1 pill? What happens when you assumed the wasabi sauce was sort of like guacamole and you put a huge chunk of it in your mouth? How about assuming that you could write off your Toyota Camry using sec 179, only to realize that not all automobiles qualify for a huge 179 write-off? Ouch...now your wallet's getting hurt.
BETTER TAKE THE LAST TRAIN
Or should we say, the "latest". There's no way around it people. You may have gotten to this point in your life by being lucky, hard working, smart, kind, etc. However, there will be a point where you will need to get more knowledge--to train yourself--in order to advance to the next level.
Whether you're a store owner learning how to use the latest inventory tracking software to cut losses, a teacher attending workshops, a manager learning how to manage different personalities, a grandparent learning about the latest cartoons that the grandkids watch, or a NASA engineer working with next-generation robotics, we should always be in a state of learning moving forward.
Those who continue learning throughout their lives can potentially open more opportunities for themselves. Why not be that person. If you ever saw the movie, Yes Man, with Jim Carrey, you see how his life changed once he said yes to learning new things. You probably won't save a suicidal person, learn Korean, be on TV and be part of a mass hypnosis...all we're saying is that it's never too late or you're never too old to learn something new.
YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE
Our biggest enemy really is me. And you. And them. We're all our worst enemies when it comes to not paying attention. We walk into people's offices and just start talking about whatever we need without letting them finish what they're doing or at least asking if they have a minute to help us.
We're jamming with our headphones not listening to the traffic around us (that's illegal, you know), and simply merge onto lanes without looking.
Most of us have lived the following scenario: We're watching TV as we eat, work on a project or do homework, as we play on our tablets and smartphones. Whatever happened to focused attention? If you can't devote attention to your loved ones, how are you truly going to pay attention to your clients?
So how is this manifested by our staff here? Well, to put it out there, we want to have a long-term relationship with you. We want you to feel comfortable with us. The nature of our business requires that you and us feel comfortable with each other.
After all, we're dealing with your family's information here. We're dealing with your finances here. We're dealing with your business ideas and dreams here. We're dealing with you here. You're not just an e-mail that needs to be replied to, or a phone number on a message pad. You are our client, and we look forward to work with you for a very long time.
By the way, if you're curious about that article referenced in the first paragraph, it can be found at: