Bad Service

My intent is to always be blogging about current issues I am experiencing in my business and how the Bible is useful in not only arriving at a solution but at teaching me how to handle similar solutions in the future.

My hypothesis is the Bible is the source for great information, not only in personal salvation, but in practical, everyday ways (not that salvation isn’t practical and needed everyday).

My current issue is I’m attempting to communicate via email a fairly technical subject to a person whose task is to be the mediator between the public (me) and the technical person on the receiving end of the email.

I’m guessing most people experience this same circumstance in various ways.  You call the doctor with a question and you must explain your question to a receptionist or nurse (if you are lucky) who then takes the question to the doctor.  I’ve seen this same situation with tax accountants, contractors and, unfortunately, in my own engineering office.

Several key points characterize the problem.

  1. There typically is the feeling of an emergency on the sender’s (me) part. I perceive I have an issue and I want an answer now.
  2. The mediator seldom has the capability to completely understand the technicalities of the question.
  3. The mediator has no authority over the technical person who has the ability to resolve the issue.
  4. And finally, as in my case, the technical person is also not entirely qualified to resolve my issue – but they are the person assigned to me.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, in these situations, as explanations and clarifications bounce back and forth, tempers rise, hurtful words used, and resentments build. Responses get further apart and phone calls cease being answered.

This is a situation defined by lack of authority.

No one party in the linkage of connections has the authority to make anything happen. What ultimately happens is limited to the level of duty felt by all the parties collectively.

Successful businesses have the culture that these circumstances take priority and are resolved immediately and efficiently. Other businesses have the culture that questions are perceived as accusations and they become defensive and unhelpful.  The first business is interested in resolution, the second is interested in defending what they perceive is their own personal integrity.

Here are three things to remember if you are on the sending side attempting to resolve an issue.

  1. Is it really an emergency? Do I really need this issue resolved right now? My tendency is to want to resolve every issue the minute it arises. What I often neglect to appreciate is converting a minor issue to emergency status only adds stress to my job. I deal with enough stressful situations, why would I arbitrarily add to that load?
  2. It is not personal. Sometimes I envision the person on the other end of the phone laughing as they hang up and then start planning on how they can make my life even more miserable with my next phone call. That is never true; and even if potential was true, by not making the situation personal will rob anyone of the joy of making your life miserable.
  3. Colossians 3:23 says. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Keep the end goal in sight. The person who is the mediator and the technical-answer person are just steps to the objective you are working toward. In my case, I did not like the answer, it was not technically accurate, and the employees on the other end of the conversation were less than professional. But, after putting my ego aside, the compromised solution did not affect the ultimate objective. It was not what I wanted and envisioned, but I was able to continue toward completing my project and move on.

1 John 2:16 says. “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”

It’s all abut perspective. Keeping my mind on the final objective of the task at hand, I cannot let little irritations rob me of the joy in completing my work.  Don’t let minor irritants drive your project management. 

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