For your job and clients satisfaction:
Improvement in working
Improvement in working should be a continuing process in any organization – big, medium or small or an individual. In the age of competition and more alternatives available, it becomes more important that the style of working should be suitable to meet expectations of customers or clients.
Proper setting and arrangement
For improvement in working, it is necessary that one must have proper setting for working and should also be equipped and furnished for the same. Depending on nature of jobs undertaken requiring different kinds of people to perform different work, proper team of men, machines and outsider service providers is required.
The work is more important to the client:
It must be clear in mind that the work assigned to you is very important to the client, and therefore, importance to the client and the eagerness of the client must be understood properly and attempt must be made to complete his work timely and in efficient manner. The work is important to the client, and you are important to the client as a performer of desired task, that is why the client seek your services. You may be very proficient in many fields and an important professional for many others that may be the score of proficiency for you. However, the client’s requirement of your proficiency is restricted to his requirement for doing a particular work. Therefore, if you do not find yourself suitable for a particular job, it is desirable to say straight no, and if a suggestion is sought, to recommend some other professional for the job.
Commonly adopting practices by many professionals:
We find that many practitioners / professionals have a tendency of working when the client comes and to keep clients waiting for considerable time. Many times professionals let the work accumulate and wait for the last moment to do the same. Many professionals have attitude that there must be certain reminders from the client to do the work and that is considered important to show that how busy you are? However, the author feels that such thinking / attitude is not at all good and it causes loss of time for the professionals as well as the client. The client will be happy with good quality of work and result like document prepared for him, quality of orders passed in matters you represented etc. and not for how much time you devoted when he is sitting before you or how long you kept him and other people waiting, to attend him.
Reminders from clients are indicator of inefficiency:
In authors view ,reminders from client can be considered as pointer inefficiency. Reminders are harmful because at the time of each reminder, you have to spend some time. At each reminder we have some repetitive discussions, which does not add value to the service. There is loss of time for the client and professionals. Therefore, attempt should be made that the clients do not have to remind you about his work. This can be by giving him a target date to complete the job and the work must be completed before that date. As per a hidden but empirical study undertaken by the author while visiting his some of professional friends (CA, CS, CWA, Advocates, other Consultants ) he observed that in many cases majority of phone calls and visits from clients are for reminder of work. In many cases while sitting in office, message was conveyed through junior that the boss (professional) is not in the office. While receiving calls on mobile phone, message was conveyed that he is sitting with Government Officials or is in a court etc.
A liking for reminders from client is similar to cashier’s psychology. A cashier is supposed to make payments only according to orders passed by seniors, however generally cashiers feels themselves very important when people comes to them repeatedly for payment. Therefore, professionals must avoid development of such cashier’s like tendency while working in professional capacity. Reduced reminders will make more time available for doing the work.
Informing waiting time
It is better to inform clients about your normal waiting time, for example, you can ask them that my normal waiting time is five days after I receive your documents with queries/ requisition etc. I try to attend after three days and to send you preliminary reply asking for further requirement on the fourth or fifth day and after receiving further input, matter will be finalized within three days. Please keep this in mind and plan accordingly. However, in case of urgent work, you can inform me the same and in that case the matter will be attended on urgent basis. Urgency should however, be exception and not a regular habit.
In case of regular clients, you can inform them your usual schedule of doing work after receipt of request. In case of casual clients you can inform schedule for the assignment. For example:
Receiving brief and documents from client 01.01.06
Informing further requirement by 04.01.06
Getting further input from client 07.01.06
Discussion and finalization 10.01.06
If you adopt such practices, the client shall also be careful and sent his requisition quickly and not few days before the last date for doing the work. Some time urgency also takes place and those matters have to be attended on priority basis and for such matters you must have flexibility of time management Such flexibility can be achieved only when work is done timely.
Visit versus telephone / teleconference
Instead of visit of client, it can be convenient, time and cost saving to have discussion over phone / teleconference. When both parties have files before them and sitting on a phone, there is really not much difference in sitting opposite to each other or sitting at the two ends of phones. During course of telephonic discussions, the work is attended immediately by both sides and in case some time is required, one ask the other to call on after some time or at his specified time and there is no wastage of time whereas in case of visit of your client, you may be busy with other client and it may not be possible for you to immediately attend him. However, generally professionals have tendency to call clients to their office that is the reason why there is so much rush at the offices of professionals and the clients have to waste a lot of time.
Phone Vs. Emails:
More use of emails instead of phones can be more convenient way. This is because:
a. you can receive, read, prepare draft and final reply and send message through emails during off hours.
b. In emails you can think the matter, keep in draft, add further matter and then send a complete requisition. Whereas in case of telephonic conversation, one may have to telephone several times. It is not unusual to find that one has to make more than one telephone call to give or receive information in peaceful manner.
c. The client can also attend entire requisition at a time and is in a position to reply to all aspects. He can also use various persons in his team by forwarding your email and asking different persons to do different work. A recent experience shows the point- one of my client sent me a story of hare and tortoise in present commercial context. I found that besides sending the story to various friends, he also send copy of the same by email to his family members- wife, three sons, two daughter –in- law, although all live together. This shows ease in operation because every one can read the same at his own convenience and one can see the address book and find various persons to whom the message should be sent in a convenient manner.
d. In case of telephonic conversation, both (or most of concerned) parties must be available at the same time. Even other supporting persons should also be available. Whereas, in case of use of email this is not required.
As per author’s experience, use of email instead of meetings and telephonic discussions , can save a lot of time, can reduce reminders, and make speedy disposal of work.
When the author had started service and practice, he faced problems with other senior professional consultants of employer / clients because the senior professionals used to call and kept waiting for a considerable time along with many other clients waiting for them and it was also felt that when a large number of people say ten to twenty, are sitting before your chamber, you cannot perform your job perfectly because there is a psychological pressure and one must also have a guilt feel that the other people are in queue causing wastage of human resources. Considering this experience, the author decided that he will not adopt such practices and shall avoid such happenings when he attains seniority in profession.
Disposal of work is important
Disposal of work is very important and it is advisable to dispose of such work and job, which require little time as earlier as possible. On any day one may have to dispose off, say thirty works, out of these thirty works, fifteen may be such matters which require little time and can be disposed off instantly and within short time. So such matters can be disposed off by way of preparation on the same day or the next day. Five works can be such which require longer time and other five to seven works can require still more time for each job. In such circumstances, disposal of small jobs speedily reduces working pressure and many clients receive response/ work done promptly. This reduces list of pending work. The clients are also satisfied that they get quick response. In case of complex matters, it is usually required that more input is to be obtained from the clients then matter can be finalized. Therefore, in those cases what more is required can be informed to the client as early as possible and on the remaining matter, one can start work so that by the time, further input comes from the client, there is substantial progress achieved.
Soft copies of documents
The client should be requested to provide soft copies of documents, which can be used by adopting methods like insertion of file, cut and paste matters from one file to other file etc. Sending and receiving of documents through e-mail is very easy and quick. Further, the documents sent by e-mail can be easily saved in its original form then another copy can be made out in which the amendments made by way of additions or deletions, can be marked differently by using different colour and background and also by using bold, italic or larger fonts. Any words and expressions proposed to be omitted can be displayed separately by putting cancellation marking so that the client can review such file sent to the client, and he can send his feedback again for finalization.
Teamwork with client’s personnel
It is desirable that a professional must work like a team with the personnel of the client. This is very much important because it is a team of the client, which provides feedback and necessary inputs to the professionals for working. The professional also needs further feedback and therefore, goods relations and cooperation with the client’s personnel’s is very much necessary. In the course of working it should also be attempted that the client’s people also learn something so that they can assist in better way. Properly informed and trained employees of the client can also be a part of the human resources of the professionals. One must not be afraid of a situation where the employees of client may be able to work independently and in that case the professionals may loose the job. Having such fear and not building up good relationship and a tendency to teach and train, client’s personnel causes a regular loss to the professionals whereas loosing the job due to improvement in client’s personnel is not a regular but rare feature. This is because usually when a client’s employee becomes more competent to handle work independently, generally such employee changes the job and in that case, in his new employment, he may be in a position to invite you also in his new organization as a professional. Therefore, in author’s view, in long term, efforts of a professional to promote education, training, learning amongst the employees of the client can be more rewarding and satisfying.
You must show your sincerity:
To show your sincerity, you can ask your client whether there is any unattended matter, which might have skipped your attention. For example, every month you can send an email to your clients on the following lines, as may be suitable in any case:
a. I believe there is no pending work with me for you. Please inform me if some matter is out of my sight. Or
b. I believe that the following matters are pending with me as on 30.11.06:
Nature of work Progress and reasons for pendency Remarks
Kindly inform me if some other pending matter is pending with me.
Disposal of own office and personal matters:
In case of own work also it is desirable that one should dispose off the work at the earliest. Keeping work pending, keeping others waiting for payment, work or advice , seeking reminders from staff and family members just cause loss of your valuable time. Issue clear instructions to staff members so that there is no loss of time in seeking clarifications. Communication with staff through emails and intercom phones/ phones can be a big time saver.
By adopting practice of early and timely work disposal and for that purpose adopting some time saving practices, one can find lot of extra time for reading, writing, thinking and relaxation. Pending work causes lot of burden on your mind and heart- it is not good for health and wealth both. Reminders from clients should not be considered as indication of your importance but in nature of complaints. Still if you have an urge to feel reminders as praise, once a while you can delay some work, preferably a petty one and not very important to you, you will receive a reminder from client and that proves that even a petty work for you is important to the client.