As soon as possible - four words that can ruin your business and your customer service reputation
How to lose control of your time
As soon as possible – four words that can ruin your business and your customer service reputation in a heartbeat.
It never ceases to amaze me that one person can say to another “I’ll get that done for you as soon as possible” and both parties end the conversation happy. This despite the fact that neither party has any clear idea of what the other means.
What’s worse is saying to an expectant customer:
“I’ll get that fixed as soon as possible”. Do that and you hand control to the customer. And they’ll judge what’s good or bad service.
In practice what that means is this: If they call you (let’s say) 45 minutes later screaming “I’m still waiting… you promised to get it fixed as soon as possible”, you don’t have a leg to stand on. And it won’t matter how hard you’re trying to get the customer’s issue fixed. In the eyes of said customer, you’re a failure.
Now consider what often happens when a boss says to an assistant.
“Can you get that done for me as soon as possible please?”. The assistant will invariably say, without questioning “yes, of course” and will immediately put what the boss wants on top of their already over-filled to-do list.
The upshot? If the assistant was about to work on something for a customer, that customer is going to have to wait. And if the customer calls to enquire what’s going on and gets told “I’ll get back to you as soon as possible”, what do you suppose happens then?
CHAOS! That’s what happens then!
I HATE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
If someone asks you to do something “as soon as possible”, ask them to clarify what they mean by that. Once you’ve established that, you can then have a sensible conversation about what is, and is not, possible.
And never ask a supplier or contractor to do something as soon as possible. You can’t run a business when you don’t know when something is going to happen.
Finally, don’t use “as soon as possible” as a substitute for “I don’t know when”.
It’s much more honest to say “I can’t tell you when I’m going to get that done because I have to do xxxx.” But what I can do is call you with an update by 5pm.
Do you see how much better – as in giving something specific – that is?