One of the most valuable skills you can have as an effective customer service manager is the ability to differentiate between what you can control and influence, and to accept that sometimes you need to move on in order to achieve the best outcomes. This is especially true when operating under pressure.
As we connect with our customers and talk to managers and people in general, we are aware of a significant sense of overwhelm, with teams feeling there is far too much to do in a working day. Time spent worrying about things that are outside our control and influence, whether short or long term, only adds to these feelings of pressure.
Prioritisation tools play an important role in dealing with overwhelm
In our experience, many organisations, individuals, and managers want to thrive more but are currently working hard to keep their heads above water. Soundly proven prioritisation tools can play an important role in relieving pressure so that we can focus on what we can control and influence, rather than expending precious time and energy on things that we cannot.
We are all aware that there are some situations where we have complete control, others that we can influence, and situations where we have neither. When we look at how much time people spend discussing things in the short to medium term over which they have no actual control or influence, it’s clear that this simply adds to the pressure with no real benefit to anyone.
Assessing whether you have control, influence or neither in a situation
It’s critical at these points to take a step back, apply appropriate tools from our skillsets and evaluate whether a particular situation should take priority. This will enable us to maximise our time in our extremely busy customer service environments and help and support ourselves and everyone around us.
Being able to critically evaluate and say that, for the time being, this is outside of my control or influence, either permanently or temporarily, is an extremely valuable skill.
In these situations, managers can ask themselves some important questions to become more effective, and to either re-categorise this as something they can influence or acknowledge that it’s outside of their control or influence and move on.
These questions can be broken down into two parts:
Firstly, ask yourself:
- Is this a temporary situation?
- Is any part of this situation influenceable for me or anybody else?
Something that is completely out of one person’s control could be something another person can influence or control. Being clear on this gives the ability to focus activity in a productive way.
If the answer is ‘no’ and no part of the situation can be influenced by you or the other person, then we move on to carefully consider the following six key questions:
- How do I choose to feel and behave?
- What else requires my time?
- What can I let go of?
- What can I help others to let go of?
- What can I learn?
- What can I be grateful for?
A key prioritisation skill is the ability to clearly categorise the things we should be focusing on and letting go of those that do not serve us or others. It enables us to actively and consciously let go, while also assisting our team members in letting go of things that need to be set aside so that we can move forward and achieve the things we can control and influence. This simple process will result in the best service and outcomes possible as we navigate our way through the current high levels of demand in many customer service environments.