Tom Merriott
Tom Merriott

A plague in the customer service aspect of most service businesses is that they are in a constant state of reacting to things that are already happening. We naturally gravitate toward putting out the fire that just popped up in front of us, which wouldn’t be a bad thing if we weren’t repeating this behavior month after month and year after year. So much time is devoted to fixing today’s problems that no thought or effort goes into looking ahead to possibly prevent future trouble.

At some point, we need to step off the treadmill and take a look at making our work lives easier.

For example: Most of the country is experiencing weather that affects their bottom line. It’s a hectic scramble to get the work done with the people at hand. Some of our team is on vacation, the holiday week is here, or we all feel like we are burning out. Sound familiar? All of these things can be planned for, and their impact greatly reduced if we put time and thought into them.

I bring this up because as a coach, I take the same calls year after year, about the same subjects, and I always start with the same questions:

1. Did this happen last year around this time?

2. What did you do differently?

The answer is usually something like “ummmm…”

This is what I’m talking about. We need to survive these hectic times, and at the very least, talk about what we could have done better once things slow down.

So make it a point to try and think at least one month ahead in your business. Someone look at a calendar and last year’s business and see what trouble might be headed your way. Then work through some ways to reduce the impact.