In my last entry I mentioned the number one rule in business… listen. The number two rule in any organization needs to be don’t pass the buck.
When I say don’t pass the buck I don’t mean not to delegate responsibilities. I certainly don’t mean you should do everything or know the answer to every question.
No what I mean is when you start a relationship with a customer, business partner, employee, etc. OWN IT. What’s a relationship? It’s anything. Clearly it’s any time you reach out to someone but it’s also an e-mail sent your way, a phone call to customer service, it’s a tweet sent your way. A relationship especially in the digital age is started anytime someone contacts you.
The first thing you do is listen; the next thing you do is own that relationship.
Let me give an example of what not to do. I’m working with a team (which in our business is essentially a business partner) and they gave me a specific contact as the point person for our event. So when I need to ask him something in preparation for our event he’ll often say well you’ll need to contact this person. The stuff I’m asking is not technical questions that require a specialized knowledge that only another expert in the organization can answer properly. So while he could very well walk down the hall and ask his colleague the question and get back to me he does not.
Now certainly I can ask this person the question, but its almost always easier for people within a company and a building to get hold of each other than someone outside the organization.
Think about how much better your customer service would be if each representative took ownership of each question they were asked.If they saw it through and made sure that if they couldn’t answer the question that someone did.
So don’t pass the buck, DO take responsibility and OWN your relationships.