The British have a reputation for queueing; we are willing to wait our turn. Having said this, frustrations soon rise if we’re kept waiting for longer than expected. Good planning and an assertive approach can help keep everything on track.
Planning for Crunch Points
With a little preparation, any business can work out the crunch points.
Identifying the crunch points enables measures to be put into place to reduce the risk of queues.
Helping Specialists to Stay on Schedule
This week I’ve had the pleasure of training a group of professional Speech and Language Therapists. They are all self employed and have the responsibility of effectively managing their caseload.
The therapists had identified particular problems with customers taking up more than their allotted time. They wanted to prevent lengthy conversations on the telephone prior to an appointment and multiple questions being asked at the end of a session.
I was asked to deliver Assertiveness Training to help the therapists to gain confidence in:
In a caring role, it can be a challenge to turn people away. However, these professionals have to attend to many clients, as well as earning a living from their expertise. They need an assertive approach to keep everything on track.
The training focused on many aspects of assertive behaviour. Three key points that were raised during the session were:
The Speech and Language Therapist identified an issue with clients contacting them at all times of the day, including evenings and weekends. The first step was to define their working boundaries to ensure a healthy work/life balance. We also discussed the cost of their services and the terms on which they operate.
With operational terms agreed, I explained the importance of having processes and documentation in place to formalise the boundaries. Terms and Conditions, payment terms and contracts are all effective for clearly communication and the management of client expectations.
In order to operate within the agreed boundaries, there are times when the therapists simply have to say no. We also discussed ways of saying ‘no’ in a polite and constructive manner that didn’t leave the therapist feeling guilty or the customer feeling aggrieved.
Managing difficult conversations
Few of us enjoy having a difficult conversation, but they are essential in many jobs. When such a conversation is necessary, we discussed the importance of a planned meeting, at a mutually convenient time, where everyone involved has had time to prepare. This increases the chance of discussions being based on information and facts, rather than emotion and feelings.
An Assertive Workforce
An assertive workforce is confident and productive. This benefits the team, the business and the customers. If certain customers are impacting on your ability to do your job effectively, assertiveness training can empower positive change.
Places are available on my next Assertiveness Training Course, or get in touch to arrange training to meet the specific needs of your team.
I’d like to end with this powerful quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:
“No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”