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Thursday, February 6, 2014

One rant after another is sometimes required


Sorry, it's not my department!
Having spent many years working for the government, I leaned that persistence and calmness pays off.  This is the case nearly 99% of the time.  That said, there are those situations when a RANT may help get the attention of those inhibiting actions that need to be taken.  It is something I rarely do, but find that frustration can reach a point where the pressure plug blows!

It is amazing just how many people feel something is not his or her problem and any solution must come from someone else.  Take for example an equity transaction involving a company, a transfer agent, and a stockbroker.  Seems simple that you pay for the equity you get the stock, yet when something falls short in the delivery of the shares, the only owner of the problem is the person that paid for the shares.  None of the others feels they have the authority or power to resolve the issue.  Try this one as another example; an insurance underwriter tells an agent that the agent may no longer issue policies on behalf of that insurer.  The agent wants to move your policy to a different issuer stating the old firm is going up on prices by as much as 50%.  Then you go to a new agent and get the same insurance from the same firm for a lower price.  However, all the policies must be rewritten and new numbers assigned.  This triggers a bank holding a note to send a letter saying you have no valid insurance.  Essentially, no one wanted to call the bank and the insurer did not want to keep the original policy numbers.

I suspect I should not be so hard on others, since when I worked for the government one of my favorite lines was “You need to call … to get that resolved.  My department does not do that.”  The reality is that everyone knows their own level of authorization, i.e., what they can do and cannot do.  However, they may have an additional level of authority many times.  They can try to be kind enough to help resolve a problem before an official RANT comes about. 

Customer service is a critical area for any business.  The ability to help the customers achieve something is a great way to send a strong message.  You may not be the total owner of a problem, but you can try to help get an issue resolved in a timely manner.  Think about how that customer feels once the issue is resolved and whether the individual may be willing to stick with your firm longer.  Why not, they see you care and like that about you and the firm.  This is the case with most any business.  In fact, a recent Rant with an airline resulted in some comps that eased bad will.  The comps mean nothing to the recipient or the airline, but the attention to do something meant a lot.

Rants are not much fun, but they do allow the pressure to release.  You may or may not get the attention of others because of a Rant.  People tend to look at the individual with a problem as a troublemaker.  However, sometimes you may need to be a troublemaker to get their attention.  The key is to direct the frustration or anger toward the business and not the person with whom you communicate.    After all, getting a nice person to take your side may help get your problem resolved. They may even be more helpful in the future.

Taffy Williams can be found on Twitter @twilli2861, ColonialTDC ,  photo  website, Google+ Facebook, and Startup  Group on Linkedin.  He writes the Startup Blog and articles for the Examiner: Charlotte, NC- small business. More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile