I have a past client who is easily one of the most focused and productive human beings on the planet… and this isn’t because of me, it is his “auto-pilot” mode. Like many of you, his business is fast-paced and full of interruptions. It began as a one-man family business and has grown into a multi-million dollar organization with a clear, well-respected regional brand. In the past, there were very few experts on his team. He was constantly a victim of people knocking on his office door, requesting him to solve their issues. We worked hard for several years to reorganize his management structure and empower people to own their departments so he was not always the “go to” guy for every answer.
I recently sent him an email link to an article I thought he’d appreciate and this was the auto-response I received:
Your communication is important to me. However, due to the nature of my workload, I am currently checking and responding to email once daily at 12:00 P.M. CST.
If your email is time sensitive please call the office at XXX. If you require urgent assistance (please ensure it is an emergency – it cannot wait until 12:15 P.M.) please contact me directly at XXX.
If you would prefer an email response below is a list of specific departments and contacts that meet your exact need:
Scheduling Estimates: Sam Smith – email@example.com
Scheduling for Installs & Installation Issues: Joe Clark – firstname.lastname@example.org
Purchasing: Rick Jones – email@example.com
Thank you for understanding this move towards more efficiency and effectiveness.
Brilliant! Just brilliant. So many of us are slaves to email and we find our days being sucked up by things that can wait. I always recommend that my clients check email no more than twice a day, but actually having an auto-response that informs people of that is an awesome solution.
Your knee-jerk response might be “Well, that won’t work. My customer will go elsewhere.” FALSE! What actually happens is that your customer respects your priorities and better trusts your follow up. (Though you have to be skilled at keeping your word, following up and being reliable in order to put this in action effectively.) You STRENGTHEN customer relationships because you are trustworthy and reliable.
Setting priorities is the number one failure of most people, not only in business, but also in life. If we all completed things based on their importance to us, we would be unstoppable result-producers!
CALL TO ACTION: Begin with setting up no more than TWO time blocks on your schedule each day where you will check your email. This works for personal email as well. Come back and share below how this increased your productivity.