Saturday, March 22, 2014

"The 24-Hour Rule"

How many times has this happened? You call an associate, they're not in. So you leave this brief but urgent message on their voicemail: "Hi, sorry I missed you. Need your input on LMNOP. Please call, email or text me on how you think we should proceed. Time sensitive. Thanks and make it a great day!"

Sounds pretty common... You leave someone a voicemail or you send them an email or text them and you expect a reply. But nothing happens! You wait and you wait and still nothing. So you repeat the process, and two possible things happen. Either you miraculously get your associate on the phone, and they make excuses, "Oh, I was so busy." Or, you try leaving another more urgent message. 

The side effects of living and working in our fast paced world is that people are so busy they let things slide. They may be well-meaning people, they may like and respect you, yet they don't feel the need to respond as quickly as they should, for whatever reason.

Here's where "The 24 Hour Rule" can help you...

You might have heard Tom Izzo, Basketball Coach at Michigan State, give his team his 24-Hour Rule. "You have 24 hours to wallow in pain and frustration over a loss, not one second more. Then you flip the switch and move on in positive action!" That's good advice. Yet it's not the 24-Hour Rule we're discussing.

Then there's that old saying: "When you're upset or angry, wait 24 hours before you react. It's like counting to ten except it's just longer, 24 hours."  That's a good rule, but no, that's not it either.

This is "The 24 Hour Rule" that can increase your effectiveness immeasurably: 

"Respond to your customers, associates or loved ones within 24 hours, even if you don't have an answer to what they need."

Yes! Get back to EVERYONE who contacts you for ANYTHING ... in 24 hours! That response can be by phone, by text message or by email. It can be as short & snappy as this: 
  • "Got your message -- buried now, will call you by Friday."
  • "Got your message -- impossible to respond till next week, advise!"
  • "Thanks for the update on LMNOP. Have no new ideas. Use your judgment -- trust you!"
Think how YOU feel when your messages just plain go unanswered. Your opinion of the person you've contacted goes down and your frustration level goes up!

Decide now to be a 24-hour responder! Get back to employees, customers, associates and friends in 24 hours, no matter what! No answer is better than no response. At least it shows that you can be counted on and that you're on top of things! And it shows you care!

One "little" company decided to use "The 24 Hour Rule" and it increased their sales 21% in the first year, plus it earned them their highest JD Power rating in the company's history. That was Ford Motor Company and their CEO, Alan Mulally, was the driver of "The 24 Hour Rule."

Now it's your turn. Look at all your emails and text messages, listen to your voice mails, and respond to them in 24 hours. If you have too many, send a blanket response saying: "Got your message. Will get back to you as soon as I return to the office on the 15th."

Think how frustrating it is for YOU not to hear back from people. At least now THEY will hear back from YOU! 

Implement this powerful idea... and I'll look forward to hearing from you in 24 hours with your good results!

MAKE it a great day!