Do you supply your services 24/7?

Is Generation Y in front?

Is Generation Y in front?

As a professional person it is important to respond to clients’ questions promptly. Gone are the days when generally a client would write a letter and would be happy to have had a reply within a week. Now they mostly expect a reply to an email fairly promptly, by which I mean within hours. However I was surprised to see in an article that “Generation Y” accountants (born between 1980 and 1993) were best placed to deal with modern clients demands because “Greater use of mobile devices and online technologies is leading to clients expecting more support outside of the traditional nine-to-five working hours.”

Of course I am ancient compared with “Generation Y” people. In my early working life, people wanting an answer to an urgent query picked up the telephone.. Everyone had access to a telephone, even if they had to walk to their street corner and enter one of those strange red boxes with windows. Actually all our clients had a land-line in their house.

It is true that with a smartphone (I have one), a computer (I have several), a tablet (got one of those too) anyone can be in touch with their clients and answer a query at one in the morning. However, is that wise? Should anyone, ancient like me or in her twenties, be answering client queries at all hours? Even young people get tired, might have had a glass of something and would have a much higher risk of making a mistake.

Young people get stressed and ill from work pressures too. I have seen it all to often. A close and able colleague of mine of twenty-something had a complete breakdown over pressure of work.

Yes, people expect answers and quickly. Yes, we should do our best to respond promptly even if to ask for more time to think. But no, none of us should be available day and night because we need our time to relax and rest, our downtime and our sleep, otherwise we will never be at our best.

I see clients out of hours by arrangement and am open to talking to clients in New Zealand via Skype at crack of dawn if needed, and by appointment, but otherwise if someone messages me in the evening they really do not expect a reply within minutes, especially not a technical one.

It is down to time management and discipline and even Generation Y will have to ration themselves otherwise they will not get to be as old as I am. Even being on-line most of one’s waking hours should not mean working most of one’s waking hours.

Maybe I am old-fashioned. On the other hand, perhaps my experience has taught me better time management. I think the conclusion of that article was nonsense, but do you agree with it and think it was Sage advice?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Networking breakdowns

I went to someone else’s breakfast networking event the other day. It is not a weekly event like my regular one, but takes place monthly. I guess there were about thirty people there and some of them were certainly present with the intention of talking to other business people and meeting new faces.

I have to say that unfortunately the event was a bit of a shambles. The organisers had booked a speaker who didn’t turn up. This was not their fault entirely although had I invited an outside speaker I would have given him or her a call the day before to make sure they were still up for it.

Still, the event would still have been a success in my book if, given we were only there for ninety minutes, the participators had each had a minute to introduce themselves. Then we would have had an opportunity to buttonhole those who might have been of particular interest on the day. As it was, we did not even have the chance to mingle with all present because a number of people in groups of three or four had sat themselves down around tables, probably with people they knew. That did not in my book amount to networking; they were closed off in their cliques from the rest of the gathering.

The meeting would have been much better if there had been a proper structure in view of the limited time available. I made the most of it by talking to as many of the open and receptive people there as I could fit in, but if you are organizing a short event like this, do give everyone there a chance to give their elevator pitch or just explain what they are looking for in terms of connections. Certainly do not let them sit down unless around one big table where they have to introduce themselves to the whole gathering.

© Jon Stow 2010

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]