Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Give an accurate ETA

Accurate ETAs help your customers manage their busy schedules. They will appreciate you for it.

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whether you are delivering a critical component in a just-in-time manufacturing process, you are providing a business process analysis report, or you are cutting a lawn for a customer, your customers need to have an ETA that is accurate.

The interesting thing about an ETA is that it isn't nearly as important to the person giving it. The ETA is primarily important to the person receiving it. It is easy to think that your particular task isn't important enough for a solid time commitment. That is a mistake.

Take the example of a lawn keeper. Is it really important that the customer know specifically when their lawn is going to be trimmed. Most times, probably not. But what if the customer is planning an outdoor wedding and needs to have your task completed in time for the setup to happen? It is your customer's priorities that determine the importance of the task.

When you are giving an ETA, be realistic or even pessimistic. There are few things that annoy customers more than being late for a deadline. Even if the deadline isn't important to them, it will still be irritating. Setting a deadline with the expectation of pushing it back is setting yourself up for failure.

Ask your customer how important the task is to them. It will help you prioritize the task in your schedule and might change your delivery date.

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