Sense of ownership speeds up sense of urgency

Jan. 1, 2020
Urgency is a pretty interesting concept, perhaps because it is often perceived differently by each person trying to meet or exceed a customer’s wants, needs and expectations.

Urgency is a pretty interesting concept, perhaps because it is often perceived differently by each person trying to meet or exceed a customer’s wants, needs and expectations. This is especially true in a crisis.

Part of the problem is confusion, lots of confusion, especially with regard to whose crisis it is. Another has a lot to do with proximity where distance, either physical or emotional, plays a major role in commitment. The rule suggests the further you are from the actual crisis, the less urgent a solution is bound to seem, at least to you. Still another critical component of the urgency problem has to be ownership — if the problem isn’t yours, achieving a timely solution may not seem the most pressing item on your agenda. This brings us to two additional components of the urgency conundrum: responsibility and response-ability.

You see, no one is likely to address a crisis unless they feel some sense of ownership — that’s the un-hyphenated “responsible,” the one that suggests someone has to recognize that doing whatever has to be done is going to be up to them. And, a crisis, any crisis, is likely to remain a crisis unless or until someone is actually able to respond — that’s the hyphenated “response-able,” the one that suggests that what you do will be both adequate and appropriate.

Without at least one individual who feels the successful resolution of a problem rests with them, a person who feels they have both the tools and talent to successfully resolve the problem, nothing is going to happen and all the urgency in the world isn’t going to help you!

We experienced this in a very personal way just the other day with a customer who was left stranded when their electronic control module failed. I called my supplier only to find there was no stock and the repair of this particular computer would have to be R&R only — remove this one, send it in, have it rebuilt, wait to get it back, reinstall it and pray everything works the way it is supposed to work.

I sensed the urgency, it was right there in front of me. The re-manufacturer understood the urgency, neither one of us makes a dime until we do something. However, I’m not so sure that same sense of urgency was felt as acutely by anyone else in the system. My first-call didn’t pick the part up until the next day and their warehouse couldn’t ship it until the day after. The same dynamics were likely to unfold when the part was returned and so a seven-day turnaround could easily become an 11-day turnaround.

Service is a verb. It doesn’t exist until someone does something. What you do reflects whether or not you share a customer’s sense of urgency. The reward for understanding and responding quickly is appreciation. The penalty? Disappointment and frustration.

The decision is ultimately yours. Will you make it now or, will you wait? I guess the answer will depend upon whether or not you feel making a choice like that is…urgent.

Mitch Schneider is co-owner of Schneider’s Auto Repair, Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., and is an ASE Master Technician.

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