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Author Topic: Your update is... there's no update yet  (Read 4850 times)

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shortstuff

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Your update is... there's no update yet
« on: December 05, 2013, 07:34:04 PM »
I'm looking for a fresh perspective on a common annoyance I run into at work. 

I work at a car dealership, and part of my job is to write work orders for "sold" cars that are to be prepped in the shop for delivery to the new owners.  There are deadlines to be met, of course, and I work with the salesmen and the mechanics to organize the work.  Generally, the salesmen are great giving me a couple days' notice to get the work done, but that means I have to deal with multiple "Is my car done yet?" questions.  The delivery is set, so me getting the car done days faster doesn't change anything.  I also do not control which cars get worked on. 

Frankly, the salesmen remind me of toddlers with their constant "Is it done yet?"  I have no updates for them until the car is basically done.  I've tried different variations of "I'll give you the keys as soon as it's done," and even joking "I wouldn't hold out on you!" 

I do understand things from their perspective, since they also have to coordinate and I'd personally be frustrated with no answers, but I honestly don't know what else to say.  I wouldn't purposely withhold a finished product, but I"m trying to find the compromise between ignoring their needs, and constantly just saying "Your car's not done," which I think is pointless anyway. 

Sorry if this is rambling, or if more details are needed, I wasn't sure how in-depth to go. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 07:44:31 PM »
Maybe help them out by saying, "They've gotten up to this stage; only XYZ to do. Tomorrow by 3pm."

So they hear genuine news, which might make it easier for them to wait.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 08:29:13 PM »
I'd go with "the prep shop will notify me when it is done and I'll let you know if I hear something."

Or, "you can contact the prep shop directly if you need a status update."

Or, "No, it's not."

camlan

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 08:57:56 PM »
Is there any way you can set up a spreadsheet that everyone can look at? Then you can direct them to that.

Or a big chart on the wall by your desk, with the most updated information on it. Then you can point the salesmen to the chart.

Or is there someone in the shop who can answer their questions and you can give the salespeople that name and their contact info?

Or speak with your boss and point out how the constant interruptions by salesmen asking questions you can't answer is affecting your work, and you'd like some help coming up with ways to deal with this.

Also, do you send a confirmation email to each salesperson as each car is set up with the shop? Is there any way the shop can give you an estimate of when each car will be done? Then you can include the estimate date in your email.

Sounds like a frustrating system, where you are the only person they can go to for info, but you aren't given any info yourself.
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sweetonsno

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 02:03:11 AM »
I'm with TootsNYC. Give them the information that you do have and reiterate the deadline. I don't get the sense that "Any updates?" is code for "Is it done yet?" Chances are they want to find out what stage the car is at, whether it looks like it may be done early, whether the mechanics are ordering new parts, etc.

There's a problem with the system if the above information isn't available to you, and I'd suggest collaborating with the sales team to approach management about finding a way to make it available.
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shhh its me

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 06:57:08 AM »
  Background questions....are the cars often ready just in time for delivery? if there have even been any issues discovered have they been reported to the sales people right away or did they find out a car needed a new battery put in, 2 porters are out sick so it will be 90 minutes late after their customers where there to pick them up? Do they frequently have to send cars back for touch ups?Are you able to tell " Your car is 3rd in line ?" etc.

I'd be a little surprised if you couldn't see how many other cars where being prepped for delivery, or don't know if the shop is running on time or behind or if people are out sick, whether the interior is done and their just waiting to wash it.  That would be an update "there is no reason for it to be late , it's just waiting to be washed , it's next. its a tight day it should be done just in time" etc.

NyaChan

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 07:16:48 AM »
I agree with some of the others who say to give them dove sense of where the process is at.  You see, for them its car isn't ready, car isn't ready but you haven't gotten a chance to notify them, and then boom they know.  For you it is, car isn't ready, step one, step two, step three, step four…..and so on.  When all you hear is, it isn't ready it isn't ready and suddenly it is ready, it is hard to figure out what's going on. 

YummyMummy66

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 07:42:27 AM »
General statement, "Guys, you do not have to keep asking if your car is done yet.  You know, as soon as your car is done, I will get the info./car to you". 

Dealing with each individual, "Sam, again the above". 

and, "If there is a problem, I will let you know".

Write it up on a sign.  Each time they come in and ask the same question after you have given them the above, point to the sign from now on.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 08:35:07 AM »
Is their sales commission dependent on the car being delivered?  Years ago, I was the payroll person for a company, and when the quarter was winding up, I would be swamped for status updates from sales reps as to the status of their bonuses, so I can feel your pain.

The flow chart idea sounds okay, but it also sounds like a lot of extra work for you.  Toots' idea of a specific response sounds better: It is in the final inspection phase, so typically, 24 hours.
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bopper

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 09:32:16 AM »
Find out their motivation, like others say.

Then take a look at your track record.  Do you say that the car will be delivered on X day and 99% of the time it is done by then?  Then you just say "Is is <delivery day>? Then no, the car isn't done but it will be by tuesday."

Do you say that the car will be delivered on X day and 80% of the time it is done by then?  "Everything is on schedule but I will let you know if anything seems to be causing an issue.


EllenS

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2013, 11:58:11 AM »
I have a boss who does stuff like this, on different topics.  What he actually wants is for me to bug somebody else and make it go faster/get him ahead of the line.

If, as you say, the delivery date is set and there is no way for you to expedite it, then I would ask,

"did you get the delivery date on that? That's when it will be ready."

If there is a way to expedite it, you can ask if they want that done.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2013, 12:54:57 PM »
I get a very similar question in one of my jobs. I have tried always stating that I will keep them updated when I hear news. Doesn't work. I have tried telling them what I do know, which usually isn't much. That doesn't work (in fact, I often copy/paste the same status several times for the same person).

I have been able to prioritize my work in a way that status inquiries are not top priority and must wait. I always respond within one business day, but never immediately. This has allowed me to avoid the same question from the same person on a daily basis. It also buys me some time, because sometimes I do have an update within that waiting time that I would have contacted the person about anyways, so it eliminates some work.

I don't know how to resolve this, though!!!

Arila

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2013, 02:00:23 PM »
I deal (dealt!!) with a barrage of update requests.

This is greatly diminished by a daily update email. It contains:
- X, Y, Z etc tasks, where X, Y & Z are identifying data, such as a notification/ticket number
- Brief summary (maybe not important for you) of the work  to be completed
- Current Update (if any)
- Expected completion date

This alleviates several concerns on the part of the people barraging me - 1. Do I know about the task? 2. What's the deal? 3. When will it be done? (when they know this, and are OK with the date, they don't bother me about it until after that date, if they need it sooner, then they know).

shortstuff

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Re: Your update is... there's no update yet
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2013, 05:31:38 PM »
I'm pleased with so many really good responses.  Based on some of the questions, turns out there should have been more info in the OP.  99% of these cars are ready on time, with no delays or extra work.  They're brand new, so work involved is tire pressures, license plates, checking the car computer, and a few small paperwork things.  All in all, the process takes about 45 minutes. 

My desk is in the dispatching center, so I know how busy the shop is, but can't be sure if it's the "next car in" or not.  When possible, I've used that line as well. 

So, from my perspective, the car spends a lot of time "waiting" to come in, but once it's in it'll be done so quickly that I feel updating "it's in the shop" is a waste when I'll be back in a short bit saying "it's done."  I guess this is something I can be more flexible on?  The only reason I haven't yet is because the departments are physically separated from each other, and it's hard to track people down. 

We have made some progress by funneling the salesmen through their manager, which makes things so much easier, but even he can't stop the questions. 

I get a very similar question in one of my jobs. I have tried always stating that I will keep them updated when I hear news. Doesn't work. I have tried telling them what I do know, which usually isn't much. That doesn't work (in fact, I often copy/paste the same status several times for the same person).

I have been able to prioritize my work in a way that status inquiries are not top priority and must wait. I always respond within one business day, but never immediately. This has allowed me to avoid the same question from the same person on a daily basis. It also buys me some time, because sometimes I do have an update within that waiting time that I would have contacted the person about anyways, so it eliminates some work.

I don't know how to resolve this, though!!!


Glad to hear someone else is in my shoes :/ lol

I consider myself lucky that this is the thing that bothers me most, but thanks everyone for the ideas.  I like not sounding like a broken record by having a few more go-to phrases I can use.