As a business owner, I often feel like I don’t have the...

As a business owner, I often feel like I don’t have the time to manage my employees or deal with customers. How can I get my employees to focus more on customers?

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As a business owner with employees, the most important job description that you have is managing people. If you hire the right managers, they should be able to take care of their business units and areas of control, freeing you up to manage them.

Colin Thornton, founder and MD of Dail-aNerd, which has a national footprint and satellite offices across the country, has this to say:

“Someone from every branch reports directly to me, and although our branch managers are empowered to be able to make their own decisions and manage their own teams, I get regular updates on what’s happening in each branch so that I have a strong handle on where the business is. It’s my job to motivate my managers, support them, train them and help them solve issues. When we receive a complaint, it’s not about assigning blame. It’s about asking what went wrong, determining the best way to resolve the issue, and then putting systems in place to ensure the same mistake never happens again. Everyone is involved in the process, and we all learn from it, across the branches.

“Customer service is our entire business. If we relax, this starts slipping, so I keep a constant watch on how we are delivering on our mandate and receive regular reports on client interactions each month. I am also very conscious of the fact that I need to lead by example.

“If a client wants to speak directly to me, I make sure I’m available. One of the things that has always driven me nuts is companies whose MDs are inaccessible. You have a problem and you’re passed from manager to manager, and never feel like your issue is being addressed or taken seriously. This isn’t the business we want to be. Our differentiator is service, and I can insist on that with our employees if I’m not willing to follow suit with my own time.”

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