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This is Your Brain on Merchant Services...Any Questions?

I was thinking about our industry and for some reason I always get that image in my head of an egg frying in a pan. Next,  I hear that  all too familiar slogan: "This is your brain on drugs...any questions" 

If you work in agent or merchant support with an ISO, are a customer service representative, or even an MLS on the street, I think you will agree that our brains our sizzling just like that egg!  It can be difficult to keep our heads on straight with all daily issues we have to handle. Also consider all the reading we have to do.  We have to keep abreast with new technologies, fee structures and procedures. We are bombarded with phone calls, emails flooding in, and issue after issue.   This can literally cause confusion and fatigue and can be quite stressful to get all the work done on time.  Some have no doubt given up on getting it all done.  Believe me it shows.   For those of you, like myself, who aim to please,  keep your egg out of the frying pan!

The best way to do this is with time management and good organization.  First, get your email inbox under control.  Find a system that works for you.  Something I like to do is blitz through all my unread email the first thing every day.  I will flag the emails that are important but need more time to address.  I will quickly respond to tthe ones that can be handled in 1 minute or less or forward emails can be handled by someone else.   After 30 minutes, all my emails have been read or flagged.  Now I can work the phones or research the flagged emails stress free.  As new emails appear in my inbox, I will keep them read as well.  This is important to keep checking email as you never know when there is an issue that needs prompt attention and you waited 2 hours to even notice it. 

There is another aspect to answering emails.  Sometimes in our haste we can send an email request to another department and then totally forget about it.  The other department doesn't receive it or even forgets.  Time passes.  Someone emails us the same request and we have no idea what they are talking about.  Here is a trick that can help.  Flag your sent emails with a different color and when you get a respone, check them off.  If you have flagged emails in your inbox, this means they have not been answered or handled! It really is that simple.

If you have a lot of paperwork on your desk, file it away. Keep your desk clean!  Maybe a simple filing system is in order.  Take three filing trays and mark one "Today", mark another one "Weekly" and another one "Monthly".  Then frequently check your weekly and monthly trays and move important documents to your daily tray as it becomes less full.  Of course you need to work to keep that daily tray empty!   This works for me but you may have a better system that works for you. 

If you are an ISO and get the same questions all day long and spend a lot of time answering them; this trick will work wonders:   Have all your customer service representatives write down the daily questions they are asked and the answers  in a word or excel document.  Next, have someone compile all of these to a pdf document and make it available to all your customers.  If you keep it updated, you will find that you get less questions regarding those issues.  This same trick will work for internal issues.  Create a search-able database that can be accessed by all your employees. When a question comes up, they can simply refer to to the database for the answer.  Keep that updated and new employees can quickly become experts!  I compiled a database for over 4 years at the last company I worked for and you will be amazed at how many questions were answered in it!   This really saves a lot of time and makes your life easier.

So these are just a few suggestions that can help you to stay organized, reduce stress and keep your brain intact and out of the frying pan.

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