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amother




OP
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 10:24 am
I'm changing some details for privacy reasons and apologies in advance if this is long...

I work at a very large global company on a tiny team that offers a niche service within the company. Let's say the global company Vacay specializes in handling all of a person's vacations for life, and my team specializes in booking 5 star resorts for people visiting Patagonia - let's say within the company, our niche team is called Vacay Patagonia (irl little to do with vacations but the analogy works well so bear with me...)

A request gets intiated with us only when a Vacay team sends us the client's request. We don't otherwise have any way of knowing that someone's going to need our services to book in Patagonia. Anyway, some Vacay teams are great but others are very irresponsible, they know they have a VIP client who must stay in Patagonia in March, but don't forward that request to us until end of February, and now we're scrambling to accommodate the client, and at this point, the availability isn't suitable, or the client's upset that we waited so long and now they have to rush, meanwhile of course this rushing is inconvenient to us too, etc.

Clients can't always be expected to understand everyone's role within a company. All they know is that Vacay handles their bookings, and now I'm just someone from Vacay who's telling them that there's no 5 star availability in March in Patagonia when they sent this request to their Vacay team in December. Naturally it comes out on me.

My initial approach to handing this was to do everything to appease them apologize and avoid explaining, because after all, aren't we one large Vacay company and I don't want to be seen as throwing another Vacay team under the bus.

There's one Vacay team, let's call them Vanotokay, that's constantly doing things like this. Totally irresponsible, dropping the ball on a lot of clients, and since we have final contact with the client before their Patagonia vacation, it all comes out then, and because clients don't understand the breakdown of teams, it not only becomes our burden to bear in that moment, but they get mad at us for all the failures of team Vanotokay. In that moment, the client wouldn't give two hoots were I to explain that this was handled by their primary team which was a different team. They just care that their vacation wasn't handled more smoothly and I work for Vacay, so in their eyes, it's my fault too.

We've politely liaised with team Vanotokay, privately asking them to take responsibility in some of these escalations, privately making suggestions that would help them avoid these escalations. These problems still persisted and frankly, I get concerned about my own reputation when these things happen.

Finally today I had enough. A super VIP person ("Sarah") was upset that Vacay had had her details for months and we only took forward scheduling her Patagonia trip a few weeks ago and now the available dates were an inconvenience to her. She wrote she is demanding an explanation. Team Vanotokay was looped in on all of our correspondence. I responded to her email as follows:

****

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for sharing your concerns. As a point of clarification, I am on Team Vacay Patagonia and we scheduled your dates immediately on receipt of the request from your primary team, Vanotokay.

Team Vanotokay- would you please provide Sarah with some clarification with respect to the strategy regarding the timing?

Thank you,

Amother OP

****

I feel bad, because I'm effectively revealing to a client that Team Vanotokay waited a few months after she sent her request to them to forward that request with us. On the other hand, that's literally what happened. I have had quite enough of demurely taking the fall for other teams within the company. At the end of the day, it is not only the company on the line, but also my name. Sarah already knows that someone in the company dropped the ball - her request wasn't addressed for months, so it's not like I'm outing the fact that someone at Vacay caused this. Why should I act like I was the one who dropped the ball when we've been busting our butts to try to make up for this team's irresponsibility? I also think I worded my response pretty diplomatically as well, so it's hopefully not too alarming.

To top it all off, I'm OUT OF OFFICE TODAY. I had already copied in my out-of-office cover people to assist, but just sent off that last email. Now I'm not looking back at my phone because I keep getting sucked in and more angry

Did I handle it well and this is just my anxiety stressing? If it makes a difference, I'm actually working in an environment that's more corporate and legal.
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dankbar




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 10:30 am
I think you shouldn't work with the other team if they always mess up
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amother




Natural
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 10:33 am
Sounds like a tough position to be in. Either those responsible take the responsibility or it's time for you to find a better job!
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applesbananas




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 10:34 am
I liked it to let u know that I read all of it and I think youre very brave! Cant offer advice thou being that I work from home and have 2 employees and dont really understand the corporate world...
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amother




OP
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 10:37 am
dankbar wrote:
I think you shouldn't work with the other team if they always mess up


I was totally thinking that and wish we had that option to just not assist certain Vacay teams. Unfortunately we're the dedicated Vacay team that handles this niche service to all clients of Vacay teams. It's part of our job that we have to do for all of the teams in the Vacay organization. It's not a private business type of thing. The Vacay higher-ups don't care what a colossal inconvenience this is to our little team. They just want to be able to tell all of their clients that they offer this niche Patagonia service.
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exhausted




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 11:42 am
I think you handled it brilliantly and professionally without getting personal.
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amother




Seashell
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 11:42 am
I had a very similar situation. My team is last in line and deal with the client directly. When one of the middle teams mess up it delays is and the client gets mad at us. In our case it used to be a lot worse but we got some higher ups in the company involved and we explained what happens and they cracked down on the other team and we trying to hold them accountable and not just us. It hasn’t been fully resolved but much better. I will sometimes send an email to my boss - FYI [our service] will be delayed to the client because of delays in [other dept]. This way it’s out of my hands. I like the fun names you used Smile
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kollel wife




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 11:50 am
I think you did very well. Because you clearly explained that you're not responsible, and asked the other group to respond.

You didn't actually say they are at fault. They now have an opportunity to explain themselves. Maybe there was a computer glitch, whatever ... you didn't blame them. You're giving them a chance to explain & make themselves look bad or good.
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SixOfWands




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 11:58 am
exhausted wrote:
I think you handled it brilliantly and professionally without getting personal.


I disagree.

If the other team is not doing what its supposed to do, you bring it up first to the other team (which you did) and then to their supervisors. You don't loop in the clients, shoving others under the bus in front of them. Because, frankly, they don't care if its you, another team, or Sammy the Office Hamster who screwed up, they just want it fixed. And playing office politics in front of a client is very unprofessional.

IOW, Sarah's email should have been sent to your supervisor and the other team's supervisor with your explanation that the other team didn't give you the information in a timely manner, and explaining the consequences. Explain that you spoke to them, and that this is an ongoing problem. Your email to Sarah should simply have been apologetic about the lack of suitable accommodations due to this being a popular time of year, and promise that you will continue to make efforts to rectify the issues.
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amother




Fuchsia
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 1:44 pm
Not sure about how your company operates but we had something similar in my company and the two groups got together to develop SLA's (service level agreements) and related procedures. The hard part is not just formalizing the process for the sake of documenting but bringing it to the attention of the higher ups so that they support the effort and monitor accordingly. So for instance you might need to get an executive to sponsor and understand the need for these two groups to work better together. Then they might need to put in place some tracking/metrics of timing of handoffs to monitor if you are sticking to the sla's.
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amother




Fuchsia
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 1:46 pm
I agree, it is totally unprofessional to include the client. This should be handled within the company. This client's email can be used as an example to plead your case, but you should not air your dirty laundry with the client.
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amother




Sapphire
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 3:08 pm
Sorry.
This was totally inappropriate and unprofessional.
Never include the client in your inner company issues.

You should have sent that same email to lots of higher ups- basically saying that sarah is upset because the other team dropped the ball.

If I was your client and I got an email like that- it would be the last time I used you
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amother




Sapphire
 

Post  Wed, Feb 19 2020, 4:16 pm
amother [ Seashell ] wrote:
I had a very similar situation. My team is last in line and deal with the client directly. When one of the middle teams mess up it delays is and the client gets mad at us. In our case it used to be a lot worse but we got some higher ups in the company involved and we explained what happens and they cracked down on the other team and we trying to hold them accountable and not just us. It hasn’t been fully resolved but much better. I will sometimes send an email to my boss - FYI [our service] will be delayed to the client because of delays in [other dept]. This way it’s out of my hands. I like the fun names you used Smile


The difference is that you escalated it to the higher-ups NOT the client
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amother




Black
 

Post  Thu, Feb 20 2020, 7:09 am
My husband deals with such an issue where people get mad at him because of the middleman.Its super frustrating.

He is a salesman who goes from store to store to take the orders but company uses a distributor to deliver the products, so automatically when orders don't arrive, get messed up, he gets the yelling for it.
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amother




Peach
 

Post  Thu, Feb 20 2020, 7:23 am
SixOfWands wrote:
I disagree.

If the other team is not doing what its supposed to do, you bring it up first to the other team (which you did) and then to their supervisors. You don't loop in the clients, shoving others under the bus in front of them. Because, frankly, they don't care if its you, another team, or Sammy the Office Hamster who screwed up, they just want it fixed. And playing office politics in front of a client is very unprofessional.

IOW, Sarah's email should have been sent to your supervisor and the other team's supervisor with your explanation that the other team didn't give you the information in a timely manner, and explaining the consequences. Explain that you spoke to them, and that this is an ongoing problem. Your email to Sarah should simply have been apologetic about the lack of suitable accommodations due to this being a popular time of year, and promise that you will continue to make efforts to rectify the issues.

I’m guessing that she’s already tried that route.
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amother




Peach
 

Post  Tue, Feb 25 2020, 10:21 am
What was the end of the story?
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