To never help my colleague out again.(19 Posts)
Yesterday I was at work, team secretary asked if I'd take a call from a client of one of my colleagues who wasn't working that day. I agreed. Client came on phone extremely angry. She raised a number of complaints about my colleague- threatened to make a formal complaint. From looking at paperwork I thought clients concerns were pretty justified but didn't say so. Client tried to contact my colleague 3 times last week to discuss this and they didn't return call. I apologised that they were not happy, agreed to try to speak to my colleague and get back to them. I was doing this to try and help my colleague, so issue could hopefully be resolved without it becoming a big complaint. My colleague only works 3 days a week, she works in research Thursday/ Friday. I've never (in 6 years) contacted her when she's doing her other job before. I text her...apologised for bothering her when shes on other job. Asked if she'd call me, explained why a bit. She eventually text last night (6pm). Said she was tired/ I got impression she couldn't be bothered. She then asked if she could call me right then (last night). I waited in so she could speak to me. She didn't call (after saying she'd call in two mins). She called today. Started to explain what had happened, phone cut off half way through call and she never bothered calling back. I'd promised I'd return call to client by 12 today-she knew this. After several attempts to get hold of colleague, I eventually gave up, called client, calmed them down, told them what I could, was very difficult without further information from colleague. I've just received a text from colleague basically telling me I should stop interfering. Had a full complaint gone ahead, she would have been in serious trouble (for lots of reasons). I was trying to help her out. Plus I felt bad for client. They are in an awful situation and getting it sorted before weekend would make a big difference. In future, I won't try to help. Aibu?
Apologies for any errors, I've just had a procedure done on my eye and my vision is still a bit blurred.
Sorry this is so long too!
You did your best, the customer knows its not your fault and you have probably stopped a formal complaint being made.
If a complaint IS made, then its not going to be against yourself, you have done your best to help your colleague- if she has messed up, unfortunately she also needs to take the flack
Summarise this in an email to your line manager - it needs to be escalated.
No, never help her out again. Make file note of the actions you've taken in case it comes back to bite you. Then let her sort her own problems out.
I might be tempted to raise this with a manager, so you've got clarity around what they expect you to do if there's another customer issue that needs dealing with while your colleague is away.
Sorry, I've probably not explained myself properly. My main issue is my colleagues response. Shes angry at me for getting involved. In her shoes I'd be grateful someone has tried to help her our.
I agree she needs to take the flack.
Make sure you do as per sparkletastic
Client may still decide to complain and now you are involved so good to have your good efforts on record rather than having to defend self later on if college tries to implicate you in the issue
I would report this upwards. How dare she be angry with you for trying to help a client she was supposed to have dealt with?
Definitely raise it with a manager, particularly as colleague didn't seem particularly anxious about keeping the client happy knowing they had complained to you. No formal complaint for now, but if your colleague continues letting the client down there could still be a formal complaint made in future. If management were to review the file, would they see that you were involved? It could reflect badly that you didn't escalate it, especially if you think the client's complaint is justified.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
She's ungrateful and unprofessional. You have tried to help her out and she has chippy and defensive. I am sure not all colleagues would react this way but you are quite within your rights to refuse to 'help' this particular colleague again. Inform the team secretary too so none of the colleague's calls come your way.
Agree with the others, you need to flag this to a line manager if only to cover your own arse (good deed).
Thanks for all the comments. I wasn't expecting the responses I've had, thought there might well be another angle to this that I hadn't considered. I was already angry with her for not making an effort to get in touch with me but was absolutely stunned by her text message.
Ooh, Needascarf. ..I have to admit, I half hoped this does go to a formal complaint.
I will tell my secretary not to pass on calls in the future. My manager is not very good so wouldn't expect a very helpful response but I will tell him.
Also makes me think that my colleague wouldn't bother to help me out if there was a problem when I was off. Very strange.
Feel much better reading all the comments. Thank you. Relieved to know it's not me.
I'd inform her boss what has happened. Then don't have her back in future. Sounds like she cannot do her job properly.
Definitely write a file note about exactly what had happened, timings, including when and how you contacted colleague and what the client said. Either keep it on your own files, add to client file (& keep a copy) or send a copy to your manager to say ' as X was off on Thursday I had to deal with Client A these are my notes in case there is any confusion'
FWIW if I was your colleague I would be really grateful you had smoothed things over and helped me out
What everyone else said. cover your ass with paperwork and send a full report to your line manager.
YANBU, and are entirely in the right. However, I would read your colleague's attitude not as just general 'ingratitude', but as fear: I think she knows she's done wrong, and is panicking that you know so much about it now. I think this makes it even more important that, as others have said, you keep a record of what you've done so that it can't be misrepresented in the future.
She clearly doesn't give a shit, I wouldn't think twice about dropping her in it if she had that attitude with me!
I used to work in a high level complaints dept for a big UK company. We'd deal with escalated complaints from customers and ombudsman and media cases; we'd each have our 'own' customers to deal with - we'd manage them until their complaint was resolved and they'd confirmed satisfaction with all actions taken. There were a number of people in our dept like your colleague who would bugger off on rest days leaving customers in the lurch and fobbing them off. Then when said customers called in while that colleague was off, the rest of us would have to deal with it and more often than not have to take over the complaint to prevent the customers taking the matter to media/ombudsman.
There were certain types of complaint that we really difficult to sort out and very time consuming and invariably it was those cases that got fobbed off - people would take the hit on being told off for mismanaging them if it meant some one else got to take it on. We were incentivised on 'productivity' - the number of complaints resolved each day. So the more of the difficult cases you have, the less you'll close each day and therefore in a very backwards way, the more incentive you have to piss off the poor customer with the very complex complaint.
Some people are lazy and don't deserve people like us to cover for them, and don't thank us when we do. It becomes expected, it's not fair on customers or other colleagues.
I'd also look in to what the procedures are if someone is off work - who is supposed to take on anything that comes up for them. In my workplace if I am off, then my direct staff would deal with the issue and if they couldn't solve it, it would go to my line manager. A colleague at the same level would not deal with it unless there was none of the others around at all - as they wouldn't have all the information.
In your case, should the issue have gone to your colleague's manager instead?
There isn't a set procedure for this. Generally colleagues within the team deal with issues, if necessary it would be escalated to management.. In future, I won't take the call/ tell secretary to put call through to management.
I think you are right Margaret...she's frightened.
Her text basically said that I was very wrong to contact her on a 'research day'. Next time I won't, she can deal with complaints on Mondays.
I have not replied to her message. I shall totally ignore her if she contacts me again.
I usually get on well with this colleague. .
I would definitely escalate this.
You could position it as you want to clarify how customer complaints should be handled when colleague is not there. It's not unusual for someone to work part time, and usually I would say that non paid days should be sacred, but given the circumstances it looks like you did exactly the right thing.
I suspect she'll be selling her own story to management as well, so important that you get in there first with the true version of events.
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