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Asking for Help -Continued
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Navy Customer Service Manual
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Encouraging the Acceptance of Responsibility
FINDING  SOLUTIONS  WHEN HELP IS UNAVAILABLE You will experience times when you are temporarily on your own with no one to whom you can turn for help. In such instances, you must still recognize the limits of your ability and be sure that your actions are correct. Had PNSN Frost been alone in the office when ET2 Door came in, he would have faced this type of situation. Probably, he could have groped his way to the solution decided upon by PN3 Doe, but that would have been the more difficult route to take. In this type of situation, you can still benefit from teamwork. When you have a question, take either of two actions: (1) make a note of your question so that you can ask for help at a later time, and then take action after you receive that help; or (2) have the customer return when a qualified person will be present. In either case, be sure the customer understands why you are not taking action at that time. The best way to ensure that is by admitting, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” IMPROVING   TEAMWORK Now  that  we  have  looked  closely  at  the  team members’  responsibilities  to  the  contact  point,  let’s examine some of the ways of improving contact point effectiveness.  Improving  contact  point  effectiveness  is not the sole responsibility of the supervisor, or the senior petty officer, though that person must bear the bulk of the  responsibility. Studies of management have shown that the most efficient  supervisors  delegate  responsibility  for  specific duties  as  soon  as  personnel  demonstrate  their  ability  to handle them. That does not lessen those supervisors’ overall  responsibility,  but  frees  them  from  routine matters, which enables them to give more attention to nonroutine problems. Delegating responsibility also provides excellent training for junior members. Delegating responsibility meets an important need in  the  member—recognition.  The  member  who  has acquired the ability to handle more difficult jobs and has indicated  a  willingness  to  assume  more  responsibility should be given greater responsibility. Giving a member greater responsibility provides an incentive for further improvement. PLANNING THE LAYOUT OF THE CONTACT POINT Large sums of money, a lot of talent, and an endless volume of energy went into the overall design, purpose, and function of the Apollo capsule. Combined these components  provided  not  only  the  technical  means  for the mission, but also an environment in which astronauts could perform at their peak ability. Few contact points have been designed this carefully. As a rule, the Navy merely provides a space to be used as the contact point; it is up to the members of the contact point team to make it  functional. A   physical   layout   that   provides   maximum efficiency   and   convenience   for   the   members   but disregards  customer  accessibility  will  operate  under  a handicap.  The  opposite  is  equally  true.  Therefore,  the physical arrangement (location of desks, counters, etc.) must  provide  for  both  the  customers  and  the  team members. Specifying a layout for furniture or traffic patterns is impractical. However, in planning the furniture layout and  traffic  pattern,  team  members  must  consider  the comfort of the customers as well as their own. Planning must not be based on the idea that “I’m the one who has to do the work; if someone has to be uncomfortable, let it be the customer.” That attitude is not compatible with providing   good   service.   Observe   the   following guidelines in planning the layout of furniture and traffic patterns: Provide a traffic pattern that prevents a line of customers from extending through a doorway. Provide  a  counter  or  table  on  which  customers may fill out forms. Provide chairs at contact points ashore that are visited  by  dependents. Provide a measure of privacy in the arrangement of  the  contact  point  for  those  times  when customers  must  provide  information  of  a personal nature. Designate someone at large contact points to greet customers and direct them to the proper place. That should keep customers from waiting in a line only to discover later that they were in the  wrong  line. CREATING A POSITIVE ATMOSPHERE We  have  already  discussed  the  influence  that  the member exerts on the contact point. Now let’s consider the  other  side  of  influence.  How  much  does  the atmosphere  of  the  contact  point  (the  general  attitude  of 4-5

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