values

Bring Out the Best - 11/12/19


As a management consultant, oftentimes my job is to identify the key issues, determine the root causes, and provide solutions. We do a lot of strategy work, we conduct many research projects, and we train and train and train our clients. However, improvement usually involves pointing out what needs Read more

Know What You Don’t Know - 11/5/19


Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak.  In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared.  But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions. In the world of Read more

Service, Sports, and Self-Control - 10/29/19


When I was growing up, I played a lot of golf. I practiced a lot, and I could score pretty well. However, when something went bad, when I hit a tee shot into the woods or dumped an iron shot into a lake, I would become unglued. Then every Read more

What it Means to Respect Someone’s Time - 10/22/19


Whether it is with a client when I realize that the meeting might go long, or possibly it’s in a workshop where I’m trying to end one conversation so we can move on to the next topic, there is a phrase I’ve used many times, and I mean it Read more

Be the Director of First Impressions - 10/15/19


Whether it’s in a hotel or in a coffee shop or a bank branch, first impressions mean a lot. First impressions mean “this is who we are” and “this is what you should expect.” First impressions mean “this is our definition of excellence” and “this is how much we Read more

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

The Error of “Everyone” - 9/24/19


A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau - 9/17/19


The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. Read more

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

I want to be an Astronaut – 9/10/19

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if so, I’m not sure how similar or different the answers may be from my childhood experiences. But when the question is asked, the child is basically stating what he or she wants to become. It is sharing their vision of their future.

And once a child – or anyone of us for that matter – identifies a vision, then we can start charting the course to get there. It makes no sense to chart a course to nowhere.

It’s the same thing in the world of business and in the world of customer service. We need to start with the vision.

What do we want to become or achieve as an organization or as an individual? What is our vision for the great customer experience that we’re going to deliver to our clients, and is that their vision as well?

If the vision for the great customer experience is going to help us to achieve our overall vision, then the next step is to ask: What’s our vision for the desired culture? In theory, the culture of an organization is set up to help the organization succeed, so that culture should help to deliver a great experience, it should help to deliver on the organization’s vision!

And what is culture? It is how we do things around here. It’s how we talk to each other, how we work together, how we make decisions together, how we serve each other and serve others together.

Take a few minutes individually or as an organization and just pause. Make sure that you have a clearly articulated vision. Then work back to make sure that you know what your role is and what you need to be in order to move yourself and your organization toward that vision.

Envision the future to become the future.

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It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? – 6/11/19

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard.

You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put into a position to make decisions. Those decisions lead us down Path A or Path B. Those decisions make our life easier or harder. Those decisions help the bottom line or hurt the bottom line. And those decisions make the customer happy or upset.

What makes those decisions so hard is that one decision might help the bottom line but make the customer upset. Another decision might make your life harder but make the customer happy.

I’m not in your shoes, so I cannot tell you what decision to make. Each one of you makes hundreds of decisions each week at work and in your personal life. Neither you nor I can anticipate every situation that you’ll be presented with or every question you’ll have to consider.

But what will make your work-related decisions easier is to at least have a starting point. Even before you’re presented with a situation, know and document the principles that will guide your decision-making.

Here are some key principles to consider in your decision-making processes if your job is customer service related: Be ethical. Do what’s best for the customer now. Do what helps the organization long-term.

These might seem short and simple, but it’s amazing how the appropriate decision becomes much clearer if each alternative is tested against these principles.

What principles guide your decision-making at work? Know them, write them down, and remember them.

The next time you make a decision, let your principles be your guide.

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Choose Positivity – 1/2/18

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I had the opportunity to conduct employee focus groups and facilitate staff conversations for two different clients recently, and there was a common theme among all the groups. It’s intuitive, it’s understandable, but I was still surprised to hear the sentiment.

Employees consistently said they wanted to work in a more positive environment. Most of us would think that it’s intuitive that that’s what employees desire. Most would think it’s understandable that staff would share those perspectives. But I was somewhat surprised to hear it. Why?

Because, I sometimes have trouble understanding why people or organizations would consistently be negative, or why they would avoid sharing positives, or why their only form of motivation was criticism.

When people work 40 hours, 60+ hours a week, would they prefer to spend those 8/10/12 hours a day around others who are positive or negative? Would they prefer to be in an environment where they are appreciated? Would they prefer to have a reward for a great job or only punishment for a bad job?

I know that many are motivated to avoid the negative, or to avoid punishment, or not to get marked down or written up. But when you think of a healthy work environment, one where people’s values align to those of the organization, one where people WANT to go above and beyond – you are envisioning more positive organizations.

This is not a Tip just for managers; this is a Tip for you and me – everybody. People want positive reinforcement more than negative. They want optimism more than pessimism. They want “Let’s hope it works” rather than “I doubt it will.”

I’m not saying that we ignore the bad or should all be Pollyannas. What I am saying is that we have a choice in how we respond. We have a choice on what outlook we’ll take about a situation. We have a choice about how we engage others. We have a choice about whether we convey appreciation or just think it. And we have a choice about whether we look for ways to build up a co-worker or team, or we only look for ways to criticize.

When you make a choice, choose positivity.

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