Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

The Accountability Power-Up

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

A study by the American Society for Training and Development shows how important accountability is for success. If you hear a good idea, there’s a 10 percent probability that you’ll actually do it. Deciding to do it moves the likelihood to 25 percent. Commit to someone else, and the likelihood rises to 65 percent.

But make a specific accountability appointment with that person, complete with deadline and deliverables, and the likelihood of actually doing it shoots up to 95 percent.

That’s what accountability does for success.

Of course we can always find a lame excuse to avoid accountability. “I was too busy.” “There isn’t enough time in the day.” “I tried my best.” “The supplier is a jerk.” “I sent an email!”

If having an excuse is the goal, we will never fail. All you need is a little imagination. But your career will be short and stressful if you don’t understand that “results rule”—and excuses shouldn’t ever be uttered IF you want any respect from your boss or team. To rock your job, build accountability systems for yourself and for those around you. That’s where REAL success happens.

Keeping Up Appearances

Monday, October 14th, 2013

When Jan Carlson took over the reins of Scandinavian Airlines, he identified “Moments of Truth” –the moments when customers form an impression of the business. If a customer saw a coffee stain on a tray when it was pulled down from the seat back, Carlson knew that the person’s first thought would be, “Oh my goodness, I wonder if they remembered to service the engines.”

That same attention to detail has taken many companies from also-ran to extraordinary. And ignoring those details can take you right back into the pits just as fast.

One of the most profound impacts an employee can have on customer perceptions is their own personal appearance.

It’s true that looking your best takes effort. But more importantly, it shows effort. If you greet a customer with your hair uncombed or your clothes wrinkled, it speaks loudly of a lack of effort. The customer can’t help making the subconscious connection between that moment and the rest of the company. If no effort goes into the appearance of the front line, I wonder if any effort goes into the products and services?

So each morning on your way out the door, take a quick glimpse in the mirror. If the face staring back at you is not the image you want to be promoting, turn around and make it right!

Words Matter

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—It’s the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”

The words we use can convey more than we think. It’s worth taking a moment to choose your words carefully—especially the phrases we use every day.

One phrase that customer service people often fall into is “No problem.” Sounds harmless enough, right? But that phrase turns a lot of people off because “No problem” conveys the subtle message that there might have been a problem, but lucky for the customer, you are willing and able to help them. But who knows about the next request they make? That might be a problem.

Even if you don’t mean it this way, it can sound like you’re doing the customer a favor by doing your job. The message is subtle, but it’s there.

Now consider the difference if you say, “I’d be delighted to do that for you!” Now you haven’t just avoided a problem—you’ve leapt at the chance to make sure they are happy. That’s a message worth sending.

Tape a small piece of paper to the desk by your phone or at the edge of your computer monitor—wherever your eyes are likely to fall on it naturally during a call—with the words “I’d be happy to!” or “I’d be delighted!” It takes a little effort to drop a habit, but once you do, the new habit will become just as automatic as the old one.

Put Customers at the Center of Your Business… REALLY

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

When it comes to running a customer-centered business, everybody talks a good game. “Where The Customer is #1” is one of the most common taglines for businesses of all kinds—even those that treat the customers like #2, if you get my drift.

Create Better Results by Revisiting Your Company Values – Video

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

The core that everything else is based upon is your company values. Revisit the values that you stand for as an organization because as you grow and become better and different, your values change. Do you suppose Bill Gates has the same values today as he did when he was 19 years old starting his first business? No – he’s become much more philanthropic and had to grow as a human being. His values had to change to create better results. There’s always a need to go back and revisit your values.

You don’t have to have the standard values that every company has. Here’s a list of company values my team came up with a few years ago:

  1. Extreme commitment to customer success. Customer satisfaction doesn’t matter. Customer Success is what it’s about. Everything anybody does should be defined by “Does this help the customer succeed more?”
  2. Blue Vase. Watch the video to hear the whole story about the blue vase. Do you ever have people who are really busy telling you why something can’t be done when they could be spending just a little bit more energy to just figure out how to get it done? Blue Vase in our office is code for “I know this is impossible, but figure it out anyway because it needs to get done.”
  3. No excuses. Excuses don’t replace results. Instead of making excuses say, “I blew it. Here is my massive corrective action so that this doesn’t happen again.” Making excuses to cover up mistakes really creates chaos in organizations. As soon as you start allowing excuses, you will see a decrease in your results.
  4. Having and Spreading Fun!
  5. Commitment to personal growth and commitment to professional growth. In order to have an organization that grows, you better have people who are committed to reading and learning. You should read at least one book a month in your profession so you can make yourself better at what you do.
  6. Sense of urgency. One of the most limited resources that we all share is time. People’s time needs to be used effectively.
  7. Positive reinforcement to fellow associates. People always think they don’t get enough appreciation from their manager, but the research show that it’s really from their fellow employees where it matters. So you better have people who are givers and always showing their appreciation for others.

What are some of your company values?