Monday, September 23, 2013

The Customer's Always Right??

How many times have you heard that old saying, "The customer's always right"?  Sounds good to the customer . . . but do you really feel that way?

Think about it.  It's your organization.  You have procedures.  You're regulated by someone.  How can the customer always be right?  Why are you going to publicize something that you're not going to uphold?  That just leads to problems.

Approached the right way, you can make the customer feel good, and even right, by taking ownership and dealing with him/her on a positive level.  This could be long discussion but in a nutshell,
  • take ownership of the issue,
  • thank the customer for the complaint/report,
  • understand their feelings,
  • explain your procedures/regulations,
  • ask how you can resolve the issue, together,
  • do whatever you can (fix it, call a supervisor, etc),
  • thank them for bringing the issue to your attention,
  • follow-up.
Good customer service is not hard.  People just make it hard.  Remember, Treat Everyone As Me still goes a long way.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Help Them Grow - Revisited

From September 05, 2012 - This is the first year anniversary for Help Them Grow or Watch Them Grow, by Julie Winkle Giulioni and Beverly Kaye. STILL, a must read for all leaders.

It only happens every few years. I’m talking about leadership books that come out that I like so much that I read it with a highlighter. I use them in staff development and lend them out to others who want to improve themselves and/or their staff.

A few years back it was Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell. Then cameFrom Bud to Boss by Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris. Now – I've had the great privilege of reading a pre-launch copy of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni.

Help Them Grow is the type of book that makes you think, “Hmm, why haven’t I been doing that?” It’s a straightforward roadmap on how to help your staff develop without you having to take control of the reins. Let your employees grab hold of those reins and become responsible for their own growth. Wow . . . what a concept, right? Can you see your time being freed up?

Kaye and Giulioni say that “your role is more about prompting, guiding, reflecting, exploring ideas, activating enthusiasm, and driving action”. This book shows you ways to incorporate these career conversations in your everyday work life.

Notice that last sentence that says “everyday”. Leaders don’t have time to hold extended annual appraisals that package up everything from the entire previous year – and shouldn’t – heck, they don’t remember about what you’re talking about half the time anyway! You’re already having everyday conversations with your employees (hopefully), so just change the tone a bit. You don’t need a bunch of checklists and forms. Conversations and asking questions are the keys to development.

This book gives you actionable steps to “focusing on what the employee needs to experience, know, learn, and be able to do”. Too often, leaders think they have to have all the answers (and they avoid the topic if they don’t), when what they actually need most are the questions, permitting the employee to be a first hand participant in their own successful development.

There’s so much more to this embracing book than I have time for here, so my suggestion to you is to go to Amazon to order yourself a copy or two – others are going to want their own.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

And The Winner Is

How many times have you heard a "leader" say something like, "I told you I'd make it to the top"?  Then, how often do you hear them thank the "little people"?

NO ONE gets to the top by themselves.  No one even gets to the next level, by themselves.  One of the first things that leaders should do when they move up is, in some way, thank the people that helped them there - specialists, admin assistants, coordinators, etc.

The best example of this is done very publically a few times a year . . . Academy Awards, Oscars, CMA's . . . the list goes on.  These shows aren't held just to recognize the overall winners.  It's also a public opportunity for them to thank the many people that made it possible for them to be standing there holding that award.  These "behind the scenes" people may otherwise, have no recognition.  Or in some cases, it's the people that got their career started.  They love it and you can see it on their expressions, if they're attending.

So next time you're risen up to the next level, don't forget a few "thank you's" for the people who helped you there.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Innovative Service Starts Here

When I'm given a small motivational type of book to read, I'm usually just expecting a quick read of motivational quotes with nothing really new.  Such is not the case with Chip Bell's new book The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service.  Published by SimpleTruths, this has got to be one of the best books I've read of this type.

Chip's book is full of easy to implement ideas to delight customers.  It's written, not as basic ideas for you to figure out, but as inspiration with actual practical use that can be easily and quickly tailored to your type of organization.  Working off the premise that "Tough economic times call for a new approach: value-unique service", he provides us with a multitude of examples of companies that have made it to the top with their unique customer service thinking.

Never forget that customers have options, so you need to add the extra to ordinary.  This book is one that you'll want to share with your employees because there are so many sparks of imagination in it that your employees will be coming up with many of their own innovations.  With that comes more ownership, which drives better service.