Category: Employment


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……….and you will deliver world-class customer service.

Popular belief suggests that customers are the reason problems begin in any organization. That’s far from the case in reality; problems begin with the company and its employees. Customers expect a top-notch experience but receive a bad one instead. As a result, the company loses them forever.  Excellent customer service starts with employees, and if the employees aren’t happy with your company, how can you expect them to make your customers happy?

In my book  Fresh Customer Service- Treat the Employee as #1 and the Customer as #2 and you will get customers for life – I explain that the best way to make your customers happy is to ensure  your employees are happy with their job and empowered and equipped to deliver a world-class customer service experience.  The first two steps of the 6.5 steps  are Side by Side Walking and Smart Tasking.

  1. Side By Side Walking

The first fresh step towards understanding your employees is side by side walking. This essentially means stepping into your employees’ shoes, enabling you to identify the gaps in your company’s operations and helping you determine which areas need improvement. All you have to do is engage in the same activities as your employees for one day to understand where your company stands.

Steps to Effective Side by Side Walking

Following are the main steps for side by side walking:

  • Make safety a priority
  • Jobs should be described in written documents which outline the tasks and desired outcomes
  • Mentally prepare yourself and realize the significance and purpose of this strategy
  • Ensure you adopt same dress code, gear, and use the same equipment as your employees
  • Perform all pre-work tasks your employees have to perform like clocking in, preparing shift register, reading the task board, etc.
  • Do all the tasks as per the existing processes and procedures the employees follow
  • Observe all the tasks and process being followed during the shift
  • Ensure that you complete the entire shift
  • Reflect and assess the tasks you did, the problems that occurred, and compare it to the job description of your employees
  • Determine where the problems are and where improvements are needed.

2.    Smart Tasking

The second fresh step towards understanding your customers is Smart Tasking. It helps in setting up clear priorities and expectations for your employees which would assist them in offering the best customer support to your customers. Train your employees to smart task effectively and encourage them to speak up if they are assigned tasks that they deem ineffective and unnecessary. This helps in eliminating unnecessary work for the employees and makes their tasks more manageable and enjoyable for them.

Steps for Smart Tasking

Following are the main steps for smart tasking:

  • Understand the processes and operations
  • Identify the right tasks and eliminate unnecessary ones
  • Recommend specific time duration for each task
  • Never sacrifice safety of your employees
  • Ensure you provide easy step-by-step instructions for all tasks
  • Determine if the tasks adds to the customers’ experience and to what degree
  • Make adjustments where necessary
  • Review all tasks to ensure they are necessary for the overall process
  • Offer appropriate training of smart tasking for your employees

Understanding the problems your employees face and the environment they work in will help you in making their work experience better. Training them to prioritize and eliminating complex and unnecessary tasks will enhance their work satisfaction and make tasks easy for them. As a result, they will be able to offer a world-class customer service experience  to your customers.

 

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  1. Listen. The interview will likely start with your interviewer(s) describing the job, the company, and possibly the type of person they are looking for, corporate culture, or other facts. Listen attentively, sit up with straight but non-threatening posture, and remain silent until you are invited to speak or it is obviously time to say something. Beyond obtaining potentially valuable data that can help you frame your comments and answers, this also demonstrates you are a good listener, a prized corporate skill that is all too rare in today’s world where people announce their lunch menu on Twitter.
  2. Speak. You should do most of the talking. The interview is about you explaining and proving why you are the best person for the job. Answer questions directly and honestly, and use anecdotes that illustrate your qualifications whenever possible. Describing how you led a sales team to double its revenues is much more impressive than saying you’re a good sales manager. Also use your research here – you may want to mention you helped another company overcome a challenge similar to the one the company currently faces – and be sure to have a few specific questions ready. The questions should revolve around specific tasks and responsibilities you will have, advancement potential, and other work-related subjects – not vacation and sick time!

 

  1. Follow Up. As soon as you get back home from the interview, write a short, polite note (NOT an email or even worse, text message) thanking your interviewer for taking the time to speak with you and mentioning one or two specific reasons you are perfect for the job that relate to topics of conversation during the interview. You will look professional and thorough, and a signed note really stands out in the age of instant electronic communication.

 

6.5Stay Positive. Even if you do your very best at a job interview, you may not get the position. Someone else may simply have better qualifications or experience, or have an inside connection. You must stay positive. Review the interview, correct any flaws or missteps that may have occurred, and put it out of your mind at the next interview. If you truly commit yourself to acing every job interview you get, you should find a fulfilling work position sooner rather than later.

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It’s no secret that jobs are scarce. Don’t be misled by encouraging downward trends in unemployment – a lot of the new jobs being created are of the low-level service variety. Quality, career-type positions are few in number and applicants are many. Add in the fact that today’s companies are terrified of making a bad hire, due to the intense dedication of money and resources involved in bringing on a new staff member plus legal ramifications of firing someone, and finding a job that will let you achieve your professional and personal aspirations is tougher than ever.

But it can be done. However, the key to obtaining the kind of job that will advance your career is acing your job interview. The interview is absolutely crucial to getting hired, and demonstrating you have the necessary skills and background is only a small portion of what you must accomplish. Here are 6.5 fresh steps to acing your next job interview.

 

  1. Do Your Homework. You need to do a lot of research before the interview takes place. The Internet makes this task easier than in the past, but you still need to check out the company’s website, as well as websites of its major competitors. Do a Google search of the company, its executives and its industry to find out what challenges it is facing. Also it may reveal important details about executives you will speak with, such as their alma maters, social activities, etc. you can use to personalize your conversation. If possible, discreetly visit the company’s lobby to get a sense of what people are wearing and how they act.
  2. Appearance counts. You are essentially hired (or not hired) in the first 30 seconds of the interview. Your potential employer decides very quickly if you are right for the job or not, and the rest of the conversation serves to prove or disprove this first impression. The very first thing your interviewer(s) will see is your personal appearance. Are your hair and nails freshly groomed? Are you wearing tailored business attire that is in line with current fashion but not too “trendy”? Is your breath fresh and are you well-rested but alert? Do you carry a quality leather attache case and have professionally printed business cards and resumes to distribute? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” make sure it becomes “yes” before your interview occurs!
  3. Talk to everyone. Even if you arrive on time (I’m assuming you know enough to never be late, and ideally should be 10-15 minutes early), you will likely be asked to wait for at least a few minutes before the interview starts. If there is a receptionist in the waiting area, engage them in pleasant conversation. Also smile and say hello to anyone who passes by. Do not ask any questions or initiate in-depth conversations (remember everyone will report what you say and do), but if you are lucky someone in the company might reveal a valuable piece of information, such as what type of mood your interviewer is in or how many other people have been interviewed. Plus you immediately establish yourself as a social, professional individual who makes a good impression.

 

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  1. Good performance is its own reward. When employees consistently demonstrate good or even great performance, but do not receive any reward or recognition beyond what their average or below-average peers receive, they will quickly become disengaged. Employees do not need a bonus check every time they go “above and beyond,” but never recognizing exceptional performance will disengage your top employees while ironically inferior employees relatively unaffected.

 

Truly exceptional performance must be rewarded. This can consist of public praise or perhaps a gift certificate to a local restaurant, but sometimes may need to consist of a raise or bonus, as well. By directly tying any financial rewards to the actual increase in revenue an employee’s performance produces, employers can ensure they still leave room for the company to profit.

  1. Too much work. The pace of modern business requires employees to produce more results with longer hours than ever before. Even when off hours, many employees are expected to remain on call through smartphones, tablet computers, etc. Employees understand the situation, but are still only human and have their breaking point. An endless succession of 70-hour weeks, weekends at the office, personal time disruptions, etc., will lead to disengagement.

 

Employers need to realize that at a certain point, quantity of hours worked starts to have a negative impact on quality of work. Only ask for extra hours when they are truly needed (such as imminent deadline for a major project), and only text/call/email off hours in an emergency. Employees who are allowed to engage in their personal lives will be more engaged at work.

 

  1. Not enough play. The workplace does not have to be an adult playground, but an office or worksite that only offers drudgery and stress will breed disengagement. Provide break areas that let employees relax and have fun when they need a few minutes away from their desk or workspace. A few beanbag chairs and foosball tables can go a long way. Also investments in free perks like snacks and beverages can more than pay for themselves in increased employee engagement.

 

  1. Employees feel disrespected. A lack of respect is one of those situations that is hard to define, but everyone knows it when they experience it. Disrespect is an active effort. Where not listening to employees is passive, belittling them for speaking up is disrespectful. Publicly screaming at an employee who is tardy is disrespectful, while calling them into a supervisor’s office for a private reprimand is much more appropriate (and the employee could even be allowed to explain a possible extenuating circumstance, such as a child’s school bus running late). Disrespected employees become disengaged.

6.5 Don’t be a dead end. I will use the last .5 reason to offer a brief word of encouragement. Ultimately, employees disengage from “dead end” jobs that offer no personal or professional reward, but are merely a grind that pays the bills. The job you offer doesn’t have to be a dead end! By recognizing and rewarding top performers, offering humane working hours and conditions, and letting employees speak their minds when appropriate, you should avoid most disengagement. Employees who do become disengaged in this type of scenario probably aren’t worth retaining, anyway!

 

brand heart check

Stay Fresh and the Sky’s The Limit!

 

Heart Check – Is Your Brand Fresh Enough to Avoid the Ceiling?

Wondering if your efforts to stay fresh are enough to get you beyond the ceiling? Take a heart check on your brand’s freshness! Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today from 1-5 hearts, with 1 equaling strongly disagree and 5 equaling strongly agree:

 

  1. My friends and colleagues come to me for the most up to date information.
  2. If you are looking for fresh ideas, I am the one.
  3. My current skillset is the most competitive out of anyone I may come up against for a job and/or promotion.
  4. I am aware of the latest technology that can help me personally and professionally.
  5. When my friends and colleagues want a fresh perspective or strategy I am the first person they call.
  6. The last book that I read was one that was published within the last 12 months.
    1. My resume is current, up to date and competitive.

Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze your score:

If you scored from 7-13, your brand is stale. You know what that means: nobody wants to purchase your brand and you’ll soon be taken off the shelf.

If you scored from 14-20, you brand is generic. There is minimal demand for your personal brand, but only at a steep discount and when the more popular and competitive brands are all sold out.

If you scored from 21-26, your brand is day-old. Your brand will sell if it stays on the shelf long enough, but anyone seeking real fresh results will look elsewhere.

If you scored from 27-33, your brand is fresh. Your brand is a respectable choice for the discerning connoisseur, but not the top choice.

If you scored a 34 or 35, your brand is straight out of the oven. Congratulations! You have the brand that is most in demand and fetches the highest prices. You sell out early in the morning, when only the most competitive shoppers are out evaluating the available brands.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

 

 

 

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The unemployment rate hovers around 7.6 percent and around 18 percent for the underemployed. Companies and organizations are still in pain but only want to invest in a fresh and proven branded product – employees – with a track record of delivering results.

If you are not in this category you will not be the sought-after solution.

In today’s competitive world, you’re either a distinct and competitive “brand” or an extinct generic. In order to survive, prosper and achieve success you must become a distinct and competitive personal brand. Only then will people be willing to invest the time and money to recruit, hire, promote, train and pay you in a high-skill, high-wage job.

There are great opportunities for unemployed and underemployed individuals to improve their personal, professional and economic situation by mastering the formula 4Ps + 3Ws + 1FP and standing out.

Click here to read the full article.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

text

If you can’t say it succinctly, you can’t say it at all.  We are all busy and on microwave time.  We want answers quickly and without a lot of unnecessary fillers.  It’s important that you condition your thought process to formulate pithy and powerful answers – especially when it comes to trying to convince someone to hire or promote you.  With these words of wisdom and all you have learned as a child and as adult, write yourself a text message that sums up your answer to the following question- Why would anyone want to hire or invest in my personal brand?  Write it like you would an actual text message—something you can read in 20 seconds or less. Poor spelling and smiley faces are strictly optional!

____________________________________

____________________________________

____________________________________

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For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

hop

  • Job-hopping is the practice of constantly switching jobs or even careers, usually with the primary motivation of making more money.
  • Usually, you will not job-hop into something that is along a very clearly defined path and that aligns with your aspirations and personal brand. In this way, job-hopping is the antithesis of Fresh PASSION.

  • I don’t think you should stick around in an environment that is stifling or wrong for you, but you should make sure you are jumping into something new that will truly benefit you and help you grow your personal brand.

  • How can you make sure you are making a move that is in line with your aspirations and personal brand?

    • Try not to make any rash decisions, and don’t jump at this first opportunity that comes along.

    • Trust your gut; it will tell you whether the job is really in line with your aspirations or is just a quick fix to get out of the bad situation you find yourself in.

    • Look for other opportunities within your current organization; there may be positions available that are a better fit for you and your goals.

    • Think long-term; waiting until the right job comes along, even though it will be difficult, will serve you better than having a résumé sprinkled with one poor match after the other.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

We have all been weathering an “economic tsunami” for the past several years, and although it appears the worst part of the storm is behind us, the seas have hardly calmed. The unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent for unemployment and around 18 percent for underemployed. Companies and organizations are still in pain (they want to deliver exponential growth to the top and bottom line), but they are only willing to invest in a fresh and proven branded product (YOU) with a track record of delivering results – if you are not in this category, you will not be the sought-after solution provider.

According to management expert and author Michael D. Brown, in today’s competitive, roller coaster world, you’re either a distinct and competitive brand or an extinct generic. In order to survive, prosper and achieve great success, you must become a distinct and competitive personal brand (yes, you need to become a personal brand). It is when you develop this brand that you will be able to deliver the experience that people are willing to invest the time and money it takes to recruit, hire, promote, train, and pay an employee in a high-skill, high-wage job.

There are still great opportunities for unemployed and underemployed individuals to improve their personal, professional and economic situation by mastering the formula, 4Ps + 3Ws + 1FP, and standing out. According to Brown, failing to master this formula will render you generic and receiving anemic to no attention, opportunities or investment. The proven formula to standing out and being the chosen solution provider is 4Ps + 3Ws + 1FP.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

job

 

  • Last week we discussed meaningful job hunting.
  • This week we will talk about how you can get and nail the interview for your next meaningful job.
  • Especially in a tough job market like we are experiencing now, competition is fierce for every position.
  • In order to get an interview, you have to find a way to separate yourself from your competition.
  • Below are a few tips on differentiating yourself in a crowded field:
    • Be quick: Respond to the job posting as soon as it is posted; to do this you need to be on top of job boards in your field.
    • Be explicit: Tell the potential employer exactly how you meet the criteria for the job.
    • Be brief: Hiring managers will be flooded with responses; keep your initial application short and to the point.
    • Be creative: Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through or to do something very different than a standard cover letter and résumé, as long as it aligns with the industry in which you work (i.e. a video résumé for a job that involves presenting, or marketing collateral about yourself for a marketing position).
    • Be persistent: Follow up early and regularly, but not in an annoying way; you want to keep your name in the hiring manager’s mind and make it clear that you are interested.
  • Once you get the interview, you need to make sure you do well in it.
    • Be prepared: Do your homework about the company and the position; know as much as you can before you walk in and be ready to talk about it.
    • Be inquisitive: Prepare meaningful questions in advance and aske them in the interview. It goes without saying that you should not ask about money right away; save that for follow-up interviews.
    • Be direct: Tell them why you are a strong candidate for the job by linking your skills and experience to the skills and experience they are looking for.
    • Be confident: Give firm handshakes, make eye contact, speak with authority; you are selling yourself here, so you have to believe in yourself.
    • Be appreciative: Thank them for the opportunity and follow up with a handwritten thank-you card.
  • Any tips for readers on getting or nailing a job interview? Share your ideas in the comments section.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.