Tag Archive: human resources


Fire in Sells

Businesses today are more than just sales and profits. They are about building strong relationships with your customers and putting in every effort to retain them. In today’s world, customer service has to be pitch-perfect if the goal is to establish strong relationships with customers. Developing a strong customers service team, you need to be efficient and better than your competition. If customer feedback is an up and down road for your company, this may be an indicator that your customer service needs a tweak or major overhaul.

    1. Customer calls

Just because a customer calls with a concern doesn’t mean you are providing bad customer service. In fact, customers who call are doing so because they trust your customer service can help. However, if your customer service is poor when a customer calls, or your company does not respond to fix the problem you may find yourself in catch-up mode to provide a good customer experience.

    1. Discounts and promotional offers aren’t bringing in more sales

If your promotional sales and discounts go unnoticed or unused, it’s a red flag that there may be something wrong with your product. Such disengagement from your customers toward your product or service must be resolved if you wish to retain your existing clientele.

    1. You have a difficult time retaining customers

Losing a loyal customer is more than just losing sales. It’s about losing someone who initially trusted and chose you to facilitate them. A loyal customer is one who was confident in providing quality feedback. If you fail to retain loyal customers, you are losing more than you think.

    1. Your employees aren’t trained for the job

If your first-contact staff isn’t well trained or empowered to handle basic concerns, your customer service may have problematic holes. Customers don’t enjoy explaining their concern to multiple customer service employees. Unless you wish to hand your customers to your competitors, take the time to train your employees.

    1. You hardly get any referrals

A wise man once said, “Satisfied customers buy from you, but delighted customers sell for you.” If your existing customers aren’t satisfied with your services, they will not only stop buying from you but also stop others from doing so. Customer referral is a sole indicator which clearly depicts where a business stands regarding customer satisfaction.

    1. Your ignorance isn’t bliss

Another sign that your customer service is in need of help is when you are ignoring what the customers want and instead pressuring them to try more services and products. Not only does this agitate your customer, but it also mentally prepares him never to reach out to you again. If someone is in need, give them what they want even if it is a refund or cancellation.

6.5 There aren’t enough complaints against you

At first glance, it may seem like a good sign that your phone isn’t always buzzing with complaints – suggesting your product or services satisfy your customers. But that is not always the case. While many customers do complain, many more don’t, resulting in customers walking away without you realizing there is a problem. Validating customer experiences through follow-up calls and feedback requests are a great way to stay on top of underlying issues customers aren’t reporting.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com

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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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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!

 

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The perils of the disengaged employee are well-documented. Disengaged employees are employees who show up for work every day, but don’t feel connected to their jobs, companies, bosses or coworkers. Their performance is mediocre and behind schedule, and they often bring down other employees around them with their poor morale and generally disgruntled attitude. Most business experts agree a disgruntled employee is a much greater threat to your organization than one who quits.

However, while a good deal of attention has been paid to who disgruntled employees are and how they threaten your organization, there has been far less light shed on why employees become disgruntled in the first place. Following are 6.5 reasons employees become disengaged, with a fresh idea on how to counteract and prevent each reason from occurring.

  1. Employers don’t engage. This reason is so obvious it almost seems not worth mentioning, but it’s listed first on purpose. Many employers never engage their employees on any real, human level. They simply assign work, hand out paychecks, and leave workers feeling very much like small cogs in a large machine. Any type of human engagement, even something as small as a suggestion box, monthly birthday celebration or words of encouragement from a boss, can go a long way toward making employees feel engaged with their work.
  2. Employers don’t listen. Many organizations operate in a “top-down,” hierarchical format where senior managers give directions to middle managers, who pass them along to employees. Obviously most companies cannot function as direct democracies where everyone gets an equal say, but too rigid a hierarchy creates feelings of resentment and powerlessness among the “rank and file.” Unchecked, these feelings lead to disengagement.

 

Discretion is the better part of listening. Any time a new process or responsibility is implemented, give the employees carrying it out a chance to give positive and negative feedback, and listen to both. The people who actually carry out orders have insight those giving orders will never possess.

 

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Yes, the three second rule applies to you

How Healthy Is Your Vigor?

To stay fully invigorated at all times, you must constantly check up on yourself to make sure you are truly operating at peak levels of energy and enthusiasm. Following is a test to help determine whether your level of vigor is healthy, merely adequate or in need of a refill. Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today from 1-5, with 1 equaling strongly disagree and 5 equaling strongly agree:

 

1. I clearly understand what the professional standards are for my industry, company, business and organization.

2. My three-second impression is in alignment with how I want to be viewed.

3. My energy level and enthusiasm is high.

4. I am generally an invigorated person.

5. I know what makes me happy.

6. I frequently inject something fun into my day, week, month, and year.

6.5. I know how others view me within the first three seconds.

 

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

If you scored from 7 to 13, your vigor is anemic. You lack enthusiasm for building your brand or reaching your aspirations. Since achieving any type of success requires vigor, you probably frequently experience failure, which saps your energy even further, creating a vicious downward cycle. Break the cycle today! Go back and read this article again, and start implementing its advice. You won’t completely change overnight, but if you apply genuine passion and determination toward building your brand and realizing your aspirations, you will be surprised by how fast you start to see incremental improvements.

If you scored from 14 to 20, your vigor is low. As opposed to someone who is truly apathetic, you at least have goals for your brand and your aspirations in mind, but lack the vigor to pursue them in any real way. Your mindset may be a little healthier than that of your apathetic colleagues, but your results will not likely be much better. You should also give this article a second look and try to make some positive changes based on what you read.

If you scored from 21 to 26, your vigor is adequate. Beyond merely holding goals, you possess some genuine energy and gumption to meet them. But your commitment to achieving true success is still suspect. You are probably willing to take shortcuts and accept results that are “pretty good” or “not perfect but close.” You have what it takes to meet a portion of your personal and professional potential, but you’re leaving a lot of achievable success on the table.

If you scored from 27 to 33, your vigor is strong. You have a great deal of energy to dedicate to building your brand and realizing your aspirations, and also a lot of genuine passion to follow all the necessary steps and hold out for full results. But true success is still a long way off, and there are many chances to stumble and fall before you obtain it.

If you scored a 34 or 35, your vigor is all-encompassing. Every ounce of physical and mental energy at your disposal is committed to building your brand and achieving your aspirations, and you have enough energy to power a small city. You match that energy with boundless passion that allows you to focus with laser intensity on everything you need to do to maximize your full potential. Everyone around you senses your vigor, and it is contagious.

 

 

excellentcustomerservice

 

“Make the customer number one.” Customer service experts have been chanting variations of this mantra since one caveman paid another caveman three clamshells for the skin of a sabertooth tiger. Okay, as far as we know cavemen didn’t chant mantras, but you get my point. The vast majority of customer service strategies use the idea of making your customer your top priority as their cornerstone.

Since most customer service strategies are partially or wholly based on making the customer number one, then obviously customer service levels must be at an all-time high, right? Everywhere you go, people are raving about how great their daily customer service experiences are, and customer satisfaction polls back this affirmation up with hard data.

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing before I continue. Hopefully you didn’t snort any of your morning coffee out your nose. We all realize that in far too many cases, the one word that best sums up the state of customer service today is “disaster.” Lines are long, information is scarce, products are out of place or out of stock, and no two employees have the same answer to the same question. If today’s public-serving organizations really are making the customer number one, they have a funny way of demonstrating it.

Ironically, customer service levels are declining as competition for customer loyalty is increasing. In this age of chain expansion, a customer can find your services duplicated or your products cheaper on the next block. The one way you can differentiate yourself in a sea of similar competition is by offering a world-class customer service experience. This will never happen if you use the same stale, outdated, failed approach to customer service that you and your competitors have always used before. Namely, the “making the customer number one” approach.

The business world needs a makeover. A new perspective. A fresh approach that I like to call “Fresh Customer Service.” Fresh Customer Service demystifies the process of attracting loyal, happy customers who return again and again and recommend your business to their friends and families. This type of customer reaction, what some may consider as a minor detail, can actually tip the scales and prove the difference between a prosperous organization and a bankrupt organization. So what’s the secret? The Frontline Employee.

This idea is the key to unlocking sustained long-term success in whatever area of service or production your organization offers. Throughout your organization’s entire process of selling, serving, marketing, cleaning — you name it — the only way you can hope to deliver a world-class customer service experience is by listening to, equipping, empowering, involving, and valuing the feedback and expertise your Frontline Employees can offer.

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.

You likely recently heard the horrific story of a nurse who was “following company policy” to not offer medical attention to a dying women at a California retirement home.  Policy it might be – but certainly worth a swift and through review by Glenwood Gardens and should serve as a wake up call for the industry. We need sensible policies in place that protects the health and welfare of the patients and prevents them from dying. We also need to empower and equip our frontline (nurses, janitors, aides, etc.) with the processes and procedures to deliver a world-class patient experience. I am sure we will discover that not been able to deliver CPR is the tip of the nightmare – as the frontline hands are likely tied and are prevented from delivering in other areas that could benefit the patient.

Fresh Customer Service’ Offers Healthcare Global Readers With 6.5 Fresh Steps that Will Deliver A World-Class Patient Experience.

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Fresh Step 1: Side-by-Side Walking

This involves walking a mile in the shoes of employees to understand what they do, how they do it, and how they experience their jobs. Side-by-Side Walking will help give you a real-world understanding of the environment your frontline employees operate in, and separate perceptions from actual activities and true problems. Side-by-Side Walking is the foundation for understanding where your organization is at the moment, the gaps that exist, what is working and what needs improvement.

Best of all, Side-by-Side Walking only requires you, the corporate manager or executive, to take one day of your schedule and devote it to going through all the activities your frontline employees go through, from pre-shift preparation to post-shift cleanup and closeout. Far more than a site visit, it’s a true immersion into your frontline employees’ daily lives and routines.

Fresh Step 2: Smart Tasking

This clearly defines the critical tasks and processes that support the customer service offering and the deadlines by which they must be completed. The most important factor is completing the necessary tasks and processes without impeding the delivery of a world-class customer service experience to the patient. Smart Tasking creates a harmonized balance between completing the tasks/processes and delivering a world-class patient experience.

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.

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You have probably heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” more times than you can count. Apples are natural, healthy, and best of all, cheap. If you aren’t eating an apple a day to maintain your health, presumably the cost isn’t what’s keeping you from doing so.

For the same amount of money that you would invest in that daily apple to ensure your physical health, you can also fund a strategy that will ensure the health of your frontline customer service operation. I call this strategy “Fresh Customer Service.”

Fresh Customer Service demystifies the process of attracting loyal, happy customers who return again and again and recommend your business to their friends and families. This type of customer reaction, what some may consider as a minor detail, can actually tip the scales and prove the difference between a prosperous organization and a bankrupt organization. So what’s the secret? The Frontline Employee.

Throughout your organization’s entire process of selling, serving, marketing, cleaning—you name it—the only way you can hope to deliver a World-Class customer service experience is by listening to, equipping, empowering, involving, and valuing the feedback and expertise your Frontline Employees can offer.

How exactly do you implement and execute Fresh Customer Service? I have broken down the process into the following 6.5 simple and cost-effective steps.

The First Steps: Fresh Understanding

Fresh Step 1, Side-by-Side Walking, involves walking a mile in the shoes of employees to understand what they do, how they do it, and how they experience their jobs. Side-By-Side Walking will help give you a real-world understanding of the environment your Frontline Employees operate in, and separate perceptions from actual activities and true problems. Side-By-Side Walking is the foundation for understanding where your organization is at the moment, the gaps that exist, what is working and what needs improvement.

Best of all, Side-by-Side Walking only requires you, the corporate manager or executive, to take one day of your schedule and devote it to going through all the activities your Frontline Employees go through, from pre-shift preparation to post-shift cleanup and closeout. Far more than a site visit, it’s a true immersion into your Frontline Employees’ daily lives and routines. As far as the cost is concerned, how much gas will you use traveling to your nearest frontline unit?

Fresh Step 2, Smart Tasking, clearly defines the critical tasks/processes that support the customer service offering and the deadlines by which they must be completed. The most important factor is completing the necessary tasks/processes without impeding the delivery of a World-Class customer service experience to the customer. Smart Tasking creates a harmonized balance between completing the tasks/processes and delivering a World-Class customer service experience.

To effect Smart Tasking in your organization, simply keep a careful eye on the frontline tasks your employees perform, the order in which they prioritize them, and periodically review them to ensure that they are appropriate and add value to the customer experience. Actively involve the Frontline Employees in Smart Tasking and encourage them to speak up when they find themselves performing tasks that are inefficient, ineffective, or just plain unnecessary.

What is the cost of having both on-site frontline managers and off-site corporate managers take the time to carefully monitor frontline tasks and priorities, while providing Frontline Employees an active voice in determining how to set their priorities? Virtually none. Whatever time you may “lose” in careful observation and review will more than pay for itself in higher levels of employee efficiency, customer satisfaction, and corporate profits.

The Middle Steps: Fresh Empowerment

Fresh Step 3, Make-It-Right Power, instills both the responsibility and the authority to resolve customer complaints and issues in the Frontline Employees who are most able to satisfy the customer at any point in time.

Make-It-Right Power puts the ability to deliver a World-Class customer service experience in the hands of the people who are best able to deliver it: The employees who interact with the customers. It’s about empowering and positioning employees to be able to instantly solve customer problems and view them as opportunities to Make-It-Right now for the customer.

Make-It-Right Power delivers both the responsibility and the prescribed authority to the employees to transform a customer’s bad experience into a positive one, or in the best case scenario, one that can proactively hedge off the situation as a result of prescribed Make-It-Right Power before it even festers into a bad experience.

The costs of giving your Frontline Employees Make-It-Right Power are also low. For example, you may want to authorize employees to offer refunds or coupons good for future purchases, with higher-level employees enabled to authorize larger amounts of money or credit. Whatever the upfront costs of giving a few dollars back to a customer who had a negative experience, they will pay for themselves down the road when that satisfied customer keeps coming back and making full-fledged purchases!

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.