Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The art of getting good service

When was the last time you walked into a department store and stood at the counter waiting to be waited on? Two sales associates were in clear view, chatting away about their personal lives. Trying to be patient you stood quietly waiting for them to notice you and offer you a helping hand. After a while, you started to think, “Do they see me, or are they still on break?”  “What’s going on there?”  Later, you get annoyed in this situation; will you start off on the right foot with the person who is serving you?

It depends! How you initially approach service providers influences the entire interaction as its outcome. Don’t let your time pressures or frustrations run away with you. You want to give the message to the service people that you view them as allies rather than obstacles. Even if you greet the sales person and ask for help, there may be times when the people are simply having a bad day, or it might be more complex, so if you stand in their shoes your interaction will be more effective.

One of the biggest mistakes customers make is expecting the service provider to be a mind reader. Making clear requests saves you time and lessens the service person’s frustration so ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT and be specific with details if applicable. If you need help in solving a problem, utilize the resources of service person by asking:
  • “What do you recommend?”
  • “Do you have any suggestions?”
  • “What would you do if you were in my situation?”
  • “What’s a good next step?”

On those occasions when you are dealing with someone who is obviously in a bad mood, try defusing the situation by recognizing her feelings and saying:
  •  “You seem like you’re having a bad day today.”
  •  “This situation must be tough for you.”
  •  “You’re doing a great job; I know this is a difficult situation.”

There are some major don’t that you should never do if you want to get great service:
  • Don’t threat to sue as a tactic.
  • Don’t yell, scream, or shout.
  • Don’t use foul language.
  • Don’t threaten physical harm.
  • Don’t claim you know the owner of the company (when you don’t) and say you will be speaking to him or her about this incident.

Certain situations provide more fertile ground for conflict than others for example in restaurants. Since 90’s, everyone seems to be on a diet or food program. Phrases that we rarely used a few years ago now dominate our daily conversations. Some of our personal favorites include:-
  • No butter or oil.
  • On the side.
  • Steamed not fried.

In these situations, where you need to make a change, the best way to approach your wait person is by stating pleasantly:-
  • “Excuse me, but right now I am not eating any butter. Could you please ask the chef not to put it on the vegetables?”

This statement is clear but no demanding way to enlist the support of the waiter. Definitely don’t state your preferences as a demand by saying:
  •  “I don’t eat butter! Tell the chef to leave it of the vegetables!”

When you are in a spot of making a complaint, you may have an overwhelming urge to speak. Don’t. Learning to live with silence will pay off. The person serving you whether it is hotel, airport, or retail store will feel more compelled to respond if you are patient and not in bad mood. This is the point when he is more likely to offer a suggestion, alternative, or run screaming in horror looking for his manager. If he does the later, you need to move your complaint up the ladder.

If you have gone as far as you go with the person helping you, ask for a supervisor or a manager. Don’t put the person on the defensive by saying:-
  •   “You are obviously not the right person to take care of this situation let me speak to someone higher up!”

A better approach will be to say:-
  •  “I appreciate everything you have done, but I want to speak with a supervisor so that I can move this situation forward.”

Be prepared. If the person you are dealing with has a bad attitude, the supervisor, or manager may be the same because the manager sets the departmental tone. Just be sure to express yourself in style, or as one of my friends says: “Standup for yourself in an elegant way.”

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Be a company that people want to work for

Does your company’s culture look more like a “culture of commitment” or more likely a toxic or abusive culture that is indifferent to employee burnout and turnover? Use this following checklist to help you answer this question:-

  • A Culture of Commitment
  • Views employees as partners.
  • Recognizes the human needs of all employees.
  • Invests in people as primary source of competitive advantage.
  • Commits to long-term strategy and carry the people needed to carry it out.
  • Reward system and management styles support the mission and strategy.
  • Focuses on “managing the performance contract”, not in controlling the people.
  • Puts a premium on employee involvement in new ideas and innovation.
  • Focuses on results, not on who gets credit.
  • Trust employees enough to delegate.
  • Tolerate “intelligent error: and experimentation.

Which results in:-

High-performing, confident, innovative, committed work-force.
Achievement of company mission and lasting competitive advantage.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Customer Delight: Waves of Change

No Strategy is borne or executed in a vacuum, and the customer delight principle is no less subject to the environment in which it is implemented. Today’s market is far different from any of the past. It poses problems of seemingly insurmountable difficulty. In these challenging times, the attention of several writers has focused on what is being labeled “the new economy” and how it seems to be changing the rules of productivity, growth, and profitability how it is changing the very ways we conduct business. The expanding economy places a premium on retaining both high-valued customers and dedicated employees were underappreciated and often “downsized” out of their jobs. Businesses must adapt to their rapidly evolving market. The marketing department is one of the primary corporate departments that can help effect this change, and it’s capabilities to assist evolution. In general business must become three things:

1.       More” Outside-focused,” because that is where revenues come from.
2.       More long-term-oriented, because long-term customer relationships are the key to revenues.
3.       More focused on service excellence because delighting customer is the key to long-term success.

Customer delight being outside focused is very easy to spot. The focus on the customer, delighting him or her and in so doing building long-term relationships, long-term success can be easily achieved. These three things can be practiced in any business enterprise, though the outlook tends to be more prevalent in the service sector or where the servicing component can be made an important point of differentiations. Too many companies long for relationships with their customers. The truth of the matter is, it’s a one sided longing. While some do, most customers don’t long to establish a relationship with a company. The truth of the relationship goal is the marketer’s perspective that with a relationship, customers will be less likely to leave. This means that the underlying strategy is retention; establishing to help accomplish that goal.

As a long-term view of customer relationship is adopted, loyalty becomes a desire for both the company and the customers. To earn loyalty, the company has to be willing to evince long-term commitment toward its most valuable employees. Companies need to treat their employees better in order to retain them longer and to encourage them to give better service that customers are seeking. Many business organizations have begun to recognize the need of customer delight and excellence. “Your satisfaction is guaranteed.” This statement is self-evident. Dissatisfied customers are bad for business. They don’t come back and all too often, they tell their friends why. If dissatisfied customers are bad for business, then satisfied customers are good for business. Nothing is more important than satisfying the customer. Everybody talks about customer satisfaction but few companies measure it and even fewer implement it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why Good performers leave?

If you recruit, hire, train and manage people, you are engaged in fighting the war of talent every day. You are tired- tired of resignations on short notice, tired of new hires leaving after only a few days on the job, tired of spending so much of your time and money on recruitment and on getting new hires up to speed, tired of the disruptions in customer service created when a key person quits, tired of asking your other workers to pick up the slack, and tire of the way it feels to be “fired” by one of your employees. Think for a moment about the jobs you’ve held and why you left them. Also consider any good performer who has left your current or previous employers. In how many of these situations did the reason for leaving originate from dissatisfaction with the job or work environment?

In exit interviews, departing employees most often say they left for “a better opportunity” which is usually taken to mean “more money”. Actually, it often does mean they received a salary offer greater than what they were previously making, but there are usually deeper motivations involved. Many top performers get calls from recruiters enticing them to pursue more lucrative positions with other companies. Yet they often decline to pursue these opportunities. Why? Because they are satisfied where they are. The top performers who do pursue these invitations are usually dissatisfied in one or more key areas- growth prospects, lack of challenge or a poor relationship with the boss. We refer these as “push-factors” because they push the employee in the direction of leaving the company.

One of the key “push-factors” is the employee’s inability to see any link between performance and pay. It is demotivating to most top performers when they work harder and smarter and get better results than their peers, yet receive the same percentage pay increase, bonus or promotion. If an employee perceives no growth or advancement opportunities, even when they exist, then for all practical purposes, they do not exist. In a common scenario, an employee announces his resignation to his manager, who responds, “I’m surprised and disappointed, I had plans for you.” This often happens because neither the manager nor the employee has taken time to schedule a meeting where career options and opportunities can be discussed.

All workers need to believe that their work is centrally important to the success of the enterprise, whether the job is restaurant server, housekeep, data processor, factory worker or bank teller. This means that the employee’s manager needs to convey with strong belief, exactly how the worker’s job is central to the company’s mission. Manager must be willing to back up his statement of belief by offering viable rewards of some kind based on the employees’ actual performance. Sometimes, when employees resign, they have the reason of not being able to tolerate abusive manager. Waves of downsizings and proliferation of toxic and abusive companies have killed loyalty. It’s no wonder that younger workers than ever aspire to the dream of self-employment rather than their parents dream of working for a large corporation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

For Managers: 12 easy ways you can give and get back every day

You are a manager having hard-time in managing your employees performance? Do you find that your employees are not satisfied with your management style? Need solution! Here are twelve simple tips that you can use to get better performance from their employees:
  • Smile, make eye contact, and say “good-morning” to every person you supervise. Continue to acknowledge each person throughout the day.
  • Stop every now and then to ask them sincerely, “How are you doing?”
  • When they speak, really listen, and don’t interrupt.
  • Ask, don’t tell; say please and thank you (just like your mother taught you)
  • Be generous with praise at every opportunity.
  • Correct people only in private not in front of the co-workers.
  • Respect, even celebrate, those on your team who are different; they bring a diversity of perspective, background, and strength that all teams need.
  • When you say you will do something, do it. Honor your commitments to your staff.
  • Give honest and constructive feedback and tell the truth about what’s happening in the organization.
  • Trust people to do the job well without your constant monitoring.
  • When one of your staff members faces a personal crisis, serious illness, or emergency so everything in your power to help the person through it.
  • Act as if you are there to serve your employees not the other way around.