Tag Archives: technology

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benchmarking strategy

Benchmarking Strategy And The Edge Of Technology

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Things around us seem to be moving quite fast. Rapid change somehow has become the norm, at least for many. What is your benchmarking strategy? Are you working off the latest or processing on dated belief?

Experience as a Tool

Experience is a wonderful tool. While it may seem odd to label experience a tool, it is something we use to constructively solve problems. Are you drawing upon your past experiences to create a path for the future?

If yes, good, because it certainly can be constructive. At the same time though, individual experience can sometimes be a roadblock.

We have several ways to create metrics or measurements for project evaluation or future strategy. We can measure against past performance (our data), we can measure against benchmark data (public information), or we can measure against management expectations.

What are you measuring against? None of these, one of these, or maybe a combination?

Compared to History

Things are changing rapidly. Our technology and information are a driver for rapid change. In the past 125 or 150 years we have seen an incredible pace of change.

The best way to go to the market to buy or sell products 150 years ago was likely a horse and wagon.

Today going to the market is accessible for buying and selling from a small device held in your hand. Technology which has developed and accelerated in just the past twenty years, some would suggest in the past ten.

An ever present dynamic to all of this is the access to technology. In some cases, it is a willingness to access it.

Benchmarking Strategy

New benchmarks will be set today. Tomorrow more new benchmarks. The day after, the same. We can find many of them on the internet.

Your work group, department, and leadership team will choose whether to access the latest benchmark data or not. What is the benchmarking strategy you are using?

When you strong arm strategy from your personal experiences, you tend to create a future based on the past.

Get out and see what is happening on the edge.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customer service voice

What Is Your Customer Service Voice?

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Most of us have one, a voice that offers our opinions, expresses our values, and sets our desired expectations. Your voice may be more impactful than you realize. What is your customer service voice?

Internal and External

Keep in mind that customer service is both an internal and external part of your organizational culture. What is said, discussed, and believed is a big part of what sets expectations and creates outcomes.

Ship it anyway, the customer won’t notice.

I can’t find their telephone number on their website.

They completely rearranged the supermarket again, now I can’t find anything.

Your voice may be more powerful than you realize. What people say, even to themselves sets the expectations for future outcomes.

Power of Voice

When we believe the customer won’t notice, we’ll allow our work to have less quality. Believing that they won’t notice also signals that they don’t care. The belief becomes that they will continue to buy out of need, buy based only on price, or buy because they are sloppy or not frugal.

Certainly, the idea of fewer customer service oriented calls conceptually saves money. It removes the human cost. Similar to the auto attendant signaling us to “press or say one for sales, two for…” so that we are directed to the correct department.

The real problem may be that people are calling only after the website or help chat has left them with unanswered questions or additional frustration. Better yet is the system that demands your customer number, order number, or telephone, only to get a live person and have to repeat it all again.

When technology drives better service, when the investment is expensive enough to make it better, not cheaper, typically service will improve. Unfortunately, many efforts to remove the human factor are an immediate attempt to cut costs, not improve service.

The supermarket may measure profit and margins by what shoppers select and where they can find it. Single piece candy bars aren’t in the back corner of the store, that is where the milk, meat, and seafood is located.

The store may not care about the amount of energy required for your shopping experience, but they certainly want you see all the high margin items you can conveniently buy from them. In contrast, the e-commerce store allows sort, filter, and easy reorder, plus it arrives at your door.

Customer Service Voice

What we say, what we discuss, and most importantly what we tell ourselves and others will condition our expectations. This is our customer service voice.

When we believe that cheap is all that matters, that is probably exactly what we’ll get.

Perhaps our customer service voice should change. It may require more talk about what we buy being connected with what it is worth, not just connected with what it costs.

These are the businesses that are focused on doing what matters, not what is cheap.

They are out there. Their employees and customers both have the same voice.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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future customer service expectations

Exceed Future Customer Service Expectations

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Retail stores (and online) gear up for back to school. They increase hiring and stock more inventory for cyclical or holiday seasons. They expect more to happen, more sales, more customers, and more revenue. It may represent future customer service expectations.

Most of us try to prepare. We prepare for the surge. Rush hour traffic, the dinner hour at our favorite restaurant, and even the best timing for the grocery store.

Customers and businesses alike prepare. They prepare for the most, more, and when they expect many. Are you prepared for the future expectations of your customers? What experience are they anticipating? What is your perception?

Technology and Speed

Technology is pushing everything to be faster. A telephone call or message once had to wait until we got to the next destination. Conversations or updates waited until after school, after work, until the evening or perhaps even waited until the upcoming weekend.

Many people carry a portable computer in the form of a smart phone in their pocket or purse. They get anxious when it isn’t working fast enough or the service is questionable.

When we have a question we don’t have to wait until the store opens tomorrow or the expert calls us back when he or she can fit us in. We don’t need a paper (hardcopy) dictionary, a thesaurus, or encyclopedia.

We don’t need our friend the professional mechanic to show us how to change our oil or fix the kitchen sink. All that we need is our phone, appropriate service and the understanding of how to seek a digital answer. Or is there something more?

Things aren’t just changing, they have changed. Expectations are increasing faster and many businesses can’t keep up.

Old School and Experts

Of course, there is always the desire for what once was such as the camping trip, the no phone zone, and an opportunity to unwind.

If you can raise the effort for back to school, the holiday season, and to achieve the best timing, do you really understand the future expectations of your customer? If the answers are only a smartphone away how does the expert become valued?

Future Customer Service Expectations

Expectations are created and opportunities exist in your future and for the future of your business.

Expectations create perception and perception is reality. With a little effort, you might be able to predict the future more than what you realize.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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next big thing

Waiting For The Next Big Thing?

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When you are living in the present, it is hard to imagine the next big thing. Some people might think about holding on to the lifestyle, traditions, and comfort of the past. Others are invested in the present, a good thing, but do you ever find yourself thinking about what is next? Are you waiting for it?

Historic Perspective

In the mid to late 1800’s they probably didn’t imagine the impact of what we know as the automobile, the superhighways, and how it all impacts the economy. Not so long ago we probably couldn’t have imagined the impact of the personal computer and even more recently the Smart Phone.

It might have been hard to imagine the concept of a 1980’s era shopping mall in 1920. Yet today after enormous popularity, their future might be changing. At least, the future as we once thought it would be.

Workforce Generations

Today, I often talk with people about the workforce generations. I present about generational differences at conferences, and even help businesses and organizations develop a deeper understanding of how to have this work for you instead of against you.

As people we are often holding on to what works, what is comfortable, and what feels smart. We focus on efficiency, doing the right things, and at the deepest level, survival.

In this regard we’re not so much different from a century or two ago, yet much has changed.

Next Big Thing

Futurists want to predict, discover, and connect with the next big thing. The biggest problem is knowing what the next big thing will be.

It might be hard to believe that not so long ago there was a common belief that the internet might be a fad, that social media was only for geeks, and that shopping on-line was cumbersome, a waste of time, and shipping charges made it too expensive.

There will always be some next big thing. Until that time it might be best to focus what is working today, all the while understanding that it has changed from yesterday and that it might be different tomorrow.

One thing that history shows us is that there was not really much success in waiting.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Crowd Appeal

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Sometimes it seems like everything in life or business is a paradox. What seems to be real, logical, or a truism, somehow can be twisted or manipulated into something completely different. We see a lot of paradoxical thinking in advertising or marketing. There are metaphors, analogies, and symbols that are somehow targeted to make us think differently.

CrowdByJamesCridland

The idea is, being different makes you remember. The belief is, it builds the brand or gets the sale.

What is so alarming about this line of thinking is that while the strategy is to appeal to the crowd, our best work, the work that is the most innovative and creative will have to be different. Then what starts out as being different, circles back to become appealing to the crowd – a paradox. But this only happens when the crowd is ready, or when the something different is compelling enough to move them.

This is true for movies, books, job seekers, promotion seekers, your business, your car, your house, and your technology choices. Most people and businesses are working towards crowd appeal, but yet they all believe they are offering something different.

You or your business can choose. If you want the job, the sale, or to build the brand, you can appeal to the crowd, or you can offer something different, an option, but you’ll likely never do both at the same time. 

– DEG

Photo Credit: James Cridland


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