Tag Archives: experience

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Planning tomorrow

Planning Tomorrow, and Every Day After

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Does your day start with a plan? Will what you do today include planning tomorrow?

You can plan for tomorrow or you can make part of your daily routine planning tomorrow.

Perhaps there is a difference.

Jobs and Careers

When someone starts a new job, begins a career, or finishes their primary education, they may need some tools.

One person may need a laptop, another a tool chest with relevant hand tools, and still others will need a uniform, appropriate footwear, and some personal protective equipment.

Having the tools is part of what is needed to operate within that system. It doesn’t mean the system will work or will last. It means at some level you are prepared.

Another level of preparedness is knowing how to actually use all of the tools.

Having a laptop doesn’t mean you can create elaborate formula’s using Microsoft Excel. It doesn’t mean you can update or create a website. Simply, you have one of the tools of the trade.

What is next for your life or career? Do you have a plan?

Tools, Trades, and Professional Careers

Many people move about their career carrying a tool chest.

They have some education and they have experience. Those credentials don’t always intersect. A degree in accounting may not matter much if your daily job is creative advertising.

The average job doesn’t have a very long shelf life. The average career is longer, yet still not always permanent.

If you feel uncertain about this, ask a typesetter, switchboard operator, or your local video store owner.

Why do so many people view it as they are all set, they’re completely prepared, now where is the work?

Planning Tomorrow

Planning tomorrow means that you’ll have the tools and the work. You’ll have accountability and reasonable expectations for your future.

It’s hard to know for certain.

Consider what you do know.

Tomorrow will be different from today.

Plan appropriately.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


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local experience

Local Experience, Does It Really Matter?

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Is the best talent in your backyard, or must it come from somewhere outside of the normal reach? Does local experience matter?

In Pennsylvania, people believe they know their beer and potato chips. Popular beers come from Yuengling or Straub. Potato chips are often Middleswarth or Utz.

When you travel to Colorado or California, they’ll tell you about different beer and potato chips.

Who has the best?

It depends on who you ask.

Available Everywhere

In the 1970’s and 1980’s mail order companies started to thrive. The U.S. infrastructure supported reaching beyond local borders. A growing and thriving trucking industry and 800 numbers made a difference.

By the late 1990’s and into the early 2000’s a shift was happening. It was the infrastructure that supported the widespread use of the internet.

Our borders from county to county and state to state seemed smaller and less significant. Highways improved, automobiles got better, and more products began to fall into the category of a commodity.

What’s next?

When it comes to talent and business opportunity what’s next may be closer than it has been in 50 years.

Local Experience

What is happening in 2020 is a shift. A pivot to something different. It is not defined yet but people will shape the shift.

It will come down to who is right. Defined by people.

In Pennsylvania people are right. In Colorado or California, they’re right. The same goes for Texas, Alabama, or South Dakota. People are right.

How will things change for your workforce and talent acquisition? If you are in Mount Vernon, South Dakota how is that different from New Berlin, New York? What about San Diego, California or Boston, Massachusetts, are there differences?

If you are a job seeker, where will you look?

It seems plausible that people will do what they believe is right. Now more than ever.

Local maybe the biggest comeback of this century.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


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sacrificing experience

Sacrificing Experience for Checking the Informed Box

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There is information everywhere. Every place we step, turn, or take a rest. Information is plentiful and knowledge is abundant. Are you sacrificing experience for information?

In workforce development circles the chatter is often about experiential learning. On the surface many believe this means hands-on learning.

Experiential or Hands On?

Hands-on learning is can be experiential and it is important for the carpenter, the mechanic, and the electrician.

Are there other forms of hands-on learning?

Hands-on doesn’t always guarantee it is experiential. Experiential learning is about the act of doing something and then being able to reflect about it.

In seminars, it is the debrief following the subgroup exercise. The case study with a question and answer component, or perhaps even the often-dreaded role-play.

Confused?

Understanding Information and Experience

The confusion exists because of our comprehension of the word experience.

As people we connect experience to motion. Turning the screwdriver, cutting the board to make it fit just right, or setting the torque specs for the cylinder head.

Learning to do it just right comes from experience. Because of the experience we can feel it, and reflect on it.

Today we have more opportunities than ever before to gather information. We’re plastered with information.

New age vehicles deliver more opportunities than ever. We have podcasts, social media posts, and YouTube, just to name a few.

We are exposed to information on a grand scale. Does it make us smarter? Does it improve our experience?

Sacrificing Experience

In a World full of opportunities to gather more information it is important to remember that information on its own does not necessarily improve performance. Our learning and the ability to contribute in the future often develop from experience.

We may be able to recite information but not do the job.

Having the new employee watch several hours of training videos doesn’t necessarily improve their competence. The same is true about the podcast or the technical specifications sheet.

Are you reflecting or just absorbing?

Be careful about confusing knowledge with experience.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. 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.


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customer rules

Customer Rules Should Work, Will They?

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Many businesses adopt customer rules. Sometimes these are designed for safety or other critical concerns. Many times, the customer rules are designed to be convenient for the vendor.

No one needs another customer service horror story, we get plenty of them already. This is the short story to illustrate a point.

Short Story

Recently I had minor surgery on my eye lid. Following the procedure, I was prescribed a prescription drop to use for a few days. The surgery center sent my prescription electronically to a pharmacy about twenty-five miles away.

More than ten minutes later I was released from the center, I had to have a driver, and needed get my drops. Thirty-five to forty minutes later we arrived at the drive through lane at the pharmacy.

The prescription, that only required a label to be placed on the packaging (no pill counting, etc.) was not ready. The employee working the drive through window provided two options, “You can either come inside and wait, or come back later.”

Leaning across the center console of the car I asked, “How long until it is ready?”

The employee said, “If you come inside it will be twenty minutes, if you are coming back through the drive through it will be one hour.”

I laughed, and she walked away from the window.

I’m not released to drive, not really in a great position to enter the store, and my driver has other commitments. All of that aside, who is this customer rule benefiting?

Customer Rules

Businesses do silly things every day. Rules, guidelines, and ways of doing business that are designed to benefit someone, but it is a stretch to see the benefit to the customer.

Customer rules should work, but do they? Unfortunately, many rules actually punish the customer.

What are your rules?

-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 RespectNavigating 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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customer punishment

Customer Punishment and Finding a Better Way

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Customer service and the customer experience, two things that many organizations claim they do right. After all, it is likely an integral part of the mission statement. What about customer punishment, is that on the agenda?

Customer View

Things often appear different when we see them through a different lens. What many organizations do to satisfy metrics are not always so favorable for the customer.

Software has become an interesting game. Once upon a time you bought a software program. Accounting, CRM, or graphic design tools, you bought them like you may buy a hammer at a hardware store.

A hammer, once purchased, is good to use forever, or until you break it or wear it out which the average person will theoretically never do. Your software purchase was once similar, use it for life, or until hardware or operating system improvements made it unworkable.

Today it is different, they want you to lease the software. The price isn’t better, it is usually more, and by the way, you must pay every month or every year. Imagine buying the hammer every month or year.

I know the software companies won’t agree, and claim that is how they stay in business, but is this a favorable customer experience?

Get More, Needed or Not

Cable television is another one in what is becoming a long list of those who knowingly issue customer punishment. You get exactly one hundred and eighty channels, but you watch about five.

How long will the customers tolerate this punishment? Who does this work for, the customer, or the vendor? The vendor may argue the price would be much higher to do it differently, until someone finds a way.

Subscription services or products have an interesting model for profit, are they customer friendly? They probably can be, but are they?

Customer Punishment

What are you doing that punishes the customer? Do you care enough to change the customer experience?

If the box is crushed do you deliver it anyway?

When the wait times are long but customers are willing to wait do you try to fix it?

Do you tell the customer to call back in an hour, or do you call them in fifty-five minutes or less with either a solution or update?

Have you asked yourself, “What is convenient, easy, or cost effective for your organization that is unfriendly to the customer experience?”

What are you doing that benefits your organization because it is tolerated by your customers? Are those things a form of customer punishment?

How long until someone (a competitor) finds a better way?

-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 RespectNavigating 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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customer service plan

Customer Service Plan and Other Aging Items

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Start with a plan. That is what many business experts suggest. We go to a conference room, boardroom, or gather for a campfire style chat around the coffee table. Do you have a customer service plan and is it working?

We already know that the best plans are only the best plans when they are properly executed. Organizations strive for buy-in, engagement, and loyalty. It is true for buying in to the plan. It is true when you sign up as an employee. The plan means there is an expectation.

Aging Items

When I buy a car and it breaks I expect the warranty to cover it, or I know it has aged out of the warranty. At this point, the value has changed. The original capabilities are somewhat less. The tires, wheel bearings, and engine life have eroded, at least a little.

The same may be said about our clothing, a vacuum cleaner, or our home. Across time and through use, they deteriorate little by little, bit by bit, and they are never the same as the first day.

Of course, some things we consider an investment. Paint a room, install new carpet, and get a new roof, perhaps a home now has more value.

One of the biggest challenges for us in the workplace, after the plan has been made, after the buy-in has occurred and employees and systems have launched, will it be an investment or a consumable?

Customer Service Plan

Some of the best customer service plans deteriorate across time. Exceptions become rules, what protects the customer shifts to what protects the organization, and the list of what is in the box declines in value.

That bright shiny plan, it grows dull, declines in value, and needs maintenance or a rebuild.

A customer service plan is about its impact on culture. Across time, culture is about tradition and becomes what is expected.

Your customer service plan should be an investment.

– 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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care more

Care More and You Will Spend Less

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Is customer service at an all-time low? Many people suggest that it might be. Does spending less pay off with more? Do the businesses that care more have the biggest advantage of all?

People are wondering what happened to customer service. The well-known restaurant chain, the shopping mall, and the pharmacy, what happened to the customer experience?

Keep Costs Low

Many businesses connect caring with costs. Perhaps not always consciously, but they still do it.

Why train our youngest workers in customer service, they’ll be gone at the end of the season.

It takes an extra full-time employee to monitor the rest rooms, the landscaping, and the outside trash containers.

Only one checkout line is necessary. Customers can wait when we get busy.

Call us back in a couple of hours, we’ll give you and update.

Sorry, we did nothing. We needed more information before we could process your order.

The customer experience is a simple one. Do more, give more, and care more than what is expected.

Measuring the Experience

Sometimes the trick is analyzing what is expected. Expectations are not driven by the front-line supervisor, the storeowner, or the even the marketing committee. While all three may have a hand in it, ultimately the customer decides.

When the high cost franchise restaurant cannot survive while the mom and pop diner consistently is consistently packed, or when the local shopping mall closes, and when the medical office cannot understand why patients are so angry. Perhaps they need to consider how much they really care.

Better yet, start with caring, it may be too late when everyone has already starting leaving.

Care More

It really isn’t that hard to grasp. If the population of those you serve are citing the chronic problems with customer service, your opportunity is to care more, not less.

The best businesses avoid correlating expenses with the bottom line. They correlate expenses with growth which leads to a better bottom line.

When cutting costs to improve cash flow is the only thing you’ll do to improve your position. Your position will lack service. Your culture will be focused on spend less and earn more, instead of care more and spend less.

The biggest advantage is the one waiting on you to make a difference for human interaction. Dollar for dollar customer onboarding, retention, and lifetime value will be more effective when you care more.

It is the only effective way to get more by spending less.

– 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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offload problems

Do You Offload Problems To Your Customers?

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Have you ever walked the path of least resistance? Do you look for the easy route to build product or provide services? Easy is often viewed as advantageous, in the short run at least. That advantage is less cost, but at what price? What happens when you offload problems?

It seems to be the nature of what many people and businesses do. They offload problems. They look for the short cut and the cost savings. The thought is, we will do this because the customer won’t notice or doesn’t really care. By the way, it saves us money or causes a return visit.

Customer Engagement

Our cars get a check engine light, but we have to purchase a code reader to get the code. Why doesn’t it just tell us the code?

You can put your trash in an outside a can, but you have to bring it to the curb for collection. Later you search for the lid around the neighborhood because it has blown off in the wind.

Why are there no baskets or shopping carts deep inside the store? Who is that easy for, convenient for, or designed to help? Of course, we know the answer.

Standards are Set

There are many other ordinary (for today) life scenarios. Why do I have to change the clock in my car, my cell phone does it automatically? Do I really need a frequent shoppers card, when I always pay with my same credit card?

Why do I have to have a login and provide a password for every software application? Better yet, why has my software migrated to a subscription service? When I buy a hammer I don’t have to keep buying it every month.

Offload Problems

I’ll often ask participants in my customer service seminars, “What are you doing that punishes your customer?” When you answer this question and remove the punishment, you will delight your customers. Delighted customers bring you more customers.

Every time you take a short cut in design, engineering, cost cutting, or easy for you, you sabotage your customer’s experience.

This is exactly why customer service is about a culture, it is not about a department.

– 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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reaction culture

Reaction Culture In a Service Economy

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Have you ever avoided a conversation, speaking up in a meeting, or taking a call from a customer because you’re anticipating a harsh undesirable reaction? Does your workplace have a reaction culture?

Reaction Culture

In the reaction culture, our plan is to wait for something to break. We wait for the compliant, the problem to arise, or the shipment to be unsatisfactory. The assumption often is, no news is good news.

When a problem occurs we send it to the customer service department, or we call one ourselves when we are the victim. We wait for people to look for us, hunt us, and track us down. Everything else, well, it is just good news, not bad.

Our reaction then, is probably to avoid bad news. Avoid the compliant, avoid the problem, and hope that good enough will be exactly that, good enough.

May be that isn’t the right tactic. Reactionary isn’t the right approach for communication, it doesn’t spell leadership, and it certainly is probably not the best resolve for customer interactions.

Proactive Is Lucrative

It seems to me that proactive is much more lucrative. Customer service should be about a proactive culture of service. It is not a department, and it certainly shouldn’t be only about a transaction gone wrong.

What if the metric was tallied differently, what if it was not about problems fixed but more about problems never occurring?

What if the sign on the wall in the plant was a count of how many days without a reported customer problem? Safety matters, but so does the customer, without them there isn’t a plant at all.

Labeled As Good

When we make customer service about a department it places the weight of everything on a reaction and making things just good enough.

It seems to me that there is a difference between good enough and being enough to be labeled good.

Proactive is a better choice, it is much different from the reaction culture.

– 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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changing customer service

Are You Changing Customer Service Practices?

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Change is a vital part of organizational development. Organizations that care about being front-runners always have a laundry list of what they will change. The question often becomes, “Do they?” Are you changing customer service practices?

At least several schools of people exist when it comes to change. There is the group who resists and in contrast the group who is eager to push the process forward. Often the largest group is the group of fence sitters, those who are waiting to see how things really take shape before they commit.

Shifting Economy

In the US, our economy has been shifting for decades. It is has been called a digital economy, new age, and many other attention seeking labels.

My belief is that we are operating in a service intensive economy. Even manufacturing operations are commonly introducing more service components to their business.

Early Adopters

Some people will recall when the internet was labeled a fad, a cellular phone was too expensive, and computers weren’t necessary to run your business.

There are the early adopters to technology, the ones leading the charge. They line up for several city blocks sometimes in unfavorable weather conditions just hoping for a chance to get the latest and greatest release.

Software developers push out new releases, upgrades, fixes, and patches. Eager businesses sign up to become beta testers with the advantage of co-development for future releases.

Traditional products and services are sometimes still admired but those who are growing are often providing a new twist. Failure to change, innovate, and adopt technology means that they are watching from behind.

Changing Customer Service

The customer experience and customer service practices have never been more important. Being a front-runner, a beta tester, or an innovation expert is what will propel organizations to the front, or in the absence of change allow them to fall behind.

There certainly is not a guarantee that the next front-runner, technology embracer, or fad will become the one that all others in category will chase.

There is however, a guarantee that a new tradition, a new method, something technological will propel the leaders. It has been true for centuries. That likely isn’t going to change.

– 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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