Tag Archives: service

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caring gracefully

Caring Gracefully Is In Short Supply

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Caring gracefully may be exactly what your organization is missing. Are you stuck between offerings and volume? Are the big box stores or eCommerce sites rattling your cage?

How will you compete?

The best way to get more is to bring it all to scale. Scaling your product and services is the best way to get bigger and often, yes, get better.

Where will you invest? Time, money, or people? Perhaps all of those?

Scaling not Failing

The small mom and pop restaurant will often fail when they try to expand. The small repair shop struggles to compete with the franchised option. And your product on shelves in Walmart, Best Buy, or available from Amazon may attain a different scale when compared with the small retail shop or static webpage.

The difference may come from the investment that many leaders overlook. The investment is in driving purpose which drives caring.

Many organizations and businesses insist that they are family-oriented. They insist that working in one of their shops, warehouses, or production facilities is just like being part of a big family.

Is it true?

Caring Gracefully

Talk is cheap and true caring comes with a price.

The price is the sacrifice that people make when they care more.

It starts with a well-defined purpose. Achieving the metric matters but it isn’t achieved in dollars and cents. It’s achieved when people care enough to push more, push harder, and pull it off.

A deeper level of caring means everyone understands why quality inspection seeks perfection and not just to be good enough. It’s why packaging matters and the brand is built from a reputation not the size of the facility or number of locations.

People who work together for a common cause, who are smart, value learning, and want to do the job right are far more likely to achieve more than the competing organization that cares less.

The small shop or the multimillion-dollar franchise. The retail store or the eCommerce site. Caring gracefully matters.

Buying state-of-the-art equipment is one price to pay. It will never be enough to beat a team that invests in purpose and caring first.

It’s often hard to find.

-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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never been done before

Never Been Done Before, That’s What You Need

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Everyone is forced to change. Some are willing, others are waiting and watching. Do you need to do something that has never been done before?

I’m not sure who deserves credit for this, but there is a saying, “You cannot just do things differently, you must do different things.”

Now is a great time to consider where you stand with different things.

A product built in your garage as a hobby may be cool, but if it never goes to market, it’s not a game changer.

The service model that sets higher expectations yet can’t be replicated as a system will likely implode.

Avoidance, from fear of failure or fear of success will limit what is different every time.

Where are you headed?

Never Been Done Before

Doing what hasn’t been done before requires something extra.

It’s creative, and it requires you and everyone involved to be on the hook. The energy behind it becomes contagious. It is valued, needed, and a game changer.

Trust and relationships will flourish with a game changer. You’ll make something happen.

People who join in near the beginning of the curve will benefit the most.

Those jumping in late will completely miss the power of the curve and may become a statistic for failure. Not because of lack of effort, energy, or ingenuity, but because, it’s been done before.

A starting question is, can you trust yourself?

Are you able to put a product or service to the test and succeed at doing something different?

Will you find your voice, your ideal customer, and possibly create a niche?

Is it different, or really just the same thing done differently?

-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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brand experience impacts

Brand Experience Impacts and the Unexpected

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At the car wash, the grocery market, and the restaurant you have an experience. What are customers feeling from your brand experience impacts? Are you sure about every touch point?

The valet at the 5-star hotel, the guy sweeping up cigarette butts in the parking lot, and the janitor plunging the clog in the bathroom.

An incredible waitress, a kind flight attendant, and the nurse at the doctor’s office.

A fast-food voice on the intercom, the hardware store clerk, and shipping verification from an eBay purchase.

All of these things, no matter how big or how small they may seem, are part of a brand experience.

Unexpected Experience

Many people believe that your brand sits entirely on the hands of the graphic artist, the photographer, or a clever press release.

Indeed, all of these things matter. They matter a great deal. Yet, often, your brand is about unexpected touch points.

Businesses want to train their sales team, the customer service team, and managers. These are not the only people or places where your brand is exposed.

Where is your brand exposed?

Everywhere.

Brand Experience Impacts

What is the weakest link in your business? It may be a touch point where your brand is exposed.

What employee teams are not customer facing? Who is in the backroom, the warehouse, or on the R&D team? They’re still building your brand.

Who answers the phone, responds to social media, or sends email messages? To the customer, in each of those moments, that is what they know as your business. Not the CEO, not the beauty of your website, and certainly not the marketing speak in your mission statement.

The impacts of your brand are loud and clear.

They’re often developing from human interaction.

-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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Relentless effort

Relentless Effort is a Part of Service Interactions

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Are you giving relentless effort? Sometimes it feels like a thankless job. Does it make a difference for future outcomes? Yes.

Mindset is powerful and often we need to shift the concept of problems to opportunities. Opportunities can be much more attractive when compared with problems. Mindset starts with a choice.

When it comes to service interactions, you have a choice about how you will accept the outcomes of your efforts.

Say, “Hello.” to a stranger and you may or may not get a response. You took the risk and you accept the possibility of no reaction, or worse, perhaps a negative reaction.

Applying Relentless Effort

Relentless effort is about multiplying this effect across time. A one-time deal isn’t nearly as effective as repetitive daily pursuit.

One stumbling block for relentless effort is having the willingness (it’s a choice) to accept what happens next. When you are committed to your choice, you’ll have the energy, even in the face of adversity, to try again.

You may ask yourself this simple two-part question, “What is the opportunity in front of me and am I willing to pursue it relentlessly?”

Persistence matters, and persistence across time is relentless pursuit.

You have to be willing to accept what happens next, even when the results may not be desirable.

It makes a difference for what you’ll do next, and that, makes a difference for what happens next.

-DEG

Two Resources

I wrote both of these books to help with relentless effort. Get them on Amazon.

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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service expectations

When Service Expectations Get Set

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Who decides about the quality of service? Hint: The customer. When do service expectations get set? Hint: Usually long before the product or service is received.

Are you conscious about expectations and outcomes? They matter for service, they matter for workplace change, and they will matter for everything connected to your culture.

Service Expectations

Traveling on Interstate 80 you can go from New Jersey to California. If you take this journey, or only some of it, and you’ll see road signs and billboards. Some of those will be for rest stops, food, and fuel.

If you make a choice to eat at a restaurant franchise, you have an idea of what to expect. You’ll make your decision to enter the establishment with your expectations already set.

If you make a choice to eat at an unknown restaurant, perhaps a mom and pop, upon entering you may not be sure what to expect. You’ll decide on your expectations quickly though, it often starts with the sign along the highway.

This is true for nearly everything about service.

It is why we decide we’ll trust some websites and others not so much. It is how we’ll make decisions about the shoes we buy, the clothes we wear, and the car we’ll drive. The expectations are set long before the sale.

Beyond products and services, it applies to your workplace too.

Connecting Service Internally

Certainly, in the workplace there are internal services. We know we can trust Sally with the project, yet we’re still not sure about James.

We’ll use our senses, our intuition, and our life experiences to decide.

The change handed down from the C-Suite will feel safe or it will feel conflicting. Work teams will decide to embrace it, move it forward, or perhaps slow it down.

It is true for the exit we’ll take from the highway. It is true for the change we need in the workplace.

Service expectations are the best predictor of outcomes.

-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 journey

The Friction of the Customer Journey

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Gaining traction is desirable. Inspire connections, build the brand, and grow revenue and profit. Yet, there may be another force associated with traction, friction. Are you reducing the friction of the customer journey?

Creating a password that is more than nine characters, includes a special symbol, at least one capital, one number, and uses no formal names is friction.

In contrast, securely storing your credit card information for one-click purchases in the future reduces friction and improves traction.

Customer Journey

The customer journey is often created by looking through the lens of the account manager, the content developer, or the artistic contributor. Mostly, they represent traction, no guarantee of a smooth glide.

Taking an airplane flight involves a journey. A ride to the airport, security, baggage check, hurry-up, and then wait. What reduces the friction? Uber, CLEAR, and the Admirals Club.

Security on your handheld device may be valuable, a point of traction. For example, a four-digit pin is nice. Reducing the friction of the journey happens with a fingerprint reader.

Waiting for your boss, the CEO, or the chairperson of the board of directors to ask for engagement may grant you traction. Anticipating requirements in advance and delivering before being asked reduces the friction.

Understanding Friction and Traction

Friction promotes job security for the auditor, the gatekeeper, and the hall monitor. All may be important, but perhaps not to the customer.

Mostly people seek traction. They are searching for ways to create a permanent link, a lasting connection, a vow that’s hard to break.

Traction is security, a sure thing, a requirement to return in the future. Reducing friction creates engagement with less effort required for the customer.

Your customer may tolerate your desire to gain traction. What they’ll appreciate the most is when you reduce the friction of their journey.

-DEG

Originally posted on January 23, 2019, last updated on May 4, 2019.

Reducing the friction of the customer journey is directly connected to your organizational culture. It is why I wrote this book:

Customer service culture

Get it Now on Amazon

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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competition

Do You Understand Your Competition?

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Every day we are competing. We’re competing through our business, competing to close the sale, or competing to achieve a promotion or get a new job. Do you understand the competition?

We may or may not know who the competition is with, but do we understand what we’re competing on?

Parameters of Competition

If you are focused on the size of the cake or the presentation of the dessert, how it tastes may be an afterthought.

The most durable laptop computer probably isn’t the most slimmest. The fastest car probably is the biggest or even the most comfortable.

What are the parameters of competition?

Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Service: When we compete on service our focus becomes about the delivery. Time, speed, and satisfaction.
  • Trust: We work hard to illustrate examples of trust. We work to show loyalty, commitment, and perseverance. Promises kept, not broken.
  • Image: While often very subjective our time and energy are spent on what you see.
  • Credentials: The focus of the card punch. Are the educational degrees attained? The certifications valid and current? Are they issued from a reputable source?
  • Price: Value is the afterthought, everything that matters is based first on price. If it is available everywhere at the same spec, price is the only differentiator.

Competing on What?

Understanding your competition is important, but you must first understand what you are competing on.

In the best scenarios you’re competing on what matters most to you. Your passion drives the focus and results. However, what brings you to the forefront of your offering may not be what the customer is buying.

A focus on quality may mean a higher price. An abundance of effort on image may drive questions about what is under the veil. Questions about credentials may signal a lack of trust.

What are you competing on? What matters most to the buyer?

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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maximizing service

Maximizing Service Means You Will Maximize Profit

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High performing organizations invest a lot. They make investments with people, with products, and most of all through the service they provide. Will maximizing service mean that you will maximize profit?

Organizational culture dictates what happens externally. Organizations that survive on protect and defend instead of give and prosper are noticeably different.

No Budget

Many times I’ve met with mid-level organizational leaders who insist they have no budget and no ability to put the necessary changes in place for improvement.

Surprisingly, if you have the same conversation with someone higher up in the organization hierarchy, the story changes. This is often because mid-level management have been directed to conserve. Protect and defend.

This mindset is about stabilizing and avoiding a decline, which is very different from a mindset of growth.

Culture Differentiation

Is your department or organization maximizing service? What is the mindset?

The fast food restaurant puts a napkin in the bag. When requested the hotel allows a late check-out time. Your on-line purchase arrived with some extra free stuff in the box.

This differs from asking for napkins, no late check-outs, and your shipment arrives in a chintzy brown-kraft envelope.

Protect and defend or give and prosper?

Maximizing Service

Maximizing service means giving more than what is expected. It represents great value. Great value is not always a tangible item, it is often the intangibles that make a difference. The moment of truth, the surprise, and the lasting impression.

Leadership sets the culture. Is it a culture of protect and defend? Keep every dollar, spend nothing, and give nothing. This is an option.

There is another path though. The path that doesn’t feel like the next free napkin will send the organization in a downward spiral of which they’ll never recover.

Culture is a choice. So is the business model.

There is an alienating feeling with protect and defend.

Maximize service. Maximize profit.

-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 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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