I normally don’t ride my bicycle on rail trails. The 10 mph posted speed limit is like going backwards. But periodically I hop on for a section or two to see what is going on and who is doing what. This past Saturday I rode a two-mile stretch and made an observation:
When I was speaking in Bogota Colombia last month I made some observations as well:
Yep, the world wasn’t ending because people dropped their handheld for a little while and had some fun, paid attention to the people they were with, or gave a customer 100% attention.
Just an observation.
Why are companies striving to be like Southwest, Google, Zappos or Apple?
Yes, their employees love them. Yes, their customers love them; and in one of those cases it is even a little creepy and cult-like.
Chances are you will never be like them. These companies worked hard at creating a culture from the inception; and hired accordingly. They’ve invested time, money and other resources into training and creating an engaged workforce who could go out there and engage customers – customers who keep coming back for more – customers who would throw themselves on a sword or take a bullet to protect their brand.
But you have your own people; with great ideas; and unique personalities (now granted some of those are creepy too; but we all make hiring mistakes). How do you turn those into a workplace culture that is so different and so radical from everyone else? That’s what I focus on when I work with my clients. What sets you apart from the rest? How do you get your customers to take a bullet for you?
You don’t want to be like them; you want to be alongside them as YOUR industry leader. Southwest will reign as that fun airline for a long time to come. Zappos as the King of Service. And you?????
Monday: Ask about their weekend; with interest. Let them talk. Don’t feel the need to one-up.
Tuesday: Praise their work
Wednesday: Implement an employee suggestion & praise their work
Thursday: Praise their work
Friday: Thank them for getting the job done – and mean it!
Not that hard. Today is Thursday. You know what to do.
We’ve all heard the saying; “The customer is always right.”
Most employees/companies process that as meaning when the customer is upset you do what you need to do to make things all better.
The customer is always right goes deeper. Years ago when I created Recess At Work Day , it was designed as a day of fun and games; some time to blow off some steam. Then clients and companies who contacted me started telling me that they took it as an opportunity to offer some fun learning; or take some time to do some creativity work. It was still fun; a break from the norm; but it was used for something strategic.
It was also the birth of a new program for me Recess: It’s Not Just for Kids and a repositioning of Recess At Work Day.
Yes, the customer is always right………..if you’re willing to listen. What are you customers telling you about your products and services?
Would love to know your thoughts on this recent chain of events:
What are your thoughts on this scenario as it relates to building relationships? And what do you think my response was?:
But seriously I want to know what your thoughts are.
I love Verizon Wireless; and for those of you who have been following my blogging you know that. They have gone above and beyond for me so many times over the years that even if a better plan came along from another wireless carrier I would stay (of course they would somehow match it or do something to make me feel wanted).
But I do get a chuckle every time I need to call them. You have to press an awful lot of numbers and get through a maze of options before you can actually speak to a person. Pressing “0″ gets you nowhere. Like a lot of companies they would like you to self-serve yourself at their website where possible. I get it; but sometimes the matters are a bit more complicated or need to be explained.
So what about that chuckle?
When you finally get through the maze, or had to call back because you thought you remembered the sequence from the last time and now you’re in Help Option Hell; right before they are ready to connect you, they ask if you would be willing to take a survey about your experience?
Not exactly the best place to make me that offer. Don’t you agree?
My chuckle usually continues with the person on the other end. After he or she helps me I always offer my thoughts on the placement of that survey offer. We usually end up laughing because they too think it is not the best moment in the customer touchpoint to ask for help.
I’m just glad they think it’s silly also. They tell me many others have made the same comment.
Verizon, are you out there? Are you listening? Can you hear me now?
Still love you.
But for my Customer Service friends who are reading this………………where in the customer process are you asking for feedback?
And maybe next time I call I should write down the sequence.
On a recent flight the following statement was made during the “you can pick from peanuts, pretzels or cookies unless you’re in first class” announcement:
For your convenience Delta Airlines only accepts credit cards for on board purchases.
So when the flight attendant came down the aisle to pick up my trash I asked her to humor me and tell me how them only accepting credit cards is for “MY” convenience.
She laughed so hard that everyone nearby looked. But basically she didn’t know how it was for my convenience? She thought it was ridiculous that those words were chosen, but it was in the manual; so she had to read it.
Ah, the ole manual! So then I’m assuming the answers to the following questions can be found in the manual too:
You get my point. How is this for “MY” convenience? Seriously if anyone at the airlines can tell me why this is for my convenience please feel free to get in touch. I really am curious. Now I do understand that most people on that plane probably have a credit card; but some do not. And aren’t we trying to create a customer experience that is positive for 100% of customers? Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Otherwise, you’ll see me on board that flight attendant’s last flight; when she promises she will say what she really thinks about that policy as she reads that statement. She took my card and promised to call me so I can be there. It will be worth the investment.
And here’s my idea for the airlines…………..the same way I can prepay for my checked baggage maybe allow people to prepay for their cocktails, cheese platter and overpriced M&M’s. Just a thought. In the meantime I’ll just buy the next kid traveling alone a snack…………………..And then get arrested as I exit the plane for being a predator.
Delta, I’m so glad your flight crews see the humor in their work and know how to engage a customer. See you soon.
P.S. If you just remove the word “your” from the sentence it really will be less disengaging. But only less.
Today I introduce to you the Recess Formula for Business Success. It’s a pretty simple formula and it will be easy to remember.
Where R stands for Recess; EE is an engaged employee; EC is an engaged customer; and I’ll assume that you know what the $$ equals.
Here’s how it works:
Give your employees a Recess (R) ;a break from the customary normal routine. Give them a chance to learn, to think, to play, to innovate, to rejuvenate and wind down. Do this regularly. What you’ll get is an engaged employee (EE).
Engaged employees come up with new ideas, are better team members and provide customer experiences beyond your expectations. And you know what that leads to……………………… an engaged customer (EC).
Engaged customers are fans. They come back. They look for more. They think of you first. You are on their mind. Engage your customers and you increase your bottom line ($$)
But it’s got to start with the employee. It’s gotta start with taking care of your employees. Take care of your employees today; take a recess today in the name of engagement – in the name of profitability.
A while back I received a call from an HR Executive who wanted to hold a Recess for her employees. She wanted to have a little fun celebrating success and strengthening the team.
We had some great emails going back and forth. We talked a couple of times. I developed a plan and sent a proposal.
She then ignored me.
I sent her an email. She responded immediately apologizing and they were really busy finalizing budget. She would look at the calendar this week.
She then ignored me.
I emailed a couple of weeks later. Something about busy, stressed and working on tight deadlines and new initiatives.
My response: “Exactly why you need these few hours for Recess….and right now. It will get your team engaged, productive and through this stressful period.”
Her response: ”I promise I will get to it this week. (What’s there to get to?) Let me talk to CEO and get it on the calendar since I want him there.”
AHA!!! So she is not the decision maker!
Two more weeks passed and that is when I packed up one of those Decision Kits pictured above and mailed it to her with a note “Perhaps this will help you pick a date?”
She responded with a “that was very clever” and how she ran into the CEO’s office when it arrived; and another promise to talk to the CEO about picking a date. I decided to remove her from the situation.
I’m now talking with the CEO. She is clearly not the decision maker.
I find it sad that people are given leadership roles yet still need the approval for every decision they make – or are afraid to just make a decision. It’s killing business. It’s killing the economy. It’s killing your workforce.
The title says it all.
Well it used to say it all.
When I am out in public I get stares and comments about my beanie hat. The majority of the comments are positive; and they come from Boomers, Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and the very young. I used to just smile or thank people for the compliment.
Then one day I smacked myself in the head and went “DUH!”
This was an opportunity to engage someone in a conversation. This was the opportunity that might possibly lead to a business card exchange. Maybe even a sale or a booking? So I sat around (and still do so) thinking of replies to when someone says “I Like Your Hat”or “Great Hat!”.
And then for a brief moment I have a conversation; usually with the focus of the conversation on the other person. After all, I don’t want to appear like a sleazy salesperson. Lots of times the conversation comes back to me and what I do for work.
I’ve also come up with comebacks for “What’s with the hat?” I love those, because I can usually get right to point of how important it is for people to take a short Recess at work from time to time; whether it be fun and games or Recess with a learning/training purpose – which is also fun and games in my case.
So what does this have to do with you? Each and every person reading this has an opportunity to engage a conversation every day. Just about everyone has worn a promotional item of sorts displaying their company name. Too many conversations go something like this……..
“Oh, you work for Acme Inc.”
There are so many ways this conversation can go. Why don’t you and your team take a short Recess tomorrow and figure them out? Have fun with it!
So where’s your hat?
Thanks to my friend Helen Leopard for being the inspiration for this posting!