Is there a trainer in the house?

Training budgets have been slashed. Most of you know my feelings on that…….STUPID. People are the biggest expense of most organizations. You don’t stop investing in them. You continue to develop them. Figure out how to increase your revenue; not continue to cut your expenses. If you’re as smart as you say you are that shouldn’t be so challenging. But seriously……….did you know that every single person in your organization has something they could teach another. Every single person. Maybe it’s a better use of technology? Or perhaps a procedural shortcut without breaking a rule? Maybe someone has figured out how to streamline a report? Maybe someone has a great sales technique? A marketing idea that can help another department or division? Why not dedicate some time in the upcoming week. Gather the team together. Ask a few people to share some knowledge or wisdom that can make everybody’s job easier. …

You keep customers engaged by giving them what THEY want!

Have you ever found yourself talking about X when your customers/employees/friends wanted to hear Y? We all have. So when I was asked to speak on a webinar to a group of entrepreneurs about the value of joining the National Speakers Association and how it changed/launched/defined my business I said sure. Waiting for the call to start, while some technical difficulties were being sorted out, I tossed out a question to those who had logged on early…..”Why did you sign up for this webinar?” And it was clear……….what they signed up for and I what I was about to talk about were not the same. A sudden momentary sinking feeling went through my body. The call organizer was nowhere to be found – she was having the technical difficulties. How am I going to keep these people engaged? I just got fed to the sharks. Or in this case a group of (mostly) …

How to Coach your Employees to Disengagement!

Imagine you are doing your job to the best of your abilities. You are putting your blood, sweat, creativity and energy into delivering a great customer experience. And then someone from management comes in with a clipboard and a form and basically tells you that you’re doing a lousy job; what you’re doing is not the direction the company is going. Do not read any further until you answer this question……………….Have you been in the above situation? So……………….Some friends of mine work for a weight loss services provider. They lead instructional, motivational and informational meetings. For purposes of this piece we will call the company Pound Observers. Members of the management team (aka the Lack of Employee Engagement & Morale Skills Team) periodically visit an employee while they are leading a meeting to ensure that the customer experience is good; and the employee is knowledgeable in the product and delivering great service. For …

HEY YOU! That’s not how you engage me OR get my business

If you’ve been in an airport you have encountered the credit card hawkers trying to get you to sign up for an airlines credit card. You’ll get a free trip they tell you. They don’t tell you about blackout dates or the gazillions of other miles you’re competing against for that last remaining awards seat. Or having to go at bizarre hours and through 16 cities to reach your destination. On the flip side there are good perks – like your first bag flies free. But this was my most recent experience with these folks: “Hey you with the propeller hat come here.” Yes that’s how they apparently are trained to get your attention. I should try that…..HEY YOU READING THIS!; hire me to bring a recess to your organization to get your people reengaged, recharged and thinking how to be better. Hey you!? While amusing it clearly won’t get my …

Teach your employees to engage me; not waste my time.

The other afternoon I picked up my phone and the voice on the other end introduced herself. She is a Virtual Assistant (VA). She was calling around to businesses in the community to see if I knew what VA’s were and if I might have a need. Now first of all good for her. I hate cold calling. Would rather listen to heavy metal music (can’t stand it) all day long. I told her I am familiar with VA’s and I do work with one from time to time. She thanked me and hung up. Huh? As I writing this post the phone rang……”Did you get your AT&T book?” I asked who this was and what they were talking about. She wanted to know if I had received my AT&T yellow page book. I told her I guess not. She asked if I wanted one. I said no. Okay bye, was her response. …

Sorry. Your employees and your business really aren’t that unique.

I’m a customer. I browse. I shop. I buy. Okay, I usually don’t browse. I’m the in and out kinda shopper. Know what I want, get it, and leave. Or walk in, see the first thing that meets my current need, get it and leave. But while I’m there I pay attention. I pay attention to employees. Are they smiling? Are they frowning? How can two people who work side by side seem to be having such drastically different work experiences? Are they gossiping? Are they complaining about company policy, the boss, other customers, or perhaps even me? I’m in tune to what is going on so I can share it with my clients and customers. Because your business is really not different than any other business. While you might think you are unique and different, I hate to burst your bubble. You’re not. Your issues, problems, concerns, successes and failures …

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Engaged employees provide customer experiences; not transactions

I made my semi-annual stop at a Dunkin Donuts today. I needed coffee; was pressed for time and they were my only option. I just don’t like their coffee. They did something to it years ago – like water it down??? Well things haven’t changed. You’re a transaction at Dunkin Donuts. Let’s just move the line. I felt that way even when I was a loyal customer. What can I get for you?  Turn away. Pour coffee. Mix (if needed). Hand customer drink. Take money. Hand customer change. Say thank you. Look over customer shoulder to next customer and ask what can I get for you. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I don’t feel that way when I go into a local independent coffee shop. I don’t feel that way when I walk into a Starbucks. At these places I find the employees engage me in conversation; whether I’m a regular or a first-timer. …

Maybe it’s the customer who needs to be trained?

So when you Google “bad employees” in quotes you get 30,300 results. When you Google “bad customers” in quotes you get 35,800 results. When you remove the quotes the numbers are 48,100,000 and 50,500,000 respectively. Seems that we have more bad customers than bad employees. Maybe Customer Service Training needs to be replaced with Customer Training. Maybe we need to tell customers what is expected of them, in terms of their behavior, when they enter a place of business, call or email? Clearly the customer is not always right. As a matter of fact they may very well be wrong more than 50% of the time. So why are we still telling employees the  customer is always right when even Google says they’re not. Just a thought for today.

Your choice of words can disengage anyone. An employee, a customer, or a beach goer.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That’s what he said as my friends were about to plop down on the beach the other day…..Are you kidding me? (He said it a second time)  I was lagging behind and off to the side so I stopped and took in what I knew was going to happen (I know my friends; one in particular). Seems he was annoyed that we were going to sit in front of him and proceeded to tell my gang how we were going to ruin is view. It was too late. It didn’t matter. The body language by my friends was in full swing and the words were about to fly. Are YOU kidding me? Have you ever been to a beach? Everyone wants to see the water. Why didn’t you move closer so no one would sit in front of you? Every one of us has opened our mouth a little …

DOOM: The solution to employee engagement and a great customer experience

I’m here on Cape Cod awaiting the arrival or Hurricane Earl. Went out to get a few extra provisions should we lose power or a downed tree keeps me from moving about. I noticed something. EVERYONE is happy. Employees at local businesses are smiling. Customers aren’t aggravated by long lines. No batteries. Oh well. No more flashlights. Still smiles. Conversation is flowing between everyone. Yes, while Earl might have a devastating impact on the communities he visits; he seems to have a positive impact on engagement. Amazing how doom seems to do this. Hurricanes. Floods. Earthquakes. Blizzards. They all tend to engage people. Employees work harder. Employees bond & communicate. Customers are more relaxed and not as demanding. What is it about doom, destruction, devastation and uncertainty that excites people? And how do we keep that feeling alive all year long? When we figure that out we’ll have a great …