Published date: August 30, 2017
Last modified: August 30, 2017

Congratulations, you’ve just been selected for your first or next supervisory or managerial position!

 

For many people, the first rush of elation is quickly followed by a surge of anxiety – what if my skills don’t translate? What if the employees don’t respond to my direction? How do I get to know what the issues are? What if I fail?

Whether you’re moving up in your current organisation or joining a new one, you’ve got your work cut out. The maxim that ‘those who fail to plan are planning to fail’ is particularly true for anyone who starts a new managerial position. Here are five tips to help you make a smoother transition:

 

Take action before you start your new position

Once you begin your new position, time will become a limited asset, so the time to start your transition is as soon as you know it will happen. This is your opportunity to assess the organisation and its environment. Evaluate your own strengths and opportunities for improvement so that you can leverage the first and address the second. Learning as much as possible about yourself and the organisation will help you build momentum as you begin your new journey.

 

Plan your first day carefully

You only have one chance to make a first impression – with your new employees, your new boss, and everyone else you come into contact with. What you do on your first day – and who you do it with ¬– will be watched by everyone and meaning will be ascribed to it. Will you allow others to dictate how you spend your time? Do you have a specific agenda for the day and a plan to meet – quickly – with all of your staff?

 

Build immediate credibility

During the first 30 days, you will want to develop relationships with your employees, key support personnel, peers, and superiors. While there are likely to be significant demands on your time, always make the effort to talk to your employees. Managing your time will be particularly important. Prioritise, delegate and don’t make changes for the sake of it. However, be prepared to take action quickly where it is warranted. As the new set of eyes, you may be able to see so-called low hanging fruit that others have overlooked (‘but we’ve always done it that way’). Be careful, however, not to pick fruit simply because it is easy to reach. Whatever you plan to do must be feasible, attainable and, most importantly, should matter to your boss and those above him or her. If you pick fruit with care, you will send the message that you are able to accomplish goals, which will set a foundation for realising your longer-term aspirations. Align with your internal and external organisation

Organisational alignment refers to operating with shared purpose and strategies to realise the organisation’s mission. You will need to assess the degree to which your employees and the processes and systems that they use are aligned to meet the organisational vision, mission, values and goals. You will want to know the extent to which your employees understand the direction and goals of the business. Who are the influencers in your organisation and how do they exercise their influence? How does internal communication function and how can you develop that capacity?

 

Set supportive routines

Finally, you will want to set routines that will help you to continuously assess and reassess the way you work. This will include setting up a communications system internally and externally to help reinforce your messages and to build coalitions and buy-in. It also will include managing the systems you choose to use to facilitate ongoing relationships. Set your strategies and ensure you put processes in place to continually refine those strategies as circumstances change. This will ensure that you remain flexible enough to survive in an ever-changing environment.

These tips can help you to hit the ground running in your new role. Then you can start preparing for your next career transition!

Original article by Valerie Nichols Hemsley Fraser

 

Published date: August 21, 2017
Last modified: August 21, 2017

Customers are like elephants, they never forget a bad service experience! Martin Rafe comments

Customers are like elephants, they never forget a bad experience!

Marketing departments spend so much time and enormous sums of money, to build a brand in the marketplace. The brand communicates a promise and an expectation which can be confirmed by the way the organisation deals with the customer and which can build into a long and profitable relationship. On the other hand the brands reputation is easily destroyed in seconds if the customer service experience is poor.

We all know what is feels like to be on the end of some ‘perceived’ bad service, and that from this point on we will question whether or not to deal with ‘that’ organisation again. Customers you see vote with their feet!

I was recently in a major high street outlet, standing waiting to be served as two members of staff carried on their personal dialogue. As this happened I interrupted and said ‘You don’t recognise me do you? One staff member said, ‘sorry, no I don’t’, and laughing said ‘are you famous or something?’, to which I replied ‘yes I am famous, I am a customer!’ – A look of anguish was etched across the sales assistants face!

Join the Dots’ aim is to help companies avoid delivering that poor experience. A key element in achieving this is getting the 3 R’s right. Right people, right skills, right attitude. If you get this right then you do stand a much better chance of better engagement, better performing people and happier ‘returning’ customers.

A great part of the customer service mission is drive home the cost of customer acquisition and their potential lifetime value to the business and the simple fact that keeping them and keeping them happy is the cost effective and simplest route to driving incremental revenues.

So many organisations develop customer service strategies, indeed programmes that focus on all the skills associated with customer service and miss the key starting point, which of course is ‘me’ – what does it mean to me, how can I influence things, what does it mean when ‘me’ doesn’t deliver customer service excellence to a customer, and indeed do I care!

And indeed what is customer service excellence – well Join the Dots believes that it is about giving customers choice, control and convenience and in doing this making sure that the responses they get to their need for service are all met with the echoes of ‘let me make it easy for you’

How many times have we heard comments like it’s not something I deal with, I can’t help you, the person who does that is off today and worse. As a customer do we care, well of course not when all that we want is a solution.

Join the Dots delivers both accredited and tailored customer service initiatives focusing on service, behaviours and the language associated with service excellence – why not try something that works for your team?

 

Published date: August 14, 2017
Last modified: August 21, 2017

10 Reasons Organisations Fail To Deliver Great Customer Service

 

I am the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. As a customer service and experience expert, I help organizations create amazing customer and employee experiences. My books have appeared on bestseller lists including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and others. In 2008 the National Speakers Association inducted me into their Hall-of-Fame for lifetime achievement in the professional speaking industry.

The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

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Great customer service doesn’t happen by accident. It takes great thought, planning, communication, implementation and the right people. Surveys and studies indicate that companies are investing more today than ever before on customer service and the customer experience (CX). Yet, many studies are also indicating that customers aren’t seeing the results of this investment. How can this be? Here is a short list of 10 reasons why companies fail to deliver great customer service.

1. They have not defined the company’s service vision or initiative. This is where it starts, at the top, with leadership defining in very clear terms what the service vision is. It needs to be short enough for employees to remember, and this is where many companies fail. It shouldn’t be a page, or even a paragraph. It should be one sentence or less. For example, Southwest Airlines’ mission statement is posted at the top of its website: “The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” It’s that simple. Everyone who works there knows it and gets it. And so does the customer.

2. They don’t hire the right people to fit the company’s culture and personality. It’s not just about hiring for the right attitude. It is also about personality. They are closely connected, but there is a difference. The best companies really work to find people who not only have a great attitude and aptitude for the job, but also will be a good fit for the company.

3. They don’t train the skills needed to deliver a better CX for the internal or external customer. Many companies don’t spend the time, effort and dollars to train the soft skill of customer service. And, some that do train don’t include the entire company. Everyone needs to know their roles in how they impact the customer. And, everyone has customers. They may serve internal or external customers, or both. The frontline employees will be trained differently than warehouse employees, but everyone needs to be trained.

4. They think training during “onboarding” or one big session is the total package. No, it’s just the start. A one-time onboarding training is the beginning. From there, you must reinforce the customer service message as you consistently remind employees of the basics and continue to build on that foundation.

5. They have leadership that doesn’t provide a role model for others to emulate and aspire to be like. Unfortunately, there are leaders out there who have a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. The leader must set the example. Show people the right way to do things. Exhibit the behaviours and the values that you want the customer to experience. What’s happening on the inside of a company is felt on the outside by the customer.

6. They don’t celebrate successful customer service and CX “wins” with their employees. Employees want to know they did a good job. They want to feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment. It’s important to let employees know when things are going well. Recognise individuals, departments and even the entire company when there is something to celebrate.

7. They don’t recognise that customer service and CX aren’t simply departments or strategies. If you followed my work at all, then you’ll hear me say or write (over and over) that customer service is not a department. It is a philosophy to be embraced by every employee, from the CEO to the most recent hire. The same can be said for the customer experience. Everyone has some impact on the customer. It may be more obvious on the front line, but even the departments that don’t ever see or talk to the external customer have an impact.

8. They treat employees one way, and then expect employees to treat the customer differently. I’m reminded of a manager who was known for berating his employees. After a nasty tongue lashing, he would send them out of his office and remind them they needed to be nice to the customer. How demoralising is it for an employee to be yelled and then told to go out and act happy and nice? It doesn’t work. I believe in something that I refer to as the Employee Golden Rule: Treat your employees, or the people you work with, the same way you want the customer treated – maybe even better!

9. They think their customer service and CX are better than the customer thinks it is. Study after study confirms that the level of customer service that leadership believes the company is delivering is higher than what the customers think the company delivers. It is important to have ongoing surveys and conversations with customers to ensure that service, at the very least, meets their expectations. Ideally, the company and its people will exceed the customer’s expectations.

10. They are more interested in profit than taking a customer-focused approach and building customer relationships. This is a huge mistake. Put the money over the customer and you might get a sale. Put the customer above the money, and the money will eventually follow – and you are on your way to building a long-term, loyal customer relationship.

 

Reference: Shep Hyken.