“Switch Your Focus Away From Your Customer”

Companies pushing the ‘exceptional’ customer service mind set are misguided in their focus.  As I have written several times, exceptional service is evil.  It’s evil because it can be easily duplicated by our competition, it can be expensive, and to some of our customers, it won’t even be perceived as exceptional. 

I have also written, over my 24 years of being a customer service expert, that exceptional is necessary.  It’s necessary because it’s in the customers face, it’s something they can touch and see.  Also, if we don’t deliver some exceptional service, our competition will. 

The key to exceptional service is to steer your effort away constantly trying to find newer and better ways to deliver great service, stop wasting your time.  This is what I call the ‘more-ness’ factor.  Our American mind set has led us to always looking for ways to do it more, faster, better.  You can invent the latest and greatest service idea, but if your service provider is in a bad mood because some jerk cut him off on the highway on his way to work, the best ideas will fail.  And, as I feel with exceptional customer service, I think we’ve maxed out, it’s time to stop beating the competition with exceptional service and switch our focus to quality customer service. MORE BELOW

                                                                            Choose one of these three great training tools. 

Quality Customer Service vs. Exceptional Customer Service;

In this 15 minute audio and power point presentation you learn the difference between Quality Customer Service and Exceptional service.  Why Quality service is more cost effective, creates a positive work environment and gives you a better competitive edge.  And we will show you how exceptional service may actually hurt your business because it is the necessary evil.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send qualitymodel@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Privacy Policy; your information will not be sold or rented to any third party company and is exclusively for the exchange of content-rich training between your company and Gorman Business Consultants.

Time Management Matrix;

In this 45 minute audio and power point presentation you will learn where your time goes.  Pin-point what are your greatest time wasters?  Identify what are the things only you can do.  And what are the things other people can do.   

If you would like this free training tool, click and send timematrix@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Maturity Ladder;

In this 45 minute audio with power point presentation you will learn how to assign tasks to the right person based on their level of maturity.  From there you will be able to give the best feedback to ‘grow them up’ the ladder.  All leading to a positive, mature, work environment.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send maturityladder@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 Ultimately, the level of service you provide for your customers will depend on the culture you create for your employees.  Quality service switches your focus from the customer to the employee, helping them to be engaged, and it builds open and honest communication. 

While having well trained managers and supervisors to create this type of candor is important, it is only one step in the process.  First, leadership must make the commitment to quality service.  This isn’t a 180 in how you deliver service now; as I wrote, you need to practice some exceptional service.  And, if you are already delivering exceptional service, the change is actually easier because you don’t have to worry about that aspect.

Next, you have to switch the focus of your frontline team from SOLVING problems to PREVENTING them.

Only through an investment of training into the managers and supervisor and then to the frontline team will you be able to help everyone understand that they can and must help to ‘create a customer’ for the company.

Thank you.

Mark

mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

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“Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers”

If a customer has to expend extra energy to have their issue resolved, they are less likely to be loyal.  However, if the customer doesn’t have to put too much effort into resolving their issue, they are more likely to be loyal.  This according to a 2010 published article in Harvard Business Review titled, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.” 

But, if you have been following me for the past ten years, whether through my blogs, newsletters, seminars or webinar, you know I’ve said this already.  And I didn’t need to survey 75,000 customers like HBR did. 

I have long said that exceptional customer service is ‘necessary evil’ we have to do it, if we don’t our competition will.  But there are three problems with exceptional service that makes it an evil. 

First, exceptional service is easily duplicated.  Think about it, if I’m your competitor and I hear or witness a service you are providing, that I’m not, can I copy you?  Sure I can.  And now, copying our competition is easier than ever, all I have to do is go to your website and surf around.  And, an unexpected problem from being duplicated is that we, as service providers, are raising our own bar.  We are setting unrealistic expectations on ourselves.  What are the services your our providing that your competition can be easily duplicated?  MORE BELOW.

 Choose one of these three great training tools.  Along with the gift, you will receive a profile form to help us give you the information best suited for you.

Quality Customer Service vs. Exceptional Customer Service;

In this 15 minute audio and power point presentation you learn the difference between Quality Customer Service and Exceptional service.  Why Quality service is more cost effective, creates a positive work environment and gives you a better competitive edge.  And we will show you how exceptional service may actually hurt your business because it is the necessary evil.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send qualitymodel@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Privacy Policy; your information will not be sold or rented to any third party company and is exclusively for the exchange of content-rich training between your company and Gorman Business Consultants.

Time Management Matrix;

In this 45 minute audio and power point presentation you will learn where your time goes.  Pin-point what are your greatest time wasters?  Identify what are the things only you can do.  And what are the things other people can do.    

If you would like this free training tool, click and send timematrix@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Maturity Ladder;

In this 45 minute audio with power point presentation you will learn how to assign tasks to the right person based on their level of maturity.  From there you will be able to give the best feedback to ‘grow them up’ the ladder.  All leading to a positive, mature, work environment.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send maturityladder@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 Second, exceptional customer service can be expensive.  Too many times companies feel they have to ‘giveaway’ products or services to make apology for the mistakes we made.  In truth, if we handle the issue, and handle it quickly, the customer will return with future business for us.  We must remember to address the intellectual needs of the customer by fixing the problem and then their emotional needs by simply saying we’re sorry.

Third, exceptional service has a perception problem.  I may perceive the service you provide for me as excellent but, someone else may say, “They should provide great service, their prices are outrageous!”  Or, to me, great service is a knowledgeable service provider.  But to you, great service may be a clean environment.  If you focus your energies on one and not the other, someone is going to be disappointed with your level of service.  Try as we may, we can’t ‘reach’ everyone.  We are always going to have critics, so why spend time and money on something that has a high percentage of missing the target?

Quality customer service is the avenue to follow when considering where to put your energy to keep the customers you have.   If you would like to know the difference, send me an email for a gift of my 15 minute webinar recording giving you the details.

Thank you.

Mark

mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 

Engaged Employees

Engaged employees produce 9 time more than disengaged. How to build an army of engaged? Call me about ‘Coaching & Leading Teams’ (CLT) and findout the 2012 schedule for Open-to-the-public workshops.  Also, available for in-house, customized sessions.

Discuss topics like; time management for leaders, teambuilding, engaging your customer, cutting costs to the benefit of the customer, Mutual Benefits Agreement and effective communication, how to give feedback, Maturity Ladder, and much more.

CLT is for the manager that needs a new percpective, the supervisor struggling in their new position and the future leader who has demonstrated the job skills but maybe not the people skills.

Thank you.

Mark

mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 

Effective Communication for Leaders

 Here’s something I think you’ll be interested in.  I have a recorded webinar called, “Effective Communication for Leaders” available for purchase.  This would cover the Quality Leadership Model, Maturity Ladder, Conscious Competent Model, the Engaged Employee, the MBA, Public Praise and Dealing with Non-performance.  

 This is a 90-minute audio webinar of my voice with the same power point from the ‘Effort’ workshop, you also get PPT handouts.  The session is $197.00 and I don’t care how much you use it, there is no limit on usage.  You can put your entire staff through the session.  You can play it on a projector and have several people sit in for a group experience or have your staff go through it individually at their desks.  With the tightening budgets, this is a terrific value.     

 Is it something you would like to try?  Of course there is a money back guarantee if you’re not happy with it.

 Thank you.

 Mark

mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

612-308-3065

The Greatest Time Management Mistake & it’s All in Your Head.

What do you think is your greatest time management mistake?   Allowing interruptions?  Procrastination?  Undisciplined meetings? Actually it’s none of these. 

The greatest time management mistake you make is all in your head, it is deception.  Too many leaders allow themselves to be deceived into losing valuable time on the job.

I mean two things when I say deception. First, I mean when we deceive ourselves about our own level of importance.  If you have read my past blogs or taken my “Effort & the Role of Leadership” workshop you know I put a high priority on leaders tracking their time, you need to keep a time log.  When you keep on for a week you can then sit down and evaluate each task you did and uncover your highest priority.  I believe you’ll have anywhere from 4 to 7 things that only you can do. But, because of deception, I have seen too many leaders get wrapped up in their own importance and feel they are the only one who can do any task. 

I was working with Texas A&M and I put the participants through this exercise–I asked them to list the tasks that only they can do.  After a few minutes I asked the group, “How many of you have 10 things on your list?”  A few hands went up.  Then I asked, “How many of you have over 15 things on your list?”  All the hands but one went down.  I asked the gentleman how many things he had on his list and he said 22! Twenty two things on his list that only he can do, really?  What’s going on with this guy?  He was deceiving himself about his own level of importance; he was deceived into believing he was the only person who could do the tasks on his list.

Here’s another way leaders deceive themselves.  Let’s say, when you were new in business and someone in a leadership position said to you, “A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.”  So you learn it’s important to always have a clean desk.  And so you put important tasks off while you take the time to clean your desk.

Or, let’s say your boss comes to you at 2:00 and says, “I need you in that meeting today at 3:00.”  And you think, “Well, if the boss says I have to be there, it must be important.”  And then you go to the meeting and find out it has nothing to do with you.  It’s because you were deceived into thinking that, if the boss says be there, it must be important.  Not enough leaders take the time to ask their boss, “Is it OK if I don’t attend the meeting?’

Deception will steal your time.  Make sure you are working on tasks that you and only you can do.  Don’t get hung up on minor tasks like cleaning your desk.  And take a minute to ask your boss, or anyone, if your presence is required in the meeting.

Mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

612-308-3065

Dealing with Non-Performance

Dealing with Non-Performance 

Happy holidays and welcome back.  I hope you all had a merry and safe holiday season. 

Let’s pick up our discussion of giving feedback.  Before the Holiday’s I wrote about giving your team the “MBA” to ensure positive desired outcomes.  Then I shared with you the importance of giving feedback.  Then, my last blog covered how you can give a “Public Praise” to your staff when the desired outcome is achieved.  You can revisit these and all and blog at https://7slightedges.wordpress.com/

Life would be great if our team members reached the Desired Outcome every time.  Our days would be filled with Public Praises and our team would be fully engaged.  But, life isn’t all beer and Skittles, sometime our team doesn’t reach the Desired Outcome and we have to give them, what I call, Dealing with Non-Performance

The first, and most important, thing to remember while giving a Dealing with Non-Performance is, remember it’s training, not discipline.  I think this is a big reason why the average manager fails to give this type of feedback; they feel it’s going to be some kind of battle and they’re concerned they may not be to victor.  Keeping in mind that this is a training opportunity will make the entire process more bearable. 

Just like the MBA and the Public Praise, the Dealing with Non-Performance steps must be done in order.

Steps to Dealing with Non-Performance

  • Tell the team member about the non-performance.
  • Ask for their input.
    • “Tell me about it.”
    • Wait until they are done talking before you start to speak again.
  • Ask for their solution
    • “How are we going to deal with this issue?”
    • They state the solution, remember, if you say it, it’s suspect.  If they say it, it’s the truth.
  • State their solution to them in the form of the MBA.
    • You may have to raise the level of the consequence. 

Confronting Non-Performance is a powerful tool for finding creative solutions to issues.  Done right, it will get the team member on track and you will demonstrate that their opinion is valued.  Notice, like with Public Praise, Dealing with Non-Performance is mostly questions.  It’s a little ironic that, when you give feedback, they do most of the talking, if they do, you’ve done it correctly. 

Hope you can attend, “Effort & the Role of Leadership” Open Seminar coming January 18th and 19th in Minneapolis. 

Now available for purchase my “7 Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers” webinar recording.  For $97.00 you can train your entire staff. 

 Mark

Mark Isaac 

Mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com 

612-308-3065

Public Praise; Your Key to Positive Feedback

Now that you have effectively given the MBA to a member of your team, see past blog for steps to the MBA, whether they achieved the desired outcome or not, it’s time to give feedback, see past blog for the importance of giving feedback. 

I could write a newsletter about feedback, why managers are bad at it, why is it so important to give, but in this blog I want to write about ‘how to’ give feedback.  I don’t have the space to cover both positive and negative feedback, so I’m only going to write about positive feedback.  I’ll write about what to say when you don’t get the desired outcome later this week. 

I like to call positive feedback, Public Praise.  Because it should be done with co-workers within ear-shot so they can learn from and possibly duplicate the action.  Also, it’s a great way to build the esteem of the person receiving the praise.  Keep in mind, I’m not saying you have to be a cheerleader and embarrass the team member, but it should be done in the open. 

Steps to the Public Praise

  • First, tell the staff member what they did well and say thank you.
  • Ask, “What did you like about what you did?” Or, “What did you learn about what you did?”  The objective is to get them talking.
  • Ask,

              “What else?”  Get them to dig deeper.

              “What else?”  Asking twice will get them to look at themselves.

  • Ask, “If you were to do it again, how would you do it differently?”  You’re looking for a possible new and creative approach.
  • Finally, remind them again of what he or she did well and say thank you.

 Just like the MBA, all of the steps must be done and done in order.  Also, you must remember to ask “What else?” twice after asking “What did you like about what you did?”  The reason is, by doing this, you are making them aware of what they did, you’re getting them to look at everything they did. 

Notice that the steps are mostly questions?  The average manager thinks, to give feedback, they must do all the talking.  In reality, if you’re doing it right, the team member does all the talking, your job is to ask the questions and listen. 

In a few weeks, I’ll write about the feedback you must give when the desired outcome is not reached.  I call it, “Confronting Non-Performance.”

 Hope you can attend, “Effort & the Role of Leadership” Open Seminar coming January 18th and 19th in Minneapolis.

Now available for purchase, “7 Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers” webinar recording.  For $197.00 you can train your entire staff.

 Mark

Mark Isaac

Mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

612-308-3065

How’s Your Feedback?

The average manager and supervisor is poor at giving feedback. It may be that they were never trained, it may be that they follow how they were given feedback, it could be a number of reasons. But the effective leader understands the importance of giving feedback. They know some key factors about feedback. First, that it’s a survival skill; every leader must give feedback to ensure new policies, initiatives and procedures continue at high levels. Second, leaders know that feedback must be continual. Leaders can’t give feedback for somethings done well, they must address the bad as well. Also, especially on large projects, the leader must make sure the team stays on track. Third, feedback must be distributed to all involved. Just because a leader feels someone on their team doesn’t need feedback is no reason to overlook them. And forth, feedback must be a two-way conversation. Too many average leaders do all the talking, you must value the team members input. Watch my next two blogs on how to deliver both positive and negative feedback.

 Now available for purchase, my 60-minute webinar recording of, “The Seven Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers, Insights & Applications.” For $197.00 you can train your entire staff how they can create an environment of service for your customers.

I hope you can attend my Open to the Public workshop, “Effort & the Role of Leadership” this January 18th &19th. This is a time management workshop that specifically addresses the time issues facing today’s leaders.

Mark

Mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com 612-308-3065

“Mutual Benefits Agreement”

You’ve heard all there is to hear about the engaged employee, right?  How they produce nine times more than the disengaged.  How they feel their manager or supervisor cares.  How they know their opinions are important to the company.  How their turnover is lower, they call in sick fewer times, and they are on time for work?

Would you like to gain all of this from your staff?  There is a way to have all I just wrote.  It’s called the “Mutual Benefits Agreement” or what I call the MBA.

Done right, the MBA will help you effectively communicate with your staff, moving them from moderately engaged to fully.  The results are that you and your team will be more productive, your team will work in a positive environment.  Together you will have a clear ‘big picture’ of what the desired outcome is to be.  There will be less employee turnover and reduced costs in recruiting and hiring.

To gain these results you must do all the steps to the MBA and you must do them in order.  Keep in mind, the average manager will skip around and lose the effectiveness of this tool.

State the Desired Outcome:

            What gets done and when

            Specific and measurable

            Should be able to fit in the subject line of an email

Paint a ‘Big Picture’:

            Tell them what the end result should look like

            Ask them if the picture is clear to them

List the Resources:

            The tools for getting the job done

            Ask them, “What do you need to get the job done?”

            List yourself as a resource by saying, “If you need anything else, let me know.”

Set look ins:

            Times/dates to see that everything is on track

Set reasonable consequences:

            Good or bad

            Always stated last

Use these steps to avoid breakdowns in communication.  Use them, not only in face to face conversations but, use the MBA when writing a new policy or crafting an email.

My Open to the Public workshop “Effort and the Role of Leadership” will be conducted in Minneapolis, January 18th and 19th.  For $799.00 usd you will learn to get more done with and through people.  I’m limiting the group size to 30 participants so, sign-up early.   Please call or write for more details and special discounts.

Thank you.

Mark

mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

612-308-3065

 

Be of Service

What does Harley Davidson make?  Motorcycles, right?  What does Harley Davidson sell?  If you said things like, the open road, a ‘made in America’ image, or a bad boy style, you’d be right again.  What does a good realtor sell?  Brick and motar or the American dream or an investment?  Companies that excel in delivering great service don’t talk about what their products and services are, they talk about what they do, how they serve.  What problems do they solve, what goals do they help the customer reach, or what pain do they take away?  If you’re a title company and you talk about what your products and services do, you will sound like every other title company.  If you're a bank and you talk about your checking and savings accounts as what do, you are going to sound like everyother bank.  And if you only speak about what your products and services do, then the only way you can differentiate yourself from the competition is on price.  You need your entire staff to express how your services are of service.  Check your advertizing, read your marketing pieces, and listen to your staff when they describe your services, do they reflect how you can be of service?

Here's a good exercise; sitdown with your staff and brainstorm all the different ways your company 'serves' the customer.  Don't reject any idea, dig deep.  At the very least, you will have your team look closly at how their department and company serve the customer.

Hope you can join me January 18 & 19 for my "Effort & the Role of Leadership" open seminar.  Learn how to manage your time to raise the effectiveness of your team.  Write fo details. mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com