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Posts Tagged ‘Best Practices’

Every interaction with a customer including complaints is an opportunity to build or strengthen our bridges with our customers.  Very often we find our customer-facing staff blowing away this opportunity that lands on our lap for free. To better understand this gift recall what we go through when we go out to engage a customer unsolicited.  

And how do we blow it away? Usually by keeping our interaction down to a crisp and a minimal response demanded by the context.  Technically flawless, business-wise not so wise.  Of course at the other extreme, we might have a loquacious rep overdoing it pushing the customer to annoyance.

What then do we do with this opportunity? Well, there are several avenues to be explored: we could gain useful insights into his decision making process (why or how did he settle on our product?), his experience with competitors, his post-purchase impressions, what else would he like to see as features, does he see enough of our brand publicity… If it is a complaint, information about events leading to the failure could be collected.  Did he have other issues/signals before the failure occurred?  Does he have thoughts on how this failure could have been possibly averted? Of course what would work depends on the temperature of the call.

All of these cannot happen without orienting our customer-facing staff adequately, constructing different possible scenarios and outlining avenues for enriching the interaction.  

Note outsourced call-centers are optimized to enhance calls handled in a day rather than quality engagement with the caller, at once totally eliminating this opportunity.

Incidentally all of the above apply to our interactions with prospects too.

Here’s a short well-written piece from Art Petty on this same theme exhorting us to have transformational interaction instead of transactional. A personal experience included. So why settle for less when its potential benefits could be dramatic?

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Outside a hospital:

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This security guard’s duty is to instruct people to remove their shoes.

Why he was arranging shoes in the rack?

“Sir, this seat is my office and I want to sit in neat office.”

He also greets worried visitors with a reassuring ‘Everything will be fine, your patients will soon go home with you.’

In all likelihood he would not have had the benefit of any level of schooling.

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Source: Adopted from facebook.com/groups/101024580247213/ posted by Gautham Iyengar (here)

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you getting monkeys is not just with hires. Goes for vendors, contractors, third parties…

This is for the managers and executives priding on their ability to squeeze every freebie, concession and discount out of their beleaguered vendors.

Here we go:

The  headman from the painting cum landscaping company  was speaking with the hard-driving customer about the job awarded to them.

Laying-Turf  jokesoftheday.net

In the first room, she said she would like a pale blue. The contractor wrote this down and went to the window, opened it, and yelled out “GREEN SIDE UP!”

In the second room, she told the painter she would like it painted in a soft yellow. He wrote this on his pad, walked to the window, opened it, and yelled “GREEN SIDE UP!”

The lady was somewhat curious but she said nothing. In the third room, she said she would like it painted a warm rose color. The painter wrote this down, walked to the window, opened it and yelled “GREEN SIDE UP!”

The perplexed lady then asked him, “Here I’m telling you what to do and you keep yelling ‘green side up’?”

“I’m sorry,” came the reply. “them…are laying sod in the front and around.”

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Source: Adapted from jokesoftheday.net

 

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A recent segment on the CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood had an amazing customer service story. Krystal Payne, at a Starbucks in Leesburg, VA, noticed that one of her customers, Ibby Piracha, was deaf. One day Ibby came to get his usual coffee and Krystal handed him a handwritten note, which read: “I’ve been …

Source: An Amazing Customer Service and Leadership Story to Learn From

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This reblogged post shows how often simple and inexpensive ideas create tremendous impression on customers. Here we go:

“An Amazing Experience My daughter came home from school to visit us over a recent holiday. She was flying on Southwest Airlines and checked a piece of luggage. When the suitcase showed up on the luggage carousel, we noticed the handle was damaged. Bummer! I’ve been through this before. Not happy, I walked into the …”

Source: Southwest Airlines Gives Us Another Lesson in Customer Loyalty

This article also has a reader commenting:

Stéphanie Langlet February 28, 2016 at 4:54 am
“It remembers me my experience with the indian company Indigo : exactly the opposite. The employee told me that my suitcase was certainly damaged before and even didn’t register my complaint !
…”

This comes as no surprise to us at all as the field staff  in our country are hardly trained and empowered to handle abnormal situations. Their workplace eco-system is not conducive for displaying any initiative.

If you think about it this is hardly an infrequent happening and should be figuring in the top-10-problems airlines face with their customers with ready/recommended customer-friendly responses.

A few days ago I had an usual experience. After running a series of errands my wife and I stepped into a restaurant. She ordered a ‘thali’ (a standard full meal with side dishes) and I settled for a single stuffed-roti. The head-waiter strongly dissuaded me from ordering the roti. He advised me the ordered ‘thali’ was quite sumptuous for one person and would easily cover me too. While this may be very normal in the west, it’s quite unusual in these parts.  One of these days I intend going back and ask this guy why he drove away additional business for his employer.

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Whenever there’s a line of cars backing up on the road, my guess is usually right – it’s a cop managing a traffic junction ahead instead of the traffic lights or the timers of the traffic lights set badly to treat light traffic gets just the same as heavy. The cop’s no-thanks contribution comes from his long persistence with a flow before he turns on the next.

Here’s a lightly edited excerpt from an article by Simon Jenkins appearing in The Guardian of 4th Feb 16. A case for dismantling authority! Well, that was stretching the point a little too far, admittedly. An interesting experiment in social behavior that runs counter-intuitive for many of us, nevertheless reportedly successful in outcomes. Here we go:

 

The removal of road markings is to be celebrated.

We are safer without them

White line in the middle

Sensational news. The government is starting to remove white lines from the middle of roads in parts of the UK. It is doing so to reduce accidents and save lives…

Research has shown that removing white lines induces uncertainty and thus cuts vehicle speeds by 13%. This has been the case on London’s A22, A23 and A100. Pilot schemes are also in place in Wiltshire, Derby, and round the Queen’s house at Sandringham.

Behind this demarking lies the concept of “shared space” and “naked streets”, developed in the 1990s by the late Dutch engineer, Hans Monderman. He held that traffic was safest when road users were “self-policing” and streets were cleared of controlling clutter. His innovations, now adopted in some 400 towns across Europe, have led to dramatic falls in accidents.

Monderman’s principle is that freedom to assess risk for ourselves is what makes us safer. Rules, controls, signs, traffic lights all reduce our awareness of our surroundings and thus our sense of danger. On roads, he said: “When you don’t exactly know who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users. You automatically reduce your speed … and take greater care.”

Monderman’s British apostle, John Adams of University College, London…has figures to prove that countries… that do not require motorbike helmets have fewer biking accidents than those that do.

The most dangerous place on a road is at traffic lights. Almost half the accidents in most cities occur at lights. This is due not just to war between “amber gamblers” and reckless cyclists. A crossing is where everyone should be watching everyone else, but everyone is watching the lights. They are awaiting orders. When given them, they assume all is safe and crash on.

Traffic engineers, who maim and kill us with regulations, lights and paint pots, merely go on dreaming up ever more.

Last October the Yorkshire town of Beverley suffered a failure of 42 traffic lights and was amazed when traffic moved more smoothly. In Somerset the traffic campaigner Martin Cassini secured a 50% improvement in traffic flow by persuading Portishead to turn off its traffic lights. They stayed off.

The same goes for…the one-way street and the cycle lane. A recent US study found that making streets two-way halved accidents, shortened journeys and reduced pollution…a 2014 study suggested that painting roads made cycling more dangerous.

Monderman…saw a symptom of a deeper ailment. “We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behaviour. The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles,” he said. It was this loss of responsibility that yielded the paradox that ever more intrusive safety and security actually make us less safe. Traffic is the most visible manifestation of that.

While it is difficult to argue against data, it seems to fly in the face of the premise: systems, processes and technology take the hassles and risks out of our lives.  Don’t we need all the protection possible from that one nut who screws it up inadvertently, irresponsibly or irrationally?

 

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Source: theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/04/removal-road-markings-safer-fewer-accidents-drivers

 

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Chicken egg

These are times, though sad, most organizations have neither the resources, time nor leadership to groom, nurture and  plan your performance and progress along a well-chalked out path. They’re prone to judge and brand. The employees are also partly to blame as they oversell themselves on entry.

Under the circumstances, it is best you provide your own motive force and drive it yourself.

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Image: theguardian.com

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