Creating Meaningful Customer Experiences

What sets you and your team apart in your company? What sets your company apart when competing with the competition? I conducted a simple survey on LinkedIn the other day. The majority of the respondents said the primary differentiator was customer service.

I’m guessing you are not surprised by this. I would be willing to bet that your teams would not be surprised. But how do our teams create a meaningful customer experience that leads to results? Do they just know or should they be trained on how to do this?

Too often, our team members rush to resolve issues especially if the customer is “energized” (upset). “Stuff” is made up to quiet or calm the customer. And then the next person who encounters the customer is forced to address that “stuff” before even getting to the initial issue.

I have led teams that were customer-facing as well as “back office”. A few years ago, I crafted the following to create the most meaningful customer experiences that lead to results – customer satisfaction, sales and cross-sales, customer loyalty, customer referrals, etc. It is, in my opinion, a common sense approach. A seasoned team member will be able to navigate this process to build solid relationships with your customers. A new team member will be able to understand this and become a successful customer experience provider.

Here it is:

From my experience, many team members want to ACT first. They are anxious to take care of the customer, meet needs, etc. But when they jump to ACT too soon, they miss out on so much that the customer needs. The process above puts the customer first, leads the team member to connect with them, provides information for the team member to ACT in a way that makes sense to the customer, and then follow-up/follow-through to further connect with the customer.

This process has been used in a financial institution. It has been used at universities with college recruiters. It works. It must be managed, observed, and coached. But it works. Customers will feel this. They will respond. They will grow more loyal. You will see results.

Try it. Let me know how it goes. I love hearing stories of success! Share yours here.

What Happens When You Appreciate a Team Member

Kim Harrison writes: “Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued by others. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work. Gallup studies show employee recognition is the key factor influencing employee engagement, and therefore organizational performance.”

When was the last time you took the time to write a note or email of appreciation to a team member of yours? Or even shared this with them face-to-face (or via Skype/Zoom)?

For some leaders, this is difficult. Hopefully, the old-school thought patterns are fading away (i.e. “You get a paycheck – there’s your appreciation from me!”). Maybe some leaders are afraid that if they give this affirmation to an employee, that employee will no longer work hard to be successful for the company (this was actually said to me years ago). And then, some leaders have never had this modeled in their own lives.

But as leaders, it is critically important that we exercise this appreciation muscle with our team members. Here is what I have found to be impactful.

APPRECIATION:

  • Make it specific. Appreciate them and tell them why. What brought this on from you (especially if this is new for you)? Tell them what they did that caused this appreciation.
  • Make it personal. Recognize the individual’s work. Don’t dilute it by being vague. If you would like more of what you are seeing in them, fan the specific flame in your appreciation. You will see that they will will be inspired to do more, be more (see above quote).
  • Make it timely. Catch someone doing the right thing and let them know soon. It does not take long to write a specific, personal appreciation note/email. They will connect the dot from what they did that is bringing on this appreciation and your encouragement. Weeks or months later will not work. Appreciate now or very soon.

Employee Appreciation Quotes & Sayings | Employee Appreciation Picture  Quotes

Confidence Can Be Learned

Below is a portion of an article was published in 2014 by Melissa Stephenson on Fulfillment Daily

What happens if a team member is not confident in their job?

  • Work is produced at a slower pace
  • Quality of work could suffer
  • Results could be lacking the detail needed
  • Your team member’s growth & development could stall out
  • and more…

Read Melissa’s post below to learn how to build confidence. Use this in an upcoming coaching session. Wait…what?…you are lacking confidence? This article will then help you! And be sure to click on the link at the end to read the entire article. There’s more insights from Melissa there.

Research on brain plasticity shows that our brains physically change in response to new experiences, thought patterns, and behaviors. This means that we can train ourselves to think differently about challenging situations—and, in turn, respond more confidently to them.

 

We can cultivate confidence by practicing thoughts and behaviors that increase our own self-belief. Try these:

1. Seek opportunities to practice success

Research shows that successfully mastering a challenging task strengthens our belief that we can achieve the same success in the future. A common example of this is public speaking: Although many people shy away from it, those who practice public speaking regularly get better at it, become more comfortable with it, and become more confident in it, too. Accumulating examples of success increases our confidence in a given area

2. Watch and learn from successful examples

Witnessing others succeed increases our belief that we, too, have the ability to succeed in a similar way. For example, the more we watch our friends run marathons, the more we begin to believe that we could also accomplish such a feat someday.

3. Build a positive support network

Social persuasion is a powerful tool for combating self-doubt. Encouragement from people we trust helps convince us that we have what it takes to succeed. So, when you’re facing a challenge, surround yourself with people who believe in you—their belief will help build your own awareness in your skills and abilities.

4. Recognize and redirect your unconfident feelings

How we perceive the way we feel about a challenging situation greatly influences how we feel about the challenge itself. For example, when we feel “butterflies in the stomach” before a presentation or performance, do we interpret the feeling as excitement or nervousness? This interpretation has a profound effect on how confident we feel in performing.

With these strategies to enhance self-belief, we can increase our power to confidently achieve our goals and overcome our challenges.”

Follow Melissa’s blog at: https://fourwellness.co/about

Book Recommendation: Tiny Habits

I’ve already read a couple of books on habits. I’m intrigued by how we create and maintain habits and how habits bring about positive change. In my reading, I recently came across a new book written by Dr. BJ Fogg – Tiny Habits.

I’m not through reading it yet, but I am already picking up great ideas that I can apply at work and in my personal life. Dr. Fogg lays out a systematic way to create habits – tiny habits – that have the power to change our lives.

As he writes “there are only 3 things we can do that will create lasting change: Have an epiphany, change our environment, or change our habits in tiny ways.”

He goes on: “One tiny action, one small bite, might feel insignificant at first, but it allows you to gain momentum you need to ramp up to bigger challenges and faster progress.” Jeff Olson (The Slight Edge) calls this the compounding effect.

Like most people, I tend to rely on motivation to try to reach an outcome. Dr. Fogg teaches that this focus will not work. It is the focus on and doing the behaviors that move us towards our outcome – this is the real difference-maker.

If you are interested in learning more about habits and the power they can harness, read this book. If you are looking for ways to help your team improve their results, this book will help. If you are wanting to achieve an outcome personally, read this book.

“There is a painful gap between what people want and what they actually do…the problem is with the approach itself, not with you.”

Buy this book and learn that approach. It is practical. It is actionable.

What happens to YOU when you become a better coach by Jim Johnson

If you lead a team, you are coaching (or, at least, I trust that you are). I gave a presentation a couple of years ago on why coaching is so important for our team members. I also shared the following on what happens to the COACH when he/she becomes a better:

  1. Your reputation improves in your company.
  2. Your influence expands on your team and in your company.
  3. Your voice/opinion is respected on your team and with your colleagues.
  4. Your future will reveal more opportunities for you.

There is no down side to working hard at becoming a better coach.  Yes, your team members will become better, but YOU have benefits when you commit yourself to becoming a better coach.

Remember:  “You influence from a distance.  You impact up close.”  Dwight Robertson

Commit to impact.  You will create a better world around you.

when leaders become beter

Promotion – Your Next Level of Results

  • There are athletes training right now for an Olympics event years from now.
  • There are individuals planning right now to build relationships that will last.
  • There are people who are working right now to lose weight and get healthy.
  • There are high school students who are working hard right now in extraordinary circumstances to prepare for college entrance.
  • There are scholars who right now are striving to earn that next degree that will propel their career.

What do all of these people have in common?  They understand and are implementing the 3 principles I have laid out in my book, The Path to Promotion.  The book does focus on helping someone advance in their careers.  But there is so much more to that.

Book Cover from Amazon

Are you wanting to move from where you are today to your next level?  Read The Path to Promotion and begin putting the principles into practice.

 

 

The 12 Week Year – Getting More Done

12 week year

At the prompting of a mentor of mine, Karl LaPan (CEO of the NIIC here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, last week I bought and started reading The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran.  If you are wanting to become more efficient and get more done in business and in life, buy this book.  I’ve provided the Amazon link above. It is excellent.  Here are some excerpts that are causing me to think and act differently:

 

 

 

“Most of us have two lives:  the lives we live and the lives we are capable of living.”

 

“The barrier standing between you and life you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution.”

 

“Vision is the starting point of all high performance.  You create things twice; first mentally, then physically.  You will never outpace your mental models.”

 

“To be truly effective, your daily activity must align with your long-term vision, strategies, and tactics.  Your results are created by your actions.”

 

“A study conducted a few years ago by Salary.com found that the average person wastes nearly two hours of every working day.”

 

“Accountability is not consequences but ownership.  The only things you control are your thinking and your actions.”

 

“…the difference between greatness and mediocrity on a daily and weekly basis is slim, yet the difference in results down the road is tremendous.”

 

“…you can be great, beginning today, simply by choosing to do the things you know you need to do.”

 

 

 

 

Goals!

I was featured in an article from our local paper about goal setting The article was written by Lisa Green of the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“Holiday shopping, impeachment hearings, trade tariffs and the volatile stock market may be capturing many of the headlines, but in many workplaces, the year-end also means looking ahead.

It’s goal-setting season.

And that’s also true in many nonprofit organizations, even though they bear the challenge of realizing goals not just with paid staff, but through the generosity of time, talent and sometimes treasure from volunteers.

What could be.

What should be.

Goals.

Just thinking about the word can be daunting and yet energizing.

Achieving goals certainly requires more than vision and creativity.

“We might say we set goals, but sometimes we set hopes and dreams,” said Jim Johnson, a co-founder with his brother Jere Johnson of the local leadership and networking event called First Fridays.

Planning and being intentional are key, said Johnson, who is also vice president of member services at 3Rivers Federal Credit Union.

He suggests wrapping a SCARF around goals, using this five-pronged approach:

S: Specific goals are necessary. You have to get down to the details about what it will take for success.

Saying “I need to read more” might be a good concept, but it’s not specific enough. “I will read 12 books in 2020” will get you there, Johnson said.

C: You have to commit to your vision and goals. “Be passionate about achieving what you set up for yourself,” Johnson said through email, after a brief telephone interview. “Your goals should move you.”

A: Align your activities, behaviors, thoughts, and time around achieving your goals.

R: Review your goals regularly. “It is easy to get off track,” Johnson said. Review allows you to adjust and renew your focus.

F: Filter activities, attitudes and even people that don’t move you towards your goals. “If they don’t, ditch them,” Johnson said. “Don’t accept time wasters.”

Read the rest here: https://www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/20191208/embrace-setting-specific-goals-for-2020