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Why Good Customer Service Is Not Good Enough Anymore

Why Good Customer Service Is Not Good Enough Anymore

People complain that business is getting tougher, well, in many ways, yes it is. Ten years ago the internet and especially eCommerce was not such a ubiquitous entity. We were in a boom rather than the current changeable financial environment and customers often had less choice.

Today I can go online, order and have a product delivered within an hour. I think nothing of having groceries delivered to my door, books telegraphed to my eReader by Wi-Fi and even food cooked and delivered at the touch of an app button. It really means that the number of human interactions I make when I am a customer is reducing.

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In another ten years time we may not see anyone (what a lonely place). Customers now use bricks and mortar shops for ‘showrooming’ (see the product and then find it online). This means that, as customer service professionals we need to ‘up our game’ considerably. Good customer service is just not good enough. Just being good may have been okay when we were the only show in town, but in a world where a drone could delivering my shopping autonomously, we have to be provide great customer service!

Lessons from London 2012

I was immensely lucky to have spent a year working for the organising committee for the London 2012 Olympics. This was an amazing opportunity to undertake as a customer service professional. However most of the workforce would be volunteers. As a team we had a common aim, to deliver the very best games experience we could, but this would require immensely long hours, hard work and some tough times. I was salaried, however that was not a motivator for me to deliver excellence and certainly wasn’t for my volunteer colleagues who worked alongside me.

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Lesson one is that money is a motivator, but it cannot be the sole reason for people to deliver great service. Your team needs to:

  • believe in the organisation and what they are offering
  • feel their place in the organisation and the empowerment to really deliver in their job
  • be supported, they need to feel loved by management and their colleagues

You will not be running something as big as an Olympic games, however you still need to embody belief within your team. Do your staff feel that they belong to the organisation? Do they feel listened to? If they make suggestions, are they taken seriously and acted upon?

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Building a better working environment

It is important for management to nurture their colleagues and make them feel that the organisation is as much theirs as it is the management’s. Do your staff know their place and more significantly their importance in the organisation? A colleague should not feel that he is ‘just’ a checkout operator, instead he should feel he is a vital part of the customer facing team. You need to ensure everyone uses language which develops responsibility and does not belittle individual roles. Every member of the team is a vital piece of the organisation and they need to know that. If they are not, you need to re-evaluate why you have as many staff as you do.

Once they know their worth to to the organisation you need to empower them. Consider valid decisions they make to support good service. One of the worst things you can do to a colleague is overturn a decision they make, which they feel is for the good of customer service. No, don’t let them hand over the contents of the till, but if they accept a refund in good faith to appease a long standing customer, don’t overturn the decision. The staff needs to feel that they have responsibility and that you, as management, trust their intelligence and decision making.

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Engage and create trust

Finally there needs to be love (not too physical of course!) – but you need to engage and create trust and friendship within your staff. Simple things will help: speak with staff, say good morning to everyone you see, listen to people. As a manager, a good proportion of your time should  be reserved for your staff, to support them. Never be aloof or unavailable when they need your support. During London 2012, we looked to ensure that we supported our volunteers and other colleagues. We were available and supportive and we all greeted each other. It became fun, despite the hard work and we felt like a real team who had a common purpose and a real role to play in the bigger picture.

We need to ensure that we make an impact on a customer, reinforcing the joy of human interaction – this can be as simple as each staff member greeting and acknowledging customers, smiling and being genuinely helpful. Remember to lead this by example, as managers if you smile and greet, you will find your staff will also do the same.  It is really driven by wow! moments where we go the extra mile to deliver service which just does not and cannot exist in an online environment. In London this changed the whole city! The Games-Makers were an amazing team of hardworking people who smiled, greeted people and were just amazing.

Delivering Wow! moments

Think to yourself, are you delivering wow! moments? Am I adding value? And especially would I bother to shop here? An example from everyday shopping, my wife bought a tablet from a well known chain store. It was more expensive than online, but she wanted the advice and service. What she got was pestering to buy additional insurance (the sales person would not let her leave the till she did!) and she got a product where the security seals had been broken. The result, the next day we went back, returned the item where it was grudgingly refunded (but not without some retraining on the rights of customers) and we bought the product online cheaper. The shop experience was:

  • more expensive
  • annoying
  • we still had to wait until the next day to get a working unit

No customer service wow! moments there. Now one customer will not change the world, but they can tweet and they can start to reinforce the trend to shop solely online… The time is right to up your game…

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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