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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 December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

More Tips on Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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