This wasn’t the planned blog subject matter but it has been such an experience that I felt compelled to capture the learnings.
How can some organisations get it so right while others get it so wrong?
Looking after customers or clients , whatever your terminology, with care, effective communication and the personal touch throughout the entire journey is vitally important. I have had two experiences in the matter of weeks which were as contrasting as black and white.
The first experience started well or so I thought with me signing up for a service that appeared to be offering a timely and cost effective solution to my problem (the old saying if it seems too good to be true it probably is now comes to mind). The first problems started to occur when I discovered the timelines of the service provision were very different in actual terms than the one that was originally offered. In hindsight this should have been a warning sign however I proceeded and agreed to a delayed appointment time. The first appointment was conducted but a solution wasn’t fully available at that point so a second visit was required. This is when the problem started as on numerous occasions the second appointment was cancelled, rearranged, not communicated which resulted in time off and loss of earnings by me (the customer) After an official complaint which wasn’t followed up correctly I eventually cancelled the contract and was back where I started 2 months ago.
The second experience couldn’t have been more different with clear expectations, loads of communication, appointments that were kept, problems resolved and a solution in place within an acceptable timescale.
In the theory of customer care training which we deliver as an organisation there is always a chance of “recovery” – taking some action to recover the situation and leave the customer less dissatisfied. To date the first organisation has not taken this route, even after an official complaint and a withdrawal of the contract no one has got in touch to either apologise or offer compensation for inconvenience caused.
If you are responsible for delivering products or services at least learn where the problems are within the system of processes otherwise customers talk and share their experiences good and bad. It’s ok if customers are happy and recommending your services however if they are in the other camp they could be putting potential future customers off and they will look elsewhere. Customer cancellations should always be followed up to find out if “things could have been done differently” and if so extra training or process changes might be required so that the same doesn’t happen again.
Sandra works as a coach and trainer for both businesses and private clients. More information regarding coaching can be found at www.sandrawebbercoaching.com. She has also published a book Own It – regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl
Adapting behaviours in order to build better relationships with others is a subject that regularly comes up in both the coaching work I do and also the training workshops.
Regardless of the originating subject matter the topics of relationship building or improving communication between specific individuals is routinely discussed as one of the challenges faced by people in and outside of work regardless of age, gender, sector or situation.
So why is it we often need to take the lead and adapt our approach to improve our interaction with others?
- The first thing to realise is that, unless the other individual has done a lot of self-development work in the area of understanding and respecting the individual differences, we can’t rely on the other person in the equation to change or try a different approach
- If they do then great but we have to assume the adaptation has to be down to us.
- The second thing after realising some changes are necessary is that you have to WANT to experiment with a different approach and you have to WANT to try and improve the relationship. If this isn’t genuine then any adaptation from your standpoint might come across as false or inauthentic.
- The third thing is be prepared to experiment with a few different approaches until you find one that works. It helps if there is a strong reason as to why you want to improve the communication or relationship so that the persistence in trying a few times or with a few different techniques is worth the effort in the long run.
- Try looking at any situation through the eyes of the person you are trying to improve the relationship with. If you were them what might you be thinking, what would you want to change?
I have seen many times relationships between two parties that initially have been very strained and difficult move to a completely different harmonious level once one person has taken the initiative to either be very brave and confront the situation with a very honest and open discussion or tried a different approach (often a few) until a breakthrough was achieved. Often having worked through this initial difficult beginning strong partnerships are forged with much greater appreciation of the differences each party brings to the relationship.
Sandra works as a coach in businesses and with private clients. For more information look at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com
Linking back to a previous blog post on scary goals and being brave one area that frequently comes up in my career coaching work is when an individual is trying to decide whether to leave paid employment and enter into the world of self employment.
I remember when I made this move leaving a very well paid corporate job in 2000 I walked out of the office door for the very first time “unemployed “ thinking what I have just done is either very brave or very stupid. There wasn’t a plan on what I was actually going to do I just knew that the job I had been in was making me miserable and had been doing this for about eighteen months. I had got to the point where I dreaded going back to work after a holiday and I had always vowed if that happened to make some changes.
Within the first couple of weeks had I heard a few of bits advice from mentors who had a similar path and were a few years down the line at that point. The advice I gained in these early weeks I still pass onto others as I believe them to be very true in my experience
- It takes 3-4 years to get used to being self employed and if you last this long without returning to a regular salaried job them you are likely to be successful and also become fairly unemployable as you get used to the freedom of being your own boss and the feast and famine nature of this path.
- It’s all about who you know and who you surround yourself by. There will be many doubts in these early years and pragmatic encouragement from authentic inspirational people who want to help you succeed is a critical success factor.
I certainly underestimated the length of time it takes to
- Refine what you want to specialise in
- To work out the correct pricing model
- To set up the operational infrastructure working out what you want to do yourself and what you want to pay others to do for you
- Work out the elevator pitch when people ask the classic “ what do you do?”
- Polish off an authentic sales and engagement process
- Develop a support network to encourage you when the going gets tough but also challenge you when something needs to be discontinued and you don’t see it yourself.
What you get in return however after persisting through these initial years is immense personal growth along with a sense of achievement and freedom along with the by product of meeting some great new people on route.
Sandra works as a coach with both businesses and private clients. She is also author of the book Own It – regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon click here http://bit.ly/1JhAkst
Anyone who likes inspirational quotes will be familiar with the one that encourages us to always push the boundaries and move outside our comfort zone. Why is this a concept important for us to consider in terms of developing a mindset of high performance in either ourselves.
High performing teams or individuals are always adapting to change, evolving and looking to deliver more. Growth comes from exposing ourselves to different situations, learning new skills or behaviours and the personal satisfaction of achieving new things. This is where the concept of pushing the boundaries and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable links in.
The easy and safe option is to carry on in the comfortable world we are already in however anyone who is interested in high performance knows that staying in this zone isn’t good for our personal growth.
When people set themselves goals an easy trap to fall into is to set targets that they know are well within their capability. The good thing about this is that it won’t take a lot of effort to tick the box and achieve these goals, the downside of this approach is there maybe a niggling doubt when you get there that it wasn’t that difficult so the sense of personal satisfaction isn’t that high.
Taking the being braver, high performance route would mean that when setting yourself or your team goals then more risk should be taken. The goals should be a lot more stretching or “ scary” as I suggest in my book Own It http://bit.ly/1JhAkst . In the goal setting Chapter I suggest that we all need a scary goal, one that makes us feel uncomfortable, one that is definitely outside of our comfort zone, in that by just thinking about it there is a slight feeling inside that means we are not 100% sure this is something we want to push ourselves to do. This is where the personal growth and reward comes when we set ourselves such a goal and then actually achieve it, a brilliant feeling.
So do you have a scary goal at the moment? If you haven’t got one start thinking what could it be then define clearly, tell the world and go for it.
Sandra works as a coach for both businesses and private clients, find out more at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com
So how are you doing with all those good intentions, resolutions, goals or new habits that you decided to commit to at the beginning of the year?
If I look at myself then I would say I am doing better with some than others, there are certain actions that are proving more difficult to embed as habits than others. When I work with both business and private clients keeping the momentum going over a long period of time and working out how to embed certain behaviours or habits that the individual wants to work on is by far the hardest part of the change process.
So let’s take a work example to illustrate a couple of things that can help embed new ways of improving or creating new actions moving forwards:
A leader I have been working with for several months was struggling to commit her time to holding regular Team Meetings and hold monthly 1-1,s with her direct reports. She had had various attempts at putting the meetings in the diary and had also managed to keep the momentum going with a few meetings but it never lasted more than a couple of months. She began to think it didn’t matter as she sat quite close to the people they all chatted every day and they were having the occasional meeting. Deep down however she knew that the regular pattern she had originally set out to achieve hadn’t been embedded to become routine practice plus the fact that these two activities in my view (as her coach) were key to maintaining individuals motivation, aiding consistent communication and managing performance issues. It took a couple of events to refocus the leaders attention back to the important “why” did she want to work on improving this area in the first place. The two events were a high performing member of the team handed in her notice as she felt she wasn’t been challenged or developed enough in the role plus in the end of year appraisal feedback the Team commented that they often didn’t know what was going on in other areas of the business. When we discussed both of theses events at a coaching discussion it was clear that if the regular 1-1’s had been happening with everyone and team meetings were a given part of daily operations then these two events might not have occurred.
So this illustration shows there has to be a solid reason behind why you want to embed new behaviours or change the way you do things.
Ask yourself the question for anything you intended to do at the beginning of 2018 what was your “why” was it strong enough? Is it still there?
Also who are you accountable ? It really helps if you share what you would like to work on with someone else and ask them to be your accountability buddy until the new habit or action becomes embedded in your routine.
Sandra works as a coach to both businesses and private clients – more information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com. She has also written a book called Own It which can be found on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl
Anyone who has used the profiling tool Belbin will be familiar with the various roles we can all migrate too e.g. Plant (the ideas person), Implementer (the doer) etc. well I am a Resource Investigator (the person who finds someone to help or finds an expert for the team) I love connecting people who I think will either get on or who can help each other.
Thankfully in my job I get to meet a huge variety of people, so I can connect people easy if asked to do so or I spot an opportunity that I feel will be mutually beneficial. There is one prerequisite however before I recommend a professional service provider to someone though and that is that I must be 100% happy with that service and the individual providing the service myself. For me to be 100% happy I need to have had a consistently high level of service over a long period of time coupled with the traits I mentioned in my previous blog regarding the individual being knowledgeable, passionate about their subject area and tailored in their offering to each individual client.
When I was asked for the “thankful list” for a profession or service that others provide that I appreciate I had no hesitation in calling out two people in my life who meet all the criteria above and who I always recommend to others without any hesitation and have done for the past three years.
My hairdresser Nadine of Madison Rae http://www.madison-rae.co.uk/ and my acupuncturist Verity Allen http://www.verityallenacupuncture.com/ both ladies tick all the boxes on a consistent basis, so if ever I meet people via business or socially I share their contact details.
When working with teams of customer service professionals one key measure universally used to measure the current level of customer service is the Net Promotors Score which simply asks the question would you recommend this service others? This is the ultimate result we should all be aiming for; if all our clients are delighted with the service that we provide they will have no hesitation in recommending your service to others and act as your unpaid salesforce always without realising it.
Sandra works as a coach to business and private clients and is also the author of the book Own It available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl
You may have heard the phrase “we become an average of the five people we surround ourselves by” Personally I believe this is so true and can have a massive impact on how you live your life and whether you reach your full potential and live the life you want for yourselves.
If I remember back to my early family life I wasn’t born into a family who inspired me to achieve anything other than average. Looking back for the first 21 years of my life the people I was surrounded by were using my own definition of weather character cloudy skies. They were good people and some days were better than others but until I started work for an American computer company Hewlett Packard my aspirations for my own life were average and ordinary.
As I started right at the bottom of this growing American multinational they type of people I found myself spending time with started to change. There were still the cloudy skies folk amongst the people I began to interact with however the big change for me was that I started to come across a more inspirational type of person who was operating on a different level. These people exuded infectious energy, they worked hard, they were professional, they were fun to be with as they knew how to play hard as well! When the company was growing rapidly in 1980’s we certainly worked and played hard sometimes staying behind in the office to reconcile the month-end accounts until midnight and being back at the desk by 8am the next day. I learnt about the importance of teamwork, setting stretch goals and continually improving both processes and taking any opportunity that came my way to attend learning and development events. Some of the course tutors on such training events were also pivotal in my own learning.
Without really realising it at the time my world had expanded and now I was surrounded by some ‘Rays of Sunshine’ These people were impressive professionally but also authentic and approachable at the same time. Not everyone I met was like this but there was enough of them in my life now to know that there was a different way of approaching life. There was another level beyond Cloudy Skies and I wanted to learn how these people lived their life in this way.
So, look back over the last few weeks, list who you spent your time with, how many Rays of Sunshine are in your life? Enough or do you need to find some more?
Learn more about how important it is to understand who you surround yourself by in Chapter 8 of Own It Book available using this link amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl
We have all been here whether it be a new job, a new relationship, a new hobby, a new goal or a new business venture, there is always the initial phase where it is exciting, it is refreshing, you are on fire, your levels of enthusiasm are super high nothing can get in your way you are super focused. This lasts for a variable amount of time depending on the person or the subject matter. For me personally over the years this initial new phase lasts approximately 6 months, maybe shorter if it’s something like a new eating regime, for me the pattern is 3 weeks for this type of thing. This shows the timeframe isn’t that important it’s the recognition that the novelty of your new thing is beginning to wear off and it’s starting to get tougher to keep enthusiastic and motivated.
What could be happening is that you aren’t getting the results you expected as quickly as you thought? I have witnessed this myself and with clients in the areas of starting a new business and in establishing new healthy lifestyle patterns. I think in the initial stages we tend to be over optimistic about how long things will take. In setting up a new business or freelance career for example I now talk with clients about the fact it could take 3-4 years to get established or at least get used to the unpredictability of self-employed income generation. When it comes to making changes to help your energy levels and wellbeing it is helpful if you see some instant results that encourage you to keep going but often the outcomes can be delayed until the habits become established and it becomes a way of life and one day you suddenly notice that you have more energy, or you aren’t craving a sugar fix every four hours. I know when I embarked on the “I quit sugar” process last year I expected to lose a ton of weight. That didn’t happen but 12 months down the line I am so glad I did it as I am no longer craving a food fix every four hours and I feel so much better with less sugar in my body with the side benefit I am weighing less than I was and managing to maintain this lower regular weight easier.
So how do you keep going through this testing phase? You need to develop your own personal toolkit and surround yourself with the right people to remind you as to why you started this in the first place. What was your reason? What was your why? How any people have you told what you are doing? Making a commitment to others who believe in what you are doing and want you to be successful is another technique in your tool kit to help you get through this testing phase and keep the momentum going.
For more tools and suggestions take a look at my book Own It regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon via this link http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl
Its a strange month December. Should we be making a last minute attempt to achieve all those goals we set in January or should we forget those and start thinking towards 2014 and resetting some more challenges?
Also everyone is so busy the whole month of December could pass buy quickly, with the festive preparations and social gatherings that no progress is made on goal achievement.
Why not set some small challenges for December?
Look at that “ to do list”. What has been on there for a long time? Perhaps December is the time to tackle those tasks or goals that are fairly simple to tick off the list but just need some dedicated focus. Why wait until January?
Just think of that sense of achievement you get when something you have been meaning to do for ages gets accomplished and ticked off the list.
Need a christmas pressent idea how about http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CEgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.co.uk%2FLife-Without-Limits-Wellington-Autobiography-ebook%2Fdp%2FB005EM8NQ2&ei=Y4-cUpLJI-SJ7AahrYH4Cw&usg=AFQjCNFW0hVQNtSKuNAL62iKpl7gULkqbg
After listening to Chrissie give a talk at Bristol University last Monday we were all reminded what can be accomplished in a very short space of time.