Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who do you need to get to know better?

Abraham Lincoln said, "I don't like that man. I must get to know him better."

This wise man's quote relates so directly to the last questions I ask participants to answer on their action plans in the workshop Impression Management: Influencing Others. I originally created the course for the Directors at Swedish Medical Center and have customized it for many other clients since.  It focuses on the fact that as we reach management positions, we are asked to influence a wide range of individualssome of whom we may have had little contact with before.  
They're asked to think about everyone: direct reports, peers, managers of other departments, executives, board members, community members and on and on. Each of us has someoneor more than one personwhom we avoid because we have trouble communicating with them, don't understand them or just plain don't like them.  Yet, this person may be critical to our success or the success of our team.  For this reason, the final questions they're asked on their action plan are these: What is one critical relationship I need to build?  What can I do to begin building this relationship? When, where and how can I commence?

Who don't you like?  Who do you need to get to know better?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Venting Partners: You can't survive without one!

Leading a workshop the other day, I was reminded of a wonderful technique that allows you to vent appropriately—out of ear shot of customers or team members—and with an end in sight! It’s a good stress reducer and eliminates frequent complaining—which wears everyone down.  First you and someone agree to be venting partners.  When you need to vent, go to your partner and ask if this is a good time. They have the prerogative to set another time agreeable—or convenient—to both of you. 
To start, the listener says,
"OK, go!"
 After one minute the listener says "Stop."
 Then, the listener asks my favorite question,
“Do you need another minute?”
If the answer is yes, the listener says, “Go!”
After another minute, the listener says, “Stop.”
Interestingly, after a full minute or two of someone giving us their undivided attention, many of us don't need anymore time! 
There are some important rules:
Venting partners:
ŸGive partner their complete attention
ŸMake eye contact
ŸLook interestedmaybe nod the head
ŸAsk open-ended, clarifying questionsif needed
ŸGive acknowledgment of the other person's feelings

Venting partners do not:
ŸTell their partner to calm down
ŸGive advice
ŸSuck up the other person's pain
When the venting session is over, both must let it go.  Try ityou'll feel better!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Empower your employees to deliver exceptional customer service

I was just in San Francisco for the National Speakers Association How & Now Weekend.  Our conference was at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront.  It was one of the best hotel experiences I've had and by sharing this with you, I ask you to think about whether or not you empower your employees to deliver exceptional customer service.

My flight from New York landed about 3:30 pm, so I was checking in much later than most of my fellow NSAers.  When I saw how lovely the view was, I asked the young woman at the front desk if she had a room with a view.  She said, "Of course. That will be $20 more per night."  Still functioning on my penny-pinching ways begun in 2008, I said, "Oh, that's OK.  I don't spend much time in my room during the day."  You guessed it!  Walked into my room and looked out at a beautiful view.  Think about it.  Most people had checked in for the weekend.  She could see that room would be empty.  Why not give it to me?  Why worry about $40?  And the next day, still tired from two cross-country flights, I returned to that room to relax four times! 

When I was about to leave on Sunday, I headed out to the entrance to check on the shuttle.  I was told it would be there in six minutes.  It was windy, so I told the attendant I would be inside.  A few minutes later the shuttle pulled up, dropped off several people and...zoomed off!  I was half way to the door as it disappeared.  As you can imagine, I wasn't happy.  The doorman asked me to wait and went inside.  I followed him and the young woman he spoke to said, "I'm so sorry this happened.  We'd like to pay for your taxi to the airport."  She handed me her card. Lauri Donnelly is the Restaurant Supervisor.  I assume she was the acting manager at the time.  But how often do we see that entities, departments, locations, people function separately and seem unable to solve a customer complaint?  Yet studies show if the customer feels you are responsive to a problem, they will do business with you again in 82% to 95% of the cases.

What about your company or organization?  Everyone needs to be empowered to do what it takes to make customers very, very happy.  To deliver exceptional customer service.  Do that and they will do business with you again and again!