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Friday, January 4, 2013

Time To Pay The Piper

The party's over, the tree is gone and the decorations are packed away for another year. We've had our fun and now it's time to pay the piper.

If you're like me and the scales are telling you that perhaps you gave into those yummy temptations a few too many times over the holidays, it may be a good idea to join me in a little exercise program to help shed that extra pound or two.

There are of course many options - from Pilates to kickboxing and everything in between.

Not being much of a fitness buff, I wouldn't pretend to know which of these is the most effective, but there is one simple little exercise that always seems to work for me; and in the spirit of giving, I thought I'd share it with you today.

You won't need to fork out for a gym membership, new outfit, or special classes for this one. In fact, this is likely best practiced in the comfort of your own home among family and friends.

There is just one caution I must highlight: Always remember to exercise responsibly.

Ready?

   and a one...

        and a two...

              and a three...




Wishing you and yours health, wealth, happiness and great service in the New Year!

Jim


To comment, or read the comments on this blog click on 'comments' beside the little envelope below. To read previous articles (this is #51), see the Blog Archive (mid right) and to become a Wavemaker Blogs follower, click on 'Follow' (lower right).

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If you would like to know more about how Wavemaker Consulting can help your company improve the customer experience you provide, visit our Website, or email us at wmconsulting@live.com

Friday, May 4, 2012

Talking To Strangers

When we were small, our mothers told us time and time again not to talk to strangers. It was good advice back then, but sadly, most of us have continued to heed this well intended counsel long past its best before date.

Now that childhood is behind us, the benefits of talking to strangers far  outweigh the risks. It is amazing how much we can learn from people we don’t know… and how enjoyable that experience can be for all parties involved.


In the vast majority of cases, all you need to do is smile and initiate the conversation with a few simple questions like “How are you?”; “Where are you from?”and/or “What do you do?”  

You’ll be amazed at how simply asking these questions of total strangers (and doing so often) will make you far more comfortable, confident and competent on those dreaded occasions when you are called on to make presentations at work, or speak out in social situations.

If, like most of us, you are a service provider and/or in sales, make it a regular practice in the workplace and I suspect you'll find your job will get much easier, not to mention more rewarding. After all, a little friendly conversation can only enhance the customer experience… and increases sales!

For these reasons and more, I have made ‘talking to strangers’ not only a personal habit, but also a regular and often mandatory assignment for all of my public speaking and customer experience workshops; and the feedback has been very positive indeed.  

So next time you’re queued up at the grocery store checkout, on an elevator, or riding the bus, put away your Blackberry, iPhone, or whatever little electronic device you are addicted to, and strike up a real conversation with a total stranger? You’ll likely find that face-to-face communications is the still the most powerful of the social media.

If we all just spent a little more time talking to strangers, especially those from different cultures, generations and belief systems, we’d all be a little happier... and maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place.


To comment, or read the comments on this blog click on 'comments' beside the little envelope below. To read previous articles (this is #50), see the Blog Archive (mid right) and to become a Wavemaker Blogs follower, click on 'Follow' (lower right).

If you would like to be notified whenever a new Wavemaker blog topic is posted, just drop us an email at wmconsulting@live.com with "Blog Me" in the subject bar. We promise never to provide your contact details to anyone else and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.

If you would like to know more about how Wavemaker Consulting can help your company improve the customer experience you provide, visit our Website, or email us at wmconsulting@live.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Blog - Hire for Goosebumps - by Roy Osing

On the outside chance you don't already know or haven't at least heard of this month's guest blogger, please allow me to introduce him: Roy Osing is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Brilliance for Business, an organization dedicated to providing practical and proven ways to improve both business and personal performance.

Roy is also a widely recognized blogger, speaker, seminar leader, business consultant, educator and personal coach, not to mention the author of Be Different or be dead. a must read if you are looking for competitive advantage.

The following is one of many of Roy's pearls of wisdom when it come to creating the customer experience:



HIRE FOR GOOSEBUMPS

Dazzle your Fans. Blow ‘em away. Leave them breathless. Mesmerise them; a key strategy to Distinguish your organization from the faceless competitive herd. SERVE them don’t SERVICE them. You SERVICE automobiles but you SERVE people.

THE most important way of achieving the Dazzle Dream is to recruit people that love human beings! People that have the instinctive desire to serve their fellow homo-sapiens. To take care of them. To satisfy them regardless of what they want. A person can’t be trained to love people; they are either borne with the nurturing attribute or they are not.

The real issue then becomes how to find these invaluable folks. How to discover people this natural desire to serve.

Here’s a rather simple but so effective way of separating the Human Lovers from the Fish (or the Grinners who have been through some type of Customer Service Training program).

First, ask the prospective employee this question: “Do you love human beings?”. They will realize that this a bit of a trick question but will not know where you are going with it. Fun as the interviewer to say the least. Most people will say “yes” in varying ways, ranging from the declaration “Absolutely” to the positive inference “Sure”. You need to dig deeper.

Next, pose this: “Tell me a story that will show me that you love your fellow humans”. The responses you get from this request will be of two types: One, “The Intellectualizer” or two, “The People Lover”. The Intelectualizer has figured out what you are up to and will conjure up a story that quite frankly will leave you COLD.

The natural-born People Lover, on the other hand will thrill you with a story that will leave you warm all over. Their story will paint a vivid picture of someone who cares about people and who is creative at finding ways to create unforgettable memories for them.

The People Lover will leave you with Goosebumps. Hire for Goosebumps and you will never go wrong. Do it. Your fans deserve them.

Cheers,

Roy

To comment, or read the comments on this blog click on 'comments' beside the little envelope below. To read previous articles (this is #49), see the Blog Archive (mid right) and to become a Wavemaker Blogs follower, click on 'Follow' (lower right).

If you would like to be notified whenever a new Wavemaker blog topic is posted, just drop us an email at wmconsulting@live.com with "Blog Me" in the subject bar. We promise never to provide your contact details to anyone else and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.

If you would like to know more about how Wavemaker Consulting can help your company improve the customer experience you provide, visit our Website, or email us at wmconsulting@live.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ever Been Stuck on an Escalator?

Click on the play button below for an example of what I mean: 

video

I know this little scenario may seem totally ridiculous to you...but I'll bet, at least metaphorically, we've all been 'stuck on an escalator' at some point in time... and some of us may be stuck on one right now. 

Here's why:

In business, and in life, we often associate and apply rules, policies and processes to situations for which they they were not intended... and sometimes, they are just as silly as the ones being applied by the two people in this video.

Take for example;
  • the Customer Service Rep who refuses to allow the return of a minor purchase by a long time loyal customer citing some obscure or ill-conceived detail in the return policy as rational;  
  • the support department that, before it acts, refers virtually every decision, big or small, to the legal department just because of a single and somewhat obscure incident that happened years ago; 
  • the bank that asks a customer they have been dealing with for years, to fill out a pile of forms and jump through multiple security hoops to open a  new deposit account... notwithstanding the fact that it's the customer entrusting their money with the bank, not the other way around; 
  • or my personal favorite, the complaint department that with every call, is more concerned about finding out who was at fault and why, than what it is going to take to put things right... and keep the customer!
In fairness, management may have had all good intentions when the policies and processes driving these actions were developed, and probably never imagined they would be applied in situations where they would do far more harm than good. But nevertheless, they often are... even by equally well meaning employees!

Maybe it's time we all asked ourselves, "Do the rules, policies and processes I create, live and/or work by make sense?" If not, we may well find ourselves stuck on an escalator, or causing others that same fate.

The good news is, it only takes a little common sense to figure out how to get off an escalator. So perhaps the better question is: How do we make common sense common practice?

Any suggestions?


To comment, or read the comments on this blog click on 'comments' beside the little envelope below. To read previous articles (this is #48), see the Blog Archive (mid right) and to become a Wavemaker Blogs follower, click on 'Follow' (lower right).

If you would like to be notified whenever a new Wavemaker blog topic is posted, just drop us an email at wmconsulting@live.com with "Blog Me" in the subject bar. We promise never to provide your contact details to anyone else and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.

If you would like to know more about how Wavemaker Consulting can help your company improve the customer experience you provide, visit our Website, or email us at wmconsulting@live.com

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Senior Moment



A few years back, an elderly lady wrote the following letter to her bank. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in The London Times. I am sharing it with you now in hopes it brings a smile to your face... and should you be in business, the inspiration to review your automated telephone response system.






Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three 'nanoseconds' must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, re-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan payments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Solicitor, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:

1- To make an appointment to see me.

2- To query a missing payment.

3- To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

4- To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.

5- To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.

6- To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

7- To leave a message on my computer (a password to access my computer is required. A password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorised Contact.)

8- To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 8

9- To make a general complaint or inquiry, the contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.

Your Humble Client


It is important to remember that this letter was actually written by a 98 year old woman.

And may I wish you a happy, and not so slightly more prosperous, New Year.

To comment, or read the comments on this blog click on 'comments' beside the little envelope below. To read previous articles (this is #47 - I'm shooting for 50), see the Blog Archive (mid right) and to become a Wavemaker Blogs follower, click on 'Follow' (lower right).

If you would like to be notified whenever a new Wavemaker blog topic is posted, just drop us an email at wmconsulting@live.com with "Blog Me" in the subject bar. We promise never to provide your contact details to anyone else and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.

If you would like to know more about how Wavemaker Consulting can help your company improve the customer experience you provide, visit our Website, or email us at wmconsulting@live.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Still Wondering What to Get Them for Christmas?

Here I sit feeling rather guilty... for two reasons. Firstly, because I haven't written a blog article in some time and secondly, because rather than put that right, I am about to use my blog to engage in some rather shameless self promotion.

I'll make no excuse for my first failing (largely because I don't have one) but as per the second, my hope is you will appreciate I am making this suggestion not so much because I want to sell a few books, but because I honestly feel the little gift I am about to suggest could really make a difference in someones life.

So here we go:

Still wondering what to get them for Christmas?

How about higher grades, better performance reviews, stronger sales results, exciting new opportunities, a bigger pay cheque...?

According to University of Pittsburgh's Katz Business School, the ability to communicate is the single greatest factor contributing to one’s success in business. Most teachers would also suggest it has a huge impact on a student's learning ability, not to mention marks. Public Speaking is the ultimate demonstration of this ability and a critical skill for anyone seeking a position of leadership, especially in an area that involves sales and service.

Unfortunately, most of us are not entirely comfortable with the prospect of being called on to present, especially to a large group, or to strangers.

If you know someone who fits this description, you might want to consider giving them a copy of my book How Not to Suck at Public Speaking which features 50 ways to leave your fears behind and become a great presenter.

At $14.95 it makes a great stocking stuffer and it could just turn out to be one of the best gifts you ever gave them.

Enough said. Thanks for allowing me this little indulgence. I promise to return to my old ways and post a less commercial entry very soon.

Until then... here's wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and All the Best of the Holiday Season!

Jim


To comment, or read the comments on this blog click on 'comments' beside the little envelope below. To read previous articles (this is #46 - I'm shooting for 50), see the Blog Archive (mid right) and to become a Wavemaker Blogs follower, click on 'Follow' (lower right).

If you would like to be notified whenever a new Wavemaker blog topic is posted, just drop us an email at wmconsulting@live.com with "Blog Me" in the subject bar. We promise never to provide your contact details to anyone else and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.

If you would like to know more about how Wavemaker Consulting can help your company improve the customer experience you provide, visit our Website, or email us at wmconsulting@live.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Employee Disengagement Spells Bad News for All Canadians


According to a recent study conducted by the Mercer Group (a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing and investment services) employee disengagement in Canada has reached crisis proportions!



Among the nearly 30,000 employees Mercer polled across 17 countries, Canadian employees had the lowest level of engagement (defined as feeling they have a vested interest in the success of the company they work for and the willingness and motivation to exceed their job requirements) with over 50% acknowledging they have virtually 'checked out' on the job.

Interestingly, the highest level of engagement was found among employees over 50, the very group most large companies seem most eager to jettison these days.

That aside, a full 36% of all Canadian employees said they are seriously considering changing employers, up from 26% when last surveyed in 2006, and a further 22% said they could care a less whether they stay or go, which would suggest that growing turnover is inevitable. But as Madeline Avedon, Principal, Mercer’s Human Capital Business states in the report:

"This erosion in employee sentiment has business consequences that reach well beyond the direct costs of employee turnover."

While Madeline did not spell out specific consequences, it stands to reason that all Canadians, be they business owners, corporate executives, consumers, investors, students, employees or retirees, can expect to pay a very high price if this problem is not addressed.

Decreased productivity, lower quality goods and services, inflated costs, fewer exports, diminished customer service levels, fewer employment opportunities, worse returns on investments, higher taxes, more business failures, more layoffs and a lower standard of living...are just a few of the potential implications of this negative trend.

Is there a way out or is it too late? That's hard to say, but perhaps at least part of the answer lies in one of the other findings of the study, which points out the strong correlation between employee empowerment, engagement and service quality. Again according to Madeline:

"Canadian employees, in particular, are more engaged when they can deliver quality service..."

I would suggest that the flip side also hold true - Canadians deliver a higher level of service quality when they are more engaged - and that the problem (and therefore the solution) lies in the hands of management!

Either way, those of us in business better start empowering, investing in and caring more about our people and our customers... preferably before we find ourselves operating in a country with third world economic status!


To comment, or read the comments on this blog click on 'comments' beside the little envelope below. To read previous articles (this is #45 - I'm shooting for 50), see the Blog Archive (mid right) and to become a Wavemaker Blogs follower, click on 'Follow' (lower right).

If you would like to be notified whenever a new Wavemaker blog topic is posted, just drop us an email at wmconsulting@live.com with "Blog Me" in the subject bar. We promise never to provide your contact details to anyone else and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.

If you would like to know more about how Wavemaker Consulting can help your company improve employee engagement and the customer experience you provide, visit our Website, or email us at wmconsulting@live.com