Leadership. A powerful, important, and influential word. A word in the professional sense, often used to describe how to manage people. It also applies to how organizations are run. It is strategic, tactical, and situational. Consequently, it can be the defining factor in the degree of success a company, team or individual can have. I have been fortunate enough to be in a position of leadership many times, and I found it to be one of the most rewarding, challenging, and truly satisfying experiences of my professional career.
So what makes a leader GREAT? Not an easy question to answer, but for me a few things come to mind. First and foremost, I believe it is essential to be authentic. One can't lead effectively, if he or she is not true to him or herself - a part of who you are will naturally come out when you try and influence people , activities or events. So let it! Be natural in whatever way you are trying to lead. This doesn't mean that you won't have to do something that you are uncomfortable with, because you will - just remember who you are when doing so.
The next thing that comes to mind is versatility - being a leader, especially when leading large scale teams, requires you to be all things to all people. Simply put being able to adjust your leadership style, without being insincere, is a crucial requirement to have success. Many of the adjustments you make will be specific to the members of your team. Supporting someone who is high energy, outgoing, and naturally interactive is far different from the introvert who simply wants to do great work with little engagement.
A great tool that I found really helps make adjustments to your leadership style is DISC - a personality profiling tool purchased by many companies to better understand how their employees tick. It delves deep into how a person prefers to interact with people, and identifies how he or she best fits into a given culture. As a compliment to assessing fit, it is a terrific tool! (And no, I am not being paid by DISC to promote them! LOL)
A third critical piece of being a great leader is attitude. Quite frankly, I believe it is the most important aspect of effective leadership. How you carry yourself, the way in which you deal with difficult situations, and most importantly how you choose to treat people will dictate your success. Having the right attitude sets the tone for who you are, and how you will be perceived. And remember perception is reality - as a Leader, each and every action you take is carefully monitored - keep that in mind.
Another key leadership quality is modesty. This is one of the more difficult attributes to embrace, and is often elusive. From my standpoint, it is only natural to want to celebrate success, especially when it happens often. The corporate landscape is especially competitive, and the pressure to succeed is immense - this only increases with increasing responsibilities - mostly because the competition for more Senior leadership roles (Director and above) is fierce. So celebrate but do so by deflecting recognition off of yourself and onto those you support. This is an art and to do sincerely will substantially increase your likeability.
Let's face it: when broken down, most of us want to LIKE our boss. He or she is someone we want to care about us and our work, as well as offer help when we need it. Moreover, if we demonstrate the competencies required for our jobs, we want the freedom to make decisions, and run our part of the business. That doesn't mean we may not flinch when we don't do well and we hear about it, but I believe if provided with the above essentials, we have a good chance to work well with our boss - add a bit of natural chemistry, and great things are ahead!
I am only scratching the surface on leadership. Enough books have been written on the subject to suggest how complex a subject leadership really is. My intent is simply to highlight a few attributes that have worked for me, and moreover those I truly believe in. This also doesn't imply that I was always an effective leader, because I wasn't - I can say though that my greatest professional lessons came from the mistakes I made while leading.
We are Customer Service Simplified! We work with organizations of all shapes and sizes to help them simplify and distinguish their customer experience. To learn more visit us at www.simplifyingservice.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and get in touch at 647-202-7385 or email@example.com.
Happy New Year Everyone!
To start the year off with a bang, we'd like to share our latest publication. We've written an article on the current trends taking place in the Canadian marketplace, and suffice it to say, there is a ton going on - click here ARTICLE and go to pages 16 and 17 to read it, and please let us know what you think! A special thanks to Workforce Magazine for inviting us to write it - we loved doing it, and we look forward to writing another one soon.
We'd like to wish all of our readers a terrific 2015 filled with great success and happiness, and we trust everybody had a nice holiday season. Be well and stay tuned for our upcoming first blog of 2015 on leadership.
We are Customer Service Simplified! Learn more about us at www.simplifyingservice.com and get in touch by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 647-202-7385. And catch us on twitter @efed27.
Simplicity. Oh how nice it can be when something is simple. Too many things in our lives are complicated, and that often includes our experiences as consumers. Many companies don't focus enough on how to simplify their customer experiences. This is no easy task to be sure, but one that too many organizations really need to improve. So, what makes our experiences so complicated? Often, the employees we interact with are either not fully prepared to serve us (through effective training and coaching), and/or they are equipped with processes and technologies that make handling our inquires unnecessarily difficult.
Through my everyday routines, and especially when I travel, I am in contact with organizations of every kind. Whether it's simply grabbing a cup of coffee, picking up some household essentials, or following up on one of my many bills (any chance I can ignore these?! Lol) I have multiple touch points with companies every day. I am either on somebody's web site, on the phone, engaging in an e-mail or live chat, or talking to someone in person. It is a continuous circle of daily interaction. And recently there have been a few experiences that defined the art of simplicity - moreover, on almost every occasion there was a high degree of care to right a wrong.
Here they are!
There should be no reason why ALL companies can't deliver the kind of experiences I describe above. It shouldn't matter how big your customer service channel is either. Each of these companies are large sized Canadian and U.S. based organizations and they got it RIGHT. Now maybe I got lucky - I might have just spoken with the right employees - or perhaps my loyalty with said companies was taken into account? Maybe it was my approach? Whatever the case, the experiences should stand on their own, and serve as great lessons for how simplicity can make a big difference in delivering a great customer experience.
For customer service/experience leaders out there, please keep in mind the following:
These are just five ways to make resolving customer issues simpler and more effective. There are others but starting here will go a long way towards distinguishing your customer experience. None of this work is easy and what I talk about above is only a summary of what's needed to be successful. Although sometimes knowing where to start is half the battle; from there, you may find it's just a bit easier to figure things out.
We are Customer Service Simplified. Come visit us at www.simplifyingservice.com to learn more about how we help organizations simplify and distinguish their customer experience. Click here to contact us. And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter.
If you manage a Call Centre, you know that this can be a big hot-button. In fact, I recently completed a consulting engagement where this was indeed, a heated topic. For those of you managing and/or working in a Call Centre, you likely have an opinion on whether or not to measure call length, including time spent on hold and wrapping up with a customer - in Call Centre terms this is Average Handle Time (AHT).
Historically, AHT is used to ensure front line employees are mindful of how long they interact with customers. The challenge is that this often results in calls being rushed without the customer inquiry being resolved. The customer then has to call back and is probably frustrated with his/her initial experience. If keeping AHT below a certain target is for the purpose of increasing operational efficiency, it may not work if customers end up calling again - this is more expensive than if the initial call was handled with a longer than normal AHT. Also, customer satisfaction has likely eroded because of having to make a second call.
Proponents of AHT measurement may argue that without a target in place, employees may take excessive liberties regarding how long their calls take, even if in some cases the time was truly necessary to resolve the customer inquiry. This may result in calls that have no real reason to be extended, being longer than necessary - increasing the cost to take calls. And in some cases, it may also negatively affect the customer experience, as most of us look for speedy resolutions to our inquiries.
Another consideration is the importance of AHT in forecasting how many calls you expect to receive and the number of employees needed to handle them. This is a crucial part of effectively running a Call Centre and needs to be considered. Also, let's please remember the inherent stress that develops with employees who feel too much pressure to finish calls within a given period of time - this can substantially impact their engagement.
And so begins the conundrum of what to do with this key Call Centre measurement. This corner will encourage you to only measure leaders on it, and avoid using it as metric for front line employees. We find the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and having worked for an organization that proved this theory, I stand behind it.
Here's our rationale for using it as a business measurement, but not for the front line:
AHT is a key metric to track and measure in a Call Centre. We simply believe that consideration should be given for how to best do that while building trust with your employees and more effectively resolving customer inquiries along the way. The steps above are proven and do work - just please be patient.
We are Customer Service Simplified! We can help with improving any facet of customer service and sales operations, including Call Centres and we invite you to connect with us:
Call us at 647-202-7385
Email us email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about our services at www.simplifyingservice.com
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We'd love to hear from you!
Just read an interesting article in the New York times. It speaks to employee scheduling practices at Starbucks, with the implication that these policies are common place for many retailers. It made me immediately think about how important somebody's schedule is when it comes to his/her job satisfaction. Makes sense too. Being able to plan your life is heavily dependent on when you work. This is especially difficult for front line employees, who are often paid hourly (especially in retail), and lack the scheduling flexibility often given to salaried employees. Click here New York Times Article to read it and let us know what you think.
We are Customer Service Simplified and can help you with all facets of your customer experience organization. Give us a shout at 647-202-7385 or e-mail us at email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you!
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