Firing Yourself is the Answer – What was the Question?

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While the New Year brings boundless opportunity and the possibility of a fresh start, most of us find ourselves starting the New Year without a clear plan.
Why? Because while a New Year offers the opportunity for a fresh start, we also drag the past into the future with us. What I mean by this is that the longer that we stay in the same job, the more likely it is that we see that job from a stale perspective. There is old saying that goes something like this; “Do you have five years of experience? Or the same year five times?”
While it is easy to see that a peer or another employee has started to take their job for granted, it is much harder to see this challenge in ourselves.

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask.
When we have a ‘stale’ perspective the questions we are asking are often not helpful. In other words, a salesperson could continually ask “Why can’t I sell more?” or a manager may ask “Why can’t I find more engaged employees?”. While neither of these questions is inherently bad, they are also not helpful. This is because they are too often asked from a stale perspective. We are not really seeking an answer. We are actually seeking to change our circumstances without changing the only person that we can change – ourselves.
Which leads us to the best question I have ever come across when I am seeking to plan the next year.

Here’s The Question: Why should I be hired to do this job next year?
What if you fired yourself? I don’t mean literally – I mean as a mental exercise. What if did not have your job and you had to apply for your job right now? How would you look at things differently?
Why should you be fired?
What are the reasons why you are fireable? How have you missed expectations in the past year? What skills have you neglected to develop? What has happened that should not have? What opportunities were missed?
Why should you be re-hired?
Now that you have fired yourself, you will need to get yourself rehired. When you start a new job you have to interview for it. Pretend that you are preparing for that interview. Ask yourself what you learned last year that may you more capable in your job. Do you have the qualifications to achieve the objectives of the job this coming year? Also, when you interview for a new job you have to provide references. What would your boss, customers and peers say about your performance this year? You may want to rewrite your job description. What do you need to change in terms of your skill, behavior or attitude? What do you need to optimize that you have been doing the same way for some time? What could you eliminate? What do you need to do a better job with? Why do you want this job? What is your commitment as you start your new job?
You need to accept the job.
If you are going to accept the job this year, then you must be clear about what you are committing to. If you have done this exercise properly, then you should find your excitement level and motivation is higher than before you started this exercise!
Remember when you started this job – you were excited. There is no reason why you cannot recapture that excitement as you plan for the New Year.
Make sure that every year is the best one yet by making every year a brand new start.
So go ahead – fire yourself.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE IS A SCIENCE- NOT AN ART

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When was the last time that you received amazing customer service?
If you are like most people it is so rare that it really stands out in your mind.

When we poll our clients about solid (let’s forget about amazing) customer service we get the same answers every time; DisneyAppleSouthwest Airlines, and sometimes Zappos. That our clients have difficulty identifying any other examples is a sad refelection on how low standards are these days when it comes to meeting customer expectations.

But what is great customer service?

Too often we make a fundamental error when it comes to customer service: We assume that everyone defines it the same way. This causes most customer service training to be ineffective at best – and at worst – downright frustrating to many front line employees.

Now, I can hear what you are thinking. What the heck? Of course everyone defines it the same way.

OK, let’s try a little experiment. I am going to prove to you (without a shadow of a doubt) that not only do people define customer service differently,  but that people at your own company define it differently. To make things even worse, the conventional wisdom of how to improve customer service often makes things even worse!

Here is what I want you to do. Rank the following words in order of importance to you as a customer:

Approachable
Friendly
Professional
Easy
Informative
Caring
In Control
Respectful
Patient

While all these terms apply to a customer service interaction, some will definitely be more important to you.

Now take the same list and give it to somebody that you know sees the world slightly differently than you.

What happened? Did they rank the list differently?

Not only was the ranking likely very different,  even the way they will ‘define’ some of the terms will be different. For example, some individuals will interpret a customer service agent being very direct and to the point as ‘respectful’ of their time, while others would be focused on the tone of voice and whether the customer service agent was making them feel like they were not rushed as ‘respectful’.

So perhaps the next time you experience ‘poor customer service’ the issue may be as much with a conflict of what the term means as it is a lack of desire to serve you well.

We believe that improving customer service is a science not an art. However in order to make it a science, you have to use science as the basis of improving it. Check back here frequently for more tips on how to make your customer service training (and coaching) as effective as it can possibly be.

In order to help you achieve your customer service goals, we have a number of resources available. The 4 Faces of Frustration Workshop is designed to assist you in radically shifting the level of customer service you consistently provide! Visit us today at 4 Faces of Frustration Workshop.

How to Turn Frustration Into Delight

The 4 Faces of Frustration Workshop is designed to radically improve your customer service!