Author Archives: Inspiring Innovations, Inc.
In today’s confusing and challenging private and public sector business conduct, the definition and delivery of quality customer service has been changed. If you think in-depth about the needs, expectations, timing, locations, and laws surrounding effective and efficient customer service… you realize that many of the old principles have to be altered. So when asked to possibly offer a customer service training session for a solid group later this year… I quickly realized the terms “Change and Adaptation” in the customer service arena would be key.
Therefore, in an effort to at least offer start-up suggestions about addressing The “Sliding-Scale” of Customer Service… take a look at the following specialized TOP 10 suggestions:
- Allocate more service time for every customer. Gaining a full/better understanding of what they need is critical. ASSUME NOTHING!
- Fine-tune your listening skills. Service/product requests via telephone, online, and in-person all require different listening approaches. (Roleplaying training in each listening area may help.)
- Be your own customer from time-to-time and ask: What would YOU want to hear or happen from YOU?
- Anticipate all processes and forms that may need to be revised… just to accommodate new products and service delivery methods.
- Likewise be open to, flexible, and innovative regarding customer service delivery methods (i.e. online, in-person, videocasts, drive-thru, WHATEVER!)
- Understand that there are or will be new rules for health and safety. Embrace them quickly and move on.
- Remember great customer service is always a “two-way street”. So plan to ask a number of service questions to attain high quality.
- Slow down. Although others may be waiting… ensuring you deliver customer service right the first time… will get you more great second time business.
- As you are in the customer service action… consider how you would be measured with regard to: Patience/Process/Performance/Personality?
- Think about… identify… and utilize multiple ways to say THANK YOU. Everyone needs to hear and feel appreciated.
OK I realize this message went a little long. But The “Sliding-Scale” of Customer Service has endless points of priority and impact… my TOP 10 are just a thought-generating start.
Did you ever have one of those times when one of your fun ideas came back to challenge you? You know what I mean! When someone reads something you wrote or tries one of your concept innovations… and asks REAL questions about it. Well first as we begin this message, check out the Creation & Development Supply Chain shown below:
Next, study the different “levels” and actions suggested for development. Hopefully you understand why it was a component of an IDEAS GUIDEBOOK that I had put together for a consultant customer. And then consider the challenge when recently I had a small group I was working with ask me: “Where do I/we fit on this Supply Chain?”
Well this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is not an answer to their question. Rather I think my message is to ask all of you… where do you fit?
Are you in the early idea generation stage of where YOU are going? Or is your organization/business preparing for that “SHARK TANK TIME” regarding a new product or service. Or are you planning an approach with agency/personnel partners that will make you better in your world-of-work?
The IDEAS GUIDEBOOK Creation & Development Supply Chain is an almost timeless visual to help you place yourself in terms of progress. Thinking you are farther ahead than you really are… or thinking you are holding back and not progressing… is why you need to try and realistically place yourself/your group on this unique Supply Chain. So have fun with giving it some thought.
Problem Solving typically is NOT an easy task. However, taking the easy way out of a challenge or not asking the tough questions during the time of the challenge… is not quality Problem Solving at all!
As leaders I believe we need to hope that INNOVATION can be a standard outcome of every Problem Solving challenge. I hope you enjoy the discussion.
Sometimes as I consider topics for the weekly TRIPLE III TIME blog message… I try to look more specifically into one of the foundation Inspiring Innovation, Inc. principles: LEADERSHIP/COMMUNICATION/INNOVATION/PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. This week however the Balancing Personal/Professional “Inputs & Outputs” is truly one of those topics that fall under that SPECIAL category… because it affects all four principles! So how should we start the balancing act?
First, I think everyone should conduct a Personal/Professional Information Inputs Assessment at least once every 90 days. As part of the Assessment, list (in detail) the different Input sources that you allow to enter into your “space”! The list will be extensive. Personal conversations, social media, telephone calls, radio, magazines, television, mail, and the list goes on. Then think about the “relationship” you have with each of these sources. It is family, professional colleagues, general news pieces, training opportunities, sales efforts, and/or political ads? Really consider the purpose, value, frequency, and quality of the Inputs.
Then conduct a similar Assessment on your Personal/Professional Information Outputs. What do you say, email, design, promote, or publish? Are you selective in your information sharing Output practices… or wide open? Are most of your Output messages critical or complimentary? Do they contain solid data/facts/instructions… or are they ramblings of what is, could be, should be, or confusion? How often do politics impact your Outputs?
As you can see the Assessments I suggest are not easy… nor do they provide a perfect suggestion for Balancing Personal/Professional “Inputs & Outputs”. Instead, this TRIPLE III TIME message is a simple reminder that if you want to improve your LEADERSHIP/COMMUNICATION/INNOVATION/PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Skills… you need to strategically balance the sources and content of information that you receive every day and then be open, honest and balanced in your information sharing interactions with others. Just like quality and authenticity… BALANCE MATTERS!
Good or bad… I believe today we live in a time that is constantly seeking an open forum for Idea Generation versus (immediate) Action Planning!
It is so difficult to understand and accurately estimate the time and resources required to climb back to a solid “progress-for-all” situation. Health concerns (both physical and mental), fiscal risk-taking and strategically picking the right social and economic answers will remain a challenge for some time. Therefore, let us take an entrepreneurship-style leap and promise to keep our minds wide open as we commit to a Idea Generation Versus Action Planning strategy.
Specifically, what am I asking?
I am suggesting that we dedicate some time and surround ourselves with Idea Generators only. Then we would all agree that there are no rules and we have access to a ton of money. Do you think the group would come up with some unique problem-solving solutions? The focus would not require the drafting of an Action Plan… but just a large list of progressive ideas. No one would have to vote on anything… because every idea would be welcomed and valued.
Interestingly, I believe you would discover:
- Who is committed to the change you seek.
- The unspoken creativity that evolves when ideas are written down.
- The challenge that “if you have a better idea… put it on the table” is HUGE.
- The progressive power that is felt when comments like: “That’s too old-fashioned”, “It won’t work”, “You don’t understand”, or “You are the one that needs to change”… are NOT allowed.
Bottomline: Too often great potential ideas die or are never heard due to a rush to develop an action plan. Give IDEA GENERATION Versus ACTION PLANNING the appropriate progress space… and positiveness will result.
It is always interesting as I work with individuals or groups on operational practices to ask them about their “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” policy? As one would expect, I always get a “WHAT POLICY?” look! I then go on to explain that everyone/everywhere makes decisions and takes action based on giving someone the “Benefit-of-a-Doubt.” Yes, it sounds funny and something you maybe don’t want to admit to… but I believe it exists. So this week lets use this TRIPLE III TIME to take a more serious look at What Does YOUR: “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” Policy Say? … and what TOP 10 Professional Factors might need to be considered if your policy was “real”?!
- Achieved past positive results when given the “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” on different issues.
- Displayed a willingness to prioritize the issue and not place it on a to-do list.
- Showed strength in communicating before, during, and after the “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” assignment was given.
- Expressed understanding of the importance and impact factors regarding the “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” challenges.
- Scored high honesty points when measured against other personnel.
- Voiced common comprehension of “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” limits/expectations.
- Promoted ability to operate successfully in a self-motivated environment.
- Did NOT offer an early list of negatives that would hinder “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” issue progress.
- Would standardly grant you the same “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” support if needed.
- Respects the notion that “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” credentials MUST BE EARNED!
Bottomline: When you as a Leader causally say: “I’m going to give you the “Benefit-of-a-Doubt” on this issue…” I hope you have this TOP 10 handy for reference.
Strategic Planning is a very standard, futuristic organizational development activity that is used by both the private and public sectors. Usually, an independent consultant is retained to help facilitate the process and concurrently draft a document that hopefully gives everyone a progressive design to move forward. Some plans are formatted to provide a five (5) year projection… while others may only look forward a couple years. Regardless, it is always helpful to employ a proactive plan that Boards, staffs, and communities may view as the future.
But what about now? No one EVER planned for or around the situation we all face today.
Well in an effort to offer a mini “where do we go from here” idea, I believe an appropriate starting spot would be to Revisit Your Groups Strategic Plan.
First, look through the whole document. Don’t be in a hurry… but try to prioritize 1-to-5 actions that would be reasonably achievable. Use simplicity, timeliness, and organization-wide participation as your guiding prioritizing principles.
Second, don’t rekindle your agency momentum alone. Involve a representative group of go-getters from all levels within the organization. Be sure to openly entertain ideas and suggestions for taking solid, progressive restart steps.
Finally, if you find yourself asking the question(s) if you are doing the right thing… STOP! Then turn the question(s) around and ask yourself to list at least three (3) reasons why you should NOT take new action. Make yourself write them down… to make sure YOU are listening.
Waiting for the right moment results in just one thing… WAITING!! Take the lead and set a progressive example.
LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast
Empowering is a progressively powerful word. Equally, Intrapreneurs are/can be progressively powerful impactors in and around your world-of-work! Therefore when you blend these two words and intentions together… you have the opportunity to share a great LEARNING MOMENTS podcast episode.
Empowering Intrapreneurs has been one of my professional priorities during my whole career. Hopefully, the suggestions I share can help you make it a priority with you.
One of the most important assignments/responsibilities any employee may experience is to Make THE Presentation! First, it seems like everyone has an issue about getting up in front of a bunch of people and offering a cool/solid presentation message. No matter the excuse: “I’m not a good speaker” … “I come across poorly” … “I’ve never done it before” … or “I will become physically sick”… as a leader, I have never completely let anyone off the presentation “hook”!
Today I believe that it is a critical world-of-work skill set… to have the capacity to Make THE Presentation. In fact, in every one of my college classes, I inform every student that they will never know when, where, or why they may be selected to present a job-based topic in their future workplace. So, this week’s TRIPLE III TIME will focus on a special Make THE Presentation TOP 10!
- Prepare your presentation based on what you would want/need to hear… if you were in the audience.
- Look beyond the basics of your topic and maybe offer an example or new option.
- Don’t just read it to people… “feel” your presentation to people too.
- Never be in a rush… message “digestion” often is different for everyone.
- Write down questions people may ask… being over-prepared is being prepared.
- Whether sitting or standing making your presentation… posture matters.
- Select the best, simple, descriptive words possible (Multiple interpretations cause multiple meanings.)
- Let people know WHO you are speaking for… yourself, the company/agency… WHO?
- Practice doesn’t really make a perfect presentation… but it sure helps.
- Finally, just be you… be authentic.
I hope these ideas help… let me know.
For those who know me… I mean really know me… they know that I have not been a supporter of program evaluations. Why? First evaluations are all about “old news” and/or activities that took place in the past. My focus was and continues to be on the future and “what next!” Second, evaluations never seemed to be “up-with-the-times”. The evaluation forms, processes, questions, and reports always were basic, historical, and by-the-book. There never seemed to be an interest or priority set around linking evaluation to innovation.
Well as you can see from this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message, my quarterly American Society for Public Administration article is dedicated to Using Evaluation To Infuse Innovations! My history discussion and progress suggestions may not be easily accepted nor usable. However, I will now admit that the use of quality evaluation findings can and should be contributors to infuse innovations in public service programming… whenever the opportunity arises.
Enjoy the article!