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Archive for the category “customer service”

It is a bad practice following best practices and best method

It is a bad practice following best practices and best methods pablo-9

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer.com

Who doesn’t know a little about the beaten path? Following best methods or best practices is generally portrayed as something good. It is highly desirable for folks to follow them because they render better results, or so they say. In fact a best method approach just means that it is the most often used method – no more, no less. It may also be a sure fire way to entrepreneurial mediocrity and a blah-blah life.

Just because many people have taken the path you are about to take does not automatically tell you that it is the best thing for you to do, is it? Does this even fit your set of conditions? Chances more often than not they are not, or not fully applicable. There is an even bigger issue with the best method approach.

In business, if you have managed to drive out cost by doing what other people do most often may be beneficial at first, but you actually help marginalize your product or service. Merely lowering sales price to increase sales volume you will have to drive down cost. You may encounter a nasty spiraling downturn in sales in the end anyway because now you are just doing what other people are doing too. That’s what is called a “me too” approach. Worse may be your financial folks paying you a not so comfortable visit because of dwindling profits. There will always be people who can copy our stuff faster than we can develop and market new ones. How is a best method approach going to render a competitive edge anymore?

Best practices in our social life are quite problematic. They are incredible boring. With no drive to change anything you are just waiting for low self-esteem, frustration, and perhaps even depression pestering you. The beaten path will beat you up, of course only figuratively.

What can you do about this? First and foremost you have to become fully aware about your situation. What is really going on and what is not being said when people say something to you? Are you just copying something, or are you providing real and intrinsic value? Ponder what the right thing to do is that is congruent with the legacy you want to leave behind. Find that alignment and start delivering it. You will never lead a bland life that way. You will never deliver commodity items at cutthroat prices either. Best practices simply have nothing to do with “best”, they just embody “average”. Look at best practices to merely represent industry and life trends. These do not work for you unless you learn how to make them relevant for you and your organization.


One strategy to affect change in people

One strategy to affect change in people Smaller FB

Another close relative of candor is tolerance. It is not necessarily the polar opposite, but in fact it can be worse as tolerance comes close to indifference. Tolerating a pattern of performance issues, incompetence and a pattern of mistakes will only get you and the other party into trouble. Yes, you will have to put some will power into being honest with yourself and then others. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages almost all the time. The moment you put it out there what you would like to see, people will naturally change on their own in order to help you. If the pattern still continues you now know that you must make tougher choices: Do you need to change yourself or is it time to abandon your current relationship? Thinking and acting upon your choices will bring peace of mind.

Take some typical examples from work. You have a co-worker that annoys you with his loud telephone conversations. You could just leave it be, complain to others about this and finally just be miserable about it. On the other hand, you could choose to speak with the colleague and tell him how you feel and ask if he could possible do something about this.

Here is a tip how to bring your issue up with others: First and foremost you need to have a plan what and how you wish for change to occur. Why is a plan important? You need to keep the meeting with your other party as constructive and factual as possible. Confrontation is not the way to go as you pull feeling and emotion into the discussion, which can put everybody’s brain into flight or fight mode. That would not be good. Identify the issue and think about what would happen if nothing changes.
Write it down and share this thought with your counterpart during the meeting. Now think really hard about what the change look like that you are asking about. Voice your desired outcome in the meeting.

Life is all about the choices you make. Choose speaking about this and affect a change even if it is hard at first to make the start. Remember that you will be feeling better about yourself when you make the choice to not tolerate things that upset you. Are you ready to make some tough choices? Where can you make a start that you can experiment with this?


When you work with customers it is what you do – not who you are

When you work with customers it is what you do – not who you are pablo-3

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

Anyone in the working environment who needs to interact with other people will encounter criticism one time or another. This gets more frequent the moment you need to deal with customers.  Letting your feelings respond for you and push back by taking this personal will only end badly for all parties involved. The customer will get more upset and most likely yell more and louder.

Just before you respond to anyone in this situation, take a moment and ponder whether or not what was said criticized what you do. That means your job function, your company, your company’s policy (hope you are not actually muttering this word in front of a customer though), etc. You will find that very few if any call will ever by about only you and how you personally caused an issue because of who you are. If it was about you, then take it as an opportunity and evaluate yourself and if you need to make any changes – make them quickly.

There is of course a limit of how much of a personal attack you should subject yourself to. Fortunately there are options. It is a good practice to ask the other party if you should get off the phone until such time that the conversation gets more professional again. The last resort is to hang up with the customer for the time being and calling back later.

Allowing people to vent and to just listen may be tough, but the rewards are worth it.


Who has got more tolerance for your unfiltered thoughts?

Who has got more tolerance for your unfiltered thoughts? Ralf a

Do you really enjoy more leeway at home when you say what and how you really feel? That is what a person attending a seminar with me a while ago asserted. Sure, at work one should be as objective as possible and depending on your company’s culture that may be more or less guarded. Can you afford pulling out all stops at home though because you are related to everyone?

While it may be true that family may have a harder time disowning you, you still can hurt feelings when you share your unfiltered thoughts with them. Therefore, it may take longer for them to be really annoyed, but when someone gets fed up with you it may just get as ugly as it would get at work. So why treat folks differently based on setting in the first place? Can you overextend your welcome with family just because its family? I think so – how about you?


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