How Can I help You? Customer Service Re-Visited

Recently, my Wife and I returned for lunch to a local restaurant we had been away from ttss_cinnamon_crumble_apple_pie_hfor  a while and we had a totally non related conversation with a good friend of ours that runs a successful financial Planning/advice service.

My conversation with our friend was awesome, the dining experience… not so much.

But both ran together to form an idea here. The real Gem I picked up from my friend was “Why did you stop doing the things you used to do when you first started your business?…Because they WORKED.”confusing_signs5

At the restaurant, we encountered “communications issues” There was no language barrier, the problem was the content.We weren’t asked the things we expected to be asked. The actual content and intent for great service was there, but we didn’t recognize that we had missed some opportunities until we heard another server for another table prompt the diners at the adjoining table in familiar terms.

After I stopped feeling like a moron, I started to think about how we train our customers.

Times change, needs shift, technology and time constraints constantly change the way we as customers get our wants and desires addressed.

When I first started running my own business, I was constantly in a mode of self evaluation, What else can I do for you? Is there anything else I can provide to make this a better experience? How does the place smell? (really important where people pay to sweat a lot). It worked, I had happy clients, and my business grew. More importantly, it has survived

Over the course of years, I felt like I “knew what my customers wanted” I didn’t realize I had stopped asking them those questions. So now, my challenge is to get back in that “beginner mindset” to see how my client’s expectations have evolved with changing times and economies.

Without the input from clients, it is exponentially more difficult to keep a business in the front of their minds. How do can we improve our presentation across the board to provide the best information for our clients?

How do you get better information from (and to) your clients? How do you provide a high standard of communication? Please feel free to share a comment!

From the mouths of bab..chil…young adults

Saw this earlier and as a father of two beautiful daughters, it hit me right in the chest.

from Tanveer Naseer’s post: An Inspiring Example Of The Power Of Our Words

Don’t Change by Alya Naseer

Who told you?

Who told you that you have to call me mother or mom

And not mommy like you used to when you were little?

Who told you you weren’t perfect just the way you are?

Who told you that you weren’t skinny enough?

Who told you that you weren’t pretty and that you should use beauty products?

Who told you those things?!

Who told you to get rid of your favourite stuffed animals?

Who told you the music you were listening to was lame?

Who told you the clothes you were wearing weren’t cool?

Who told you that you have to act a certain way?

Who told you that you were a nothing?!

Who told you nobody loved you?!!!

Who told you to be someone who you are not?!

My sunshine, tell me

Please tell me who told you those nasty things

For I will take their heart and crumple it, beat it, crush it, throw it, step on it

Since that is what they did to your precious little heart

You are perfect the way you are my darling!

Don’t change!

You are my sun that gives me warmth through out the day

You are my angel for you bring kindness to this world

You are my heart for you are the one that keeps it beating

You are my kitten for you are adorable, cute and pretty, the perfect combination

You are my sugar pie for everyone loves sugar and everybody loves you

You are my bumblebee for they bring sweet honey and you are just that sweet

You are my gem, my diamond for you are precious and no one wants to lose you

You are the beautiful, green trees for you change the world

You are the air that keeps everyone alive

You are my breath for I would die without you

You are my soul for without you . . . I am nothing

You are as peaceful as a still pond in the middle of the path

You are as pretty as a rainbow in a bright blue sky

You are as delicate as a drop of water held by a single rose petal

You are as beautiful as the rays of sunlight

Passing through the holes between the leaves of a magnificent tree

You are as sweet as delicious candy you get from a candy store

You are everything a person loves

You see,

You are not what these people say!

You don’t need to listen to these horrible people!

Everyone loves it when you call me Mommy, and so do I

You are perfect just the way you are my sweet pea

You don’t have to be skinny for people to love you

You will always be pretty no matter what people say

For you are pretty on the inside and that is what counts the most

Keep those stuffed animals you love for that is who you are and people should accept that

Don’t let the other mean people around you change who you are!

Wear the clothes you want!

Listen to the music you want!

You are NOT a nothing!

Don’t believe what those cruel people say about you

For they said no one loves you yet that’s not true . . .

So if that’s not true, everything else is just to make you feel

Angry

Sad

But in reality

They are the ones who call their mothers mommy

And they are the ones who think they are not perfect

And they are also the ones who are jealous of your beauty

They keep all their stuffed animals

They are the ones who think they listen to lame music

And they think you wear the cool clothes

They think they are nothings

And they think nobody cares about them or loves them

Don’t you see now?

You are the one everybody loves

So don’t change

Not

one

bit.

What goes Down, Must Come up (sometimes)

Recently, in a great post on the Leadership Freak Blog ,Dan Rockwell shared: Leadership’s Most Neglected Virtue

As a Martial Arts instructor, Loyalty is a subtext that revolves frequently around Students and Instructors (especially as they advance). As a business owner, I see it time and again revolving through business relationships (especially as they “become comfortable”)

Loyalty, Like Respect is earned from receptive individuals and (when present) can flow, like Water from leaders to those receptive folks. And, Like Water, can build a reservoir which, when subjected to pressure (challenging circumstances or abundant supply), can, like an Artesian Well, spring forth; sharing it with others, nourishing the entire organization.

Like Respect and Love, Loyalty is earned by investments in the relationship…by the leader (who is that again?).

So…How does one do this? Like a handful of seeds, one cannot usually determine a viable seed (receptive individual) from from a non-viable one. Therefore, as a matter of habit, one invests in team members.

Unfortunately, like the Biblical “Parable of the Sower”, Seeds land in different places (individuals are products of their upbringing) developing differently before one has the opportunity to work together. One may also neglect “the field”, depriving it of nourishment leaving the organization to suffer; withering as a crop deprived of water.

Fortunately, unlike the aforementioned parable (after all, it’s not “the parable of the transplanter”), one gets to place these sprouts in a prepared field (organizational culture) where those individuals with an adequate “root structure” can thrive and grow.

Properly (and persistently) tended, loyalty shown “in the field” can be returned by the internally planted leaders, instilling the cultural element of Loyalty to the entire organization.