Category Archive for: ‘customer service’

How Do You Want to Impact Colleagues, Staff and Others?

I went to my 6am spin class this morning.  I do my best to show up every Monday.  We have two fans in the spin room- one in front and one in back.  Many people love working out with the fan right on them to cool them down.  Many of us (me included) don’t like the cold wind/breeze on us. It dries out my eyes and I can’t catch my breath as I ride.

So many instructors have a rule: if you want the fan on you, then go sit in the back part of the room because the fan in the front of the room does not get turned on.  Those of us who don’t want the fan on us, sit up front.

Today there was a new person in class. He sat right next to me up front.  Ten minutes into class, he got up and turned on…the front fan! You got it, that’s a no-no.

However, this particular instructor does NOT have a “fan rule” for her class.  Every once in a while an argument flares up- like this morning- over whether the fan should be on or not.  If she just had a fan rule, then the students wouldn’t have to be making one up for her.  It’s not our job, or our right, to do so.

What does all this have to do with your impact at work and in your entire life?

Courageous brands win.  Having courage means being able to increase your level of “confront” and set rules and boundaries.  Having courage means looking me in the eye with kindness and a sheer sense of calm and peace and stating your opinion and needs and….fan rules.

In so many corporations when this level of courageous confront does NOT happen, what happens is chaos.

I’ve seen so many managers not be able to set boundaries or rules. Nor do they enforce them. It’s natural for us to all want to be loved and accepted. The problem is the result is often not love. When we don’t increase our confront, it leads to confusion and poor communication in the workplace.  The result is low productivity and low revenues. 

Believe it or not, people like rules.  We just don’t like it when the rules are shoved down our throat.  So courageous brands also communicate in a 1) kind and 1) direct manner.  Communicating without kindness, and just being direct, is being brash. No one loves a brash brand.

So stop and ask yourself:

  • How do you communicate at work? Is it kind and direct?
  • How do you work to ensure your level of confront is high enough so that you have quality boundaries such that you are allowing you and your colleagues to be productive, happy and in excellent communication at work?

What’s Success?

When I was a practicing securities lawyer, I had a very particular notion of what it meant for me to be a success.  Being successful for me meant to either be a high-salaried employee, meet and exceed my billables each month and/or get promoted or find a new and better job within my industry.  That’s it, I’m sorry to say.

As I always say, branding is a marathon with many iterations.  We are never broken or “need” anything.  We choose to see things differently and then grow and change.  Dynamic brands that are open to change succeed.

Looking back on my previous career and life, I feel sorry for that iteration of me. I truly was “Version 1.0” of my brand.  I wasn’t really open to change because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Until one day I wasn’t happy anymore as a securities lawyer.

That was the day I opened my eyes and was ready for change and growth.  That was the day I decided to be truly successful.  Was it easy? No.  Change is never easy.  Was it worth the ride? Heck yes!

Success Defined

As I look at the definition of “success” as a brand and as a person, I’m reminded of something I heard at Sunday service once at the Unity Center here in San Diego.  “Success” is defined as a) continued happiness and b) reaching for worthy goals.  In looking at  what are your worthy goals, we were told to look for i) what are your longings in life? and  ii) where do you come alive in your life?  This really struck me as a healthy view of success.

Looking at it from a client-facing perspective, if you believe my premise that a great client experience is based on each and every employee having a great brand (having their values in hand, having empathy, knowing who they are), then a successful and happy employee MUST lead to a great client experience and higher revenues for any organization.

Resistance

In life and at work, we put up such resistance.  We fight the norm, we fight the establishment, we fight our boss, we fight our colleagues and we end up fighting ourselves.  The result? Unhappiness.

All of this leads to so much friction and negative effort.  We exhaust ourselves and leave others looking away from us. Our brand is spoiled.

At that Sunday service, I was reminded that the word, “Affluence” comes from the derivative, “to flow with”.   So what if you let it all flow naturally?  I guarantee you that you would be happier and more successful.

What does this mean for you?

Stop and consider:

  • Are you happy? If you hate my question, there’s something really great for you in this query.  Stay strong and be brave enough to look at it.
  • Are you reaching for worthy goals?  Stop and question your goals.  Looking back, my billables were NOT my worthy goals in life.
  • What are you longing for in your life?
  • Where in your life experiences do you find you really come alive? Why?
  • How are you nurturing happiness within your employee pools’ brands?
  • Where can you give up resistance in your life and go with the flow towards affluence?

If this article resonated with you, please pass it on.  I’d love your feedback.

Does Your Company’s Brand Have Soul?

qtq80-L22D3tHave you ever purchased something from a company and it was a really hollow experience? I’m not talking about poor customer service necessarily. I’m talking about the fact that you walk away and feel empty and exhausted. At the very least, you feel as if there was nothing memorable about your purchase. You have no recall value for the company and their product beyond the immediate purchase.

This happened to me recently when I bought a car. I left the dealership happy with my new car. However, I also felt very much like I didn’t really matter to the dealership. I was just another number they could check off because they were closer to their monthly quota. In fact, every time I drive by the dealership, I look away and wince- I’d like to leave behind and forget the entire experience. And car buying is not a novel concept to me.

Not good for business, right? What gives?

The dealership had no soul. By this I mean, there was no real emotional resonance with their clients. The dealership likely did not care about us as clients. The money came first.

On the other hand, contrast the dealership experience with that of a company like Zappos. When you order shoes from Zappos, you are part of their process and brand culture. Heck, you can even get on their website and read about their brand culture and values. It doesn’t read like our typical corporate “mission statement”.  You can almost feel the sincerity and excitement.  Now that’s soul.

So what does this mean for you? Consider:

If you work for a company, does your employer have soul? Does your employer:

• Have an established brand culture based on individual employee brand values? If not, then it is hard for you to feel part of something greater than yourself.
• Share what’s important with you? This is beyond “mission” and “vision”. I see this as a daily act- simple, and not always easy.

If you are in leadership at a company, does your company have soul? Do you and the leadership team:

• Really make sure each customer/client walks away with a sense of joy and high recall value for your business and product?
• Instill this sense of “soul” with each employee daily?

Was this helpful? If so, please share it with others.  Email me and let me know your thoughts and experiences on this subject.

Societal Brand Booster: The Impact of the Olympics

olympics2016I love the Olympics. Summer, Winter, all of it. It doesn’t matter to me the sport or the level of competition. Thinking back, I’ve always loved the Olympics. Not only was it inspirational to me as a little girl to see the athletes, it was fun to get into the spirit of the celebration of working on a dream and setting out to achieve it.

Nowadays in my family, we still get excited to watch the Olympics. And there’s more of a reason to love the games.

My husband and I have both developed a theory around the Olympics: The Olympics are good for our individual brands AND for business brands. How? Why?

Consider that 78% of everything you and I buy is NOT based on the content, but on how the service provider or product makes us feel. The only emotion that matters, sells, influences, attracts and engages is happiness.

The Olympics are high-toned and happy. For the two weeks or so that the Olympics are on, the world is a happier place. As a result, people are more motivated- motivated to help one another, to cheer one another on, to take care of themselves and be happier.

As a dentist, each Olympic season my husband notes a noticeable difference in his patients’ tone and willingness to take care of their teeth and oral health.

People are better brands. They (consciously or subconsciously) want to be better and be a part of something greater than just themselves. The Olympics fosters teamwork and support, which then leads to better business brands.

How could you not watch the athletes, hear the stories of the years of sacrifice and training they have made and not want more for yourself, your family, your business and your colleagues/career?

Contrast this with politics and the 2016 Vote. Blech…

The Olympics have been such a nice respite from the mud-slinging, fake-ness and low-toned campaigns we have to endure. That’s all we hear about. As a former lobbyist in Washington DC, I didn’t like it then. As a branding expert, I really don’t like it now. Nothing about politics is high-toned, including the candidates’ brands.

What does this mean for you?

• If you have a business/are an entrepreneur, take notice of how your business does during the Olympics. You should show a sign of increasing profits and sales. This would be the optimal time to take the momentum generated by the Olympics and boost your employees’ morale and drive – this will impact retention and production.

• If you work for an organization, notice how the staff and your colleagues are performing. This would be the optimal time to take the momentum generated by the Olympics and create a brand culture based on values and what drives your team as people.

• Stop and notice your own brand. Do you and your brand sell happiness at some level by showing up as happy? You should be happier and more motivated to allow success in your life. Take this extra brand boost and run with it for these two weeks. Hopefully, it will become a habit for you beyond the Olympics.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Call or email me to discuss how to harness your own brand and that of your teams’ brand to be optimal and happier and succeed more.

The Cost To Your Brand: Customer Acquisition and Customer Support

1358856_10905934The longer I live, the more I think about what it really means to support others and be of service to them. Where along the way do we lose that magic touch of support and service to others?

I think about this topic more lately because of the larger number of service providers we hire at work. It seems like we pay so many companies monthly for something. The latest hire really made me laugh.

This company gave a 14-day free trial offer so I could test out their software. I found myself scrambling like a maniac to really use and implement their software and test it fast. Why?

My past experiences with similar vendors have conditioned me to believe that companies will give me good service as long as I’m not a client yet. In other words, while they are wooing me in the “dating” phase, they’ll give good support and answer my questions. Once I pay up, they stick me in line with all the other customers who need support and then I won’t be able to get help with their product anymore. Even if me and my company have paid a premium to use their service.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a real life example we’ve actually tested out.

We evaluated Demand Force, a company we have used. Here are the results:

It took Demand Force ten seconds to answer sales calls- when they thought we were prospective clients wanting to buy their service. In contrast…

We were on hold 29 minutes when we became a client and had a question regarding their service and product.

Do you see a problem? I do. Does it now make sense why I was scrambling to see if I really liked my potential new vendor while they were wooing us? Sadly, yes.

What does this mean for you? Stop and think for yourself:

If you are in the role of working for one of these types of organizations:

  1. what kind of pre and post acquisition support do you offer clients? If it differs, by how much and why?
  2. What does the difference in treatment do for your overall corporate/business brand? Does your target audience get a clear and consistent brand message? Do they really get to know your company values this way?

If you are an individual working on your own brand:

  1. what kind of support do you offer others?
  2. Do you offer consistent support to those you serve?
  3. Or does your level of support vary? If so, how and why? 
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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.