Tuesday, April 26, 2011

American Express discovered that their hiring processes matter. Have you?

Gary Ryan explains how American Express recently changed its hiring processes for its Call Centre. They discovered that they hadn't been treating their hiring processes with the respect they deserve.

Several years ago American Express re-evaluated its hiring processes for call centre staff. Why? Because they realised that their call centre staff were the front line contact for most of their customers. Therefore having people behaving like 'robots' was not going to create the high level of service that American Express both desired and advertised.

You can read an article that appeared on the HBR blog here, posted by Jim Bush,  the executive vice president of World Service at American Express.

Recruiting staff, and developing appropriate processes to ensure that you have the highest possible chance of recruiting the right people to represent your organisation is one of the seven critical elements for createing a high performing organistion as advocated by the OTM Service Strategy.

How are you ensuring that your recruitment processes are appropriate for ensuring that you have the right people representing your organistion?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

5 Star and 2 Star service can both be great, or not!

Gary Ryan provides a practical example that highlights how 5 Star and 2 Star service levels can be both good and bad. How good is the level of service that you are providing? Is it great?

Many people think that good service is only provided ‘at the top end’ of the service star scale. In other words, if I’m running a 2 star motel then only a low level of service should be provided. In the context of WHAT is provided and WHAT is paid, this is true. But the service experience can still be above expectations. 

For example, the person greeting me may be genuinely happy to check me into my room. When provided directions to my room I am asked if I am interested in knowing where some cheap but good quality food can be found. In responding yes to that question I am provided with the appropriate information, which includes a range of discounts should I choose to eat at those places. (Later, when I do choose to eat at the place, my discount is honoured and the food is reasonable for what I have paid for it).

I go to my room, the key works and my room is fresh and clean. I have asked for a non-smoking room and there is no evidence that the last person who used it smoked like a chimney. The information booklet is up to date and includes relevant information about public transport, taxis, health clubs and eateries. When I check out the staff member is courteous, quickly processes my payment and bids me farewell.  If you wish to consider a poor ‘2 Star’ experience, simply go back over this story and reverse each experience that has been described.

It would not be very difficult to translate this ‘2 Star’ story into a ‘5 Star’ story. The differences in the experience will relate to what we have paid and what we then expect to receive in return. The room may be bigger. The location may be more convenient. The bed may be bigger with higher quality linen. Internet access may be available. The fixtures and fittings may be of higher quality. An on-site restaurant and 24 hour in room service may be available. Laundry services may be available and a concierge service may be available to assist us with any needs or enquiries that we may have regarding the hotel of surrounding area. 

Each ‘Moment of Truth’ (MoM) can contribute to our expectations not being met if the experience of the MoM is not up to our expectations. In this way, 2 Star service can be great service and 5 Star service can be poor service. It all depends on the perceived experience of the customer.
Copyright Gary Ryan 2011
“Visits are not limited to the public areas. I head for the heart of the house, too. There’s method to my madness. If I see smiling faces and well-scrubbed surfaces behind the scenes, I know that the rest of the hotel more than likely is doing just fine.” 
J.W.Marriott Jr from his book, ‘The Spirit to Serve’

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If you want to provide great service, exceed expectations!

People expect good service. Period. Often, their expectations are not met. Too often. Just think about your own experiences as a customer. How often are your expectations met? How often are they exceeded? 

Customers expect their expectations to be met. You expect your pay to arrive when it is due. You expect your food to be delivered as ordered within a reasonable timeframe and at the appropriate temperature when you order food at a restaurant or cafe. You expect finance reports to be delivered and inclusive of all appropriate information as scheduled. You expect to be treated as a human being when you visit a government agency, education institution or medical facility. 

In order to be able to consistently meet expectations, your organisation must aim to exceed expectations. It is likely that there will nearly always be a lag between when you last checked the expectations of those you serve and the actual service that you are providing them. The lag time may include a change in the level of expectations of those you serve. 

Unless you are aiming to exceed the expectations at the level that you understand them to be, you may not achieve a consistent level of meeting the expectations that you do know exist. This never-ending journey means that exceeding expectations is a challenge. A real challenge. A challenge worthy of your commitment. Is your organisation currently worthy of your commitment?
Managing expectations is part of the OTM Service Strategy®
 “Consistently exceeding the expectations of the customer, personalizing his or her service experience, and continuously improving your product or service so that it creates greater value for the customer produces a level of customer loyalty that cannot be matched by your competitor.” 
Theo Gilbert-Jamison, service excellence expert/author

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rocket scientists beware, good service is good business!

It really isn't rocket science, but in highly competitive times it makes sense that good service is good business. Even though customers are not particularly loyal, providing great service consistently and over a long period of time makes it all the more difficult for your competitors to attract your customers away from you. 

While your customers will try out the competition, if they do not receive a higher and consistent standard of service than your organisation provides, then your customers will come back and be less inclined to try out the competition again. Implicitly your customers will trust you (just as you, in turn, trust your staff). 

It is however, good practice to maintain a healthy tension about your customers trying out the competition. The day that you either think that you don’t have any competition, or the day that you stop providing good service on a consistent basis, is the day that your organisation will start to decline.

No job is secure. But good, consistent service increases the security of every job, every department and every organisation. Good service IS good business!

Good service is good business
Quote from a research participant
Great service actually feels good. It feels good for me, it feels good for the people I’m serving and it keeps the business humming along. To me, good service just makes sense.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Managing the vision-strategy challenge

A consistent challenge that people face creating their first plan for personal success is defining the future that they desire in terms of strategies rather than what they act actually want.

A common example relates to fitness and health. People will often say things like, “I want to lose 10 kilograms, this is the fitness and health future that I desire.”

Losing 10 kilograms is a strategic goal and while losing 10 kilograms is an outcome, it isn’t what should be focussed upon. It is the lifestyle that comes with being 10 kilograms lighter that is the real desired outcome upon which you should be focussed.

It is defining what they really want that people find difficult to do. Understanding why you want to be 10 kilograms lighter and why that is important to you are the keys to understanding what it is you really desire.

Focussing on the types of activities that you want to be able to do and visualising yourself doing them is far more powerful than focussing on a number. Dewitt Jones, acclaimed National Geographic photographer and an expert on the power of vision explains that the big visions in life shouldn’t be too focussed, too tight. Rather, they should be both clear enough, yet loose enough to leave open a thousand possibilities to bring them into reality.

In terms of a whole of life perspective focussing on losing 10 kilograms is too tight a vision. Focussing on being able to play with your children or grandchildren, being able to participate in a hiking holiday, or dance with your friends are loose visions that have a multitude of opportunities to bring them into reality.

Losing weight may be a strategy that is required to enable you to keep the possibilities alive for you to bring your vision into reality. It is at this point that focussing not only on losing weight but on creating a new lifestyle where you can maintain the weight loss becomes critical. At this level of personal planning you become more focussed on your goals and you take specific actions to achieve them. Such as engaging a personal trainer and training four times per week. These are what Dewitt calls ‘tactical visions’ and are more detailed and specific.

How do you know if the future you are focussing on is what you want or is a strategy to achieve what you want?

The easiest way to approach this question is to reflect on the content of your vision once it has been created. You will discover that you have a mixture of statements that reflect both what you want and the strategies regarding your approach to achieve them.

For each statement in your vision statement ask yourself, “Why do I want this? What will this really look like once I have it? What will I be doing when I have this?” and keep asking this question for each answer that you arrive at, possibly up to five times in a row (this is known as the Five Whys Technique).

In a financial context people often suggest they they want to be rich or to have ‘x’ amount of dollars as part of their vision. Once again money is a strategy that enables you to do want you want to be able to do. Asking yourself, “Why do I want this money? What will I be doing with it?” can help to uncover what you really want and makes it so clear that taking the necessary steps to create the wealth you desire (legally, of course!) becomes more and more doable.

Why is it that people initially struggle with this challenge?
Having assisted more than 1,000 people establish their initial OTM Plan for Personal Success™ the facts are that less than 0.1% (that is less than ten) of those people had previously created a detailed or strategic plan plan for themselves. The reality for the vast majority of people is that creating a personal plan is something that they haven’t done before.

Like most things we do for the first time we are usually not very good at it the first time. This can be frustrating for adults because we like to think that we can quickly achieve an expert standard when we perform a new task, even though our experience has taught us that this isn’t really how we learn.

Learning to use iterative cycles when creating your plan for personal success enables you to more quickly establish a personal plan that both clearly articulates what you want and what you are going to do to achieve your vision. This means that you develop the skill to continually ask yourself, “Why do I want what I have just written? Why is that important to me?”

That said, having an initial plan is more powerful than not having one. David Ingvar’s ‘Memories of the Future’ research highlights the power of having a written plan. In this context having a plan is far more beneficial than not having one at all. If you create you plan and then become disciplined on reviewing it, say once every six to 12 months and also become disciplined at constantly challenging yourself to reflect on why you want what you want, you will, over time create plans that are even more powerful than your first plan. This is normal and part of the learning process that is associated with creating and living your plan for personal success.

Please visit here for more information on the options available for establishing an OTM Plan for Personal Success™.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What are your core job responsibilities?

This short video provides some simple, yet effective tips for understanding and communicating your core job responsibilities.

What are the three to six core responsibilities of your job?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Webinar Recording OTM Plan For Personal Success

This is a recording of the OTM Plan for Personal Success™ Introductory Webinar.
In this webinar you will learn about:
* One concept;
* Five principles; and
* Six vital strategies.

That are all required to achieve personal success.

More information on all the options available for creating an OTM Plan for Personal Success™ is available here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If you think that 8M Australians with poor job skills means you are guaranteed a great career, think again!

A report by Australia's Industry Skills Councils to the Australian Federal Government has warned that up to eight million Australians don't have the necessary numeracy and literacy skills to train for a trade or a profession.
The Report provides both bad & good news

The report also notes that over the next five years Australia will experience an estimated shortage of 215,000 skilled workers.

On the surface this may look like statistics that are extremely positive for current professionals and skilled employees. Why? Because the statistic highlight how poor the competition for skilled and professional jobs is at this point in time.

There is little to argue against this fact.

However, skilled workers and professionals need to think again. The lack of a skilled workforce and the extremely high number of people with low numeracy and literacy skills will increase the pressure on current skilled workers and professionals. Why? Because they are going to be the ones leading and managing the rest of the workforce. So the requirement for highly developed leadership and management skills are going to be paramount.

Getting and job and staying in employment for skilled workers and professionals will be virtually guaranteed (providing you are prepared to go where the work is located), however this doesn't guarantee a great career. You will absolutely need to continue to develop your skills and employability so that you have the skills sets to lead and manage the rest of the workforce. These skill sets will continue to grow in demand and it is the people who really know how to lead and manage, and can demonstrate their skills through their track record will be the ones who will be "guaranteed" a great career.

What are you doing to enhance your leadership and management skills even if you have been leading and managing for a long time?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Really Matters! Volume 3, Number 1, 2011 ebook released

Hi folks!

Please access your free copy of the most recent addition to the What Really Matters! ebook series. Selected articles from January 1st 2011 through to March 31st 2011 have been included in this ebook.


Please download your copy of What Really Matters! Volume 3, Number 1, 2011 here.

Please send your feedback and suggestions for the next ebook in this series to feedback@orgsthatmatter.com .