Friday, November 11, 2016

Is “Tired Of Trying” An Excuse Not To Innovate?

By Ray Stasieczko
Article reposted with permission

I was talking with a friend the other day and realized just how infectious complacency is within organizations that stifle ideas and squash team members’ enthusiasms. These organizations have pushed their best asset — their people — into what I call the “Tired of Trying Zone.”
It seems that all organization large or small believe they are innovative, cutting edge or some other tired phrase. The reality is innovative organizations are not the norm, and most organization won’t get out of their own way. The very essence of the term “innovative organization” means its people are innovative. So why is it that organizations spend more time deciding how not to do something than doing something? When you look at technology-born organizations, such as Facebook, Google or Netflix, the companies born after the 1990s, you see a stark difference in how the work force feels toward innovative thinking. Here’s why
Frankly it’s disturbing to see great people so disgusted with their organization’s attitude toward innovations they simply stop trying. Some reading this will say it’s their own fault; they should quite go somewhere and be appreciated. I must admit I think that way most of the time, as well. However, sometimes current life circumstances make that decision much more complicated for some.
So let’s blame the leadership, After all, if these leaders instead searched for better ways, they would welcome new ideas instead of slamming the door. They would force their lower-level managers to explore better ways, not simply manage older ways. Some organizations are so focused on “the way it is,” because they are only compensated on “the way it is.” What if organizations actually compensated their people to not only manage “what it is,” but also imagine what it could be?
I believe it’s time for the imagination bonus plan. Come on, leaders. Use your imagination and develop a program that rewards the team to think of ways to innovate. Then those great people won’t utter that dreadful commentary, “We’ll never do that,” or “We take forever to do something different,” or “I’m not going to say anything; it’s useless.”
In today’s changing world, organizations must invest the time and resources in addressing the way it’s going to be. The RD departs of the past move too slowly and usually carry the weight of outdated policies. It’s time that legacy organizations innovate their policies and their attitudes about how they look for and bring back the future – allowing them to prosper even more today.
Everyone that works in the company should also be members of the R&D department. The amount of information available today is staggering. Today’s leaders must figure out how to manage an overload of ideas from their teams, instead of following outdated management practices that teach teams not to care.
In closing; to leaders who believe their team cares about the company’s future more than a pay check, you’re delusional. That is, unless you’re a leader who actually pays the team to look to the future. If you’re one of those organizations, kudos to you.

MY CREATIVITY and passion for innovation has inspired my career and continues to guide where I go and what I do. Over the last four decades, I have had both success and failure. I have built things from strictly imagination to successful implementation. I started my working life in the grocery business over 40 years ago. From the aisles of the grocery store I went on to serve in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer and after serving three years and receiving an honorable discharge I found my way back to the grocery business. At the age of twenty-two I held the position as one of the youngest store managers in Winn-Dixie history. In the late 80’s I joined Lanier Worldwide Tampa Florida. I quickly excelled in the industry, eventually built and sold my interest in two Office Equipment Dealerships in Wichita Kansas. In 2014 my wife Liz and I relocated to Nashville where I joined ImageQuest as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, In that roll, I oversee every aspect of ImageQuest’s service delivery platform. I also enjoy my new hobby of writing about the experiences I’ve had in life, and business.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Moments of Truth in Problem Resolution

By: Debbie Szumylo

In every organization there are critical customer interactions known as “moments of truth.”  A moment of truth is defined as: “a time when a person or thing is tested, a decision has to be made, or a crisis has to be faced.” “Moments of truth” can result in a really great, memorable experience, or one that doesn’t meet the customer’s expectation and leaves them angry and frustrated.

One of the “moments of truth” that can provide the greatest opportunity to strengthen the relationship with a customer is problem resolution. Seems odd, doesn’t it? However, consistent, exceptional responses to problems cannot only resolve the problem, but turn into such a great experience that your customer remembers it for years to come.

The degree to which a customer was satisfied with the resolution of their problem is a huge factor in their overall engagement. Customers who are “extremely satisfied” with the way their problem was handled are twice as likely to be fully engaged with an organization. In fact, many times, effective problem resolution can create a customer who becomes more loyal than a customer who has never had a problem with your organization!

How can you effectively work your way through a problem with a customer that results in a stronger, more loyal relationship?

  1. Recognize that the customer is anxious and feeling stressed before they even let you know about the problem. Talk to your employees about how emotion further impacts a problem.
  2. Be in the moment and listen with empathy. Place yourself in the shoes of the customer and make an effort to understand their problem.
  3. Apologize and mean it. If you are truly listening, your authenticity and sincerity will be clearly evident.
  4. Make every effort to solve the problem the first time. Remember, the customer is already upset and transferring them or asking them to talk to someone else will frustrate them even more.
  5. Keep your cool. Your emotions can also be affected by an angry customer. Try to focus on the problem and not the person.
  6. Devise a follow-up plan. Follow up with the customer to further show you care.

There is no way to completely avoid customer complaints. But, when you take ownership of the problem, and find a quick, satisfying resolution, you can transform an otherwise disappointing customer experience into an amazing and delightful “moment of truth” for your customer.

Debbie Szumylo Manager, Customer Experience at Thomson Reuters Elite, has 15+ years of proven successes in experience design, strategy development and analysis.

Listed as #58 on Onalytica's top 100 Big Data and Customer Experience Influencers, February 2014.

Quoted in OneReach's "What's the Best Way to Improve Customer Service? 63 Influencers Weigh In", October, 2015

Member of Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA)

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