Comfort may not be a recipe for advancement as an organization but it holds keys to engaging customer service.
The magical combination of folding laundry and thinking about sweat pants produced a certain epiphany – trendy changes but comfort does not. Why have sweat pants been around so long, even as distasteful as they are? Because they are comfortable.
Trendy competitors to the sweat pant have included: Hammer pants, leotards, running pants, capris, yoga pants, etc. Many have also tried in various ways to make them more trendy, but the basic sweat pant will likely always be around.
This evolutionary concept of comfort is observable in business as well and serves as an enlightening perspective when dealing with customers. As a general audience there are factors that will make most customers comfortable, these should serve as the core truths that we seek to understand with clarity so that we can implement with consistency. Comfort, or resistance reduction, should serve as a core component of our customer service efforts.
It is important to be aware of the current (and ever evolving) trends that may affect customer expectations, but items such as ease of use will always be a high value. Some things do not change and mastering those are key.
Clarify each of your customers expectations and take note of what will create a foundation of comfort as well as those unique details that will take your customer service experience into the five star realm – it may be as simple as printing “juicy” on an old pair of sweat pants.
Originally posted at dyojo.wordpress.com
Service. What a ways that you can creatively discuss and teach your family to have a servant's perspective? We were throwing out ideas and decided that a few simple projects that we could do would be:
1) Dinner - at dinner time you cannot put food or drink in your own mouth, nor could you ask for anything. If you want to take a bite, you will need to wait until someone at the table sitting at either side of you offers. If you want a drink, something much trickier, you will have to rely on the stable hands of your fellow consumers. In service the point is to look for opportunities to help others and to work to reach people where their needs are in a manner that communicates care to them. Someone in our group noted that service means treating others how you would want to be treated and we discussed that in doing so it is important to think about how that person will receive it rather than just doing what you think you would want.
2) Chores - we decided to divide the family chores differently than we had to streamline the process and once the responsibilities were lined out, we then informed the members of our family that they would be responsible for the chores of someone other than themselves. For the duration of the experiment, you would make the bed of the person you were assigned to serve, you would clean their room, do their laundry and assume the responsibility for their assigned chores. As noted above, service entails attempting to understand what is important to the person you are serving, not only doing unto others as you would have them do unto you (the golden rule) but listening and adjusting to their perspective.
No one likes chores, but they are things that need to be done. The dinner experiment ended up being pretty fun. Next time we do it we need to make spaghetti or something messy like that. What creative family experiments or projects have you tried in order to teach a principle to the group? Have you tried anything similar in a professional setting?
Connect. Collaborate. Conquer.
There are things in business that boggle the mind as to how anyone could think this or that was a good idea, discussions that are often opinion based with the benefit of hindsight to judge the offending parties. One area that is very confusing is that there are business entities who are under utilizing the internet as a resource for their services and products. How is it that there are still churches and organizations with similar outreach based emphasis that do not have a website? There is no phone book, so if people want to find you they are going to the internet – it’s been this way for many years now. So, what are the barriers for these service groups to creating a simple web page presence?
First potential barrier, these organizations are so involved in their work that they don’t realize the interest exists. This is unlikely but I suppose it is possible. This level of being off the grid may not need to be helped, unless that was you and this is the first thing you are reading while online. Welcome to the future.
Second potential barrier, the belief that every on the internet must cost too much to create an internet friendly presence. This may be a real barrier as there are many non-profit as well as for profit organizations that don’t understand where to start in creating their online presence. If you are a small ministry or a new company it may seem like any amount of money spent on web advertising is prohibitive but any entity that wants to reach people, whether you are serving them or selling them, has to understand that the bulk of those people are online. An entry level website can be very cost effective and even inexpensive as at this point of engagement there are only a few key foundational items that need to be communicated such as location, meeting times and contact information which is very similar to a for profit business in communicating what services are offered and how to make a connection.
Third potential barrier, the belief that the internet is too complex to allow for people with no experience or programming knowledge to create websites. Nothing could be further from the truth as most of the entry level tools are nearly fool proof in your ability to create and/or maintain a simple site. Many website generators provide free sites, free templates and simple assistance with upgrades. There are blog sites as well as pages that can be created on social media platforms. Whether an organization or business is willing to try on their own or is looking to hire someone to assist, at the entry level websites can be value friendly with the right partner.
What is a website, think of it as your business card that is always working for you. Do you want people to know that you exist and be able to find basic information about how to find where you are, what you do and when you meet? The internet provides this potential for connection at very basic levels as well as opportunities to take advantage of a few key optimizing elements to boost your presence on the world wide web. Don’t let cost or complexity be a barrier to promoting your organization or business online, we have helped several friends, families, organizations and business owners get their start. Look for our IZ Ventures article soon covering where to start when launching your website or social media platform and contact us if you need assistance getting things going.
How Open Is That Open Door?
Many leaders would proudly boast of their advanced degree received from the Institute of Tired Leadership Open Door-ism. At the suggestion that said leaders do not engage their employees or that they dismiss their team member’s input or feedback, said leaders would pound their fists in outrage and point to the certificate from the ITLOD. Unfortunately for leaders, the open door policy does involves more than leaving your door partially open during business hours and consequently there is more than one way to dismiss another person’s input or feedback, even if you graduated with honors.
Dismissal upon the transmission of input.
The door was open. The employee knocked, confirmed and ventured through (not as open as open would indicate). The employee begins to engage with the leader and the leader A) engages with listening, body language and words or B) dismisses the feedback by the same gestures. Input from employees may not come at times that are of convenience to the receiving party but are always of some level of importance to the transmitting party.
Dismissal following the transmission of input.
The door was open. The employee shared their feedback. The leader made it through the conversation and communicated that the information was received with importance, what will the leader do to follow up with the input received from the team? The leader A) conducts a proper investigation into the information preferred to determine appropriate action or B) dismiss the input by doing nothing to follow up on the feedback received. Employees do not expect leaders to be omniscient, to know everything that is going on, but they do expect leaders to engage when a negative action is brought to the attention of leadership (more on this HERE).
Dismissal of the confirmation of input.
What happens when the leader listens, the leader investigates and then the leader confirms the input received by their employee? If an appropriate response or action is warranted, the test of leadership is now on display – what will the informed leader do? Leaders should not want themselves to be ignorant of issues, this is one of the great values of a truly open door, that employees are willing to share earnest concerns with leadership so that the team can address issues and maintain health should be celebrated. An ignorant leader who becomes informed and yet refuses action displays impotence. Why should employees care enough to make positive changes when leadership has demonstrated that it is not valued by them?
Leadership is an extension of customer service within your organization. When leaders demonstrate care and service to their employees they perform several key functions including engaging their employees, encouraging positive action and demonstrating how the organization treats people. A healthy organizational culture is an extension of the positive example of leaders who are engaged in the processes of the team and the activities of employees who reinforce those values to each other as well as their customers.
Earnest input and feedback from team members at every layer within the organization is critical to progress and growth. A company with no input from team members either has employees that do not care or employees who have concluded from the actions (dismissal) of management that leadership does not care.
Thoughts on personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a contractor, author, and host of The DYOJO Podcast. The goal of The DYOJO is to help growth-minded restoration professionals shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development. You can watch The DYOJO Podcast on YouTube on Thursdays or listen on your favorite podcast platform.