Listening Power

Conflict Resolution: You Can Stay Calm in Conflict.


As The People Skills Coach™, I am often asked for conflict resolution tips. Most especially — how to stay calm in the midst of verbal conflict.


Although taking a break can be very helpful, sometimes after the break the calm evaporates and the conflict remains. Then what?


There are also times at work when you can’t take a break. Customer service agents, sales account reps, team members working to solve a crisis are often under fixed time demands. How can they stay calm and work toward conflict resolution?

 

Conflict Resolution: Image is the word Rejuvenate.

Conflict Resolution: How to Stay Calm? Image by SweetDreamzDesign via Flickr.

Image by SweetDreamzDesign via Flickr Creative Commons License.

 

Staying Calm for Conflict Resolution

If you find yourself getting anxious in the midst of verbal conflict, these 3 steps will help you.

  1. Hear the fear and need vs. the anger and biting accusation. Behind other people’s anger and accusations, there is always a fear and/or need. Let your mind focus on finding the real issue. Hear other people’s fear to get out of fight/flight mode and into conflict resolution.
  2. When I first hear other people’s anger, I quietly ask myself …

    • Where is their fear or pain? How can I resolve this?
    • Is it that they’ve lost trust?
    • Do they believe worse things are going to follow?
    • Are they under pressure to please someone else?


  3. Know and believe your excellence is in the resolution. Other people’s anger tells your ego you are inferior. You tense up to defend it. The fact is you are not inferior. In truth, your excellence is in your ability to work it out!

  4. Learn more about your natural conflict resolution style. Self-awareness develops the mind’s ability to filter emotion. Knowing your conflict resolution style highlights the triggers you need to manage in order to stay calm. Take the Thomas-Killman Conflict Mode Instrument to learn your style.



Success soars when you can hear the fear and need behind people’s anger, outbursts, and accusations. You will solve the problems and defuse the emotion.

Your potential to turn obstacles into fixes will show everyone that your infinite career potential. You can care for customers. You can collaborate with colleagues. You can break logjams on difficult projects. You can lead others through difficult moments.


No matter how much you fear verbal conflict, you can develop the ability to stay calm. My skills have grown with practice, time, and commitment.


(Of course if you feel the person is going to physically attack, get out. It’s the wise thing to do. I speak in this post about non-physical conflict.)


What growth and success have you had in staying calm? Will you share your story here?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


What’s next? I invite you to connect with me on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I am happy to answer your people skills questions for great customer service, employee engagement, teamwork and leading change!

 

Other Posts to Help You:
13 People Skills Tips to Rock w/ Career Success
5 Thoughts to Keep You Calm w/ Angry Customers

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Harmony: What Does It Take to Really Hear Each Other?

Harmony: Image is balanced rocks.

Harmony: What Does It Take to Really Listen? Image licensed from Istock.com

Image licenced from Istock.com

 

In business, in life, and in world affairs, we seek the power of true harmony — without surrender.  How do we achieve this? Through great listening.  The question is:

 

What does it take to really hear each other?

 

I posed this question on social media to connections around the world and received these answers!


    To me listening takes having the willingness and ability to understand what is being said. ~@TomJ_Rhodes
    Great listeners give their undivided attention instead of being just physically present. They listen for facts as well as ideas. ~@FSonnenberg
    When we are listening to someone, we need to be honest both with ourselves and with them. If there is something we don’t understand, we need to get it clarified. ~@RoyAtkinson
    To truly hear someone, you should be able to reiterate what you’ve heard and understood, back to to the person you are having a conversation with. To be able to emphatically connect with their needs and respond accordingly. ~@gdiver62





    Pay more attention to what’s being told instead of waiting for the other person to stop talking and you thinking what you’re gonna say next. ~Rene Ferret
    Don’t fill the spaces with empty words. It is in silence I hear the most, for it is then I listen with my heart. ~@Cybuhr
    It’s hard to grasp what they are saying if focused on your own speaking and it’s much more powerful to be interested than interesting. ~@jolewitz
    Don’t listen to hear; listen to understand. ~@mooreconsortium





    Open your mind as well as your ears by discarding comebacks, prejudices, and preconceptions. ~@stratlearner
    Prevent the temptation of concluding what the speaker wants to say before finishing his or her words. ~@Khalid_Tweet





    While I agree with all the having an open mind etc… I also believe that the burden of listening falls on the communicator. Meaning, the person talking has to have the ability to frame information in a way that the listener can hear it. Conversations, especially difficult ones, go much smoother when the talker frames information in a way that the other person can hear it. ~@SabrinaLBaker





    For me listening is loving the “other” and forgetting about the “self” for that little moment. ~@MaaHoda
    Truly hearing each other requires a willingness to travel to the intersection of curiosity, respect, and transcending yourself. ~@TheHRGoddess
    In order to truly hear and take in another, there needs to be space inside. Practice getting to know, setting aside and emptying out your personal chatter and agenda. ~@BlairGlaser
    I can’t listen till I clear the clutter in my mind be it with what took place till then or planning or thinking about what is going on next. ~@rlalita
    What it takes to truly listen is to stop listening to yourself! It allows us to hear when words and emotions are in discord and ask questions to get to the heart of the matter. When both people listen on that other-focused level, it creates the space for bridges to be built where before there were only walls. ~@AlliPolin







    Being able to put yourself aside, all your own worries, thoughts, things you also would like to share with the person speaking to you — to be open enough to allow the words, feelings and thoughts of someone else to come into you. ~@AlaskaChickBlog


Harmony: Finding It Within

As I read through the answers and saw the pattern of willingness, openness, de-cluttering, and loving the other, I once again pondered — how? What stops people from listening to achieve harmony? Worries and fears of what?

  • Losing. When people see every situation as having only two options — winning/losing — it stops listening and chances for harmony. Believe in win/win!
  • Shortage. A close kin to fearing loss, is the myth that there is a shortage and one must compete for limited possibilities. It blocks the belief that harmony is success for everyone. It blocks great listening.
  • Weakness. There are people who believe any show of openness will be seen as weakness and invite abuse. Harmony is cast with this same shadow. Yet, the truth is that openness breeds understanding and respect. Influence follows!
  • Conflict. People often stay closed because they confuse disagreement with conflict. Ironic isn’t it? You can’t achieve harmony if you fear disharmony! However, communication can turn disagreement into understanding and reduce the chance of conflict.


Harmony: Surmounting Fears and Walls

Creating space for harmony does not mean being naive to those who would selfishly take without giving. So open up and listen vibrantly. You will spot inauthentic one-sided demands and request more openness for harmony. You can also suspend communication if, in the end, others do not want harmony without your surrender.

Strengthened with this self-confidence, open the gates to harmony.
 

    Remind yourself of those times in your own life when you have felt that you were genuinely heard. Many say that such an experience leaves them feeling respected and recognized as a person. That can’t be guaranteed but does seem to reflect that listening has a deep interest in who is being heard and respect for that person’s feelings and perspectives, not just in the content of what is being said. ~@DanOestreich


    Try “I hear you”. It may be a bigger gift than even “I love you”. See which works better for you. ~@AJManik




What ONE step toward harmony will you take in the year ahead?
.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Replace 5 Emotionally Triggered Statements
People Skills: Bursting Every Assumption
12 Essential Thoughts to Proficient People Skills

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Superior Customer Experience: Succeed Through Empathy.

 

Superior Customer Experience: Image is letter A+

Superior Customer Experience: Power of Empathy Image by SalFalco.

Gratitude for image by Sal Falco via Flickr Creative Commons License


When you think of superior customer experience, do you think of empathy?  Many people think of empathy mostly as something to relieve painful moments.

 

The truth is that empathy also prevents painful moments. It establishes and celebrates connections. It creates outstanding experiences.

 

You deliver superior customer experience through empathy!

 

Superior Customer Experience: The Power of Empathy

When we think and act from the customer’s perspective, we are using the power of empathy. We are building bonds for success.

  • Empathy opens listening. Stepping outside of our own perspective through empathy, puts us in listening mode. This triggers the customer’s listening as well. BAM! Bonds for superior customer experience.

  • Empathy allows us to make it easy for the customer. When we design websites with empathy for the customers’ perspectives, we make it easy for them to buy from us. BAM! Easy is a big part of superior customer experience.

  • Empathy is the messenger of care. Every time customers interact with us, our words and actions must say “we care about you”. Empathy is that messenger. BAM! Care brings customers back because it delivers superior customer experience.

  • Empathy engages employees to deliver the best. Empathetic leaders inspire team members to be empathetic with customers. These leaders build a culture of care and model it to engage everyone to superior customer experience!

  • Empathy strengthens teamwork. Superior customer experience requires great cross teamwork through the company. When teams engage in empathy and see each others’ views, they can deliver that wonderful seamless trouble free experience every customer wants.


What threatens empathy? The myth that empathy means agreement. It doesn’t! Empathy means: “You matter. We matter. This matters. Let’s collaborate.”


If we think that empathy means agreement, we block our empathy when we don’t agree with someone. We stop listening and so do they. We actually create difficult moments — the opposite of superior customer experience. When we block our empathy, we block our influence.


When we consider others’ views before responding, we are using the power of empathy. When we think of the impact of our actions before making decisions, we are using the power of empathy.


Empathy is the applause for shared interests. It draws people together for infinite possibilities and bonds for tremendous success. It opens two-way listening and the doors to great partnerships.


Empathy is the engine of superior customer experience!


Will you offer examples of how empathy delivered superior customer experience in your life?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post:
People Skills: Empathize Before You Analyze

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Superior Customer Experience: Fluency Requires 100% Listening


In part one of this series, I told a true story of how good customer experience turned bad because the business wasn’t listening to the customer. That large corporation missed out on valuable no-cost suggestions that would deliver superior customer experience.


There are none so stuck as those who will not hear. Don’t be one of them! Have your entire organization become and stay fluent in what the customer is saying.


Superior Customer Experience: Image is many ears.

Superior Customer Experience: Feedback Fluency Part II Image by KY_Olsen.

Gratitude for image to KY_Olsen via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Critical Listening Beliefs for Superior Customer Experience

It takes specific organizational beliefs to get all employees to listen to the customer.

  1. Customer feedback keeps the business alive. Although this may sound obvious, there are many businesses that don’t believe this. They write off suggested improvements as customer whimsy or a one-off opinion. Leaders must state and model that listening to the customer keeps the business alive. It delivers superior customer experience.

  2. All employees, regardless of title, can share customer feedback throughout the business. Silos, territories, politics stop employees from listening to the customer. They live within their job descriptions and the business loses out on no-cost opportunities for superior customer experience.

  3. Every employee is a customer advocate. If they aren’t, then your culture is not customer centric. It is company centric. How will you survive the new competitor who is listening to your customers?

  4. We aren’t here to maintain the present. We are here to create the future. Many employees who are not in the research and development part of your business don’t know this. Thus when the customer offers feedback for a superior customer experience, their minds tell them it’s not their job. We listen to whatever our minds tells us is important. Leaders must reinforce that it’s everyone’s job to listen to create the future.


Leadership Actions for Superior Customer Experience

As you develop the critical beliefs, take actions to support them. Else the beliefs simply become noise and blather that employees block out.

  • Engage employees opinions for improvements. Ask employees what the customers are saying. Actions speak louder than words and this action inspires employees to listen for customer feedback!

  • Have mechanisms for sharing feedback easily throughout the company. This is vital. Listening to the feedback is the first step. Sharing it facilitates superior customer feedback. Technology makes this sharing possible even in large organizations.

  • Encourage curiosity and teach all employees to ask great questions. What is the customer saying in a broader perspective? How can the feedback benefit our company and future customer experience? How can we reduce instances of the negative experience that spurred this feedback? How can we create superior customer experience from even the simplest suggestion?

    Be curious about how the feedback can be valuable! Customer feedback flops when employees are listening literally or defensively.


  • Stop reprisals on employees who highlight problems and solutions. If employees are punished for highlighting what needs to improve for superior customer experience, they won’t do it. Even when the top leaders model the critical beliefs noted above, managers sometimes take action against employees who highlight needed improvements. These managers mistake suggested improvements as an accusation of their managerial failure. Leaders, make sure you know what your managers are doing. Superior customer experience comes from inspired, engaged, empowered employees.



Get everyone listening to the customer. Break down the silos. Allow all to hear and use the free feedback for superior customer experience.

It’s a matter of today’s profitability and the company’s longevity. Companies go out of business when the customers’ needs and wants change and the company doesn’t!



What successes have you had getting real time customer feedback and using it to deliver superior customer experience?




From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Customer Experience Leaders, Remove the Never Ever Rules
6 People Skills Essentials to Seeing Others’ Views
Superior Customer Experience: Above & Beyond Question

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

People Skills Essentials to See: Image is Telescope

People Skills: Essentials to Seeing Others’ Views. Image by: KristinMarshall

People Skills: What does it take to see others’ perspectives?



Some say you need the ability to see beyond your own thoughts — in other words, telescopic talent. People with this talent can see others’ views more easily however it’s possible to consider others’ perspectives without it. 









People Skills: Image is Microscope

People Skills: Essentials to Seeing Others’ Views. Image by Carl Zeiss Microscopy


Others say you need the ability to see into another person’s mind — microscopic talent. There are people who have a natural ability to analyze and go deep yet it’s possible to see others’ perspectives without it.



So what does it take to listen and see the perspectives of others?

The short answer — love and courage.



Not tangible enough for you? Too touchy-feely especially in a work setting? OK. Here is a more substantial list that will help you improve your people skills ability to see others’ views.






People Skills: Essentials to Seeing Others’ Views

  1. Desire to grow. Wanting to know something new is the great motivator. If you don’t yearn to go beyond your current view, skills and ability won’t help you.

  2. Courage to explore and be vulnerable. Your beliefs help you feel grounded and comfortable. To see others’ views you must have the courage to go outside your comfort zone and hear very different ideas. This also means temporarily feeling vulnerable in the gap.

  3. Belief that the status quo is just as risky as change. People who find the courage to delve into others’ views also see discovery as risk reduction — not just as risk.

  4. Patience with ambiguity. If you always like feeling in control, you may also find that you don’t explore others’ views. In exploration there is always some ambiguity as you try to understand something different. Those who see others’ perspective have some patience with ambiguity.

  5. Comfort with diversity. Those who see others’ perspectives have accept diversity. Rather than categorically seeing ideas as right/wrong, they first see ideas as different. They don’t prejudge. They explore because they are comfortable with diversity.

  6. High self-esteem & humility. When high self-esteem and humility unite, your people skills shine. High self-esteem is the safety net for exploration. New ideas don’t threaten your ego. Humility prevents arrogance and self-righteousness. It keeps you learning about others and their views.






As you read through this list, the underlying elements are courage and love. It takes courage to explore, to go outside of the known and the comfortable. It takes love to give others a moment of your time and your courage to see what they have to say.


Consider what seeing peoples’ views can do for your personal and professional life.

  • Strong friendships and happy marriages are based on willingness to see the other person’s view.
  • Successful negotiation is all about exploring and seeing many aspects and views.
  • Leadership and employee engagement hinge on exploring various perspectives.
  • Teamwork gels when team members can work through different views to find a winning solution.
  • Customer service soars when you take time to see the customer’s perspective.



Want some of these great successes? Give up the need to be right. Ease up on your need to control. Give some of your time and attention. Explore without fearing capitulation. Discover without confusing it with mindless agreement.

Seeing others’ views does not mean you will agree. It simply gives you and others a true chance to discover if you agree or disagree! With desire and great people skills, you will be respected for your openness — even in disagreement.


One great way to start: Ask yourself what if. ====> “What if I find out their ideas are similar to mine? What if I learn something that can help me in another way? What if they end up seeing value in my view? What if the different views are surprisingly helpful and give me happiness and success?”


It costs nothing to explore and learn and the return is great. Muster your courage, give your love, see others’ views, and fearlessly watch the new horizon emerge.


What would you add to the above list of six essentials? Your #7 is ….?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
What’s So Hot About Humility Anyway?
12 Most Professional People Skills to Use When You Have Little Power
People Skills: Empathize Before You Analyze

Gratitude for:
Image of telescope by KristinMarshall via Flickr Creative Commons License.
Image of microscope by Carl Zeiss Microscopy via Flickr Creative Commons License.

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

People skills Twitter Chat TOPIC: What Our Mothers Taught Us on #PeopleSkills.

WHEN: Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12, 2013 10AM EDT/7am PDT.

Here’s a time converter to assist all of you around the globe in converting 10am EDT to your local time.

A Different Format for Special Mother’s Day Chat!

Instead of our normal structured questions, I will post a one word topic every five minutes and we will tweet what our mothers taught us about it!

So collect your family people skills wisdom from the ages and get ready to share it this Mother’s Day in #peopleskills chat.


People Skills Twitter Chat Logo

People Skills Twitter Chat: What Our Mothers Taught Us

Image designed by: Kimb Manson Graphics Design for Kate Nasser. All rights reserved.

Shout Out of Gratitude

To mothers, step mothers, Godmothers everywhere and all those who have filled those roles without the official title. Thank you for your incredible sacrifice, love, strength, and compassion.


Join People Skills Twitter Chat Sun. May 12th ’13 10am EDT/7am PDT.

If you would like to suggest some of the one word topics for this special Mother’s Day chat, please note them in the comments section below by Saturday May 11th. **What our mothers taught us about ___________ in people skills.

I also invite you to join the Google+ People Skills Community to be a part of all the people skills discussions not just on Sundays but everyday 24×7.






Hope you will all join in the #PeopleSkills Twitter chat to explore What Our Mothers Taught Us On People Skills, this Sunday May 12, 2013 10am EDT/7am PDT.

Everyone is welcome! We have only one rule in People Skills Twitter Chat: Respect for all even when we disagree.







TIP: If you have never been in a Twitter chat, you may find it helpful to log on to Tweetchat.com, enter hashtag #peopleskills, and sign in to your Twitter account. Tweetchat will insert the hashtag automatically for you and you will see all the tweets on one screen. Other tools available are OneQube, Hootsuite and TweetDeck.

I am the founder and host of the chat and will be happy to answer any questions you have in advance: Email me.


Chat with you this Mother’s Day Sunday May 12, 2013 10am EDT in #PeopleSkills Twitter Chat: What Our Mothers Taught Us on People Skills.


Until then, as always, I wish you bonds of happiness and success!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

As leaders, we question why we must spend time and money developing employees and teams to do things that seem like common sense. At the top of the list are issues like: listen, collaborate, do important things first, and treat customers well.

As our frustration rises in our moments of disbelief, the truth about common sense emerges.


Common sense is our set of expectations more than an innate ability.


Leaders, Common Sense is Actually Our Set of Expectations Image via Istock.com

Image licensed from Istock.com

Leaders, From Common Sense to Common Practice

One might actually say that beyond the basics of human survival, the most of what we label as common sense is whatever meets our expectations of others’ behavior. Those expectations are founded in our own knowledge, education, experience, and perspective. When people happen to meet our expectations, by chance, we feel both validated and thrilled.

Yet we increase the chance of organizational and team success by:

  • Making our expectations explicit vs. implicit

  • Hiring for as much of it as possible

  • Identifying what causes the variation in behavior

  • Engaging employees to develop shared expectations and applicable behavior


The Crux of Variation in Behavior

As we identify what causes variation in behavior, we gain insight to spot it in during interviews, to communicate clearly what we expect, and to engage employees for successful behaviors.

  1. Previous leaders’ expectations. Professors in school, parents, and previous bosses leave a decided mark on our job candidates and employees. It might be the behaviors that we value or not. If their manager was a highly critical micro-manager, then we may not see the common sense we expect like engaged listening, initiative in customer care, or critical assessment skills about the most important activities. All the more reason for us to make our behavioral expectations explicitly clear. Then spot and understand any variation and train/coach for successful outcomes.

  2. Personality types. People view situations and process them differently. Most of us have witnessed much debate in meetings over what is most important to do first. It isn’t common sense that determines the answer. It is understanding the various views around risks and explicit goals that produces a successful result.

  3. Personal motivators. Fear, fame, control, stress avoidance, need for security, craving for progress, are just a few of the forces that impact behavior. As leaders we think we want nothing but high achieving employees with little fear. Yet along with those employee traits come a lower tolerance for bureaucracy, a desire to speak their minds and tell leaders they’re wrong, and an expectation of full resources to ensure success. There are rarely employees that completely match our expectations. The variation is not their lack of common sense; it is the reality of employees trying to cope with conditions that don’t match who they naturally are.

  4. The mystery in the mix. Even if we are fortunate enough to find employees who match our high expectations, they are not identical people. They are different people. Bringing them together for eight hours a day to interact with ease and success uncovers the challenges and mysteries of rapport. Leaders who think team building is a waste of time discover the mysteries the hard way during high pressure and stress — when it is time to produce not build rapport.

  5. Our blind spots. If we want to minimize the variation from successful behaviors, we must start with ourselves. When we are highly self-aware, have our behaviors aligned with the goals, and work on our own demons, employees work in clarity not confusion. They spend less time managing up, second guessing our reactions, and tap dancing around success. They don’t have to guess our definition of common sense; they can engage with clear vision for maximum success.


Leaders, have you fallen prey to unstated expectations, a hope for things to naturally work, and denial of the steps needed to create teams of high performing engaged employees? One simple step to remedy this: Each time you say to yourself it’s just common sense, stop and write down your expectations. Then ask yourself if you communicated those expectations to everyone involved.

It takes clearly defined expectations and discussions to get everyone on the same page. It takes behavioral training to adapt to diverse customers and team building with colleagues to achieve what is often labelled as common sense.



I am your resource and coach and look forward to your ideas on this subject here or in private emails to me — whichever works best for you.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


Related Posts:
Leaders, Leading Change Within Yourself Changes Everything
Driver Type Leaders, Remove These 3 Threats to Success


©2012-2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

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Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer experience surveys have been standard procedure for most businesses and corporations for many years. The delivery mechanism and the assessment of answers have gone high tech.

Yet there is one super opportunity to improve every customer experience survey and it requires a double vision.

We generally think of the customer experience survey as a way to understand our customers. Yet the survey itself also speaks volumes to our customers about our customer service and experience philosophy.

Customer Experience Survey: Biggest Opportunity to Improve Image by:noluck

We think about what our customers are telling us. That’s good! Yet what is our customer experience survey telling our customers about us?

The quick answer might be that we care enough to ask their opinions. OK, that’s a start.  Yet do we really ask their opinions?

Does the typical customer experience survey ask for true opinions for improvement or mostly for votes?  There are the comment sections yet do customers receive a timely response? Do comments turn into corrective action?

Social media has become the venue for customers to get a response.  It begs the question, why haven’t customer experience surveys played the same role? As a customer, I fill out many surveys with concrete suggestions. I never hear anything back nor see results from my survey energy.  What has been your experience as a customer?

Does the customer experience survey measure what we in business care about or what our customers care about?

Or do the primarily structured survey questions broadcast that we think we know what’s most important? When we don’t respond to suggestions, does it say we don’t care? Or worse, that customers have to complain in public via social media to get a timely response?


Super Opportunity for the Customer Experience Survey
Acknowledge that the survey markets our customer experience philosophy and make every survey a two-way street.

  1. Ask: What do you think of this customer experience survey?
  2. Ask: Does it reflect what’s important to you?
  3. Ask: What would you add to this survey? What would you eliminate?
  4. Ask: What would make it easier to complete this survey?
  5. Invite customers to help redesign the customer experience survey.
  6. Connect the experience dots: Have social media teams review and respond to customer experience surveys A customer shouldn’t have to complain — and in public no less — to get our attention. If we respond to suggestions before the complaint, it says we truly care.

  7. EXAMPLES

    Lengthy hotel surveys ask many voting style questions in multiple categories yet often do not ask questions that relate to special needs.
    ——-
    They ask much about the appearance of the lobby yet nothing about the comfort of the desk chair in the room where customers spend time working on their laptops.

    Retail exchange forms with online clothing purchases ask the reason code for the return. Many of the reasons are valuable to improving future buying experience.
    ——–
    The one blatantly missing is: “I don’t like how the garment looks on me.” If online retail wants to create the true clothing buying experience, this addition would speak volumes. Else this customer experience survey says, we don’t care about the bigger picture of how you look.




We can reinvent the customer experience survey to produce more than a metric based scorecard. We can have it reflect an open door that truly welcomes, listens to, and responds to customers’ feedback in a timely manner.

We can even have it be the vehicle of valuable dialogue, two-way understanding, and trusted exchange that builds long term loyalty.

Are you ready to review your customer experience survey? I’m ready to help you with objective insight.

From professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™


Related Posts:
Customer Experience Super Blooms When We Flex.
The Best Customer Experience: Customers & Us in Harmony

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please first email info@katenasser.com for terms of use. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on customer service, customer experience, teamwork, and leading change. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

As The People-Skills Coach™, I have written before on steps from brutally blunt to helpfully honest. Yet for those who are inspired by logic to change behavior, it bears listing the smart logical reasons why bluntness bombs out.

Bluntness Bombs Out for 5 Smart Logical Reasons Image by:Rupert Brun



5 Smart Logical Reasons Blunt Bombs Out

  1. No Warm-Up. Picture your bluntness as very cold water. If we push someone into a cold swimming pool, they remember the shock. If we let them wade in, they adjust to the temperature and can function. Thus if we want people to function and use our message, we shouldn’t shock them with bluntness.

  2. Punching Dulls the Brain. Punching bags are not known for their performance. They hang and swing. If we are being blunt to effect a change, those we verbally punch may swing away from us yet they are not likely to understand or change behavior.

  3. Bluntness builds barriers. Communication is for connection. Bluntness can create a busy signal — a barrier — between communicator and listener. If someone isn’t listening, your message bombs out.

  4. Bluntness undermines respect and credibility. The strength of the message is weakened by the rudeness of the approach. Who is going to respect and believe the message delivered by a blunt creton?

  5. Bluntness breaks bonds. Unless we each live as hermits, we interact with people to survive and thrive. Many times the same people more than once. Bluntness may get our words out but bombs out by breaking the bonds with those around us. It may even create vengeful feelings and instigate a war (verbal or hidden).



Many people resort to bluntness, out of frustration, when diplomatic honesty hasn’t worked. Others simply lose patience with those of less intelligence.

Yet when we reach the end of the rope, why cut it with bluntness? Unless we need to use bluntness to save a life or prevent death, hold on to the rope!

Take a moment and tap intellect, logic, and smarts to find a way to communicate with honesty and respect.

From my experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™


Related Post: Leadership & Teamwork: Honesty May Hurt But Blunt Burns Forever

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers consulting, training, DVDs, and keynotes on customer service, teamwork, and leading change. She turns interaction obstacles into business success in tough times of change. See this site for workshop outlines and customer results.

As The People-Skills Coach, I often teach others how to deal with people’s anger in the workplace. Does your boss yell sometimes? Has a team member suddenly become edgy with you? Has a customer surprised you with a yell?

Find the Urgency Before the Yell Image: Istock.


If you prefer that everyone calmly communicate and never yell, you need this professional people-skill to find nirvana:

Hear the urgency before the yell.

Quite often when the boss, a teammate, or a customer yells, you have missed the urgency they were communicating before the yell.

Common leadership and teamwork beliefs encourage open honest communication without anger or yelling. Yet this requires something of both the speaker and the listener.

In the face of urgency and a listener who doesn’t hear it, it is likely someone will resort to a yell. I am not speaking about people who yell all the time. I am referring to people who suddenly yell after calmly communicating.


Do You Hear Urgency in Their Calm — Before the Yell?
If not, here are 5 ways to spot urgency and develop this professional listening skill.

  1. Find urgency in the bigger picture. I was teaching a public class. The banquet room was to be setup by 7:30am so I could prepare before greeting the students. I walked in to see a room configured incorrectly and no flip charts. I calmly spoke with the hotel rep about the timeframe and ten minutes later — no change. I then said, “Fix this now!”. He quipped, “that’s good, you woke me up” and quickly fixed the problem. To him, my initial calm voice meant it wasn’t urgent. Had he looked at the bigger picture of my needing to get ready before people arrived, he would have heard the urgency in the calm.

  2. Find urgency in the need to be acknowledged. Urgency is not always a deadline for action. Often people’s urgency resides in their need to be heard. Paraphrase (not parrot) what they have said. Tell them that you hear what they are saying. This simple technique prevents the yell.

  3. Hear urgency in repetition. When they calmly say the same thing twice, hear their urgency and acknowledge it — before the yell.

  4. Urgency lives in their lack of knowledge. Your expertise blinds you to their urgency. As they speak and your knowledge is calmly telling you “no problem”, speak up. Communicate solutions. Else get ready for a yell.

  5. Hear urgency in the painful past or impending future. Many times people’s urgency comes from previous negative experiences that caused them pain or something they are anticipating. Ask great questions while people are calm to uncover their concerns — before the yell.



Bonus Tip: The more you know about people, the easier it is to prevent the yell. You learn their pet peeves, their personality types, their fears and goals, their frustrations, and how best to respond before the yell.

If you believe that people-skills and relationships are fluff, don’t expect to reach the nirvana of calm communication. It comes from knowing people!

What makes you want to yell?

What have surprising yells taught you that you can share with all of us here at Smart SenseAbilities?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™


Related Post: Why Executives Get Impatient With You

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers consulting, training, DVDs, and keynotes that turn interaction obstacles into business success especially in tough times of change. See this site for workshops outlines and customer results.

Is technology killing customer service in healthcare? Has technology removed our reason to care for others?

Technology has contributed countless life changing advances to healthcare yet I see two distrubing customer care trends.

Has Technology Removed Our Reason to Care?

Image by and Courtesy of:Daneel Ariantho


Our Reason to Care
As I see technicians and nurses working with me and friends/family, their behavior alarms me in two ways. Some let technology remove their sense of reason and logic and others have lost the human reason to care.


Story #1
A dear friend who is a large size person knows from experience that automatic blood pressure machines frequently report false results because of her large size arm. The nurse insisted on using that device and the machine reported very low blood pressure. My friend with a history of blood pressure issues, questioned the result. The nurse replied, “But that’s what the machine is reporting.”

My friend urged the nurse to use a traditional blood pressure device with a large cuff. This time the result was much higher than usual. The nurse, seemingly stumped, said: “Which result do you want me to note on your chart?”

Don’t Let Technology Remove Good Reason

  1. Technology alone does not provide complete care. If you are getting two very different results, good judgment would guide you to question and perhaps test again.
  2. Relying completely on technology assumes that technology cannot make a mistake. Yet good reason would suggest that variations or mistakes in input or use of the technology can cause faulty results.



Story #2
I was undergoing a medical test conducted by a technician. As the technician vigorously moved the wand around inside of my body, she never once asked how I was doing. I told her I was in pain and her response was “I can’t get good pictures of what’s going on” as she continued on with this painful test. I finally said “enough!”. She then said, “Oh, well if you would go empty your bladder again it might make it easier.”

Her demeanor spoke volumes about her focus. Her reason for being there was purely technological not human and diagnostic customer care.

Result: I never went back to that radiology center and told many how poorly the technician treated me. The next time I needed a test, I found another company which I now recommend to all my friends and family.

Technology is a wonderful adjunct to the human brain. Let’s not allow technology to remove our good judgment or reason to care!


Questions:


  • Where in your life have you seen technology overtake people’s reason and judgment? Why do you think this happens? How can we prevent it?


  • In healthcare this poor judgment can be very scary. Where else do you think this error can cause great harm?



  • Curiously yours,
    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

    ©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers consulting, training, DVDs, and keynotes for customer service and teamwork — that turn interaction obstacles into professional success especially in tough times of change. See this site for workshops outlines and customer results.

    There is a hidden opportunity for a competitive edge in the wireless service market. Have your call center follow through with the same brilliance that marketing started. If marketing gets the customer to call, hey call center — don’t blow it!


    Marketing Wireless You Got Me. Call Center Blew It. Image by:Uriondo




    The Story
    Marketing, You Got Me. Call Center You Blew It!
    AT&T Wireless sent me a mailer about a deal for wireless service. I had been thinking of changing wireless carriers so I opened it, read it, and called the 800 #. Marketing you got me!  

    A short voice response menu asked me if I was a current customer or not.  Press 2 and I was put through to a rep.  I thought wow this is great and then the path to success blew up.

    The call center rep actually read a sales script without a breath and at the end asked me if I wanted to buy now. Call center you blew it!

    Sales and service are not a monologue from you with a burp at the end from me. The scripted call center rep blew the brilliance of the marketing in 12 non-listening seconds.

    Wireless carriers take heed — customers today are doing their homework and call with specific questions.

    Drop the sales script and start dialoguing. Your marketing-to-sales conversion rate will soar. Lose the script or lose the sale!


    From my experience to your success,
    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™


    How do you react to a scripted sales or service rep?


    Related Post from BNET: Why Sales Scripts Are a Waste of Time

    ©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, inspires and trains corporate teams, customer care professionals, call center agents, and technical support teams in the greatest people-skills for sales and service success. See this site for workshop outlines, customer feedback, and footage to view. Turn interaction obstacles into business success — book Kate now.

    And 6 Tips To Quiet Noisy Knowledge!

    Most leaders and teams hope their knowledge and experience will serve them well. We listen to it for guidance during uncertainty. Yet in times of change, is our knowledge too noisy to listen to new ideas?

    Leaders, Is Our Knowledge Too Noisy to Listen to Change?




    How can knowledge serve us and our teams well if it screams inside when new ideas don’t fit it? Consider that:

      Knowledge and experience are on a list of common listening barriers.


      Interesting recent study results from the University of Pennsylvania suggest people are biased against creative (new) ideas.






    So what does it matter?



    Key Concerns About Noisy Knowledge

      Is timely innovation in the workplace possible with bias against creative ideas that challenge existing knowledge?

      When knowledge and experience are a buoy during times of change, will people ease their grip on that buoy — early on — to listen and consider creative, innovative ideas?

      What are the risks of allowing noisy knowledge to slow or stop innovation? It happens and often in the shadows.



    Quiet Noisy Knowledge With Awareness

    1. Bring the issue into the light with your teams. Start using the phrase “noisy knowledge” as a cue with yourself and anyone in the room who is not listening to new ideas.

    2. Position new ideas as new knowledge. If knowledge is the buoy, you can add more to the buoy instead of letting go of it. New knowledge is the buoy of security for continued success.

    3. Note aloud the emotional reactions to the new ideas. Then put aside the emotion to consider the substance of the ideas. By separating the emotion from the thinking, new ideas have a chance! “My emotional reaction is …, now let me consider the idea.”

    4. Ask yourself and others, how is my/your noisy knowledge impacting others, the business, and success? We are each responsible for the energy we bring to or drain from a workplace, a meeting, or a moment.

    5. Leaders, consider having everyone take a social styles indicator (Amiable, Expressive, Analytic, Driver) so that everyone can own their type and understand how others communicate. Communication styles affect listening!

    6. In advance of any major change initiative, help yourself and team members identify everyone’s change reactions. The KAI (Kirton Adaptive Innovation Inventory) is a great instrument to help each person see how open s/he is to change. Once known, then owned and managed!



    The need for comfort and security is understandable. The need for timely change, inevitable. The pathway for both, around the noisy knowledge, is awareness, ownership, and communication.

    What else would you add to overcome the barriers to listening to new ideas? What’s your #7 for this list?


    With belief in everyone’s change-ability,
    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

    ©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers consulting, training, DVDs, and keynotes that turn interaction obstacles into business success especially in tough times of change. See this site for workshops outlines and customer results. Lead change with vision, courage, and communication.

    Corporate and business labels come in all forms — job titles, organizational units, processes, functions, acronyms, and so forth. Labels clarify, organize, and communicate. Labels can also limit development, possibilities, and empowerment. The leadership challenge is leading beyond the labels.

    Leadership: Leading Beyond the Labels Image by: Bene

    Labels can speed communication and understanding. Can you imagine the frustration of having to repeatedly describe in detail something that could be said with one label that everyone quickly grasps? Ironically, that same label can shut down listening, questioning, discussing, and innovating — if you let it.

    Leading Beyond the Labels

    1. Ask yourself: Are you and/or your teams using labels to limit or to explore? Listen carefully for instances of building boundaries out of labels. Spotting this trend early and correcting can reduce engrained change resistance.
    2. Check for “should” and “only” in your mind and in your words. One of the easiest ways to spot labeling to limit is to ask yourselves are you thinking/saying limiting thoughts as you use a label. This team member is only a _________ (job title/label). This step should be done by _________ (department/label).
    3. What’s the risk of not limiting vs. limiting? Leadership requires assessing risks. If the risks of not limiting are great, you will likely go with labeling to limit to minimize risk. Else, avoid it.
    4. Labeling people, even positively, builds more limits than talents. Counteract this effect with cross-teamwork, developmental assignments, and team building activities that explore beyond the labels.


    Labels are alluring to many
    . They make things clear, tangible, — and comfortable. Hence the true danger. Don’t accept this comfort. Question it. Challenge it. Counteract it. Succeed by leading beyond the labels.


    What would you add to this list to limit the limiting effects of labels? I welcome your thoughts in the comments field below. Add your voice!

    From my professional experience to your success,
    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

    ©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. For permission to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, turns interaction obstacles into business success. Now in 23rd year of business, Kate delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, customer service, customer experience, and teamwork. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

    Great speakers and writers know the power of words. The right words can excite, engage, and entertain. They can paint images, spur debate, and chart new directions.

    The right words, however, cannot get beyond a listening boundary we create ourselves. In my teaching, consulting, and blogging, I have seen one pesky listening boundary recur across diverse audiences.

    Previous experience traps words in one context & blocks listening.

    Swim Beyond Your Listening Boundary




    What Words Trigger a Listening Boundary?
    We may never know exactly which words will trap us in a listening boundary. We ready ourselves to swim beyond a boundary by knowing when words trap our listening.

    1. When we already have strong feeling, emotion, or opinion. In my customer service workshops, the word paraphrase often stops people from listening to what I mean by that word. They picture the horrible experience of agents reading from a script parroting each thing they say. This of course is not paraphrasing. Yet their previous experience temporarily blocks listening.

    2. When we have had intense or rigid occupational training. There are some professions where certification or licensing drill people into fixed ways of thinking. Good for performance in that profession; bad for listening and interacting beyond that boundary.

    3. When we crave control. Cravings take over mind and body and block listening. Oddly enough, craving control destroys any chance of having control. Without input, our current knowledge becomes outdated or invalid. Listening is the path to continued understanding and success.

    4. When we are impatient for results and closure. Time pressures, personality type, fear of failure breed impatience and create a listening boundary.



    Listening Beyond the Boundary
    Question, digest, and absorb.

    1. Replace fear of looking ignorant with strength from active listening.

    2. Postpone persuading until you know the field of sway.

    3. Consider the context of the communicator before hawking your context.

    4. Leave room for various meanings. Language is not a science.


    Shall we start a list of common words that trap us in a listening boundary? Or will you share below some other conditions that spawn listening boundaries? I welcome your contributions to this post in the comments section below.

    ©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. For permission to re-post or republish, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, has amassed 21 years of stellar results with corporate customers turning interpersonal obstacles into business success. Her energy is legendary, her insight objective, and her results tangible. See this site for info about her keynotes, workshops, and dvds.

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