Knowledge

How long do you think customers will wait for information and answers? Well Google engineers have found that for people surfing the Web, even 400 milliseconds (the blink of an eye) is too long. Wow.

Now picture your typical customer, pressured for a solution. Double wow.

This age of instant information has increased customers’ expectations of front line customer service knowledge and of the CSRs, agents, and technical support reps (TSRs) that deliver it.

Super Customer Experience: In the Blink of an Eye. Ready? Image by:miuenski

Are Your Front Line Teams Tooled & Ready?

Super Customer Experience Info Checklist

  • Can your front line reps see what the customers see on the Web? Can they at least see your own company website? In my consulting work, I often here the incredible answer, no.

    I ask, why not? “Because we don’t want them to surf the net. Only the teams that monitor social media can see the Web.” Huh?

    Wake up call from customers: “If we can see it, we expect front line reps to be able to see it too!”


  • Do the front line agents and all other teams use the same tracking system software (without cumbersome interfaces that create errors)? For a super customer experience, customers expect that all involved in delivering service will be able to see what they need.

    Checkpoint: How many of your customers are dissatisfied because your service and support teams cannot access the same customer information? In today’s world of instant information, the customers don’t even think this could be happening. Instead, they just think you don’t care about them.


  • Do your front line technical support reps have remote control to the customers’ desktops? For customers with computer problems, remote control as an option has eliminated their stress, sped up problem solving, and increased their satisfaction. Many customers will grant permission for the rep to use remote control, yet many front line teams don’t have it.

    Advice: Give front line technical support reps remote control. Don’t let organizational politics, internal turf wars, and hierarchical structure keep this wonderful technology from the front line.

    Customers tolerance for front line technical support reps who can only route tickets to problem solvers continues to decrease. In today’s world of instant information, it seems antiquated and illogical and a far cry from a super customer experience!



It can be a big challenge in large companies to have seamless integration of systems and information. Yet the technology is available to make it happen and customers assume you will have shared information.

They expect it, in the blink of an eye, for super customer experience.

Will this challenge make it to the top of your 2012 goal list? They surely hope so!




Question:

As a customer, what other information would you want and expect the front line teams to have?



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

Related Posts:
Customer Experience: Customers & Us in Harmony
Does Customer Service Fix Failure or Build Success

©2012 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 experience, teamwork, and leading change. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. BS Mathematics. Masters Organizational Psychology. Former techie!!

Musings on Effective Meetings from The People-Skills Coach™


In the workplace, leaders and teams still search for ways to hold tremendously effective meetings. Despite years of pundits’ advice, side trips into tangent land, chatty corner conversations, habitually late arrivals, vibrating smart phones and tablets, tunnel vision, resistance, and lack of focus keep everyone from the bulls-eye.

They also leave most people dreading the next meeting.

So I wonder, will we find the Holy Grail if we leave meetings in the dust and instead hold a meeting of the minds?

Leave Meetings! Got a Meeting of the Minds?

Words do matter and the word meeting has always been too vague for me. It has confused workplace teams for decades. A meeting and its 21st century cousin, a meet-up, suggest a free form event to which people can arrive fashionably late.

Whereas the phrase, a meeting of the minds, is packed with clear requirements.

A meeting of the minds,


  1. Sounds the knell of knowledge exchange that calls everyone to be there on time — else there’s no exchange.

  2. Suggests there is a specific topic and purpose. You wonder a meeting of the minds “on what”? It breeds interest and focus.

  3. Prepares the mind to be ready to meet. Most would feel embarrassed to attend a meeting of the minds and say only I don’t know or I’m not prepared!

  4. Inherently requires listening, discussing, and participation of all minds. Unless everyone is telepathic, all must engage else the views stay hidden in the minds.

  5. Engenders all to speak in terms that others understand else the minds don’t meet.

  6. Brings the endless talker up for air to hear what other minds think.

  7. Bends the obstinate else why are they at a meeting of the minds?

  8. Coaxes all to agreement and decision. After all, isn’t that the meaning of we came to a meeting of the minds?

In the workplace today we have multicultural teams, virtual technology, global reach, and still that pesky problem of ineffective meetings.

I say we’ve got nothing to lose by giving meetings a new moniker and seeing if it gets us to the Holy Grail.

Maybe we should even hold a contest to see what the new moniker should be if a meeting of the minds doesn’t hold everyone’s attention!

What say you?

From my professional experience (with a wry twist) to your success,
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 first email info@katenasser.com for terms of use. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Related Post: 7 Steps from Brutally Blunt to Helpfully Honest


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

In this day of fast paced connections, it’s smart to fine tune our people-skills to perform like a Ferrari.

We must be quickly aware of and adapt to conditions, select the right speed of interaction, and pick the right words to communicate — all with style. Quite a challenge!

So let’s fast track it with quality components (knowledge) and then road test (practice) and maintain it with continued learning.

People-Skills: Be & Perform Like a Ferrari

Image by:Crystal666 via Creative Commons License



Fast Track Knowledge for People-skills Performance


  1. Make brevity effective not rude. Skip the emotionally inflaming phrases and speak with simple honesty.

  2. Be confident in your knowledge and deliver it humbly. It’s easier to appreciate the knowledge and respect the person when arrogance is not fogging the view.

  3. Influence don’t manipulate. Abandon questions like don’t you think and replace them with open-ended questions that produce true understanding.

  4. Listen don’t label. Labels build barriers; listening builds collaborative success.

  5. Deliver results without running over people. What you ponder, you create. If you think of positive ways to succeed, your communication and people-skills will follow suit.

  6. Express opinions as opinion, not as decrees. There is a time and place for certainty and a time and place to consider other possibilities. You earn great respect for being able to do both.

  7. Opposing views can lead to new discoveries. Opposing each other leads nowhere. Where do you want to go?

  8. Optimism and skepticism are healthy; pessimism is poison. An optimistic outlook and some protective skepticism lift all to tangible success. Pessimism drains the life out of everyone you touch. How do you want to touch others? Choose wisely.

See you on the highway to success as we handle the curves with ease and style!



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

Related post: 7 Steps From Brutally Blunt to Helpfully Honest

©2012 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 that turn interaction obstacles into business success especially in tough times of change. See this site for workshops outlines, action footage, and customer results.

The Customer Experience ViewMaster!

Leaders, if your teams were to read this caption — Leaders, Foresee & Reduce the Burden of Needy Customers — whose burden would they think of? Theirs or the customers?

The answer will show you the state of your current customer experience culture. If they think of the customers’ burden, you are in a good zone. If they think of their own burden first, you have miles to go in building a super customer experience culture.

Foreseeing & Reducing The Burden of Needy Customers

Image by: AndyMiah via Creative Commons License

Customer Experience Culture



Needy customers are the only type of customers!

Un-needy prospects are of little value to our organization.

If they don’t need our products and services, they don’t need us.

It’s time to build your team’s desire to foresee and reduce the customers’ burden.

Help them to see the burden of uncertainty that every customer bears and how they can reduce it!


The 21 Customer Burdens (of Uncertainty)

  1. Can I trust this company with my needs?
  2. Will they fully understand my needs?
  3. Do they care about my needs?
  4. How well do they work together or will I have to run between them to get what I want?
  5. Will I understand them and how to easily use their product/service?
  6. How well will they deliver on my needs?
  7. Will they treat me well — even when it doesn’t serve their profits?
  8. How much will their mistakes cost me? In time, money, reputation, lost revenue?
  9. What positive effect will they have on my life or business?
  10. How easy will it be to use their product or service?
  11. What if we disagree? How will they handle it?
  12. Will the interaction be stressful or positive?
  13. Are they capable of giving me a super customer experience?
  14. What assumptions are they making? What do the expect of me?
  15. What don’t they care about — despite their promises?
  16. How will they treat me after the sale?
  17. Will I regret picking their product or service?
  18. What happens to me if I do regret picking them?
  19. How will a bad decision impact my career, my life, my business, my customers?
  20. Will I like their product, service, and dealing with them?
  21. Should I trust this company?





The customers’ burden of uncertainty takes them away from you.

Take the burden of uncertainty away from them and build your success with their trust in you.

When I go into companies to build a super customer experience culture, I often see that the leaders are aware of these customer burdens – the teams aren’t.

Teach every team in your company to foresee these burdens and reduce them through product and service design, positive selling and trust-based customer service.

It delivers a super customer experience with great success and best results for your business.






Is there a #22 for the list above? What other customer burdens will you reduce?

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

Related Post: Super Customer Experience: Be Plentiful & Ready

©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 experience, teamwork, and leading change. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Businesses, large and small, both want to deliver super customer experience. Two steps can take customer experience from good to great — be plentiful and ready. And it’s the best PR.

Super Customer Experience - Be Plentiful & Ready, The Best PR!

The trigger reaction of many leaders to the idea of being plentiful to the customers — “that costs money!” Well, it doesn’t have to be free to customers or expensive for your business.


Being plentiful and ready gives customers:


  • Comfort. When people think of a shortage, the feeling is discomfort. In retail, some leaders believe that shortages can wield greater prices and yield more profits. Customers experience shortages as loss and void. Especially in service businesses, having a plentiful supply gives customers comfort.

    For business to business, it is critical. Suppliers are invaluable when they deliver plentiful supplies of what you need when you need it. It builds trust.


  • Ease. Customers love it when you make it easy. On a recent stay in a Sheraton hotel, I asked to have four towels each day instead of two. Yet I had to call and ask for extra towels every single day. Why not just supply the plentiful towels each day when cleaning my room? Be plentiful and ready to make it easy for the customers. Making an exception is great; sustaining it is super!

  • Success. When your business can handle last minute overages and is ready for sudden needs, the PR is tremendous. You can just imagine referring a catering company to many others if it helped your special event be successful especially with last minute needs.

    Conversely, I recently did a team building program with the theme of plug in and adapt. I found a small electrical adapter plug online and needed to buy hundreds. The supplier’s website would only let me order 50 so I called to check on quantities and availability. The customer service rep told me they had plenty but I could only buy 50 at a time with a maximum of 100.

    How odd. They had plenty but weren’t ready or interested in selling me a large quantity. Meanwhile the print shop I used for the session handouts was ready. The staff produced and shipped not only the initial 500 booklets but also 50 extra at the last minute when my customer expanded the project. Success!



  • For Super Customer Experience Today

    Be Plentiful in:

    1. Positive, can do, make it work attitudes.
    2. Low cost welcoming gifts.
    3. Experience.
    4. Information and knowledge.
    5. Advertised products.
    6. Last minute alternatives and solutions.
    7. Communication and behind the scenes teamwork.



    Be Ready With:

    1. Courtesy and care.
    2. Culture that considers customer experience as a business driver.
    3. Information rich well designed websites.
    4. Inter-cultural knowledge.
    5. Easy to use self-serve portals that address complete needs.
    6. Mechanisms that enable you to quickly adapt to change.
    7. Proactive listening, follow-through, and follow-up.
    8. Thank yous and gratitude.


    Be (P)lentiful today and (R)eady for tomorrow — the best PR for your business!

    In what other ways should we be plentiful and ready? What would you add to this list from your experience?


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

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

    Related Post: Super Customer Experience: Customers & Us in Harmony


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

    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.

    Even great customer service can fail during tough times. The most accomplished teams and the most well tested procedures have faltered in tough moments.

    Happily, I witnessed the guts of great service on a recent Continental/United airlines flight in tough weather conditions in the eastern US.

    The Guts of Great Customer Service in Tough Times Image by: C!

    The Story. We circled in a hold pattern on our way to Newark Liberty Airport and finally diverted to Baltimore to refuel and wait out the storm.  I have been a road warrior for 20 years and been through it many times. Yet this time the in flight crew captured my attention with remarkably different customer service.

    They told us everything they knew and admitted what they didn’t yet know.  They updated us constantly.  The airline gave us the guts of great service in tough times:

    Sharing information to share control.



    The Results. A few hundred informed passengers remained positive, busy, and calm.    We were able to use cell phones to communicate with those waiting for us and smart phones to get the fast changing info from the airline’s website.  The flight attendants also answered every question directly and repeatedly. The airline gave us the gift of information and a sense of control.

    We customers, especially Americans, like to have some control over what happens to us.  Airlines have been using technology to meet this need with options like boarding passes on our mobile devices, individual entertainment screens for each coach class seat, and power outlets to recharge our portable electronic devices.

    When service providers add human communication to these technological options, they deliver the guts of great customer service and a sense of control in tough times.

    How well do you share information with your customers to share control?

    If you do this well, the results are positively startling and memorable. Kudos Continental/United airlines. You turned a tough time into a manageable situation.

    I am grateful.

    Yours in service,
    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach


    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers customer service and teamwork training for delivering the guts of great service to every customer. Preview and purchase her new DVD Customer Service USA – Regional Differences That Matter.

    Whether you are a new grad, a new leader, a seasoned corporate leader, a small business, or a solopreneur, you can leverage Twitter for learning, growth, and success. If your image of Twitter is a useless stream of info about who is going for coffee or mostly links to squeeze pages that just try to sell you something, think again!

    New Grads, Leaders, and Business Owners - Twitter for Learning Image by:xotoko

    Revisit Twitter and leverage the no cost learning from diverse subject matter experts that freely share and discuss their insights. Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook, on Twitter you do not have to be formally connected to someone to access their knowledge and leverage it for your learning and development.

    You can follow anyone and read their tweets and blogs or simply search on your topic of interest and read without following them.

    There are go givers like Mike Henry, Sr @MikeHenrySrwho connects and mobilizes people for learning through The LeadChange Group and inspirational gurus like @eleesha, @Dave_carpenter, @InspirationGuy whose tweets lift you up and take you in new directions.

    From the academic authors like Bob Sutton, @work_matters Stanford Professor & Author “Good Boss, Bad Boss” & “The No Asshole Rule” to consumers’ favorite author of “Dummy Books” @MarshaCollier, you can connect and learn with them.

    Here is a Twitter sampling of the tips, knowledge, and insight waiting for you and it is just a tiny taste:


    Success: “When you make a promise by word or by deed – keep it.” ~ Joan Koeber-Walker, CEO Core Purpose, @CorePurpose @JKWInnovation

    Innovation: “There’s such pressure to do, do, do. But if you’re always mentally full, there’s no room for growth, new ideas, & change.”  ~ Mike Brown Founder of Brainzooming @Brainzooming

    Leadership: “As a leader, it is important to surround yourself with people who are not impressed with you, but respect you.” ~ Joshua Symonette, former NFL player and Leadership Consultant. @JSym

    Success & Winning: “The moment you let your emotions take control, you have lost control. Maintain your composer and you can win. – Michael Symonette (Joshua’s dad).

    Professional Success: “Build and nurture a diverse professional network.  The network can be a fabulous source for advisors, sounding boards, idea generators, and business leads.” ~Joe Williams, NASA Scientist, @RikerJoe

    Interpersonal Success: “Smiling.  It shows that you are personable and approachable. Consider the potential of this!” ~Matt Reiter @ReiterTweets

    Business Success: “Great customer service is the ultimate upsell.” ~Russel Lolacher @RussLOL

    Leadership: “Consider the hallmarks – Honesty is about what you say. Integrity is about what you do.” ~Mark Sturgell @pdncoach

    Leadership: “What’s worse than failure? Succeeding at what doesn’t matter.” ~Dan Rockwell @LeadershipFreak

    Leadership: “It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.” ~Red Auerbach (Former Coach of the Boston Celtics) – this is one of Dan’s favorite quotes!

    Lead Change:“Wise leaders build trust BEFORE trying to drive change.” ~Tristan Bishop @KnowledgeBishop

    Initiative & Success: ““We each choose: It’s either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” ~Dr. Jim Burns @drjimburns

    Coping With Change: “Instead of seeing change as difficult, see it as a path to becoming even better.” ~Gary Loper @GaryLoper

    Reward & Recognition: “Be so busy giving recognition to others, that you will not need it yourself.” ~ Jim Rohn This is one of Gary’s favorite quotes!


    And yours truly, @Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, offering my twenty years of experience and natural people skills talent on customer service, teamwork, and leading change. My connections with behavioral neuro experts like Dr. Ellen F. Weber @ellenfweber have expanded my knowledge and horizons.

    If you are not leveraging the learning on Twitter, you are overlooking the biggest open forum available for your professional development.

    If you are not using Twitter for your business and brand, you are forfeiting the greatest no cost neon sign ever invented. Join us on the new horizon.


    If you are using Twitter, what has been your greatest learning or gain? I welcome your contributions to this post in the comments field below.



    Does empowerment come before knowledge or knowledge before empowerment? That’s what the CEO of the business asked me.  Never is this confusion more prevalent than with new front line leaders.  Businesses almost always spend time and money training and developing the leadership and managerial skills of their top level leaders and often one or two levels down.

    Yet they promote team members into front line leadership positions without training or coaching.  They leave them to learn on the job — the hard way — and label it empowerment.  This presumes that empowerment precedes knowledge. In truth, knowledge breeds empowerment.

    Empowerment & Knowledge Image by:KarenWithak





    The thinking is that higher level leaders are paid more, have a broader impact on the company and therefore must have ongoing training, mentoring, and coaching.

    Consider, however, that empowered incompetent front line leaders have daily impact on end results. They can damage morale and team commitment to quality work.

    Empower them with knowledge and know-how.







    Develop future front line team leaders especially in these areas:

    1. Turning disagreement into profitable success
    2. Building accountability without micro-managing
    3. Tapping talents of diverse team members for transformational business results
    4. Transitioning from peer to boss (if applicable)

    You could choose to hire experienced front line leaders from outside your organization. Yet, if you are going to promote from within, first develop and empower them with knowledge and know-how. The results are amazing.


    Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers training and coaching to diverse organizations from large corporations to governmental agencies, for remarkable bottom line results. For more information on her workshops, KateNasser, The People-Skills Coach.