leaders

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!

Leaders, people skills are critical to success. Yet in a demanding business pace, people skills are often last on the learning list.

Luckily leaders and teams can build proficient people skills while attending to critical business. The proficiency starts with attitude and flows into people skills behavior!


People Skills: Image is Light Bulb

Leaders, 12 Essential Thoughts to Proficient People Skills Image by:Sean MacEntee

Image by: Sean MacEntee via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Proficient People Skills: Hold and Use These 12 Thoughts


  1. An open mind creates phenomenal results.

    Most people feel respected, honored, and uplifted by an open mind. Both in output and in morale, it produces positive results. There are some exceptions yet overall it is a winning thought. Build proficient people skills from an open mind.


  2. Cultural awareness strengthens people skills and results.

    We are global while local. Technology connects us yet we must be able to build upon that. Would you want to reconnect with people who showed no awareness of your world? Strengthen the proficiency of your people skills through learning about different cultures.


  3. Personal integrity gives you tremendous influence.

    When you own your mistakes, offer apologies with no excuses, and constantly improve your self-awareness, your people skills will naturally shine.


  4. Teams strengthen a leader’s reality.

    When we remember that our vision, understanding, and experience gains momentum with a team’s perspective, we are more likely to respect their input and collaboration. Build proficient people skills from this awareness.


  5. Understanding people leads to influence.

    Most leadership is actually influence in action. To effectively influence others — team members, customers, and even your boss — understand what they care about. Knowledge of others builds proficient people skills.


  6. Know when your people skills naturally shine.

    Complete this sentence: I am best at people skills when ____________________________. Identify when you usually interact well with others. Is it when you are happy? Confident? Relieved? Celebrating? Respected? In need? In difficulty? When is it? Capture what you do during these times and apply it across the board. Your natural pattern can build proficient people skills.


  7. People skills deliver in tough times.

    Contrary to popular belief, people skills are not a sign of weakness. In tough times you can draw on the good will you have built through people skills to deliver otherwise unachievable results. “Because of our long standing relationship, I’ll do it for you.” That’s an homage to your great people skills!


  8. People skills are not just for extroverts.

    If you are more introverted than extroverted, repaint the image you have about people skills. It is not about gregarious, outspoken, high energy behavior. People skills is stepping outside of your own perspective to understand and interact effectively with others. High extroverts have just as much adaptation to make as introverts. Both can succeed if they seek to understand.


  9. Bonds are not bondage.

    Many leaders having a driver personality crave end results not relationships. In fact, many believe that bonds with others are a detour to success and a trap that stops them just short of the finish line. Yet unless these leaders truly do everything themselves to reach success, bonds with others are the road to the finish line. Knowing the difference between bonds and bondage builds proficient people skills.


  10. Finding fault stops progress; finding solutions ignites success.

    One of the riskiest people skills moments for leaders is during a crisis or failure. That trigger voice that says: “Who’s at fault?” can bury future collaboration forever. Great people skills can guide the organization back to success and to a culture of accountability. A focus on success, not blame, can build proficient people skills.


  11. If you overlook team problems, success overlooks your teams.

    Morale matters. It impacts results. Team member people skills affect morale of the team and the results of the organization. “They are not children. Let them work it out themselves.” These beliefs cost the organization money and sacrifice success. Accept the truth about morale and you build proficient people skills.


  12. Get over being comfortable; get versatile.

    Global business success requires constant growth which means the discomfort of change. Focus on the versatility that people skills bring to your success and you will build proficient people skills!



Thoughts drive behavior and create a chain of reactions. Hold these thoughts about people skills and build valuable bonds that strengthen results.


Which of these thoughts rings strongest to you? Or would you add to or delete something from this list?



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


Related Posts:
Leaders, 10 Ways to Ignite Greatness Without Leaving Scars
3 Moments When Your People Skills Can Fail & How to Avoid That

©2011-13 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 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. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Leadership People Skills: Vision & Values Not Ultimatums
 

Leadership People Skills: Image is 3 Gold Rings Connected

Leadership People Skills: Respect, Honor, Engage. Image via Istock.com.

Image licensed from Istock.com


We applaud leaders with strong clear vision. We applaud them if they can communicate it in a way that respects, engages, and influences others vs. browbeating them.

We disengage from leaders with poor leadership people skills no matter how incredible the vision. The vision then slows, fades, or dies altogether.

 

Leadership people skills aren’t fluff!

They are the expression of values vs. ultimatums.

They respect, honor, and engage people to realize the vision.


Leadership People Skills: What Threatens Their Greatness?

Today’s leaders have embraced leadership people skills as critical to success. Many realize the importance of emotional intelligence and social acumen to engage others. They are working to find the balance between their commitment for their vision AND engaging others to commit.


Here’s what can trip up great leadership people skills:

  1. Unshared Values.
  2. Without shared values, what connects people? Sometimes dire need and life/death situations bind people together. Yet beyond true crises, absence of shared values is a huge void that disengages. A common goal is not enough!

    Leaders, what values do you and your employees or constituents share? If you can’t easily answer that, make this a priority. Else it will plague every interaction and slow results.


  3. Feeling Trapped.
  4. When leaders feel trapped in tough moments, they often resort to combative negative replies. It’s a common human response. When Governor Chris Christie of NJ was making reforms to the public schools, one unhappy constituent asked him “Where do your kids go to school?” His reply: None of your business where they go to school. (His children go to parochial schools.) His reply was most likely driven by the “uh oh” moment. Trapped in a possible contradiction.

    Avoid the trap by using a basic tenet, empathize before you analyze. It stops the negative response. In this example, his response would be something like: “I can see that these reforms are tough right now. I know they will lead to better education through a sound financial base. As a Catholic, I choose to send my kids to parochial school. As governor, I work toward better education for everyone.” Leadership people skills allow you to overcome the trap of anger by giving empathy. Clear thinking flows from there.


  5. High Need for Control.
  6. The stronger the need for control, the greater the chance your leadership people skills will suffer. Fear of sharing power stops listening and that disengages others. It brings leaders to mistake listening for capitulation. Listening is the pathway to engaging others. Basic logic: With listening you see how others think. With this information, you can inspire, influence, and increase commitment to your vision.

    Leaders, replace the need to be right with the success of influence!



Take some time and answer these two questions:

  • When do my leadership people skills naturally shine?
  • When do they fail me, the people I lead, and the vision?



Note how you respond in the good times. You can apply your natural pattern to most situations. You need only be aware of what triggers your outbursts and ultimatums. Replace those responses with empathy for those involved and insight to influence them.


Outstanding leadership people skills are not fluff! They respect, honor, and engage everyone to reach the vision.


What examples of outstanding leadership people skills would you like to share here?


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

Related Post:
Leaders, 10 Essential Thoughts to Proficient People Skills
12 Most Beneficial People Skills to Succeed When You Have Little Power

©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!

Customer Value: 6 Amazing Things Customers Do!

Customer Value: Image is Gold Gift Box

Customer Value Beyond the Dollar Image via Istock.com.

Image licensed from Istock.com


We often think of the value we provide to customers. Now as I celebrate my 25th year as an entrepreneur, I am reflecting on the value customers bring to my business. It is far beyond the dollar!


Leaders, it pays to both reflect on this AND develop this awareness with your employees. Many who are not directly generating revenue, think about their own hard work not the customers’ world. They often don’t see the customers’ contributions beyond the dollar and the true customer value.


Customer Value Beyond the Dollar

Employees often feel the strain of meeting customers’ expectations. This clouds the view of customer value. Let’s clear the fog and look at the amazing things customers do — so we can see the true customer value!

  1. They give trust.

    Customers have a need. They must reach out to fill it. They courageously overcome doubts and place their and confidence in a company. How valuable is trust? Amazingly valuable. Witness the companies who claim they are they are the most trusted brand in their industry, their country, or the world?


  2. They generate trust.

    The number one challenge is to earn a customer’s trust. The customers that get others to trust us are building the business. This is true customer value. Honor their trust.


  3. They spark innovation.

    Customers changing needs and high expectations spur development. They evolve a brand through their demands. They keep the business alive. This is true customer value! Feed them in return.


  4. They teach.

    Consumers are a wealth of knowledge about people and business customers teach suppliers about their industry. Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving. This is true customer value. Thank them for the learning.


  5. They blow our horn.

    They proclaim our value. This is true customer value. Honor our trumpeters.


  6. They offer limitless potential.

    Customers are a gold mine of opportunities, connections, partnerships, and growth. This is true customer value. Mine for this gold.


What would you add to this customer value list?


It’s important. An understanding of true customer value inspires employees far better than the tired old adage: “The customer’s always right.” It replaces the one-sided picture with a dynamic partnership between customers and the company.

Thank you, my customers, for all the value you’ve given to my business over the past 25 years. I continue to serve you for many many years to come!

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

Related Post:
Customer Service 21 Tips: Customers Want it Easy & Valuable

©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 Twitter Chat TOPIC: People Skills to Get Promoted at Work Hashtag: #peopleskills

WHEN: Sunday Oct. 13, 2013 10AM EDT.

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

Background on This Chat Topic

After many decades of focus primarily on occupational skills, people skills are now considered vital at work. Most everyone values people skills in their peers and colleagues. It makes for easy interaction.

They key questions is: Do leaders value people skills when deciding whom they will promote?


People Skills Twitter Chat Logo

People Skills Twitter Chat Oct. 13, 2013 TOPIC: #Peopleskills to Get Promoted.

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


Join People Skills Twitter Chat Sun. Oct. 13, 2013 10am EDT.

This people skills chat topic was suggested by Hoda Maalouf, PhD, associate professor, lecturer, department chair, and student adviser.

I think Hoda has suggested a topic that everyone thinks about and it will make for a valuable and lively chat. As soon as she suggested it, my mind started to wonder …

  • Are the people skills for work promotion different in various cultures? Or has the global focus minimized differences?
  • What people skills do we most value in our peers? Do you want different people skills from our leaders?
  • How has the definition of leader changed over the years and what impact has that had on people skills required for leadership?
  • What people skills must we learn and use to get promoted at work?
  • What role does gender play in how we define great people skills needed to earn a promotion?



These are just a few questions to get us thinking before we begin the people skills chat this Sunday! Actual questions will post during the chat.

So bring your personal perspective, all your experience, lots of curiosity, and your favorite beverage, and join us from around the globe this Sunday in the USA — Oct. 13, 2013 at 10am EDT — to explore: People Skills Needed to Get Promoted!


I also invite you to continue this chat by joining the Google+ People Skills Community to be a part of all the people skills discussions not just on Sundays but everyday 24×7. If LinkedIn is your favorite social media platform, join us in our growing LinkedIn group: People Skills Succeed.



Shout Out of Gratitude

A huge thanks Hoda Maalouf for this week’s topic. I am also very grateful to all those who participate each week and expand our understanding and view of people skills. Finally, a warm thank you to all who have suggested topics and co-hosted. I welcome new topic ideas and co-hosts as well!






Hope you will all join in the #PeopleSkills Twitter chat to explore People Skills to Get Promoted, this Sunday Oct. 13, 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 Twubs.com, enter hashtag #peopleskills, and sign in to your Twitter account. Twubs will insert the hashtag automatically for you and you will see all the tweets on one screen. Other tools available are Tchat.io, 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 Sunday Oct. 13, 2013 10am EDT in #PeopleSkills Twitter Chat: People Skills to Get Promoted.


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. Kate invites you to also connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Leadership: 5 Easy Shifts to Engage Employees in Tough Times
 

Leadership behaviors affect morale and results. In tough times, they have an even greater effect. Employees may already feel disheartened by conditions.

How leaders behave can uplift and engage employees or demoralize them even further. Don’t downshift employees’ morale.


Make these 5 simple and powerful shifts to engage employees especially during tough times.


Leadership: Image is 5 speed gear shift

Leadership: 5 Simple Moves to Engage Employees. Image by Travelling_Artist.

Image by Travelling_Artist via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Leadership: 5 Easy Shifts to Ignite Employee Commitment

The behavior of leaders and managers at all levels, including supervisors, team leads, and project managers, shapes culture and outcomes. Leaders who see their own behavior clearly and shift to engage employees transform results.


  1. Shift from Dreaming to Optimistic Realism.

    The idea leader, aka the dreamer or inventor, is priceless in start-up mode. In do more with less times, uncontrolled dreaming can drive employees mad. They already feel overwhelmed and under-achieved. More ideas and dreams bury them.

    Shift to optimistic realism and give employees the light of day. It ignites their commitment to tangible results.


  2. Shift from No Risk Taking to Courageous Action.

    Risk averse leaders trap themselves and others in perfectionism. Their “prove it before you do it” demand, handcuffs employees’ ability to produce. It strangles morale. In tough times, it can crush an organization’s success.

    Leadership must show the courage to succeed. Shift from fear of risk taking to courageous action. Lift everyone up to success.


  3. Shift from Addicted to Procedure to Results Focused.

    Leaders and managers at the middle and front line areas, often intensify their focus on procedures in tough times. It gives them a sense of security. However, addiction to procedure dis-empowers employees. They disengage as leaders harp on procedure instead of inspiring on vision.

    Standard operating procedure keeps everyone in the trouble of the present. Shift employees forward. Highlight the vision, the innovative path, and the focus on results.


  4. Shift from Having to Be Right to Open-Minded Learning.

    Humility, the confident search for knowledge and respect for others’ views and contributions, lifts everyone up. A leader’s insecurity and having to be right drains the employees’ spirit and strength.

    Practice humility in leadership. Shift from know-it-all behavior to generous open-minded learning. Watch all your employees respect your emotional intelligence. See them engage even in the toughest times.


  5. Shift from Bullying to Respectful Strength.

    Believe it or not, good leaders can temporarily slip into bullying behavior when their own fear takes over. It can happen in tough moments. Emotion conquers insight and wham … leaders bully. Bullying silences employees and shuts down initiative and engagement.

    Shift from emotional reactions to emotional self-awareness. If you are strong enough to bully, you strong enough to show respect.

    Take time at the beginning of the day to write down your emotional triggers. Note what scares you and what annoys you? Have employees do the same thing. Discuss these openly. You will shift from a culture of bullying to one of emotionally intelligent leadership and engagement.





Emotionally self-aware leaders are good at adapting.



They shift to bring out the best in others.



They engage employees’ commitment.




How are you doing? What tough moments do you want to pose here in the comments section? I’m here to help. Let’s explore together!

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

Related Posts:
Leadership Optimism: Dreaming, Denial, or Discovery
Employee Engagement: 10 Ways to Ignite Greatness Without Leaving Scars
Leadership: True Employee Engagement – Appreciate & Recognize

©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!

Leadership Optimism: Are You Dreaming, Denying, or Discovering?


Leadership Optimism: Image is a sweet dreams sleep mask.

Leadership Optimism: Dreaming, Denial or Discovery Image licensed from Istock.com

Images licensed from Istock.com

Leadership optimism is popular today. Innovation, today’s business buzzword for success, is leadership optimism in action. Believe and conceive what is possible!

Yet, there are still many who see optimism as negative. As I read Optimism May Be Stifling Your Team in the Harvard Business Review, it struck me that the problem is not optimism. The problem is in the definition of leadership optimism!


Is Leadership Optimism:


Dreaming, Denial, or Discovery?



When optimism shuts out reality, it gets the label of dreaming and denial. When combined with reality it moves everyone forward with discovery. Sounds simple, right? Well it’s not so black and white. As a leader, how do you keep optimism real without it reverting to negative, pessimistic, hopeless thinking?

Leadership optimism: Image is eye chart w/ big E for explore.

Leadership Optimism: Discover and Explore. Image from Istock.com.

Leadership Optimism: Keeping it Real!

  1. Speak and Engage Feedback.

    In the Harvard Business Review article noted above, the leader kept saying to the team: “How hard can it be?” This is not actually an expression of optimism. It is a rhetorical question that indirectly tells the team to follow orders. It also denies the team members’ hard work and thus it not inspirational. Keep leadership optimism real by engaging the team’s ideas and honoring their efforts. “This goal is high. We’ve met remarkable challenges in the past. I believe we can do this. What will it take? What are the challenges. How will we meet them?”

  2. Encourage Healthy Skepticism not Pessimism.

    To prevent reality from turning into endless pessimism, illustrate the difference between healthy skepticism and pessimism. Health skepticism raises issues about tough challenges. It encourages diverse discussion and critical thinking. It helps to prevent groupthink. Pessimism is a negative expression of what isn’t possible. It comes across as complaining. It seeks to shut down healthy debate with rigid restatements of what isn’t possible.


  3. Separate Your Fears from the Vision.

    Are you afraid the teams will resist and not meet the vision? Do you feel pressure to meet financial goals or the expectations of your boss? All these fears can push you to block reality by dreaming and denying. Identify your fears and remind yourself “It’s a feeling not a fact.” This little statement has the power to keep you upbeat, inspirational, engaging discussion, and leading with true optimism.


  4. Communicate Vision and Listen to Reality.

    I witnessed one leader get the label “dreamy-eyed” because all he ever did was communicate new vision and ideas. He drove his leadership team crazy because he wouldn’t allow them time to follow through and implement. In truth, he was not practicing leadership optimism. He was actually indulging his personal preference for constant change. He even admitted to me that he loved change and hated status quo. Envision then listen so all can participate in success.



Optimism and realism nicely co-exist. They are powerful partners. They sustain each other by preventing the extreme of each.


Capture the power of both in communicating:

  • Discuss instead of mandate.
  • Engage to explore vs. declare to hide.
  • Practice patience in listening vs. frustration in fear.
  • Honor commitment, efforts, and achievements instead of denying the truth and proclaiming it’s easy.


What else harnesses the dual power of optimism and realism?



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

Related Post:
Leading Change: Are You Strong Enough Not to Leave Scars?
Optimism & Realism to Be the One to Succeed

©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 business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate invites you to also connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

People skills Twitter Chat TOPIC: Servant Leadership & People Skills Hashtag: #peopleskills

WHEN: Sunday Sept. 8, 2013 10AM EDT.

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

Background on This Chat Topic

As leadership theories and practice evolved, servant leadership emerged. What a change from decades ago when serving those you lead was not considered strong leadership! Leaders are interested in servant leadership and want to know how to do it well. What does it look like in action?


People Skills Twitter Chat Logo

People Skills Twitter Chat Sept. 8, 2013: Servant Leadership & #Peopleskills

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


Join People Skills Twitter Chat Sun. Sept. 8, 2013 10am EDT.

More specifically, what people skills we use to serve and lead well. Joining me as co-host for this week’s Twitter chat will be Hoda Maalouf, PhD, associate professor, lecturer, department chair, and student adviser.

As we think ahead to Sunday’s chat, my thoughts go to several ideas:

  • What are the myths and misunderstandings associated with servant leadership and people skills?
  • Is servant leadership inborn, learned, a choice, or something else?
  • How do servant leaders affect those they lead and the business results?
  • Has servant leadership changed the definition of charismatic leaders?
  • How are humility, servant leadership, and success related — if at all?



These are just some questions to get us thinking before we begin the people skills chat this Sunday.

So bring your personal perspective, your favorite beverage, and join us from around the globe this Sunday in the USA — Sept. 8, 2013 at 10am ET — to explore Servant Leadership & People Skills.


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



Shout Out of Gratitude

Many thanks to Hoda Maalouf for suggesting this topic and co-hosting. Also, a huge thanks to all the newcomers to this chat and to those who participate each week and expand our understanding and view of people skills.






Hope you will all join in the #PeopleSkills Twitter chat to explore Servant Leadership, this Sunday Sept. 8, 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 Twubs.com, enter hashtag #peopleskills, and sign in to your Twitter account. Twubs will insert the hashtag automatically for you and you will see all the tweets on one screen. Other tools available are Tchat.io, 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 Sunday Sept. 8, 2013 10am EDT in #PeopleSkills Twitter Chat: Servant Leadership and 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. Kate invites you to also connect with her on Google +, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

People Skills: Our words impact others and success!


Pressure, stress, frustration, annoyance, fear, anger, indignation, need for control, and other negative emotions can push us to the edge of disrespecting others. 


Emotion nudges us away from reason and respectful vocabulary.  It temps us to release our tension through words — words we will regret later.


Good news is — we have a choice! We can pause for just a second and choose a more respectful path. This can achieve great results for everyone involved. People skills matter. 

People-Skills: Image is faces - happy, sad, angry.

People-Skills: Emotionally Triggered Statements Image via Istock.

Image licensed from Istock.com

People Skills: Avoid These 5 Emotionally Triggered Statements

Can you just hear yourself wanting to say these things? Can you even imagine how good you might feel — temporarily? Well the key word here is temporarily. There’s lots of ways to blow off steam. Blow in a different direction and avoid these statements.

  1. Did it ever occur to you?

    The sarcasm screams out frustration and perhaps loads of other negative emotions. This is not really a question. It is a slam. It accuses the other of ignorance or short-sightedness. It takes no ownership of the feelings and leaves a big scar.


  2. Don’t you think?

    Patronizing, dominating, audacious, arrogant, and self-absorbed — that’s what this emotionally triggered statement says about anyone who says it. Again this is not a true question. It is a pressure statement to declare who is right and who is wrong. When we want to know what others think, “what do you think” is a beautiful, honorable, and simple way to find out.


  3. I’m sure you agree.

    This one is actually saying: “I don’t care what you think.” It’s a way pressuring and corralling others to agree or at least yield. Telling others we are sure how they feel or think comes across as a desperate attempt to control and win the day. Even if people yield at the time, agreement will be tentative and commitment weak.


  4. Why didn’t you?

    Many people think that why questions open up discussion and understanding. Yet “why didn’t you” smacks of emotion and smacks those hearing it.

    It presumes and suggests that others are wrong because they didn’t do what we would have done. Be careful of using any “why” question that focuses on the past. “Did you read this before you sent it out?” “Didn’t you think …” are also killer phrases.

    We do better when our questions truly ask for the other person’s view instead of suggesting they are wrong. People skills build understanding and bonds of success.


  5. Stop whining!

    How incredibly rude. How incredibly ridiculous. The phrase “stop whining” is itself a whine! It expresses frustration without a solution. It patronizes adults as it uses a label mostly associated with children.

    When we encounter a chronic complainer that offers no solutions, we get much further by letting them know we welcome their ideas for changes and solutions. Then move on. This people skills approach works. We don’t need to stand there and keep listening to the complaints. We can go do something productive, uplifting, and better yet — fun!




People Skills Benefits

When we resist the emotionally triggered statements, we are and are seen as effective, kind, insightful, strong, and balanced. Secondly we avoid inflicting the scars that block current progress and future success.


A Few People Skills Thoughts to Ponder

  • It takes two people — not one — to mis-communicate. We each must take responsibility when misunderstandings surface.
  • If someone is purposely undermining us, we can set limits and correct course with positive words. Why choose negative when it leaves harmful scars?
  • Diplomacy has been used for centuries to tackle the toughest conflicts before they erupt. The positive approach is worth a try! If we run into a few thick headed oafs, we can always use a blunt approach in the end.



What else would you add to the people skills list above or do you disagree with this approach?



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


Related Posts:
7 Steps From Brutally Blunt to Helpfully Honest
People Skills: Change One Unfortunate Word
Leadership People Skills: Are You Strong Enough NOT to Leave Scars?
Super Customer Service People Skills: Reverse Regret

©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 before doing so. 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.

Leadership: Boosting Morale Through Shame?


Leaders, when crunch time comes are you tempted to shame some people to boost others’ morale? Do you speak badly of tough customers believing it will show employees you appreciate them? Do you shame some employees to make others feel better?


Don’t! It is short-sighted and misguided. It backfires every time and leaves scars on everyone. It paints you and your leadership style as primitive and uninspired. It can make you appear desperate to deflect any accountability for the current crunch. It can damage your reputation as we recently witnessed with The CEO of AOL.

To prevent this leadership mistake, ask yourself “Why am I really thinking of doing this?

Leadership: Image is stick figure leader shaming employees.

Leadership: Inspiring Through Shame? Image licensed from Istock.com

Image licensed via Istock.com

Leadership: You Can’t Boost Morale With Shame

Understanding where your temptation to shame others comes from is one way to avoid doing it. You can choose a more successful leadership approach through positive people skills.

  1. Do you assume that people are lazy and you can shame them into performance? It is far better leadership to assess why performance is low and take steps to make it better. Even if you remove an employee from a position, shaming them leaves unnecessary scars on the teams. Do you want everyone thinking — “Will I be next?” It doesn’t make them work smarter and contribute more. It makes them play it safe and cover their tracks!

  2. Do you feel your leadership authority is being threatened or weakened? Reassert through calm confidence and the strength to resist emotional reactions. Inner strength is the best leadership billboard.

  3. Are you confusing mob mentality for leadership influence? Shaming some people to lift others up actually means you are firing up a mob to help you lead. You can almost hear the unstated — “let’s get ‘em” — cry of an angry mob. This doesn’t become your greatness as a leader. During a crunch, position your tough decisions with the business goals without shaming or blaming anyone. This will speak volumes of your strength, insight, and influence.




Leadership strength doesn’t have to roar. It doesn’t have to humiliate. You can speak with dignity and lead with knowledge and insight. Learn and own your emotional triggers. When you feel their power, pause and let your intellect overpower your triggers. Watch your calm confidence emerge! It is then that others feel strength, respect, and commitment to your leadership.


Here’s an illustration.
As The People-Skills Coach™, I could have written this post in two different ways. Which way would provide better leadership on this topic — #1 or #2?

  1. The CEO of AOL acted like a cruel jerk when he shamed his creative director in public … OR
  2. The opening that I used above.

I propose that the first approach of using shame would accomplish little. It could damage much.


Instead, choose leadership people skills that model confidence. You boost morale as you lead all to success.

Respecting everyone — even in tough moments — doesn’t mean that you are weak leaders. It means you are strong enough to lead without leaving scars. In truth, you cannot lead and inspire through shame.


What else inspires great leadership in tough times?



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

Related Posts:
Leadership People Skills: Responding With Dignity
Never Confuse Humility With Humiliation
Leadership & Shame by Dan Oestreich.

©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.

Leading Change: Inner Strength Sustains Everyone

When leaders weaken inside, their attempts to lead change falter. The weakness can leave teams with scars that impede the very success the changes were supposed to foster.

 

Leaders, Are You Strong Enough NOT to Leave Scars?

 

Leading Change: Image is a Stone Rippling Even Trails in Sand

Leading Change: Strong Enough Not to Leave Scars? Image from Istock.com

Image licensed from Istock.com.

Leading Change: Inner Strength Ushers in Success

In 25 years of working with leaders, I have seen a broad range of their results in leading change. I’ve seen the great, the good, the bad, and the unfortunate. One constant emerged: Leaders with inner strength that equaled the vision, ushered in success without leaving deep scars. How and why does this work?

  1. They balance purpose with empathy.

    These leaders lead change with commitment to the change and with respect for the people that must make it happen. They avoid inflicting deep scars by not weakening and tipping to one side or the other.

    When leaders focus only on the purpose they lose the people. When they focus only on the people’s feelings, they can lose momentum toward the purpose. Where is your balance between purpose and empathy? Are you strong enough to balance and not leave scars?



  2. They balance confidence and humility.

    Picture bombastic leaders leading change. What’s your gut response to this picture? Can you imagine yourself saying: They’re so full of hot air, maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll blow away? Over confidence and lack of humility leave scars through the absence of connection.

    Humility balanced with self-confidence draws people in. This balance energizes others with care instead of repelling them like an exploding gas pipe.

    Similarly, leaders’ lack of confidence and commitment leaves everyone scarred through abandonment. Do you have the inner strength to balance self-confidence and humility? It is the sustaining force that both leads and feeds during tough times of change.



  3. They know and manage their own disappointment and demons.

    Mid-level leaders and team leads who must lead change they don’t like, are at the greatest risk of leaving deep team scars that impede success. In acting out their resistance, they use the team to protest the change. Yet this self-indulgent weakness has little power to block the change and damages morale, the teams, the respect the teams have for those leaders.

    Successful leaders don’t use the teams to resist the change. They work through their own disappointment with inner strength and commit to helping the teams thrive in change.


  4. They are optimistic realists.

    Leading change takes both optimism and realism. Leaders who lead change well are hopeful and believe in possibilities. They are also realistic not dreamy-eyed. They have the inner strength to take risks and possess the discipline to work through all the challenges.

    This balance of optimism and realism prevents the scars that come from wishful thinking, foolish fantasy, and avoidance of the truth. Inner strength to maintain this balance is key to leading change without leaving scars.



  5. They are strong enough to overcome the comfort of habit.

    The comfort of habit is a powerful force that impedes change and success. Repetition and habit create high levels of expertise that feel good. Change temporarily reduces the comfort of high performance as teams face new demands under pressure. People fear this dip in performance. It doesn’t feel good. It cuts at their personal identity.

    Leaders who understand this effect of change explain this dip as normal and inspire the learning of new skills. They make it OK to change.

    This takes inner strength. Dips in organizational performance are scary for leaders too. Strong leaders garner additional resources to minimize the dip. They also engage the teams in learning and thus lead change without inflicting the scars of unrealistic expectations and perfectionism.


    What would you add to this list for leading change? In the comments section below, please share the successes you’ve had.




Leading Change: What challenges are you having? I’m ready to help you.


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

Related Posts:
Leading Change, Is the Beloved Bully of Habit Stopping You?
When Tough Leaders Show Empathy
What’s So Hot About Humility Anyway?
Humility in Leadership: Myths, Fears, and Truths

©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.

Customer Service Managers: Inspiring Improves Results

Customer Service Managers: Image is Words: Leadership Teamwork Success

Customer Service Managers: Are You Leading? Image via Istock.com




After consulting and training customer service managers and teams for 25 years, I can most surely say that inspiration and leadership improve results. 


Conversely, customer service managers and team leaders who focus mostly on management witness demoralized teams with higher levels of attrition.

In other words, humdrum teams with less than spirited performance hurt the business. This bleeds onto customers who then feel disregarded and disrespected.









Customer service managers and team leaders, you have much on your plate. This intensity sometimes brings you to apply your operational focus to leading teams.  How will you know? You will find you speak to the teams mostly about processes, metrics, and adherence to procedures. This approach may breed obedience; it does not inspire teams to create great results with customers.



So, customer service managers, ask yourselves are you leading and inspiring?



Customer Service Managers: You Can Inspire & Lead!

Mindset

  • We succeed with engaged, committed employees.
  • We succeed with employees who understand how they are essential to success.
  • We succeed through employee talents not robotics.
  • Success requires leadership, inspiration, employee engagement, recognition, and appreciation.


Actions to Inspire & Engage

  • Start every day/shift with a caring call to action for great service. Ask team members to share what inspires them. Involve them in the daily kickoff. As the famed Zig Ziglar always said, inspiration is like bathing — you have to do it every day.
  • Engage employees ideas, talents, insights, and thoughts. If you want caring commitment for the customer, find it IN your employees. Don’t lay it ON them.
  • Highlight and appreciate employee talents with specific note. Here are 12 Worthy Kudos to Spark Employee Engagement.
  • Encourage team member collaboration. Call centers are notorious for monitoring every agent’s move and blocking them from interacting with other agents. Customer service managers claim it’s to keep the call queue moving. Yet this chain gang approach breeds high levels of turnover as the agents try to break free from the chain gang! Engage them to own the queue and keep it moving. That’s inspired!
  • Discuss metrics FIRST as a whole measure of the organization’s success. After that, and only after that, inspire team members to contribute to that whole. Invite their ideas on how they will balance each other to prevent huge sways in the total metrics. Ask them to set an improvement goal for themselves and how they will measure it! This is an engaged inspired implementation of metrics. (When customer service managers use metrics mostly as a stick for individual performance, the team members often feel like lab rats or rats in a maze.)


Actions that Lead

  • Lead with inspiration even if your leader is not giving that to you. Many managers with a directive boss model the boss’ behavior. Big mistake with customer service teams. The closer you get to the front line of service, the more you must use an inspirational leadership style!
  • Be the model of inspired collaboration yet still make decisions when necessary. Employee engagement doesn’t mean that all decisions are made through consensus. Discuss the difference between collaboration and consensus with the teams. Team members can engage even if they don’t get to make all the decisions.
  • Address bad attitudes. As the team engages, a team member with a lackluster uncaring attitude is a drain on them all. Some teams will address this team member, others won’t. Nevertheless, it is important that you let the employee know that the attitude is not acceptable. A Great Employee Attitude is Essential, Not Negotiable. In customer service work, great attitudes are a requirement. With guidance from your HR department, write job descriptions that detail actions and attitudes that breed customer service team success. Many job descriptions do not and the result is disastrous.
  • Develop your leadership skills. Customer service managers and front line team leaders — your direct impact on team members and customer service is tremendous. Don’t let your title define you. Think of yourself as inspired leader. Read leadership articles and blogs. Explore inspirational books that develop your self-awareness. Ask for leadership training. If your title is “supervisor”, lobby to have it changed to something that expresses the quality of inspiring and leading the team(s).
  • Be ready for surprises. I remember clearly one customer service workshop where I asked all participants to go to the boards and write down everything they liked about working with people. One rep went up and wrote, “I hate people.” As we discussed everything on the boards, I asked about that item. He jumped up and said, “I wrote that. I hate working with people.” The customer service manager turned red. At break he said to me, “Oh no. Now what?” I said, speak with him tomorrow about the type of work he wants to do. He is clearly not interested in caring for customers and chose this venue to declare it!


A culture of customer service excellence and great customer reviews emerge from inspired leadership that engages teams to high levels of caring and commitment. It takes daily doses of inspiration and modeling at the front line leadership level.


The manager’s and team leaders’ ability to lead not just manage, quality customer service training for all, and team desire and skill combine to deliver the trifecta of customer service success for the business.


If you would like information on my new inspirational customer service leadership workshop for front line customer service managers and team leaders, please email me. I can even give you quick tips to get you started on better engagement.


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

Related Posts:
Leaders, Engage Employee Urgency w/ Deep Connection
16 Employee Idea Killers You As Managers May Be Committing on Brainzooming Blog.

Image licensed via Istock.com

©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: From confusion to trust!


As leaders wade into the areas of employee engagement, empowerment, and teamwork, different views that are never discussed get everyone stuck.

So this short post today is meant to put related people skills truths on the table.  Explore them, discuss them, and unstick everyone!  Innovation, productivity, and high performance are within your reach when you clear the confusion.

People Skills: Image is the crystal ball w/ word intention.

People Skills Truths Unstick Leadership & Teamwork. Image by: Sweet Dreamz Design.

Grateful for image by Sweet Dreamz Design via Flickr Creative Commons License.

People Skills Truths: Lay Them Bare & Unstick Success

  1. Trust doesn’t have to be blind trust. Believing in each other doesn’t require you to completely overlook signs of trouble or lack of commitment. The truth is there are employees and leaders who subvert the good of the organization and team. Stay awake. It doesn’t mean you lack trust.

  2. Empowerment is not democracy. I have witnessed many teams incorrectly think empowerment is each person doing what they want. When leaders intervene and “set limits”, mistrust and discontent brew and gets everyone stuck. Even people skills can’t remove the scars.

    Leaders, make your vision of empowerment clear. Don’t assume everyone knows. Engage teams to discuss it. Use examples. Explore both empowerment’s freedom and responsibilities. The truth is each person defines it differently if you don’t bring them together!


  3. Diversity is a universal truth. Respect the differences, learn to love the differences, and find the fit! This unsticks leadership and teamwork as it builds tremendous trust. The truth is if leaders don’t model this in their people skills, they are cheating the teams of full potential and success.

Have these incredibly important people skills discussions with the teams. Don’t assume, don’t fear the conversations, and don’t cheat the teams from the brilliance they can achieve with these truths.


If you would like to add to this list of people skills truths, I would love it! You will help unstick all teams with your experience.

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

Related Post:
5 Essentials to Building 21st Century Teams

©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.

Customer Experience Leaders: Are rigid rules ruling (and ruining) your customers’ experiences?

If your answer is a quick “no”, I ask you: “Have you asked your customers?
If your answer is “not sure”, I ask you: “Have you asked your customers?
If your answer is a list of reasons why the rules are important, they are most likely ruining your customers’ experiences!

Customer Experience Leaders: Image is "STOP".

Customer Experience Leaders: Remove the Never Evers Image via Istock.com





Find and remove all the “never evers” that are not required by law or science!

Customer experience leaders, there are more never ever rules in your organization than you think. They quietly develop, take hold, and ruin customer experience — until you find and remove them.


The never evers lurk within your organization’s boundaries. They take root in the need for security. They develop as protection mechanisms. They thrive in blame cultures.








Great customer experience leaders remove these never evers!

  • The — it’s always been that way — never ever rules.
  • The individual leader’s never evers that serve their own personality, goals, preferences.
  • The individual team member’s never evers that developed from a leader’s criticism or rebuke. Blame creates many individual never evers that sink customer experience.
  • The reactionary never evers that develop from a difficult interaction with a customer.
  • The silo never evers that evolve as different teams build walls between each other.
  • The — we don’t trust our employees — never ever rules. These un-empowered agents and reps must say no to customer requests for exceptions only to have the leaders say yes. For customer experience, it’s too little too late!
  • The deduced never evers that grow on the grape vine from poor or confusing communication from leadership.


Customer Experience Leaders: Prevent the Return of Never Ever Rules

Never ever rules block superior customer experience. They almost always serve your company not the customer. They feed your failure and your competition’s success.

  1. Excavate all never ever rules.
  2. Identify the purpose of procedures and rules.
  3. Create a can-do culture of possibilities: what ifs, dialogue, listening and critical thinking.
  4. Replace silos with trust bonds built on a bigger purpose and honest communication with and among teams.
  5. Breed accountability not blame.



Take a lesson from companies like Zappos, Ritz-Carlton, Amazon, Nordstroms, and lesser known ones that have adopted a truly can-do customer experience culture!


Make sure that the sign your employees envision is “GO” not “STOP”!


What never ever rules have you found and removed in your organization and how did it help customer experience?

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

Related Post:
Customer Experience: 21 Tips to Make it Easy for Customers

Image licensed from Istock.com.

©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.

Customer Service: 21 Tips to Make it Easy for Customers


Leaders, does your vision of company success include the phrase easy for customers With so much spent on customer loyalty research, it is surprising to see so little focus put on the basic customer service request — make it easy for me!!


In the B2B world, you do hear leaders saying “we’re easy to do business with”!  Yet in the B2C (business to consumer customer) world, you don’t hear it as much.  There are some exceptions like Staples Office Supplies who have made Easy their brand.


When you give customers value and ease, they have little reason to go to your competitors. Easy and valuable builds loyalty builds because it is hard to leave! Are you ready to move past the customer loyalty research and into the zone of true customer loyalty?


Customer service: Image is button that says "easy".

Customer Service: Customers want it easy & valuable. Image by: Spackletoe




Basic Beliefs You’ll Need

  • The customer is your pathway to success — not your enemy. Trust don’t mistrust.
  • There are things all customers need from you to give you their loyalty: value, ease, positive memory, gratitude.
  • The opposite of easy is difficult not high status. Some businesses believe that complexity makes their brand seem more valuable. Yet the finest hotels and restaurants make customer service easy for the customer not complex and difficult.
  • Making customer service easy costs you little and brings you much.






Easy Customer Service: 21 Things Customers Will Love!

  1. Be attentive. “Stop doing other things while you’re helping me.” Stop texting, stop talking to your coworkers about other things, stop picking up the phone and serving other customers, stop watching the video playing in the room, etc… Be present and attentive in customer service.

  2. Be friendly. Friendly makes it easy and it doesn’t have to delay value. “Smile, be open to questions, show me you care.” It costs nothing and speaks volumes in gratitude.

  3. Be adaptable. “I’m a person. Not a cog in your process wheel.” Strict scripts in customer service make life difficult for the customer. This doesn’t mean you must throw out all processes and let each customer run your company. It does mean your processes must be flexible to make customer service easy for each customer.

  4. Be timely. “if you here I’m urgent, get to the point. If I’m laid back, don’t push me.” There are some cultures where fast is rude because it seems like you don’t value the customer as a person. Other cultures value time and want you to respect it.

  5. Be proactive. “Use your expertise to prevent my problems.” Anticipate customers needs. Not that hard to do if you are listening. So throw away the script, listen to what the customers are saying, and make it easy for them. Anticipation communicates care which breeds loyalty. You may even sell them more as you anticipate their needs!

  6. Be creative. “Do something to help me even when I have an unusual request.” Creative problem solving or creative fun (depending on your product/service) makes life easy for the customer. It also energizes employees’ commitment to your brand and the customers!

  7. Be resilient. “Don’t treat me badly because it’s the end of your shift.” The customer needs care even when you are tired. Be as caring to the customer at the end of your workday as you were to the ones at the beginning. This makes it easy to be loyal to your brand.

  8. Be balanced in a storm. “You’re my lifeboat. Stay calm to ease the storm.” Things happen. Handle them with ease and make customer service easy for the customer. This builds trust and loyalty. Don’t tell the customer to calm down. It makes you look like an uncaring inept control freak.

  9. Be transparent. “Remove my doubt.” Pre-purchase or post purchase, being able to trust your brand makes life easy for the customer! Smoke and mirrors, hidden clauses, and surprises that deny service make it difficult for the customer to stay and easy for them to leave!

  10. Be virtuous. “Show me your brand has integrity.” Make your brand a brand of no excuses! Deliver the fix. Don’t defend the trouble. Make it easy for the customer to trust you! Remember, mistrust is a powerful engine.






  11. Stop asking the customer to repeat themselves. “Hear me.” Contact centers are notorious for torturing the customer through repetition — especially when connecting the call to others departments. Stop this madness. Listen, take notes, and be the customer’s advocate! Why would anyone be loyal to a brand that tortures them?

  12. Stop hiding! “What’s your phone number?” If a customer can’t easily find your phone number, they are not likely to give you their loyalty. Even in today’s high tech environment of online service, customers want to know that calling you is an option when needed. If you hide your phone number on your website, your message is “don’t call us”. Hmmm… hardly a strategy for customer loyalty.

  13. Stop the jargon! An airline agent asked the customer: “What’s the fare basis on your ticket?” The customer snapped back: “I don’t know. I don’t speak airline.” Jargon makes life difficult for the customer. It also makes a brand seem full of itself.

  14. Work as a team. “I don’t care that it’s not your department!” Silos, personality conflicts, turf wars in companies are the opposite of easy customer service. It makes life difficult for customers and once again tells them you don’t care enough to work as a team.






  15. Welcome the customers’ questions. Questions are a sign of interest. Don’t misconstrue them to be questioning your authority. Build loyalty — don’t expect blind trust. The healthcare community seems to struggle with this. They send the message “ask questions and be active in your healthcare” yet they get impatient when patients ask questions. Remember, customers are easier to deal with when you make it easy for them to build trust in you.

  16. Welcome the customers’ view of customer service. Hotels that have a true customer satisfaction policy build loyalty. Hotels that rigidly define what they think is great customer service lose out. To some customers, safety is absolutely #1. To others, it’s access to the internet. To others, it’s a firm bed. Personalize customer service and you will see customers return.

  17. Welcome the customers’ real feedback. Does your customer feedback survey give customers opportunity to tell you in words what they think and what they would like next time? Having a voice makes it easy for them to come back to you. If you have primarily a numbers based survey, you are telling them you care only about the overall ranking — not what they think.

  18. Satisfy customers before they complain. Customers don’t like to become angry. They want things to be easy and easily addressed. Let them know upfront you will help them. BAM! Easy. Rebuild the trust.

  19. Hire people who like to serve. Yes, they do exist. Then train them, empower them, support them. It’s easy for employees to satisfy customers when leaders aren’t using the reps to limit service to the customers!



  20. Be grateful. Every word you speak, every action you take must tell each customer: “You matter individually.” This makes it easy to come back to you. What human doesn’t want to be valued? Even those that play it kool and claim they don’t care about gratitude, actually love it.

  21. Deliver on the most basic human need — love. Customer loyalty is pretty simple. If you want customers to love your brand, love your customers!


Make it easy for customers! Appreciate them, their time and value to your company. They are not numbers, demographic segments, dutiful servants, idiots waiting for your wisdom, nor puppets for profit.


Respect. them. Care for them. Each — and every one of them.




Invitation: Add your tips on easy customer service? I welcome your comments below.


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

Grateful for image by: Spackletoe via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Related posts:
Super Customer Experience: Feelings Aren’t Random
Inside Customer Service Video Series: Kate Nasser
10 Winning Beliefs for Super Customer Experience

©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.

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