Archive for the Customer service Category

Here one of the biggest time wasting questions you can ever ask:

Posted in Customer service, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 22, 2015 by Chuc Barnes

Dice

“Why did you do that?”

Our parents asked the above question so many times that we often use the same question when correcting other people.

I hope you’re not using the same question.

Please realize that the “Why did you do that?” question solicits an answer for something that occurred in the PAST (de-motivating), whereas good motivation is about the future, not the past. Not only that, the question puts the other person on defense.

Picture a basketball team who wants to go to the Final Four. Will they be better off if they work on strategies for next week’s game or last week’s game? Clearly, they’ll be better off investing their time in preparing for next week’s game (the future). You’ll also notice that when the other team is on defense, you have to work even harder and that takes more time.

Here are four timesaving suggestions:

#1: When correcting someone, move your question to the future. Example: “We know what happens when that occurs (the past) so, if it happens again, how would you see yourself handling it? Note that you’re moving the thinking from the past to the future.

#2: When you’re being introspective, do you ask yourself, “Why did I do that” questions? Or, do you ask yourself, “If that happens again what strategies would help me? Clearly, you’ll be better off if you focus on strategies for the future.

#3: Replace “Why?” questions with “What were you accomplishing by ____?” questions. This will help you learn specifics and prevent de-motivating, defensive explanations.

#4: Reserve “Why?” questions for information about creative matters (Why are you telling me this, Chuc”).

I’m telling you this because when you focus on the future, you’ll come up with better ideas that help you move forward—and you boost motivation.

Does this make sense? Please write you comments here.

Why don’t people listen today?

Posted in Balance, Customer service, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Presenting, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on November 29, 2014 by Chuc Barnes

Listening

Can you remember when your mother spoke to you and said, “Listen to me.” Perhaps your mother even said, “Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

Your mom was not just teaching you a skill to use with her. She was teaching you a crucial skill to help you save time when dealing with other people too.

Karen Anderson is a friend of mine and a mom. She also is a teacher, speaker, and consultant. Karen constantly tells her students and clients that “good leaders LISTEN.”

I agree with Karen–and I agree with your mom. Good leaders listen!

Simply try to imagine how can you effectively lead a group in a meeting or any endeavor if you’re not listening to them and paying attention, not just to their words, but also to their body language?

As a former Marine, I can tell you first hand that a good leader, whether in battle or not, is constantly watching his or her team in order to “listen” to what’s going on. And when in battle, leaders and team members use signals so they can communicate without the enemy knowing what you’re saying.

This also is true in sports. When playing basketball or baseball, isn’t it true that players on a team receive messages from their coach from signals (a method of communicating and LISTENING) in the middle of a game?

OK, forget battle and sports for a moment. Think about yourself. Are you a good listener? Do you pay attention to what other people are thinking and saying?

Do you listen to what your customers are saying?

What about your friends? Do you actually listen to them?

And what about today’s politicians. Do they listen? If so, why do they have such low favorability ratings?

Realize that young people “listen” differently than you do. They communicate with friends by sending messages on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. (Text messages are enormously popular.) They therefore “listen” to words and they look at photos and videos. Thus, they don’t use much body language.

I’m writing this post right now to remind you, as the leader and self-manager that you are, that LISTENING is a crucial skill — a time-saving skill that too many people are overlooking today.

Do you agree with what I’m saying about listening being a time-saver? If you do, great! If you don’t, that’s OK. Either way, I’d like to “listen” to your opinion so please jot your comments here.

Trust Is A Time-saver & Broken Trust is A Time-waster.

Posted in Balance, Customer service, Leadership, Management, Organize, Planning, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on October 14, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

Handshake

Think about this for a moment.

The dictionary defines “Trust” as;
1. Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
2. Confident expectation of something; hope.
3. A person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.
4. The condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.

In the above definition note that “reliance, confidence, surety, and hope” are words used to describe trust.

Now realize how fortunate you are to be able to trust a partner, associate, teammate, service provider, friend, or family member. Notice how people you can trust actually save your time.

Now think about how you feel when you deal with people who can’t be trusted. For example, when someone says they’ll show up at specified time, and then they show up late. Is that trust? No, it’s a violation of trust and the violation wastes your time.

Perhaps you work with someone who tells you they will have a file ready for you on Monday, but they don’t have it for you on Monday. Doesn’t that lack of commitment on their part break trust and waste your time?

You don’t want that, do you?

I value TRUST very highly and I think most people do.

Here are two suggestions:

1) If you can’t arrive at the time you agreed, call before the agreed on time and tell the person when they can expect you. This will help change the expectation and it will help the other person make full use of their time.

2) If you can’t have a file or project ready when agreed, tell the other person in advance so a new time can be agreed on.

Life of course would be so very nice if everything always worked out perfectly. Life isn’t perfect, though. Changes occur constantly. That’s why it’s essential to respect other people by keeping commitments and letting them know–in advance–if you need to change a commitment. This then helps everyone get full use of his or her time.

As I said, I like dealing with people I know I can trust, and I’ll bet you feel the same way.

Do you trust me with this? Please put your comments here.

It’s essential to arrive on time–or early!

Posted in Balance, Customer service, Leadership, Management, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on September 16, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

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Clients keep telling me how much frustration they have with other people who arrive late. They tell me they believe arriving late a sign of disrespect.

You have a right to your own view. And, yes there are a lot of obstacles that get in the way today of arriving on time.

Now think about a job interview. If the candidate you are scheduled to talk with shows up late, would their tardiness be something you’d consider? And suppose you want to purchase new insurance and the agent who says they will talk with you comes late, will that have an effect on your decision?

Now think how you feel when you are at the airport waiting at the gate so you can board your flight. It is time for the plane to board and suddenly, the gate agent tells you that your flight won’t even arrive for another hour. Do you now feel like the airline really cares about you and your schedule?

Entertainers and athletes know how important it is to arrive AHEAD of time. In fact, they say, “If you just show up on time, you are late.”

Suggestion: Whenever you make an appointment, determine not just when you need to arrive, but – more importantly – when you need to LEAVE so you can arrive on time. When you determine the time you need to leave, you’ll anticipate the probable obstacles – in advance. That will help.

Do you have an opinion? If so, please say so here.

Here are two questions that will help you and your team!

Posted in Customer service, Leadership, Management, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on July 7, 2013 by Chuc Barnes

Teamwork

When working with a large group of professionals last week, we discussed the differences in generations and the way each generation seems to have a preference for the way they like to communicate.

We agreed that:

 “Matures” like to use Voicemail.

 “Boomers” tend to like E-mail

 “Gen X” like to use Text

 “Gen Y” (Millennials) like to use social media such as FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, and LInkedIn.

These conclusions of course are not “absolute” because there definitely are exceptions, yet even so, we agreed that there are differences in communication preferences based on age group.

Suggestion: if you work with a team that’s made up of different age groups, you’re apt to discover – just as we did — that it’s very helpful to you and your group to ask each other the following two questions:

1) What’s the best way for us to communicate?

2) What can we do to save time for each other?

When you ask these questions, you are apt to learn that even though you might like Voicemail, your team might prefer Texts. By the same token, you might like E-mall, yet your team might show you how Tweets might be more effective for the group.

The point to all of this is that by asking the above two questions, the answers can help you and the entire team, and — after all – that’s teamwork.

I say that teamwork is time management. Do you agree?

Does this suggestion make sense to you?

Trust is a time-saver and broken trust is a time-waster.

Posted in Customer service, Leadership, Management, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on July 12, 2012 by Chuc Barnes

Think about this for a moment.

The dictionary defines “Trust” as;
1. Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
2. Confident expectation of something; hope.
3. A person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.
4. The condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.

In the above definition note that “reliance, confidence, surety, and hope” are words used to describe trust.

Now realize how fortunate you are to be able to trust a partner, associate, teammate, service provider, friend, or family member. Notice how people you can trust actually save your time.

Now think about how you feel when you deal with people who can’t be trusted. For example, when someone says they’ll show up at specified time, and then they show up late. Is that trust? No, it’s a violation of trust and the violation wastes your time.

Perhaps you work with someone who tells you they will have a file ready for you on Monday, but they don’t have it for you on Monday. Doesn’t that lack of commitment on their part break trust and waste your time?

You don’t want that, do you?

I value TRUST very highly and I think most people do.

Here are two suggestions:

1) If you can’t arrive at the time you agreed, call before the agreed on time and tell the person when they can expect you. This will help change the expectation and it will help the other person make full use of their time.

2) If you can’t have a file or project ready when agreed, tell the other person in advance so a new time can be agreed on.

Life of course would be so very nice if everything always worked out perfectly. Life isn’t perfect, though. Changes occur constantly. That’s why it’s essential to respect other people by keeping commitments and letting them know–in advance–if you need to change a commitment. This then helps everyone get full use of his or her time.

As I said, I like dealing with people I know I can trust, and I’ll bet you feel the same way.

Do you trust me with this? Please put your comments here.

Why don’t people listen today?

Posted in Customer service, Leadership, Management, Presenting, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on May 8, 2012 by Chuc Barnes

Can you remember when your mother spoke to you and said, “Listen to me.” Perhaps your mother even said, “Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

Your mom was not just teaching you a skill to use with her. She was teaching you a crucial skill to help you save time when dealing with other people too.

Karen Anderson is a friend of mine and a mom. She also is a teacher, speaker, and consultant. Karen constantly tells her students and clients that “good leaders LISTEN.”

I agree with Karen–and I agree with your mom. Good leaders listen!

Simply try to imagine how can you effectively lead a group in a meeting or any endeavor if you’re not listening to them and paying attention, not just to their words, but also to their body language?

As a former Marine, I can tell you first hand that a good leader, whether in battle or not, is constantly watching his or her team in order to “listen” to what’s going on. And when in battle, leaders and team members use signals so they can communicate without the enemy knowing what you’re saying.

This also is true in sports. When playing basketball or baseball, isn’t it true that players on a team receive messages from their coach from signals (a method of communicating and LISTENING) in the middle of a game?

OK, forget battle and sports for a moment. Think about yourself. Are you a good listener? Do you pay attention to what other people are thinking and saying?

Do you listen to what your customers are saying?

What about your friends? Do you actually listen to them?

And what about today’s politicians. Do they listen? If so, why do they have such low favorability ratings?

Realize that young people “listen” differently than you do. They communicate with friends by sending messages on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. They therefore “listen” to words and they look at photos and videos. Thus, they don’t use much body language.

I’m writing this post right now to remind you, as the leader and self-manager that you are, that LISTENING is a crucial skill — a time-saving skill that too many people are overlooking today.

Just think of all the unsolicited phone calls you receive. What about all the “offers” you keep receiving in unsolicited emails.

Do you agree with what I’m saying about listening being a time-saver? If you do, great! If you don’t, that’s OK. Either way, I’d like to “listen” to your opinion so please jot your comments here.

I’ll write more about listening in future posts.

Do you agree that teamwork and customer service both are time management?

Posted in Customer service, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on December 18, 2011 by Chuc Barnes

Most people think that time management is only about ways to set up a successful day. I say that it is broader than that. I say that teamwork and customer service are time management too.

Permit me to explain in greater detail.

My wife and I went to iHop for breakfast and my wife asked an employee who walked by if he’s please bring her some maple syrup for her pancakes. The man immediately replied, “Ask your server.” See what I mean? That kind of treatment is not teamwork. Instead, it frustrates and alienates people. It also wastes time for the customer and for the other employees in the business.

Pretend that the employee had told my wife, “Certainly, I’m glad to help you.” That simple customer service statement only takes a moment to say and it also improves the chances that the customer will return. Simple, isn’t it?

Good customer service does not come from having one person work their heart out to please the customer. That helps, of course!  Top-notch customer service (where people do want to return to you or your service again) actually comes from everyone on your team working their hearts out to be certain your customers get what they want as quickly, easily, and politely as possible. This requires teamwork and that teamwork saves time for everyone.

Here’s another example.

I went to an Apple Store to purchase a new iPhone. I arrived early in the morning and there already was a line with over 100 people in it and the store had not yet opened. I decided to get in the line. A few minutes later the door to the store opened and several Apple employees came outside pushing a cart with coffee and donuts on it. The employees then announced to everyone waiting in the line that they appreciated having so many people there and that Apple wanted them to have the coffee and donuts at no charge. They also said they had enough refreshments for everyone. How do you think the people who were waiting reacted? They applauded, and some people even turned to others in line and said, “This is why I like Apple.”

Ok, now think about the time that Apple saves, not just in helping and serving customers, but in marketing and answering questions because of the remarkable customer service they provide.

These two examples are illustrations of why I say that good customer service and teamwork are time management.

Why conduct performance evaluations?

Posted in Customer service, Leadership, Management, Planning, Self-management, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on August 19, 2010 by Chuc Barnes

After speaking for an audience last week, a woman asked me if she could talk with me. She told me she was a new manager who was frustrated because the HR people in her company wanted her to conduct performance evaluations with her team. She said she didn’t want to do that because she thought “that is a gigantic time waster” and she asked if I could suggest any ideas that would help her.

I told her I was happy to help and, before I tell you what else I told the woman, I’m going to repeat a thought that I discussed in this blog almost one year ago (in September).

Here goes:

“Many people think time management is a narrow subject for managing their own time. I suggest that good time management is much broader than that. I propose that time management includes any and all management skills that help you, your team, and others ‘save’ time.”

Ok, so what about performance evaluations?

I told the woman that lots of people tell me they put off giving performance evaluations because “they don’t have time.” I say that is a misguided excuse and that they are fooling themselves with that excuse. I proceeded by saying that providing performance planning and review sessions is a crucial management skill.

I asked the woman — and I’m asking you now — to please continue thinking with me. Consider the following.

When you clarify expectations, and when you develop clear understandings with your people, you are saving time for you – and for them. Correct?

I also suggest that, when you schedule quarterly planning & review meetings with your key people, you won’t need to interrupt each other so much and this saves time too!

Idea: Forget the word “evaluation” (that word scares everyone away) and conduct “Performance planning & review” meetings with your people. When you do this, consider each meeting as a time investment in you and your team.

And Just think: Any minutes or hours you save for you – and any minutes you save for your team (even if only a few) – are minutes you — and they – can use to take care of customers and other key priorities. And, boy, is it ever great to have any and all extra minutes to use in these chaotic, fast-changing times! Correct?

This is time management at it’s best!

Does this make sense to you? Please leave a comment here.

To save time communicating: Tell a story (or else listen intently to someone else’s story)!

Posted in Customer service, Leadership, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on July 30, 2010 by Chuc Barnes

Professional speakers have known for years that it’s important to tell good stories to engage audiences in their presentations. And meeting planners often hire speakers today because of the quality of the stories they tell.

Some of the world’s most complex religious thought has been transferred for centuries to people who couldn’t read — all through the use of stories! Children of course love for you to tell them stories, and authors and movie producers know how important a good stories are.

Now there’s new brain scan evidence that shows that when one person tells a story  — and the other person actively listens — their brains actually begin to synchronize.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Before you read on, please note the last sentence where I say “and the other person listens actively” because, according to the research, it’s important for the listener to pay attention and understand the story you tell for this phenomenon to occur. This is critical. In other words, if the listener fails to comprehend what you are trying to communicate, their brain will “decouple” with yours.

Think how important this new research can be to you if you’re a speaker or sales person. Think also how this might help you if you’re trying to explain something important to a friend. Be certain, for example, that you engage them with a story that they want to listen to fully.

I like learning this because I’m a public speaker. I also like learning it because I’m fascinated by saving people’s time.

If you’re interested in learning more about this “mind meld” phenomenon yourself, check out the 6-page article at

Click to access 1008662107.full.pdf

And, if nothing else, check out the bold face headings on page 6 of the article.

If you have a comment, please put it here.