Posts

Show Empathy, deliver better

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If one desires to be very good at what they do, they need to do their job with empathy. Empathy is defined as " the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. " Here are some situations When listening to an issue on the phone/in person/in an email put yourself in the customers shoes and think about how you would react if you had the same issue and what would you expect the response to be. That would help you formulate the right response to the customer. If a complaint has been outstanding for a long time and has not been resolved, imagine how would you feel if you had raised the same complaint with a service provider and it was not resolved for a long time. This will help you react and address the complaint a lot quicker, knowing that you would not have liked that to happen to you. You want to make the numbers look good for your manager and you end up closing a complaint even though it is not yet resolved. How would you feel if such a complaint you raised is clo

Customer Service in the Digital Age

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Customer Service is defined as " the assistance provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services. ". In the digital age we live in Customer Service goes much beyond how we greet and serve our customers. It also includes how and where we serve them. 1. Go to your customer No longer do customers have to come to you to buy a product or a service, technology enables us to go to the customer and provide them with the product or service they require. At the very least, its important to have a good technology platform both on the web and mobile where customers can get their service or product at the click of a button.  2. Provide services in a predictable standardized manner  From the colors used on the website/app to the navigation to each service, its important to be standardized and at the same time the company needs to be very predictable in how the service is delivered. This is where automation plays a big part, reducing human intervention in the pr

Communicate like a leader

In the last post I was looking at why is it important that leaders have good communication skills. But what do I mean when I talk about communication skills, does it mean just the fact that I can write a good grammatically correct email or can talk the fluently and clearly? Its far from that, yes those skill are important but leaders communicate differently, they have some additional skills that make them so effective. 1. Trust and Belief When leaders communicates, they communicate so that the team trusts and believes in what they are saying. It is the foundation on which all teams are built. If at any point of time trust of belief in the leader is lost, the team is lost. So when a leader communicates he should build the confidence of the team to believe in what he is saying and he should stand by his word.  2. Know your team  However big the team might be, leaders take the trouble to know and empathize with individuals in their team. They know how to engage each and everyone in their

Why leaders should have good communication skills?

We all start our careers in the junior levels and then work our way up the corporate ladder. As you rise up in the hierarchy it is very important to have good communication skills and to keep improving them, this includes both oral and written communication skills. Here are some of my thoughts on why communication skills important Leaders need to inspire  The team is going through a difficult phase, could be tough deadlines, things not working according to plan, unexpected roadblocks and so on. It is at this time you see leaders stepping in and inspiring a team to march on, to continue to strive forward and overcome this tough period. A leader should be able to raise the morale of the team and to remind them that they are capable of overcoming all challenges. This is done by communicating with the team effectively and inspirationally.  Leaders need to show vision  Leaders should always understand the bigger picture. They should be able to communicate this bigger picture to the team. Th

Distributed Teams - Team Timings

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Usually when we work in the office there is usually a check-in time and a check-out time and break out meeting times, so the whole team is together at the same time and working together and interacting and sharing and contributing. When working at home or at a remote location, we do not take timings seriously. What happens is that each one in the team starts to work at their own timing taking mostly family into account and chores to do and just being lethargic in the morning. We get into the mode of saying if I eventually put in 8 hours that would be enough. The truth is this destroys the rhythm of the team. One might be a morning person, another a night person, another likes to work in bursts and so on. This makes people waiting on each other endless and delays tasks getting done leading to frustration and doubts if the person is actually working. Set a timing for the team, connect over a group conversation where everyone checks in and then work through the day being connected

Distributed Teams - Reporting Status

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When working in distributed teams one must remember that each one cannot see the other, so there is always that lingering thought that people are not working. When in the office one sees the person at the desk and hence assumes that the person is working. Secondly when working together, you always overhear conversations so you get a sense of what is happening. Hence it is very important for everyone to share the status of what they are working on along with any dependencies and challenges they are facing with everyone else. Any changes to the task timelines also need to be communicated so that everyone is on the same page. Over time you will notice members of the team getting comfortable and candid in their status as long as an open communication without prejudice is maintained. It is also very important to respond as soon as it is done to inform everyone else that it is done. Do not wait until the end of the day to inform other members of the team. This way it becomes clear to a

Distributed Teams - Vision and Tasks

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In these challenging times, almost a third of the world is not working together in an office. This is not new, the tools and methods have been developed almost from the time the internet started becoming mainstream. With outsourcing the remote working concept had really developed into a way of life for many especially in the information technology industry. I would like to look at different aspects of remote working that have helped me through my career of working with remote teams for over 20 years. Vision is very important. The team should have a vision of what they need to achieve. Vision could be to develop a new process, a new product, achieve 99% up-time, response rates, etc. The team should have a goal to work towards, a north star. This helps the team to stay focused and on track even when not together. Once the team has a vision, it is very important to break this vision down into tasks. Tasks should have a clear definition (set of steps), a defined outcome, an estimate