Friday, July 30, 2021

Show Empathy, deliver better

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 closed prematurely by the service provider without resolving the whole issue?
  • if you do not have the knowledge to address the customers queries and complaints, react and respond in a way that you would expect a service provider to react if you called in and they could not address your query or complaint.
  • You find a complaint opened for a long time with no response. Would you be okay if a service provider of yours had one of your complaints opened for a long time without closing it or responding to it?
  • When responding to a query or complaint, review it by putting yourself in the readers shoes and evaluate if you would be satisfied if you received such a response.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Customer Service in the Digital Age

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 processes to deliver a service increases the predictability of the service. This in turn improves customer service. 

2. Understanding and predicting your customer 

It is possible with technology to understand and predict your customer through Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The more they interact with your technology platform, the more you understand about their needs. The more you align with your customers needs, this way you can serve them better by giving your customers what they need. 

3. Serving them on the platform they already are on

Expecting customers to download an app or visit a website may not be soon the preferred way of reaching them. They will expect to get their service through their Alexa or Siri interfaces. They would want to talk and be able to get the answers they are looking for, book the service or order for something. It is important to make it easier for customers to reach you through the apps of their choice in order to provide them superior customer service. 

Not adapting to the digital age to serve customers better might result in the following. Hope it never comes true for any organization.

Monday, July 19, 2021

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 team. When talking in a group they know how to make each one feel like they are addressing them personally. If this means getting down into the trenches to know your team, then thats what needs to be done by the leader. 

3. Communicating with an open mind

No leader is perfect and no leader is a know it all. Leaders should have an open mind that there are other people better in the team and should have the confidence to acknowledge it, appreciate it and nurture it. A good leader should be open to criticism and challenging opposing points of view. 

4. Be Knowledgeable

When communicating, the leader needs to do it from a position of being knowledgeable on the subject. They need to build confidence in the team, that they have someone to look up to and take guidance from. If you are not knowledgeable in some particular area of expertise, let those that are in the team take the lead and provide the necessary guidance. 

5. Listen more and read between the lines 

A lot of communication is done by silently listening with an open mind. Not all is openly said, its important to learn to read between the lines and to observe team dynamics. Its important for leaders to keep their eyes and ears open and to absorb everything around them increasing their awareness of everything happening around them. 

6. Body Language 

Leaders body language should always show confidence however dire the situation is. A sulking broken leader is never going to inspire their team. Giving the right encouragement, showing that you are in control, engaging with the team, rewarding their achievements and hard work at the same time being firm and positive goes a long way in communicating to the team how you feel. Emotions of the team reflect the emotions of the leader. A defeated leader is a defeated team. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

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. This bigger picture needs to be clearly articulated to the team so that each one of them understands it and is on board to achieve it. 

Communicate team achievements 

All of the achievements need to be communicated by the Leader to the Stakeholders in a clear and concise manner. This will keep the team motivated and at the same time ensure the confidence of the Stakeholders in the team. 

Ensuring open communication in the team

A team that communicates well tends to stay together and work in a coordinated manner. Most teams are inspired to communicate better, when the leader of the team communicates well. 

The following tips can help leaders communicate effectively

  • Know your team well
  • Practice what you preach
  • Listen actively
  • Admit when you are wrong
  • Do not procrastinate/delay to communicate bad things
  • Be clear and concise
  • Use story telling to communicate ideas and thoughts

What I have realized over time is that one needs to start becoming more extroverted as they move up the corporate ladder or enter into entrepreneurial activities. They should not be shy to state their thoughts and opinions and should be ready to speak up both in public and private. Those that communicate well tend to rise up and get recognized quickly.

You do what you are

In the 2001 movie Along came a spider, there is an interesting quote by Morgan Freeman where he says "You do what you are" and the...