How To Enable Employees with Learning

How To Enable Employees with Learning

Talent today aren’t going to stick around your organization and give you their discretionary energy and loyalty unless they feel they are being engaged, empowered and enabled in their role.

Most employees don’t want to just put in x number of hours a day in the same monotonous job.  They want skills that make them more marketable NOW and in the future.  They want to feel like they are learning and growing in their current role, and they want to feel like they have the skills and competencies to do a good job with their colleagues and customers.

We have observed that the new work order has changed, and talent is no longer trading job security for job loyalty. However, when you give them skills and development now and opportunities for growth in the future, they feel visible and valued, which translates into giving their discretionary energy and loyalty.  Plus, when you develop your employees they are better enabled to serve both your internal and external customers and provide a better experience which can translate into more productivity and profits for your organization.

Millennials and Learning

Millennials especially are known for moving from job to job in order to expand their growth, salary and opportunities in their careers.  A recent Gallup poll found that, “Millennials are more likely than both Gen Xers and baby boomers to say a job that accelerates their professional or career development is “very important” to them (45% of millennials vs. 31% of Gen Xers and 18% of baby boomers).” (Gallup, 2017).

Read more about What Millennials Want in the Workplace here.

Enable your Employees with Learning and Development

Hire for personalization, then train for hard skills.  There is lack of soft skills now in the workplace, and yet these skills are ones that help to create exceptional experiences for your customers.  Often times the hard skills that an employee needs to execute their role are trainable. Soft skills that focus on creating personalized experiences for your employees and customers include: being authentic, hospitality, empathy, competency, commitment, friendliness and fun!  If you hire your employees for these sort of skills, you can usually train them for the specific tasks they will need to know on the job.

Commit to your employee’s development and be accountable for their learning. Have a plan for developing your employees.  Communicate and discuss with them openly about their opportunities for growth and commit to a plan of action.  Ask yourself, what specific efforts have been made to improve my employee’s personal and professional skills?  The best organizations, the ones who have high retention, high recruitment and employee loyalty, engage and enable their talent with learning and development throughout their careers.

For more information on how to implement a custom learning program in your organization click here.

Got Service? How Your Employees Impact the Customer Experience and Loyalty

Got Service? How Your Employees Impact the Customer Experience and Loyalty

Each and every person in your organization has an impact on your customer experience and therefore your bottom line. Even those employees who don’t work on the front lines directly with your customers are serving your employees internally and providing them with the means necessary to perform their job.

“Customers don’t interact with an organization. They interact with you and your co-workers. It is that experience whether they buy or not, whether they become loyal customers or a lost opportunity.” – Peter Psichogios

Your Customer Service if Only as Great as Your Internal Service

It takes great internal service cooperation to provide seamless, flexible, hassle-free customer service. Whatever is happening on the inside of a company can be felt on the outside by the customers. If your talent is not fast, flexible and hassle-free with each other, how can they behave differently for your customers?

There are many ways that your internal employees might help serve your front-line employees to improve the customer experience. Leaders can serve your customers by providing front-line employees with the training, skills and competencies needed to do their best work. They can also remove obstacles that get in the way of providing the best experience to your customers.

Other internal colleagues might be involved in supporting those front-line workers with administrative work, stocking products, accounting and many other tasks that all contribute to a smooth customer experience. Read more about why if Your Internal Sucks, Your External Experience is Doomed.

Earning Customer Loyalty

Earning your customers’ loyalty starts with creating exceptional customer experiences at every touch point. The first step is having great internal service cooperation, and providing your employees with learning and development to enable them to better serve your customers as discussed above.

Earning customer loyalty is simple, but it’s not always easy. It takes dedication from your leaders, continuous effort from employees, and a commitment from your organization to align your organization on all levels.

Here are a few simple things you can do to earn your customer’s loyalty:

  • · Personalize your interactions and treat each customer uniquely as they want to be treated.
  • · Be authentic with every customer.
  • · Be friendly!
  • · Communicate clearly and effectively to set realistic expectations.
  • · Exceed customer expectations every time. Always go the extra mile for your customers!
  • · Honor your commitments. Follow through and do what you say you will.
  • · Provide them with fast, hassle-free service.
  • · Reward them with incentives to return and recommend!

It takes commitment and focus to understand that each interaction with your customers is an opportunity to create delight. But when you create exceptional experiences at every touch point, you will earn decades of loyalty.

EGOless Leadership: Serve Your Way to Success

EGOless Leadership: Serve Your Way to Success

Gone are the days where leaders can rule with an iron fist and expect their employee to respond with their loyalty and productivity. Talent nowadays feel a lot less like they owe their organizations something, when they don’t get something in return. Talent want to feel empowered and enabled to do a good job to the best of their ability. They want to feel like they have the skills and competencies to help their colleagues and customers.

Leave Your Ego at the Door

What would it look like in your organization if your leaders were egoless? Think about it, if you’re a leader who leaves their ego at the door, you’re going to have a more pleasant, less confrontational work environment. You’re going to have better, more open communication because your talent won’t be afraid to tell you about problems that get in the way of their service. You’re going to have more employee engagement because they want to serve a leader who cares about them and not just him/herself.

There are many reason why being an egoless leader will have benefits for your organization and it’s bottom line including, increased productivity, better safety, improved morale, and improved word of mouth from both your employees and customers.

How to Serve Your Way to Success

If you are truly committed to leaving your ego at the door and serving your way to success in business, there are some helpful things that will help you to get there:

Focus on your employees needs and wants. Get to know your people beyond the job they do and find out what motivates them. Do they want opportunities to learn and grow in a certain position? Provide them with development and they will be more engaged, energized and committed to your company’s success.

Recognize your employees for a job well done. This is not a one size fits all approach, and you absolutely cannot pollute the winner’s circle with losers. But recognize each individual employee for their personal contribution to your company’s success. When you do so, others will see these behaviors being recognized and will follow suit. Plus, it reinforces a positive, reward driven work environment where your employees will be acknowledged for doing good work.

Provide one-on-one coaching to see employees excel. If you give your employees personalized feedback and direction, you will be able to play upon their strengths and improve their weaknesses. It’s important to communicate openly and effectively with them so that they know what your expectations are and how they can meet and exceed them.

Discussion

These are just a few ways that being an egoless leader will help you serve your way to success.

  • Do you have any examples of an egoless leader in your organization? How are their interactions with employees different than other leaders?
  • What are some ways that you have seen improvement in your employees by being an egoless leader?
  • Do you have any guidelines you follow for being an egoless leader? Please share in the comments below!
Your Customer Experiences Are Not Created Inside a Vacuum

Your Customer Experiences Are Not Created Inside a Vacuum

We live in a society now where customers are constantly being bombarded with products in services at every touch point. On their mobile phone, internet browser, social media, television, print, at work, email marketing, billboards and much much more. So, as an organization it is important to remember that your experiences are not created inside a vacuum. What I mean by that is that your customers experience is effected by many aspects and layers of their service interactions.

If you want to excel at being an organization that creates exceptional experiences for their customers at every touch point, be sure that your service is impeccable through every channel. Read more about how to Improve Your Omni-Channel Experience here.

“Service is produced, consumed and evaluated simultaneously.” – Peter Psichogios

Your service is produced, consumed and evaluated simultaneously, which means that your employees much be enabled to provide the best service imaginable. They must be able to provide service that is fast, friendly, and hassle free.

Invest in your Employees for Better Service

So how do you enable your employees to provide this kind of exceptional service? A large part of it is investing in their growth and development from the get go. Many people are worried about spending the time and money on developing their employees, but if you’re not investing in your employees’ future then they’re going to find someone who will.

Learning is one of the key drivers of employee engagement, so it is no surprise that your talent want opportunities to learn and grow in your organization. When you provide your employees with learning they feel acknowledged and they feel connected to your company’s growth and vision. When you invest in your employees, they will want to invest their motivation and energy back in to your organization.

Plus, when you invest in your employees’ skills and competencies, they will be able to provide better service internally with their colleagues and externally with your customers, both of which improve your bottom line with increased productivity, loyalty, and sales. That investment will drive them to provide experiences that make your customers stay longer, buy more and positively refer others.

Discussion

What development initiatives do you have in your organization that help to create better customer experiences?
Have you personally seen a connection with increased employee engagement and improved customer service?
What organizations come to mind when you think of exceptional service? What ways do you see that their employees are enabled to provide you with quality service?

We love to hear your personal stories and suggestions! Please share in the comments below.

Hey Leaders, Have You Experienced Your Experiences?

Hey Leaders, Have You Experienced Your Experiences?

If you’re a leader and you want to improve your employee and customer experience drastically, you should you experience your experience. What I mean by this is, you should experience working on the front lines with your employees. When you do this you not only talk the talk, but you walk the walk. When you lead from the front lines and are on the ground walking around with your employees you will be able to see first-hand what the experience is like for your front-line employees. This will allow you to then address problems and obstacles in the way of your internal service cooperation, which will in turn improve your external experience for your customers! This is a great example of what it is to be a servant leader (Read more about how to be a Servant Leader here).

Lead from the Front Lines

If you experience working on the front lines with your employees, you will build rapport, earn their trust, and receive their discretionary energy and engagement. Being a servant leader and getting in the trenches with them shows that you are dedicated to making their workplace the best environment possible, which will make them want to stay longer, work harder, and have positive things to say about your organization.

What Would Elon Do?

You may have recently read the statement issued by Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, whereby he addresses safety concerns for the Tesla front line after reports came out that injuries were about 30% higher than the industry average.

“No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful.

Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.

This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.” (Electrek June 2 2017)

This email is a great example of a servant leader who is dedicated to making the workplace a safe and positive environment for his employees. It is not enough for your product to be exceptional, your experience needs to be exceptional as well. The customer experience starts from the inside out with your employees.

Discussion

What do you think about Elon’s email above?
Do you have any examples of problems you have solved by experiencing your experience and working the front lines?

Share your experiences of servant leadership in the comments below!

If Your Internal Service Sucks, Your External Service is Doomed

If Your Internal Service Sucks, Your External Service is Doomed

As an organization if you want to create the best experiences for your customers (and employees) the devil is in the details! If you want to create experiences that make your customers stay longer, buy more, and positively refer others, you must focus on the little things that will differentiate your experience from your competitors and this all starts with aligning your internal service cooperation. 

Create Personalized Interactions and Focus on the Little Things

“In creating service experiences, each one of us has the ability to make the little things the important things.” – Peter Psichogios

This means you must pay attention to every detail. It is important to manage the details, both for your employees and your customers, so that you can create personalized, authentic and friendly interactions each and every time. In the personalization economy, the little things are the big things. And it’s important to personalize the experience for both your employees and customers.  What I mean by that is, get to know your employees and customers more intimately, and treat them uniquely how they want to be treated.  This might be recognizing and rewarding an employee in a personalized way that motivates and engages them.  With a customer, this might mean asking them “how would you like us to serve you,” or listening to their queries and personally addressing their feedback.

A major blunder we see executive teams and companies make is that they do well on what they deem the important or hard things, and lose focus, do not pay attention, and have inconsistent interactions on what they perceive as trivia, detail or “the little things.”

Exceptional Customer Service Starts with Internal Service Cooperation

One of the hallmarks of every legendary customer service organization is that they first have awesome internal service cooperation. When you have exceptional internal service, your employees feel enabled and competent to serve their customers and focus on the little details.

Here are 7 Ways to Create Internal Service Cooperation:

  1. Stay Positive – have the same upbeat attitude with your internal partners as you could with your external customers
  2. Honor Commitments – when you make a commitment with a coworker, keep it!
  3. Communicate Often – The best customer service is create from high-touch, high-tech communication environments.  This is one area where it is extremely important to focus on the small details and listen.
  4. Negotiate Expectations – share how another internal service provider can better assist you in serving an external customer
  5. Step Out of Your Silo – Network with co-workers from other areas of the organization to understand the internal service workflow.  This is another area where the small details of understanding how your work effects others (and vice versa) will be extremely influential.
  6. Be Polite – treat co-workers with the same courtesy as you would customers, and help them be responsive and efficient to your external customers.
  7. Be Helpful – look for ways to directly or indirectly support a customer or co-worker.
Discussion

We’d love to hear your feedback on how you implement exceptional internal service in your organization.

Have you seen changes your internal service make a difference for your external customers?

How do you focus on the little things (while also making sure the big things are taken care of)?

What actions do you have in place to make your internal service exceptional so that your external customer service can shine?

Reply in the comments below and share your best practices so we can learn from one another!

A Guide to Being a Servant Leader

A Guide to Being a Servant Leader

The most successful leaders focus on developing their team and enabling their people to be great. This means giving your employees learning and development opportunities and removing obstacles that get in the way of them providing great service for their colleagues and customers.

When you become a servant leader and focus on removing obstacles and developing your team to be extraordinary, your employees will give you their discretionary energy, motivation and engagement, which translates into better service both internally and externally.

Servant leaders believe that their talent would rather be awesome than ordinary. They understand that their primary role is to help their team excel with their customers, and that they won’t get there by micromanaging or being a bosshole. Read more about How to Identify a Bosshole here.

Here are a few guidelines you can follow to become a Servant Leader:

1.Focus on developing your employees.  Give your employees opportunities to learn and grow within your organization.  This will give them skills and competencies to excel with their colleagues and customers.  It will also show them that you believe in them and their future at the organization, which will motivate them to give you their energy in return.

2.Recognize and reward your employees. When you recognize your employees for a job well done, it reinforces a culture of appreciation.  Other employees will see their peers being recognized and will strive to do better to meet and exceed the expectations of their leaders and colleagues.

3.Provide direction and guidance.  It is important that you provide clear guidelines, expectations and direction for your employees so they know what is expected of them.  When they struggle with a project, be sure to give them opportunities to learn and improve by offering a helping hand, advice and guidance in how to best execute the task.

4.Get to know employees beyond the job.  When you get to know your beyond just their role in your organization, you will know what motivates them to excel, and you will be able to better personalize their experience and the recognition you give them for a job well done.

5.Be flexible with policies. Give employees the opportunity to make good decisions within the scope of your company values. It’s good to examine policies and procedures that are outdated and unnecessary.  For example, is a strict dress code holding your organization back from having a more casual culture? Could you offer flex time or work from home accommodations for employees who care for children or aging parents?

6.Communicate openly and effectively with your employees. When you make communication a priority in your organization your employees will feel valued and feel like their voice is being heard.  When you let them know what is going on in the organization they will be more dedicated to its future growth.

Servant leaders experience much higher levels of engagement and energy from their employees.  Plus, they are twice as likely to stay with an organization when they feel their leaders develop and recognize them.

Develop Your Employees for the Digital Kick Back

Develop Your Employees for the Digital Kick Back

Technology is proliferating our business practices and all aspects of our lives and we have become extremely reliant on technology and automation to run our businesses efficiently. Yet, there is a digital kickback taking place whereby now, more than ever, customers want both highly personalized and high tech interactions with the organizations they buy from (and work for).

What this means for front-line workers is that they must be prepared for this digital kickback by providing their customers with personalized experiences that only another human being can provide, while also remaining as fast, friendly and hassle-free as their robot counterparts.

As an organization there are several ways that you can prepare your employees to become irreplaceable and create exceptional human experiences that your customers crave in this digital revolution. The principles that will protect their jobs from being automated by a robot are:

Being friendly & fun. Being friendly and fun cannot necessarily be trained, it is a personality trait that is engrained in humans at a young age. When you are friendly and fun with your employees and customers, it makes the interaction personal, light and shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously, but are choosing to create a joyful experience for everyone. You can encourage friendliness and fun in your organization by giving your employees the autonomy to make good decisions that reflect your company culture and values. And create a culture that embraces fun and isn’t stifled by too many unnecessary policies and procedures.

Being competent & committed. In order to be competent and committed you must first make sure that all obstacles that would get in the way of creating an exceptional experience are removed. This means thoroughly and accurately training and developing all employees to understand the workflow, what their role is in providing an exceptional customer experience, and how to execute any tasks that will be expected of them to carry out that experience. Then they must be committed to providing that experience, no matter what. When you invest in your employee’s learning and development, they will invest their discretionary energy back into creating an exceptional internal experience for their colleagues and external experience for their customers. And when you recognize and reward them for doing that, they will be committed to continue to create that experience at every touch point.

Being authentic, empathetic & hospitable. In other words, you must treat each individual employee and customer uniquely how they want to be treated. You must be able to empathize with their needs and wants and be able to authentically create a personalized experience that makes them feel welcome. This will create an exceptional experience for them that will create decades of customer loyalty.

Providing these personalized, humanized experiences for your employees and customer throughout the digital revolution is one excellent way to differentiate yourself from other organizations and be a winner in the experience economy now and for decades to come.

If you want to read more about the 7 Personalization Principles discussed above, click here and we’ll mail you a free copy of The Seven Personalization Principles: Learn the principles to thrive in these disruptive times.

Skilling Up For Service

Skilling Up For Service

If you want to remove the parking brake that is holding your organization back from reaching its best growth and potential, your job as a leader is to develop your employees with skills, and remove obstacles that get in the way of them serving their colleagues and customers.

There have been millions upon millions of dollars spent around the globe on employee engagement and improving customer service.  In my experience the missing ingredient to unlocking your employees’ discretionary energy and providing your customers with better service is enabling your employees with the skills needed to excel today and the development needed to advance tomorrow.

When you deliver skills that increase the competency of your workers, they will become more engaged and energized and will be more knowledgeable and able to provide better service for your customers.

As a leader, you want to hire people who are smarter than you and who have a passion for growth and learning.  If you think about it, your employees should know more about their areas of specialization than anybody else, and their decisions are likely to have an impact throughout the company.  That is why it is crucial to invest in their skills and competencies, so they can make smart decisions on behalf of your company and provide their colleagues and customers with amazing service.

Here are 6 ways to skill up your workers for service:

  1. Provide engaging learning to develop skills that make your employees more marketable, ideally internally, but maybe someday externally.
  2. Remove obstacles and bad or outdated policies that can negatively affect employee enablement. Learn more about how to become a Chief Obstacle Remover in this video.
  3. Leverage your employees’ distinct abilities and ensure the right people are in the right roles.
  4. Focus on giving your employees non-monetary rewards such as career growth and recognition programs. This will incentivize and motivate them to practice and use their skills with their colleagues and customers.
  5. Provide life skills that will differentiate your employees in any role they are in. Life skills, often referred to as ‘soft-skills’ are what differentiate humans from robots. These are the skills that help create personalized, authentic interactions with colleagues and customers.
  6. Layer in skills over time, with a focus on follow up, reinforcement and action planning. If you repeat and reinforce your learning, they will be able to access their skills when they need them.

Now that you know why it’s important to skill up for service, read more about the Top 4 Things Your Employees Want From Their Learning Program.

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