The Change Agent Blog:

Can Someone Please Just Help…

We sold our house in October and moved out to the country in November. Can I tell you how stressful it is to completely rehab a distressed house in 2 months? The last 6 months of 2012 were incredibly challenging as we readied our home to sell and looked for a property to buy. Getting a mortgage is almost impossible if you are self-employed and we encountered some of the worst customer service from banks and contractors. Talk about new stories I could tell from the platform…

Here are some lessons I learned firsthand about the importance of customer service:

  1. Just do your job! It’s increasingly difficult to find workers to show up and do what they are suppose to do. If you can’t, communicate with your customer as to why you won’t be there and when you will be. It’s all about communication.
  2. Do what you promise. If you say you are going to follow up, do it. Don’t give me excuses because I have a list of things that must be done after your part of the job is completed. Your failure to perform has a domino effect on many others. Understand the bigger picture role you play in your organization.
  3. Be a problem solver not a problem giver. Our first contractor would call me up with the latest problem(s) he ran into. I asked him: Isn’t it the general contractor’s job to come up with solutions rather than problems? When I asked “what would you do if this were your house?” His customary response was, “I told you from the beginning, that if this were my house I would have plowed it down and built a new house.” Tell me how was this helpful?
  4. Don’t take your customer for granted. I fired our first bank, general contractor, electrician, and drywall company and still got the rehab job done in 8 weeks. Don’t think your customers won’t fire you if you can’t deliver what you promised. With the slow economy, there is always someone else who can take your place.

The Result: While we are still finishing the interior of our “new” home (and haven’t even touched the outside), we really love how everything is turning out. We are learning patience with the process and we love living in the woods! What you do on your job is important. Don’t underestimate the impact you have on your customers – you can make or break us.

In addition, I just wanted to apologize for my lack of consistency in writing this blog/newsletter. Now that we are settling in to our new place and our boys are juniors in college (and less in need of my assistance), my goal is to be more consistent in writing in 2013.

After our experience with such a lack of customer service, one of my other goals this year is to develop highly-customized on-line customer service training with live video broken into smaller segments that can be viewed in departmental meetings or individually (with tracking of attendance and automatic follow up). I want to incorporate “live” clips from your actual customers (think YouTube) so training participants get a “real view” from their customers. This type of training will be more time and cost effective! Let me know if you’d like more information for your organization.

Make it a great week!

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Change Agent Briefing: V11 Issue 2

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Friends DO Make a Difference…

Did you know that not having close friends can be as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight? This month’s newsletter explores why friends are critically important to our mental and physical health and how they can help us deal with the stress of life.

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Change Agent Briefing: V11 Issue 1

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What’s your Sense of Humor Inventory?

To face the frustrations of dealing with constant change and cranky customers, we must develop the light approach to life. Take a Sense of Humor Inventory and find out if your humor needs some work. Discover six strategies to get your laugh mechanism in order. A fun way to start out 2002!

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Change Agent Briefing: V10 Issue 4

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Do you know which food is second only to pure oxygen for dissipating stress? Discover several foods to avoid eating because they will increase your stress levels.

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Change Agent: V10 Issue 3

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Do you know the secret to making your body 15 to 20 years more youthful? Discover an additional strategy which one researcher found positively affects stress hormones which can lead you to lower your blood pressure and give you a more relaxed heart rate and respiration. Learn the results of our recent Customer Service Survey.

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Change Agent Briefing: V10 Issue 2

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Do you know why you wake up tired somedays? Are you making the most of your day by making the most of the first 15 minutes you are awake? Learn several new stress management strategies to help you deal with work change and unruly customers in this issue.

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Change Agent Briefing: V10 Issue 1

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Do you know what seamless changes to make to keep your customers loyal? The rapidly changing workplace demands a new level of adaptability on the part of its workers. Old ways of doing things do not work in this changing world.

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Change Agent Briefing: V9 Issue 3

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Do you want to feel good and powerful while going through change at work? Then learn how to consistently take action on the things you can control. Discover in this issue how to put on a Game Face rather than feeling helpless and hopeless.

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Change Agent Briefing: V9 Issue 2

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Have you ever wanted to change someone’s attitude or behavior? Even though we may not be able to change someone else, we can decide on how we choose to influence them. In this issue, read about the strategies and techniques you can use to influence people.

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Change Agent Briefing: V9 Issue 1

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Do you sometimes find you are at the end of your rope when it comes to organizational change? Then, let go! In this newsletter issue you will learn what to do with all the things you do not have control over in your change situation.

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Thanks again for participating in the Bank Leadership program last week. For the fourth year in a row, your evaluations and ratings were some of the highest we received. Your rating (on a scale of 1 being low to 5 being high) as an instructor was 4.95, your presentation methods were 4.8 and your content was 4.9. You can’t get much better than that. We especially appreciate counting on you being our last presenter in our year-long institute. The last day is the toughest slot to fill since our participants are anxious about their project presentations the following day. Yet, you continue to receive great ratings and comments.

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