DON’T Pass it On!

Sometimes things are done to me that I don’t like, I’m treated disrespectfully or not given the tools I need to work with, or someone is mean to me for no good reason. When these things happen, I get all mad and righteous and think “how could they do such a thing! what kind of person does that! you’ll get yours from Karma!” However, just now something unpleasant happened and I suddenly thought… “who am I doing this to?”. I don’t know where it came from but, it’s a valid question and worth ruminating on. It’s easy to get miffed when something is done to us, but before we cast the proverbial first stone, are we guilty of the same actions? And even if we aren’t now, are we going to stay mad and end up passing on the same upsetting experience to other innocent folk?

While you can’t change what other people have already done to you, you can change how you treat others. So next time something upsetting happens, think about if you’ve ever done that or anything similar to others and resolve to treat people better next time. 

Have a good weekend!

Dissertation is picking up so I might miss a post in my anxiety filled delirium, sorry in advance just in case!

 

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Papercut

I'm sorry sir, we'll get to you soon! img: google

I’m sorry sir, we’ll get to you soon!
img: google

I am behind on my dissertation. There. I admitted it. Said it out out loud instead of rushing by that uncomfortable thought and pushing it to the back of my mind like a nurse in the E.R. pushes a papercut to the back of the room screaming “Sit down sir! I’ve got a GSW to take care of, we’ll get to you as soon as we can!”. Except, there is no GSW, the dissertation is the priority that I’m glossing over. It’s just a papercut now but as I push it away, the papercut starts to turn green and smell, gangrene sets in and if I don’t act fast the whole finger will fall off and then the poor patient will die. I will die, of failure. 

But I get somehow paralysed. I overestimate the time I have and when I realise that time has run out, I freeze, not sure where to start. See, I’m GREAT at starting, FABULOUS at plans (my dissertation proposal was approved with not a single correction from my supervisor) but follow through is my weakness. I always think I have more time to chill than I do. I take breaks too early and never get back to my original task on time. Eg. Dissertation proposal finished? Awesome, I can chill for a week. That week turns into 6 and i’m like holy crap, what the hell happened to April?! oh shoot May’s gone too and it ate half of June!

Then that’s exactly where the paralysis hits. All I can see are those lost weeks, the decreased quality of life and work that I have inflicted on myself and I’m not sure how to make up the time. Can I really finish a 5500 word lit review in 2 weeks? I read like a snail! Worry and fear take over, gluing me to the ground and I look for escape, I play World of Warcraft and watch 4 seasons of Drop Dead Diva back to back, clicking next episode with the compulsion of an addict. 

But responsibility eventually bubbles to the surface like soup in a heated pot and spills over into my escapist reverie like a tsunami tide. I can’t ignore the papercut anymore, things are critical and we have to operate or lose the patient. “Sir! We’re ready for you! This way please and quickly!”

Gowns on and Glove up people, we’ve got work to do!

img: Freedigitalphotos.com (via google)

WOOSAH!!!!!!

img: google

Customer Service is a tough and often thankless job. You get yelled at and vilified for pretty much everything, often things that you didn’t do or things that the customers themselves are responsible for.

In my job, I deal with country reps who often tell me things I really don’t want to hear like how they’re ordering less due to sales drops which shouldn’t have occurred had they implemented the suggested marketing activities or monitored the sales more closely. Obviously this impacts my performance so I get pretty upset and I can feel the steam coming from my ears!!!

But I try never to reply in anger. If I am on the telephone, I take a breath and think positive before I answer or I might ask them to hold while I mutter angrily to myself and try to find my peace. If it’s an email, I let it sit for a bit while I browse 9gag.com for a laugh to cheer me up and calm me down. So far these approaches have helped me cool off and give the best service even in vexing circumstances, what are your cooling options in heated situations? Let me know in the comments. 

Also, apologies for no post on Tuesday, days have been flying by!

Have a great Friday / Weekend!

No Radio Silence!

(Image from google)

When faced with a crisis, our default reaction, strangely enough, is often paralysis; to stand in shock wide-eyed as the thoughts race through our heads and we try to pick the best course of action. Often it’s hard to tell and we delay as long as possible in making that decision. And we sure as heck don’t want to be the bearer of bad news so we limit communication and that is the number one “DON’T” in a crisis.

During a crisis is the NUMBER ONE time that you should be communicating with your publics. Think about it, whenever an earthquake or a heinous crime happens, the media is all over it keeping you informed – “oh they got the hostages out!”, “only 2 people were hurt”, “they caught the gunman”. You feel better knowing what’s going on. Same thing in your work and personal lives, when a crisis happens, your co-workers, suppliers, friends and family all feel better knowing what’s going on. It puts them at ease and lets them know that you are aware of the situation and that you are trying your best to handle it instead of running away in fear. 

How to Communicate during a crisis:

  1. Use every medium possible to reach your customers, suppliers, (or even your spouse) – facebook, email, radio, tv, twitter, youtube etc.

    image from google

  2. Define the problem – eg. “The much anticipated release of product XP-887 (shout out to my Mad Men fans) has been delayed.
  3. Give an explanation of why – eg. our mechanics noticed a headlight wasn’t shining as brightly
  4. Say what you’re doing to fix it – e.g. We’re currently adding some extra wiring to route more wattage to the headlight., and let them know you’ll be in touch.
  5. If Possible, let them know when the problem will be rectified – e.g. We should be finished in   1 hour so at 10 AM sharp be at the lot for the release of the XP-887!
  6. Let them know when next you’ll give them an update or just assure them that you’ll be in touch.

What if you have nothing to report? Doesn’t matter, communicate anyways, people need to hear from you. Throw an update on the facaebook page – “hey guys it’s been a hours and we’re still working to get that server back up. Again apologies for any inconvenience caused.” Your customers just want to know that you’re there, on the job. 

(Image from google, and futurama)

What happens if you don’t communicate? Wild conjecture. People’s imaginations run away with them and we humans like to think the worst. “oh no, we haven’t heard anything in a few hours, have they sold all their assets and run off to South America with my money?!”. Ok fine that example was a bit extreme but I think it illustrates my point nicely. without information, your customers will speculate on what you actually are doing and deem you incapable. Your competitors will get in on this ASAP too, “At Bob’s doors, you never have to worry about rusting hinges! Switch to Bob’s Doors today!”, and you don’t want that. By Communicating, you lead your customers thoughts down the “right” path, you give them the information before someone else does. (Also applicable to personal life where gossips and malicious people abound).

So how’d your last crisis go? Next time (not being negative but life is full of these things!) don’t go radio silent, instead, make sure and have a well thought out communication strategy, maybe construct it beforehand so you know what your plan is. 

Tell me in the comments about the last crisis you handled and I’ll see you guys Tuesday for the next installment here at CBT. Wishing you a productive Friday and a great weekend!

I Got a Beef with This

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Apologies for picture quality but the caption was too perfect not to post (image from artizans, as if you couldn’t tell…)

Alfred Hitchcock is famous for his alleged observation that “Actors are cattle”; he later corrected this observation noting: “I said ‘Actors should be treated like cattle’. Many businesses feel the same way about their employees – just there to be herded and supply labour or products. But what the former do not realize is that without the latter they are nothing. Those scripts can’t bring themselves to life, how many times has a good movie or play been ruined by sub-par performances? In the same way a great product can’t sell itself. Sure it can make people want it without much advertising but if there is no one to make it, deliver it, bag it or parcel it out or even simply answer the phone, it’s not going anywhere. Even self-check out lines need an attendant. If somehow you managed to get your customers to perform all these duties, the store still needs to be cleaned, good luck getting your customer to pick up a broom!

So treat your employees well, they are an important part of the process that makes your business succeed. Still not convinced? Ok one last example – think about the last restaurant  you went to that had terrible wait-staff, you probably don’t even remember the food! Prime example of good product being undermined by bad personnel.

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Here’s an extra pic for laughs! it’s adorable!

Good Human Resource Management saves you more than it costs, and you can do it on the cheap – just congratulate them when they do well and let them have some autonomy.

Ever been treated like cattle at work? Or have an opinion? Comment and let me know!

Housekeeping: WordPress can be glitchy in that it doesn’t always deliver my posts to your inbox or in worse cases, it unfollows for no reason at all. So if you haven’t seen a post from me in a while (more than 2 weeks), come on over and see what I’ve been up to. If you haven’t followed me yet, what are you waiting for? ’til the cows come home? 

You Better Recognise!

Just wanted to say a hearty welcome to my new followers and a thanks to those who liked the post. (as always, love to my “older” followers lol)

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Here’s an Awesome Thank-you Ribbon!
(Image from newfresh.com.sg)

This brings us to Customer Recognition. It’s not always feasible to thank each and every customer, but wherever possible, you should acknowledge their contribution as their patronage is what keeps you afloat and thriving. They’re many ways you can do this ranging from the costly – such as giving them discounts and freebies – to the simple, -printing thank yous on the product, putting a note on your website – anything to let them know they’re appreciated. Trust me, it goes a long way!

“But I don’t deal with customers!”. Yes you do, you have internal customers – the people who need your services. eg. the boss that needs that report, the co-worker who gives their input on a decision. These people also need to be appreciated and acknowledged. Don’t you feel nice and motivated to work with someone again when they take a minute to say “thank you” and “good job”?

So recognise someone today! Thank you for reading! [see what I did there? 😉 ]

Tell me your customer recognition methods in the comments!

The Lesser of 2 Evils

Tomorrow is Election Day in our lovely little island of Barbados. Come Friday, Barbadians will have elected either the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) or the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Despite there being two parties, many people don’t feel that there is a real choice, it is felt that both parties are made of similar not so good stuff and the choice is really between the lesser of the two evils. You don’t want yourself or your product to be classed in a category like that. Instead of your customers or employers deciding which of their choices is least likely to haunt them, they should be excited by the variety that you bring to the table. It’s not enough to just get the vote or make the money, you need to cement your positive brand image in their minds or you’ll be out at the first sign of decent competition. So right now, the market is small or the firm is small and the customer or the boss needs your product or you but what happens when it expands? Don’t get comfy, don,t get caught sleeping. Strive to be the best, even when you’ve already got your customers’ or bosses’ votes.