Archive for the 'Employee Empowerment' Category

Have you ever wanted to have a business do-over? In golf, we call it a mulligan. It's when you are forgiven your first shot and allowed to take another because, let's just say, the first ball didn't go where you intended.

 

Guess what? COVID-19 has hit the GIANT reset mulligan button for every business.

 

If pre-pandemic, you had cumbersome processes, now is the time to shed them and act like a start-up.

 

If you didn't invest enough in contactless processes, you have a great chance to fix that now.

 

Let's assume you didn't solicit customer feedback regularly and deploy it effectively? Fear not, you are living in the "Better New Days."

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For me, the "old normal" world of business was too often like going to a chamber of commerce or networking event where everybody was selling, and no one was buying. There are a lot of business cards passed around, but very few people listening and understanding how they can be of service.

 

In this "Better than Normal" world, more people are willing to share input, and some companies are capitalizing by being more willing to listening. That listening takes the form of informal inquiries. For example, they track sentiment on social media and ask people to have casual conversations. Formal listening includes pulse surveys or more extensive customer or team member engagement surveys.

 

So here's the big question, are you one of those listening companies? If you are listening, what are you doing with what you are hearing?

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I used to use the word empathetic until a researcher in the field corrected me. She said, "'Empathetic is wrong and empathic is correct." She added, "There is nothing 'pathetic" about empathy. Henceforth, I'm in the empathic camp.

 

Now that's out of the way, let's look at how the world has gotten better thanks to an upsurge in empathy.

 

As you likely know, the word empathy comes from a German word that roughly translates as "feel into” and humans are hard-wired to feel into the emotions of others. For example, neuroscientists have found that the same neural pathways which activate when we feel pain also fire when we observe the pain of others.

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I suspect you may be at least a little like me. I like spontaneity, but only on my terms. I’m a fan of agendas, plans, and being confident that my position on an issue is well informed.

Then came COVID-19, a sub-microscopic infectious agent, roughly 1/1000 the width of a human hair.  I am lucky to date in that the virus has not rendered me or those I love ill, hospitalized, or worse. But it, along with the death of George Floyd, sent orderliness, planning, and knowledge certainty whirling. Those events probably did the same for you, your team members, and your customers.

It sounds strange, but I am starting to find value in discomfort and uncertainty.

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Let’s face it, COVID-19 forced most business leaders and entrepreneurs to alter their operations, service delivery, and customer experience overnight.

If, before COVID -19, you sold flowers in a traditional retail store, suddenly; you had to find a way to take your entire business online. Service providers leveraged technologies to maintain relationships with their clients and minimize revenue losses.

COVID-19 was a gut punch that forced radical business transitions, reduced service interactions to digital exchanges, and produced functional yet largely undifferentiated service experiences.

During those urgent transitions, most leaders functioned on adrenaline and survival instincts.

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I have an unusual perspective when it comes to the emotional impact of this pandemic. My view is shaped by working as a licensed clinical psychologist early in my career and helping people deal with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and isolation. It’s also affected by the last 20-plus years of my career, where I’ve helped mostly Fortune 500 leaders create positive emotional bonds with their customers.

I share that context because I am about to say something outrageous and I hope you will stay with me.

Ok, here goes…  

I am convinced that the loneliness, anxiety, sadness, and loss of control emerging from the pandemic can be POSITIVE, but only if (and it’s a big IF) we learn lessons by flipping our feelings.

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Thank you for joining me on this third installment in my series “It’s Emotional – Creating an Unprecedented Team and Customer Experience in the Pandemic.” This series is designed to offer tools to manage your emotions as well as support the emotional journey of your prospects and customers.

A couple of installments back I talked about my dislike for how the word unprecedented is being used in the context of this pandemic. Typically, these days unprecedented implies no one has ever encountered a pandemic before and that history offers no guidance on how to cope and prevail. This week I am bristling at the way the word empathy is being used in the context of the pandemic. Quite frankly I love the word empathy and I’ve used the word regularly since I finished my doctorate in clinical psychology back in the late 1980s.

What’s bothersome about the word’s use these days, is that it’s thrown around as if everyone knows how to be empathic and as if it’s easy to demonstrate this component of emotional intelligence (EQ).

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This is the second installment in my series “It’s Emotional–Creating an Unprecedented Team and Customer Experience in This Pandemic.” This series is designed to offer tools to manage your emotions as well as support the emotional journey of your prospects and customers.

There are days in this pandemic reality that quite literally seem upside down. While disorienting at times, I am heartened by how core leadership and human experience skills resoundingly apply; particularly when those skills are tempered by some new emotional guidelines.

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This is the first installment in my series It’s Emotional–Creating an Unprecedented Team and Customer Experience in this Pandemic. This series is designed to offer tools to manage your emotions as well as support the emotional journey of your prospects and customers.

This week’s installment is titled Focus on the Hole. I take exception with the overuse of some words these days, particularly when those words suggest we are powerless or helpless.

One of my least favorite words (which I intentionally repurposed) for the title of this series is the word UNPRECEDENTED. Normally when we hear that word these days, it is used to signify the magnitude of the challenges we are all facing. With regard to challenges, let’s look at what the word implies.

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This is the 5th and final installment in my series Break the Glass, where we are looking at what you can do to deliver a positive human experience in this time of great business disruption. (Next week will start a new series on the role emotions play in customer experience delivery.)

Sales trainers have long championed the concept of ABC. Which stands for always be closing. They suggest that when presenting your service or product, you should always be moving the conversation to close the sale. In the context of our current pandemic, I would modify ABC so that it stands for always be connecting.

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