@dwdevelopments We love our call center staff for sure!
NEW BLOG November 4, 2010
Hey everyone! Well, we have our new site, HDIConnect.com launched and we happen to have the HDI Community Blog on it. All of the archived blogs from here have been transferred to HDIConnect. So, check out the HDIConnect.com and tell us what you think. Thanks!
Advice You Received From Your Parents That You Use Today…. November 3, 2010
Blog: Sophie Klossner, HDI’s Membership/Local Chapter Director
Do you ever “spout” advice to your children, co-workers, friends and realize that the advice that just came out of your mouth was something your parents used to say to you? Did you say to yourself many years ago…”I’ll never say that to my children?”…and yet, out it comes when you aren’t even thinking? It is amazing to me how ingrained those words of wisdom are in all of us, not thinking we were listening, but somehow out they come when we are least expecting it.
So, to this point, I wanted to find out what words of wisdom other people have received from their parents that “spout” out of their mouths..words of wisdom they are giving their children, their co-workers. Let me share what I’ve heard so far:
“You can never have enough toliet paper…so stock up whenever you can.”
“Don’t drink and drive, but if you do drink call me so I can come and get you.”
“It’s just as easy to drive on the top half of the gas tank, than the bottom half. Keep your car full.”
“Be a gentleman to everyone…not just your special someone.”
“Don’t make me come back there…” or “Don’t make me stop this car”
“Did you wash your hands after you went to the bathroom”
“Don’t do that, or you’ll get warts.”
“Don’t do that or your eyes will stick like that!”
“Save your money when you can!”
“Pay yourself first by putting it into the bank for that rainy day!”
“Always wear clean underwear”
“Because I’m the mother, that’s why!”
“Try it, you’ll like it” (usually related to food products…but now it could be something else)
There are many more, but even this blog has limits! Always remember the sage advice from Robert Fulghum, author of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life–learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.”
Cherish the advice you received, share it with kindness and caring, and be ready to have your children throw this up to you as they get older!
Celebrity Look-a-Like Contest November 2, 2010
Hey, HDI family! Some of you have clearly forgotten that we are having awesome contests that are going throughout the year. You know who hasn’t forgotten about the contests?! Ron Kibbe. Ron Kibbe has not forgotten. Do you know how I know that Ron hasn’t forgotten? Because he’s the only person who entered a submission for the Celebrity Look-a-Like contest! Know what else that means? Ron Kibbe has won the Celebrity Look-a-Like contest for his stunning resemblance to the amazing, astonishing, superhero of a college football coach, Mr. Jim Tressel! O-H!
In all seriousness, check out Ron’s video below and congratulate him on winning a $25 gift card to the movies and a fake mustache so that he doesn’t get mistaken for Coach Tressel. Also in all seriousness: Go Buckeyes!
Our next contest is so easy and simple, to NOT send in a submission would almost be criminal. It’s the Best View contest! Take a picture of what you look at everyday. We’ll post it on the blog and the one people vote as the BEST (or most popular) will win a $25 gift card for a sunglasses shop to get some shades to protect your vision. That’s it. Take a pic and email for $25. Too easy, folks!
Hope to hear from you all soon!
Ten Commandments of Legendary Service November 1, 2010
Guest Blog: Rick Tate and Gary Heil, Authors and Leadership/Service Experts
Improving the quality of your customer service requires commitment and consistent effort from everyone. Creating a product or service that is unique in the eyes of the customer is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s competitive environment. Therefore, more companies are relying on service to achieve competitive advantages. Outstanding service companies share some basic similarities, but they also customize systems, structures, management styles and employment practices to suit their strategic goals.
These 10 fundamentals will help create a culture of continuous service improvement. Companies must define success for everyone in the organization as continually improving everything everyday. Nothing less will do.
1. Make a commitment to service
The return on investment for companies that impress their customers with value added service can be staggering. These returns are not the result of providing excellent service but of customers perceiving that a company delivers service that is unique. Achieving quality service takes a serious commitment from every employee in the organization to remove the “s” word (satisfy) from service goals and instead work to exceed customers’ expectations to the point that customers are willing to tell others.
2. Develop a proactive recovery strategy
The quickest way to improve your service reputation is to improve your recovery process. Customers are impressed by companies that make an empathetic, hassle free effort to recover when customers perceive that they received less service than they expected. These efforts dramatically communicate to customers that the company cares, that it is sensitive to the customer’s business and that it will stand behind its product or service – no matter what. An effective recovery strategy requires going all out to find disgruntled customers.
3. Ensure continuous improvement
Effective service improvement is the cumulative effect of a thousand small improvements made daily at every level in the organization. It often requires changing the culture from one that accepts the status quo to one that is excited about change and continuous improvement. Innovating service practices and redefining service delivery must be everyone’s job…start small and demand improvement from everyone. Define success as continually improving in all areas, including service, first-time quality, cost reduction, productivity and development of human resources.
4. Listen to customers
Listening is the foundation of all good relationships and a prerequisite to business success. But surprisingly few companies systematically listen to customers, suppliers, employees and competitors. The radical service improvements needed in this decade will require better customer information systems. The more we know about a customer’s business, the easier we can form strategic partnerships. Because service professionals spend so much time with customers, they must be the primary source for developing and updating the system.
5. Facilitate change
Service problems are leadership problems, often resulting from management’s unwillingness to change structures, reduce the number of inflexible policies and procedures, set higher service goals for themselves and their work groups and spend more time on customer-related issues. Service improvement efforts fail more from ineffective management practices than from lack of front-line effort. Yes, the front-line people are often unwilling or unable to take risks necessary to embrace their changed role and enthusiastically deliver service that consistently exceeds customer expectations. But this happens because leaders fail to ensure that:
- desired service outcomes are well-defined;
- the service delivery process is clearly communicated and perceived to be flexible;
- guiding principles and core values are established;
- everyone understands their role in the show.
6. Define the playing field
Front-line employees must understand the rules of play and how to win before they can successfully customize service for the customer. There must be a clearly defined direction (a goal-line that indicates how to score) and predefined parameters (the “rules” or boundaries) that outline the limits of responsibility and decision-making. In the past, outlining boundaries has been accomplished primarily by correcting mistakes. Unfortunately, this does not communicate what is desirable, only what is out-of-bounds. When employees are not secure, they focus on avoiding problems and mistakes and not on creativity and customization. This uncertainty often results in such responses as “I’d like to help you but It’s not my job,” “I just work here, “or “It’s just our policy.” These responses are the consequence of a risky service culture created by uncertain boundaries and inconsistent goals.
7. Provide autonomy
Creative, dedicated, enthusiastic service professionals who routinely make business decisions and improvise when necessary are the foundation of excellent service. Yet many companies ignore the benefits of engaging the talents of their work force. Too often they ask front-line employees to park their brains at the front door and blindly obey pre-determined policies and procedures. Serious service improvement involves people meaningfully in every aspect of service delivery, including service planning. innovation and process improvement. It means replacing many “rules” with judgment, allowing for greater flexibility in front-line decision-making within well-defined parameters. It requires more trust between leaders, employees and their unions, a greater sharing of information and an unprecedented commitment to continuous education. The heroes in a customer-focused culture must be highly trained, enthusiastic front-line service professionals who make hundreds! of decisions daily to deliver a customized product faster than ever before.
8. Measure performance
Managers must educate everyone to routinely measure all of the responsibilities crucial to success. Cost-reduction measures should be balanced with measures of service, quality and leadership, employee flexibility and continuous improvement. The most valid measures of service quality are the subjective opinions of customers. Only customers can evaluate service in light of their unique expectations. Consequently, responsibility for measuring and demonstrating continuous service improvement should be focused closer to the service professional. Only when service teams are actively involved in every facet of the service business, including measurement of quality, can organizations capture the creativity and enthusiasm needed to radically enhance service delivery.
9. Hold everyone accountable
When we ask, “Who is responsible for service improvement in your organization?”, we are usually given the names of several people whose responsibilities cross many functional areas. When a service problem surfaces, these people point out that the root cause of the problem exists with another group This “fragmented accountability” is no accountability at all, Until a single person is accountable for service improvement and until serious personal consequences are set for failing to achieve service goats, continuous service improvement is unlikely. Lack of individual accountability allows leaders to avoid focusing on ineffective managerial practices, such as adhering to time-wasting routines, attending endless meetings, failing to set goals that test their talents and failing to change ineffective reporting and promotional structures. If all employees were held personally accountable for influencing the perception of the customer, customer service would be perceived as a part of the strategic plan instead of a “slogan” or theme program.
10. Celebrate success
Every organization must develop a culture of celebrated discontent – a simultaneous feeling of accomplishment and a desire to improve. Too often, though, organizations create an almost schizophrenic “either/or” mentality celebrate one minute and be emphatically discontent the next. People find these environments confusing and uncomfortable. Organizations must celebrate often, making the celebrations sincere and spontaneous. Those who consistently demonstrate improvement must become the heroes.
Defining IT-Business Alignment October 28, 2010
A simple definition of IT-business alignment is hard to find! Seldon has on concept proven so resistant to the search for a commonly accepted definition and a set of principles that turns the definition into action. From the business perspective here are some top capabilities to include:
- The IT organization serves the business, from providing PC break/fix services to providing internal consultative services to other business units
- The IT organization has aligned itself with the business; it serves the needs of the business in ways that the business wants and needs.
- The IT organization can perform IT due diligence activities for mergers and acquisitions
- IT is an asset in helping the business comply with regulatory and compliance requirements
- The IT organization has a good record in completing projects on time and on budget, and demonstrates operational competency in all core areas.
- IT looks for ways to offer a competitive advantage to the business.
- IT is seen by all levels of the organization as a valuable part and delivers user-friendly service
- The CIO has a good working relationship with the CEO, and ideally, reports to the CEO.
The successful IT operation works to insure that the IT operation is delivering tactical services, but operates on a strategic level that the business finds valuable. The CIO has made it a priority that no disconnect or insularity develops between the IT operation and the business.
Building a “Super Help Desk” October 27, 2010
Blog: Sophie Klossner, HDI’s Membership & Local Chapter Director
HDI is a community with some of the greatest service and support leaders in the world. Part of our community is based on volunteers…volunteers who give back to their professional community as local chapter officers, speakers, industry experts, and willing to give their time, their talents, their enthusiasm, and their energy back to the community they are a part of. For HDI this is invaluable, because without our volunteers we are just a group of people trying to convince outsiders that we have credibility. Our volunteers give HDI the credibility that comes with any profession! One of our strongest volunteers, Bren Boddy-Thomas, is an advocate of her profession and her community.
On October 14, 2010, Bren, Help Desk Manager, Exchange Bank, Santa Rosa, CA, HDI Local Chapter Advisor, HDI Member Advisory Board Western Regional Director was a guest speaker at several of our southern California local chapters in Orange County and Los Angeles. Bren is a help desk manager who is proud of her team, her “Super Help Desk” team at Exchange Bank. Bren loves sharing her story with others, as she knows that it isn’t about her, but about the team that she works with. Bren is a hands-on manager, a believer of people and what they can do given the right tools, technology, and support from management. Bren shared her story with the attendees at these meetings and a reporter from the Los Angeles Examiner captured her story. Check it out: Los Angeles Examiner
Bren, thank you for being a strong advocate for your team, your company and for HDI. Especially thank you for your graciousness in speaking up for what you believe in and for believing in yourself.