Archive for the 'attitude' Category

Why Being Happy NOW is So Important

On January 10, 2014, Sam Berns died at the age of 17 of complications from a rare premature-aging disease called progeria. Although Sam knew his life was short, he lived each day to the fullest and inspired teens and adults alike to adopt his positive mindset.

Check out Sam’s inspirational message:

Sam Berns crop

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/My-philosophy-for-a-happy-life;search:Sam%20berns

Sam’s three principles:

1.       “I’m OK with what I ultimately can’t do because there’s so much that I can do.” Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t. We all have “challenges.” Period. Instead of focusing on the negative, find something or someone to help you with your deficiencies, so you can spend time doing the things you’re good at. For example, if you want to write a book but are not confident in your writing skills, have someone interview you about your subject. Record the interview, then have someone transcribe and edit it.

2. “I surround myself with people that I want to be with, people of high quality.” We are all familiar with the adage “Misery loves company.” The problem with this is that negative people bring you down. So, instead of getting sucked into negativity, find and spend time with people who are doing something you admire. You will not only be inspired, but your perspective as a whole will improve as well.

3. “Keep moving forward.” Do one thing every day to achieve your goals. It doesn’t have to be big. Just take action. You may find that the path you take may NOT be where you end up. But, at least you’re moving, and that’s half the battle.

Remember:  Happiness is a choice in which you have full control. Make a conscious decision to be happy. Take action and watch the good times roll.

What do YOU do to be happy? Please share in the comments section below.

Do You Pout Over Poor Pay?

Employees who are unhappy with their compensation has always been an issue within companies. And lately, it seems to be a dominating theme.pay-packet-peanuts

According to Don MacPherson, President and Co-Founder of Modern Survey, employees routinely complain about compensation because “Pay is the easiest way we can articulate our satisfaction.”  In his article “Employee Motivation and Compensation,” McPherson further outlines six drivers of employee engagement:

1. I Can Grow and Develop
2. Confidence in Future of Organization
3. Personal Accomplishment from Work
4. Values Guide Behavior
5. Paid Fairly for Work
6. Senior Management has Sincere Interest in Employee Well-being

Driver number five, which addresses fair pay, plays a central role in employee engagement. The article explains how companies that focus more on the other drivers increase employee engagement—which increases employee satisfaction with pay. An interesting connection, huh?

BUT, what can you do as an employee if you’re not feeling completely engaged at work? You may need to be proactive by asking important questions of yourself and your employer.

Strategies that Turn it Around:

If you are not engaged at work because you pout over pay, practice the following tips:

  1. Ask yourself if your personal values are in line with the company’s values. Are you proud to work at your organization? If not, it may be time to look for work somewhere else.
  2. Ask your manager or HR rep for an explanation of your salary and what you can do to earn an increase or bonus. If your salary is comparable to other workers’ salaries in your field, and it is consistent with your geographic region, then ask yourself what it is about your job that troubles you. Is it really your salary that bothers you, or are you simply not satisfied with other areas of your job?
  3. Do you understand how your job fits within the overall objectives of the company? If not, ask your manager or HR rep for an explanation. Employees who see how their particular job impacts the bigger picture tend to be more satisfied and engaged.
  4. Do you get regular feedback—the good and the bad—from your manager or peers? If not, be proactive and ask your manager how you’re doing. Don’t wait for feedback during your yearly reviews only.
  5. Does your manager listen to your ideas? If so, does she follow up with updates?

Remember: While salary is important, it is only one of six drivers that leads to an engaged employee. In the workplace, everyone is always extremely busy. Managers may assume you’re satisfied and happy; when in reality, you’re not. Before giving up and jumping ship, try the tips mentioned above. Who knows? You may be surprised by the positive results to you, your team, and to your bank account.

What have YOU done to become more engaged at your company? Please share your responses in the comments section below.

How to be nice even when you don’t want to be!

holding doorIt’s the end of another year, when we celebrate the holidays and spend time with all kinds of people. They may be family, relatives, friends, neighbors, or work associates. We may not always agree with many of them or approve of their decisions. Yet, we still need to get along — right?

But, how can we keep an open mind during this busy time of the year — not to mention during all 12 months of the year?

Real World Story: Just the other day, I became extremely frustrated by everyone that I encountered. It started when I walked into the gym. The guy in front of me did not hold the door open for me. In the elevator of an office building, a man rushed in just as the doors opened and before I had a chance to exit. Later, a young lady did not say “Thank you” when I held the door open for her.

I was utterly upset and annoyed by everyone’s lack of courtesy, lack of manners, lack of common sense. But then, I took a step back and reflected.                         Who exactly was impacted by the bad behavior — them or me? Me. And was this healthy or unhealthy? Unhealthy. I was obviously the one who was harboring resentment, not them. Duh!

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Set a positive intention. Before greeting people, tell yourself they will be wonderful encounters. For example, if you are going to a gathering, tell yourself you will meet as many unique and interesting people as possible, and that you will enjoy every second of it. If you’re greeting a customer, tell yourself you will deliver the best experience EVER to that customer.
  2. Stay focused. When you feel yourself starting to judge someone or thinking negative thoughts, do something physical – pinch your leg – to get back into the moment. Remember strategy #1 above.
  3. It’s not always about you. Believe it or not, not everyone has the same “rules” as you. Not everyone knows the “please” and “thank you” rule. Not everyone will behave the way you expect. So, you have a few choices. You can communicate, compromise, or simply let it go. I bet in the majority of cases, you’ll choose the latter. If so, your physcial and mental health will thank you for it.

Remember: We have to be nice, even when we don’t want to be. And like smiling, being nice can be contagious. So, when dealing with “different” people, stay positive and fill them with kindness. Who knows, being nice may just catch on or even go viral.

What do YOU do to treat people nicely? I’m looking forward to reading your comments below.

How to love the job that you hate

Loving your job begins with ensuring that your values align with your employer’s mission. This is an important principle that I teach employees in my customer service trainings. It’s hard to work for a company that you hate. And at the root of such hate, you’re very likely to discover that your personal values simply aren’t in line with the company’s values.
unhappy worker
At a conference that I attended last weekend, the speaker added one more piece of advice. She said that if your job is a transition job – one that’s NOT your ultimate goal in life — do it with joy, with gusto, with gratitude. Because, when you do, your results will change for the better. This fantastic piece of advice goes back to what my mom taught when I was a little girl: “Whatever you do, do it well and with a positive attitude.” Thanks, mom! You were right, again.

Aligning your values with your company’s mission is especially important if you are a customer service agent. I’m sure you’ve had the experience in which you walked into a place of business only to be greeted by someone who looked angry to be there. And when this happens to us as customers, we automatically feel our defenses rise, and we become either afraid or feel guilty about asking angry staffers for help. Conversely, can you remember the feeling of being greeted by a smiling and happy person? How welcoming you felt? I know that it’s rare, but it still happens. Believe me.

Real world story: When I was in college, I worked for a local pizzeria. Like many jobs from our youth, it became very boring, quite fast. However, another co-worker always seemed happy. I asked her how she kept such a positive attitude and great outlook, and she said that her goal was to make the best pizza for each and every customer every day. And you know what? It worked like magic! Customers would call the pizzeria to praise her and rave about how great HER pizzas tasted. Not only was she fantastic at her job with customers, she was also helpful and great to her teammates. This created a positive and contagious buzz throughout the restaurant. Can one person cause positive change? In this restaurant it did, so I say YES! She deserves a Happy Pants button! (Email me to find out more information about these buttons and how they can be your vehicle to starting a postive buzz in your company.)

Strategies that Turn it Around:

1. When you wake up in the morning, turn your dread to joy about the day you’ll have at work. If you work in a transition job, remember that this is not your final destination.
2. Focus on one thing about your job that you enjoy: break time, lunchtime, a favorite co-worker, or payday. Think about this particular one thing until you feel some joy about your job.
3. Tackle every day with joy and gratitude! Period.

Remember: Sometimes life finds us in situations and predicaments that are not ideal. Instead of moping, approach each day with joy and watch your results and your attitude change before your eyes.

How have YOU dealt with “challenging” jobs? Please share your stories in the comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

How to provide great customer experiences to persons with disabilities

In the news recently, I’ve heard a lot about bad customer experiences by persons with disabilities. Airlines that forgot to provide ambulatory equipment for disabled passengers (http://www.moneyforlunch.com/disabledmanforcetocrawloffplane/). War veterans and their service animals that are denied service and treated poorly. Not to mention the many other stories of bad customer service involving people who are disabled not revealed in headline news.

Is your organization able to provide exceptional service to all its customers, regardless of physical abilities? This is an important question that you must answer in order to avoid embarrassing, or worse yet, mistreating customers who are disabled. And because persons with disabilities have certain rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act, at a minimum, you need to consult with your human resources department to ensure you’re in compliance with federal laws.

In customer service, we work with different types of people all of the time. And providing service to persons who are disabled is exactly that. So, you need to step up your customer service protocols to ensure that your customers, who are disabled, are treated fairly and with respect — two things that we must show everyone with whom we interact. Most importantly, you want procedures in place that allow you to seamlessly provide the best possible customer service experiences when least expected and a moment’s notice.

Training staff to anticipate the needs of customers with disabilities is a sound and effective strategy that will garner you loyal and raving clients. If you work with customers face-to-face, you need to recognize and offer assistance before your customers even have to ask. After all, isn’t such anticipation what exceptional service is all about?

Strategies that Turn It Around

  1. Look customers directly in the eye. For example, avoid staring at their wheelchairs or hearing aids.
  2. Watch your body language. If you feel uncomfortable around persons with disabilities, your body language may reveal your discomfort. So be careful not to project negativity with your body language.
  3. Be patient. For example, if you’re dealing with a person who has hearing loss, you may need to repeat instructions or you may need to ask the customer to repeat a statement.
  4. Be considerate and thoughtful with your speech, but don’t patronize customers with disabilities. Your customers may require additional help, but they aren’t helpless children.
  5. Assign a personal assistant or personal shopper when it’s appropriate. For example, assign one of your team members to escort customers with special needs throughout your store, helping them to reach items on top shelves or helping to push carts.

Remember:  People want to be treated fairly and with respect. Notice the person, not the disability.

Please let me know which strategies you use to provide exceptional service to persons with disabilities. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Do you know if your customers are happy with you?

Happy customers are loyal customers. Loyal customers are repeat customers. They will continue to purchase your products and services again and again. They will also refer to you their friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. As you can see, repeat customers can make or break your organization. Do you know if your customers are happy with you? How do you know?

To discover the easy answers to these two questions, click here to view my video titled “How to Ask if the Customer Is Happy With the Work We Did.”

Feedback is crucial. You must, therefore, make it a point to ask your customers how they feel about you. Don’t wait to talk to your customers when they are already having a problem with you. You need to stay connected to them by asking how you are doing. And you need to do it on a regular basis. Don’t assume that your customers are happy and loyal to you, especially if you don’t hear from them regularly.

Remember, the number one reason for complaints is unmet expectations. If you don’t know what your customers expect of you, you won’t know how to keep them happy and coming back to you. And, it’s easy to get feedback from them. You have at your disposal a wide variety of formats to ask your customers for feedback. These formats include the following:

  • Email
  • Face-to-face
  • Focus groups
  • Surveys
  • Telephone calls

Choose any one or a combination of methods to find out exactly how your customers feel about you. And most importantly, LISTEN carefully to what they are saying. It’s not just a matter of asking the right questions, but also actively listening to the answers you receive. This allows you to formulate a plan of action to correct any problems.

In my video, I discuss 5 must-ask questions that are important to finding out exactly how your customers feel about you. Recapped from my video, the 5 questions are:

  1. What made you decide to choose our business over other businesses?
  2. What can we do better than other businesses?
  3. How can we improve the experience you have with us?
  4. Do you refer us to others? Why?
  5. What other companies do you refer to your friends?

When you uncover the answers to these questions, you’ll discover the secret to creating happy, loyal customers.

Strategies that Turn It Around:

  1. Use one or a combination of feedback formats to survey your clients. Know what is working in your organization and what is failing miserably.
  2. Share your results with the appropriate personnel in your organization and develop a plan of action.
  3. Implement, monitor, and refine new processes and procedures as needed and often to ensure you are meeting your customers’ expectations.

Remember: by knowing what your customers’ expectations are, you are more likely to meet and exceed those expectations, thus creating happy and loyal customers.

Do you ask customers how you are doing? If so, which methods have you used? Please share your experiences in getting customers’ feedback in the comments section below. Thank you!

Has Your Dry Cleaner Ever Hung You Out to Dry?

I’ve been searching a long time for a dry cleaner that is affordable yet effective. For more than three years now, I’ve tried at least 10 different cleaning companies.

My problem is personal, and I’m a bit embarrassed to be sharing it here. But, it is at the crux of this week’s real world story. So here goes… My problem is that my suit jackets are emitting an…um…scent. Some would call it body odor. I’ll just call it a scent.

I have repeatedly asked dry cleaner after dry cleaner if they can help me, to no avail. My last experience, however, just about hung me out to dry.

Real World Story:  I was on a mission to find a dry cleaner that could help me. My first step was to call my previous dry cleaner. After explaining my “situation” to the woman on the telephone, she sounded doubtful, so I proceeded to the second step — Yelp.  The first thing I noticed was that my previous dry cleaner was not even listed. That was a clue. Next, I listed my search results by reviews and started calling. The second dry cleaner that I called was extremely friendly. I told the guy on the telephone about my “predicament,” and he confidently assured me that he could help me. I jumped in my car with my FIVE jackets and headed on down.

When I walked in, the dry cleaner’s owner was already working with another customer who did not look very happy. On her way out, the customer whispered to me under her breath, “You’ll never come back.” I didn’t think much of it and proceeded to do business with the owner. I told him about my “problem,” and he promised he could help me. I again explained and asked him a second time, “This problem needs to be fixed. Other cleaners cannot help me. Are you sure you can help me?” He replied, “Yes, yes, yes.” For a third time, I asked for reassurance, “I’m counting on you. Will you guarantee to me that you can help me?” He gave me a big smile and said, “Yes. Don’t worry.” I left feeling happy and confident that my long-standing problem was finally solved.

Three days later, I excitedly returned to my new dry cleaner to collect my clothes. The owner’s son, a younger employee, was at the counter. He took my ticket, found my clothes, and hung them on the counter’s hook. I said, “Okay, here’s the test.” I lifted the plastic wrapping and took a big, long sniff of the first jacket. And guess what? It still stunk.  I was devastated. And so, I started to exclaim, “Oh no. They still stink!” The employee could see my tension and didn’t know what to do. I said, “The gentleman who took my order promised to get the smell out.” The employee went to the back and came back with the owner. I reminded the owner of his promise, and he said, “Oh no, we can’t get out body odor. That’s part of the fabric. We can’t get it out. You need to go see a doctor.” He then started to laugh as he walked away.

To say that I was livid is an understatement. The young employee just stood there, looking frightened. All I said to him was “Please don’t promise something that you can’t deliver.” I grabbed my clothes and stormed out.

(ADDENDUM:  I Googled my scent problem after I returned home and discovered a solution – rubbing alcohol. Turn your garment inside out, spray with rubbing alcohol, and hang outside to dry. Problem solved.)

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Under promise and over deliver. NOT vice versa!
  2. Don’t lie.  If you can’t do something, don’t say that you can!
  3. If you make a mistake, admit it and apologize! It’s not that difficult!

Remember: The main reason for all complaints is an unmet expectation. So don’t set an unrealistic expectation by lying about your product or service.

What did YOU do when a vendor lied about what they could do for you? Please share in the comments section below.


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