We all walk across this planet over the course of our lives. We all leave footprints on the earth as we pass along. Every once and a while someone walks across this planet and leaves footprints on our hearts and minds and changes the way we live on this planet. Today a great man left behind footprints that will never be erased and changes that humble those that remain. Such was the long walk of Nelson Mandela on my heart and mind. Today we bow our heads in sadness that you have left us and in joy for having been here when you walked this earth. RIP Madiba your work is done
This week I wanted to hire a van to move things from one of our offices. I phoned up three local hire firms. All were very polite. I have used Enterprise a number of times in North America (having moved away from being a gold card Avis member) and so decided I would go with them. They also advertise on their website “The company that is famous for its excellent customer service”.
The booking service was good and the guy was trying to be helpful but he was not grasping my needs at all. Anyway, I booked the vehicle and decided that I would go down to the depot the day before to go through the booking and make sure it was ok. The depot is 500 yards from my office.
I get to the depot and there was definitely a cheery atmosphere and a young lady greeted me very nicely and in a welcoming manner. I explained that I had a booking and I wanted to run through it with her. My desire was to book the vehicle through the company name as it was a company that was paying for it.
I am not going to bore you with the sequence of events but everything I asked about, she answered ending with “OK?”. It was very obvious that it was not OK and that I was trying to make a point that she was not prepared to engage with me how we could accomplish a result. I eventually had to say, ‘please stop saying “OK” when you can see that it is not ok and not what I am wanting’.
I found out that this lady was Branch Manager!! How anybody makes Branch Manager that things that a joyful tone is all that makes excellent customer service, is beyond me. She even said, “Are you wanting this booking or shall I cancel it?”.
I walked away very unhappy with the service I was buying and paying for. I did not cancel but went back to the office to think about it for a while and not make an emotional decision. Eventually I went on the website and that did it for me. I noticed that they had section called Business Rentals!!! So all I needed was to be directed to the business rental section and I could have got most of what I needed. What is more, I would have been locked in with them.
The lesson is, don’t treat all customers as the lowest customer who is going to try and con you, return your van with scratches and have their payment bounce. Treating customers as your lowest common denominator means you will attract your lowest common denominator. Take the time to understand the client and discover that you may be facing someone that could bring in significant revenue to your business, is actually honest and above board in his dealings and has the resources whereby you are guaranteed your money without any doubt at all.
Time to look for a new hire company I think. Sad really, when the North America
Enterprise is really good L
P.S – Enterprise: Friendliness is not all that is required for excellent customer service. Friendliness is part of ‘standard’ customer service.
These days it is very common for me to arrive at a meeting or event and find out that people know things about me. They have looked at my profile on LinkedIn or at my website to discover a bit about me before we meet. I have to be honest and say that I do the same. A recent Board meeting I was attending for the first time had me looking up the other Board members to find out who they were and anything I could about them.
There is an old expression that talks about first impressions, and it is true. But I would add to that now and say a lot of your first impression are being formed before you meet the person. They are getting a measure of you before they meet you. It is often the little things that are making that impression. Email addresses that are @aol or @hotmail or @sky say a lot about you without anything else being said!!!!
I took the time to look at some of the profiles on LinkedIn. A lot are out of date. Many are not customer focused at all, they talk about who you are and not what value you offer. And the biggest sin of all is having no photo!!!! People buy people and anyone looking at your profile wants to know what you look like. If nothing else, get a good photo (preferably professionally done) that speaks to the person looking at you on your profile.
There is so much I could say but I came across this excellent article that is worth reading and reflecting on.
Enjoy the article: http://m.entrepreneur.com/article/232959
Many years ago I read this and marveled at how simple it was but so powerfully true in its simplicity:
Feed a man and he will eat a meal. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.
Each human being has needs and what makes us unique is that our needs are OURS. We learn differently, we enjoy different things, we operate differently, we find different things funny, we love different things and we certainly live differently. No right way and no wrong way.
Yet I see schools giving prizes to everyone indiscriminately and recently heard about “no rankings” so that some do not feel inferior to others.
I recently read this article:
“An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.”
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, EVERYONE FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
People need a reason to make an effort. People want to know how they are doing. People want to be rewarded. Mastering these three can create internal motivation. Failing to Master them or allowing others to care about them for you, will promote de-motivation.
Part of Mastering anything is getting it wrong before getting it right. In fact, getting it wrong a number of times before getting it right. Mastering is working at something to perfect it and then working at it to refine it.
Any attempt to stop this process or short-circuit it, will deprive the person of the necessary steps to mastering……and most importantly deprive them of realizing this and learning the process of mastering anything.
Self-discipline is the basis by which personal success is built.
The article went on to become slightly political but there is still a lot of truth in what was said.
- You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
- What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
- The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
- You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
- When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Taking away the obvious political element, there is a lot of truth in this. It does not mean that there is no role for Government and it does not mean that some support it not very valuable. In fact it fails to point out that failure to give education is often the route cause to many problems.
Equally, withholding the discipline of learning how to take ownership for your own motivation and progress, is criminal and does society at all levels a dis-service.
I also read this bumper sticker this year:
“A child that is taught to hunt and to fish won’t beat up old Grannies”
P.S – If you want to contact me about writing an article for you, or speaking about this at your event, please feel free to contact me below:
It’s Sunday evening, and flight 278 from Toronto to London is about to board. At each gate is a gate attendant whose duties are to ensure that passengers board safely and on time. They coordinate with flight control to make sure that everything happens as quickly and as efficiently as possible. On this evening, gate 72 at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Marva was in attendance. Marva is one of my heroes.
This lady epitomises everything about what I believe is now the building of relationships. Marva is a professional. Unlike any other gate attendant I have seen anywhere; Marva finds the ability to balance, being in full control of her passenger with being respectful. You see, Marva makes no bones about what she expects of each passenger. She tells them to stay seated. She tells them to clear away from the gate. She tells them not to line up, she will call on them when ready. When she makes announcements, she starts by saying please remain seated. Marva understands that her job in terms of being able to do the best for the customers, is to ensure that they know when and where to be and that will give them a safe and quick boarding. These days, boarding an aircraft is an important element of the journey for the passengers. People rushing on board can cause health and safety issues. It makes life difficult; boarding can take too long, flights can then be delayed. So there is a whole lot of issues around it. But at the same you have a group of passengers who are all desperate to get on board, want to get their luggage in there right, want to find their seats etcetera, etcetera.
Marva does what is needed and that means Marva is a professional. In terms of engaging with customers, professionalism is a key element in that process. What does professionalism mean? One dictionary describes it as “the competence or skill expected of a professional” and then goes on to add, “The key to quality and efficiency is professionalism.”
What Marva understands is that if she is going to do her job correctly then she needs to be; respectful of her clients but not submissive to her clients or customers. In other words, it isn’t about being nice and friendly. It’s about being efficient and effective. Marva does that by looking people directly in the eye, speaking very respectfully but bluntly to people and making sure that people know where they need to be and how they need to get to where they are going and the right time and place to do that. She is an outstanding communicator, constantly informing people of progress.
One evening I was catching a flight, that there was a delay. There was an incoming flight but due to bad weather there were technical difficulties, there were problems with the airport. It was like a series of events that are taking place in and around the Toronto airport affecting most flights that were there. Marva was the one gate where everybody at all times knew everything there was to know. She was open with people when she didn’t know stuff. She told them that she didn’t, wasn’t able to give them certain information but as soon as she had it, they would have it. She spoke sternly, strongly, look people directly in the eye, made no bones about her position but did it with a respect that said: “I am doing my job for you; you have to trust me and let me do it.” And it’s that ability to be able to look somebody directly in the eye not in a subservient manner of traditional customer service but rather in a “we are equals. I am here to do a job, you will benefit by me doing my job and I can do it more effectively if you follow my instructions.” This builds a relationship of trust between the passenger and Marva. It’s that trust that’s built between them and her ability to build it which makes her the professional. And this is key to being able to engage with customers, is knowing how to do it in a way that enabled you to say and do things and the customer be not offended, upset or viewed as poor customer service. I’m quite sure that some older people or old-fashioned in their thinking may see Marva as not being giving the traditional customer service and I would agree with them. Marva is not going to give the traditional customer service because she is not there to ponder to the needs of people who will be upset regardless of what happens because they want everything their way and their whole world revolves around them. Marva has a way of making sure that people know, “I do respect you, I do want to do what’s best for you but you have to trust me and allow me to do that.” So, if anybody struggles with that it’s them who have the problem and certainly not Marva. I am consistently at gates in airports and never find somebody as a professional as I do when I see Marva on the gate of Toronto airport. Many of them are trying to give traditional customer service with at least trying to be pleasant and you can see when they turn around, they roll their eyes, they are getting frustrated because it’s just going through the motions of doing whatever they think they can do. Marva is viewing it as, “I have a relationship with you. I have a job to do, you want to know? Come. My job is to provide you with that outcome if it is at all possible. It may not be exactly the way you wanted but I will get it to you as quickly and as effectively as I can.” And it is the outcome that is more important than the process. If I can get you on board safely and you can get away on time, that’s probably going to be more important than anything else to you. And so she reminds you of that in a comment she makes to people, that we will get you on time if you follow my rules. Stand clear of the gates because you’re only going to get in the way of other people trying to board. That is going to slow the process down. Don’t come up asking me if there are any more upgrades available, I haven’t got any more upgrades available. So she is straight and clear with people at all times. Professionalism is a huge part of engaging with customers. It’s about, “I am a professional, you want to make use of my services and I am good in doing what I am doing for you. And I am prepared to practice it and improve upon it at all times.”
Wow, I’ve just found this on YouTube. What a great session that was, hope you enjoy this clip.