Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Problem with ‘No Problem’

On one of the workshops I was delivering last week we were discussing the use of positive language. One of my pet hates is the response “no problem”. So we got into a discussion on why “No problem” is a problem…

Firstly, our brains are not very good at processing negatives. So, if we tell someone not to worry, tell a child don’t spill your drink, or a customer there’s no problem our brains focus on worry, spill, and problem.

Secondly, people think of you and associate you with the words that you tell them to associate with you. It’s no accident that in advertising you see words like luxury, easy, fresh, safe, exciting, etc.

This means you can plant the image in your customer’s head of what or how you’d like them to think about you and/or your business.

For example, if you offer a service or any kind of help, although you might solve your customers’ problems you certainly don’t what them to associate you with problems, but rather with help, helpful, solutions, easy.

If you offer accommodation depending on what your customers value most you may want to be associated with a good night’s sleep, comfort, relaxing, peaceful, pleasure, value, convenience.

If you’d like your customers to associate you with pleasure, use the word pleasure frequently. For example, when someone says, “thank you”, rather than responding “no problem” respond “my pleasure”.

In other words, people will associate you with the words you tell them to associate with you. So, unless you want your customers to associate your business with problems, stop your team using “no problem”!

Instead, start by identifying 4-5 words you’d like customers to associate with you/your business. Of course, every business will be different, and you want your customers to associate you with something that differentiates you from your competitors. If you have clearly defined values you probably already have some of these words already.

Then weave these words into conversations as often as possible.

So, the example of a helpdesk might use some of the following phrases:

“Yes, I can help you with that”,  “Let’s see how I can help you with that”, “Let’s see what we can do to help you with that”, “If we do x would that help you?”, “I’m glad we could help you”, “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Give your team visual cues to remind them of the words to use. Although I’m not a fan of scripts, you can still encourage the use of these phrases in opening lines and closing lines of any customer conversations.

Action

If you only do one thing: Listen to how often your team say “no problem” to customers and find an alternative phrase for them to use which better reflects what you’d rather your customers associate with your business.


How to get consistency

consistencyOne of the workshops I was delivering last week was for a group of new supervisors. I love delivering this type of training, particularly when the participants are so eager to learn.

One of the things we discussed was the importance of consistency. It’s so easy in an environment where people work different shifts to end up with dual standards. Not intentionally, but when team members may report to different managers or supervisors on different shifts or on different days it can get confusing.

And if manager A says one thing, and manager B says another it’s easy for the team member to make up their own ‘rules’. Even when the standards are laid down, different managers may have different interpretations of the standards, or have different priorities.

This lack of clarity can lead to uncertainty.

In my experience everyone likes to know what’s expected of them.

So here are 10 considerations to help you to help your team be clear about what you expect of them.

  1. Agree what good looks like in behavioural terms and document this, so there is always a point of reference in case of any uncertainty.
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  2. Lead by example; each manager may have their own style, but their interpretations of the standards and their own behaviour should still demonstrate a consistent standard.
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  3. Ensure the same standards apply to everyone. It shouldn’t matter what shift they are on or who is the team leader/supervisor/manager on that shift.
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  4. You can still be flexible by focusing on the end result, rather than dictating how to do a task. This allows people to adopt their own style.
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  5. Once you’ve set your expectations make it possible for your team to reach these by providing the appropriate tools, resources and training to do the job effectively.
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  6. Communication across the management/supervisory team is key. If any of the  supervisory team doesn’t have the same knowledge as everyone else it’s bound to have a knock-on impact on their team.
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  7. Conduct proper handovers at the change of each shift. Make this as simple, clear and easy as possible, otherwise they won’t happen. If you need 2 versions of this one for face to face and one where shifts don’t overlap, have 2 versions.
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  8. Provide a quick and easy forum (such as WhatsApp or Messenger) for managers and supervisors to keep abreast of day to day ideas, questions or issues and anything that’s impacting the team.
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  9. Create an environment where it is easy to share best practice, recognise good performance and nip problems in the bud. Face to face will normally be more productive.
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  10. Whenever you promote someone internally into a supervisory role, ask them for their thoughts and ideas on setting expectations or gaining consistency; they will know from first-hand experience where there are any uncertainties or inconsistencies, and where improvements can be made.

Time for action

If you only do one thing – Bring all your supervisors and managers together and re-establish what good looks like.

Related posts: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/set-expectations/