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.


Employee Recognition starts with Thank You

Employee Recognition78% of employees don’t feel recognised!

That’s according to Debra Corey – one of the many interesting speakers at last week’s  “The Caterer People Summit“.

That’s a pretty shocking – and sad – statistic. She also cited of the money spent on employee recognition, 87% is spent on recognising long service (which is unlikely to have much impact on an ambitious 20 something), and her own research found that 72% of employees felt saying a simple “thank you” would make them feel more motivated and help build morale.

I know I’ve written about employee recognition many times before, but here are 6 of my own, thoughts on saying thank you:

  1. A thank you will have more impact if it’s spontaneous and in the moment; at the end of a busy shift, when you spot someone helping a colleague, when you see someone going out of their way to help the customer, whenever anyone demonstrates you values.
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  2. Saying thank you will have far more impact if you’re specific; what are you thanking them for, what impact that has had on the team, for your customers, for the business, etc.
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  3. Ensure your thanks extends to those beavering away behind-the-scenes. Your grounds and building maintenance teams, your housekeepers or cleaners, your finance team. All these people have an impact on your customers’ experience, either directly or indirectly, and ultimately on your business success.
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  4. Make your thank you’s personal and appropriate for the individuals. What would they appreciate most? Public recognition? A handwritten note from you or your owner/managing director? The opportunity to leave an hour earlier to tend to a personal matter? A small token gift relevant to an interest or hobby? Apart from the last idea, none of these cost; it’s never about the money. It’s the thought that counts.
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  5. Encourage your supervisors and line managers to show recognition. Recognition doesn’t have to be rationed, so encourage them to give this freely. Help them identify how powerful recognition can be. This, of course, starts with you and how you recognise them; be their role model!
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  6. Recognition doesn’t just come from the top. Make it easy for team members to show recognition for one another: when a colleague has stepped in to help someone who is struggling, when another department has mucked-in to support on a big event, when someone’s made a personal sacrifice to cover sickness.

Take action

If you only do one thing, make a point of thanking every one of your team members for something this week.



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 like 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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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/