Customer service realism
There are times when we’ve all complained about something and been given what we know is the run around. Sometimes it’s an overly technical response, while at other times we may get such a vague response to a question that we’re left confused as to what we asked for in the first place. Perhaps it’s because an angry or disappointed customer’s response to an honest answer can be scary or litigious, these “non-answers”, if you will, are becoming more common.
These aren’t great examples of customer service, but they are very realistic, and, when not happening directly to us, can be somewhat humorous.
Photographer Excuses collects the best
At Photographer Excuses, GegenWind Photography has collated common responses to customer complaints about their pictures.
“The [special motive] was just not in focus enough so I edited the picture in selective color.”
“Oh, but now it looks like the Instagram filters!”
“This is just how the industry works now.”
And my personal favorite:
“I don’t do refunds, but I’m fully prepared to re-shoot the entire wedding.”
Again, funny, when not happening directly to us. And they’re not only for the photographer. Regardless of our profession, we’ve all got stock phrases we use to try to pacify a situation, or for some of our less motivated colleagues, take the lazy way out of making a situation right.
Employee-first approach wins
Former Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher was notorious about defining where the limits were he, and by extension the company, would go to in an attempt to mollify or retain an unhappy customer. When asked if he thought customers were always right, he angrily replied, “No, they are not…the customer is sometimes wrong. We don’t carry those sort of customers. We write to them and say, Fly somebody else. Don’t abuse our people.’”
And he was right. Research has shown that companies who adopt an “employees first” approach actually see an increase in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and productivity.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as educating the customer on the realities of the situation, the absurdity of their request (always politely, of course), or the policies that constrain you from acting any further.
Sincerity and patience
In many cases, treating your customers like human beings is all they really want when they feel aggrieved. An honest attempt at listening to both what they say and any verbal or non-verbal expressions of how they feel, a sincere apology, and an attempt to make things as right as they can be go a long way in restoring some of the trust that has been broken.
I encourage you to take a look around at Photographer Excuses to see how many other examples of “servicing the customer” sound familiar to you so we can focus on taking better care of our employees and customers this year.
Proven, clear-cut strategies to keep your company’s operations lean
(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.
The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.
Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.
Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.
Consider remote working
Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.
In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.
Review your systems to find the fat
As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.
Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.
Find the balance
Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.
A well-crafted rejection email will save both your brand and your time
(BUSINESS) Job hunting is exhausting on both sides, and rejection sucks, but crafting a genuine, helpful rejection email can help ease the process for everyone.
Nobody likes to hear “no” for an answer when applying for jobs. But even fewer people like to be left in the dark, wondering what happened.
On the employer side, taking on a new hire is a time-consuming process. And like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get when you put out ads for a position. So once you find the right person for the role, it’s tempting to move along without further ado.
Benn Rosales, the CEO and co-founder of American Genius, offers an example of why that is a very bad call.
Imagine a hypothetical candidate for a job opening at Coca Cola – someone who’s particularly interested in the job, because they grew up as a big Coke fan. If they get no response to their application at all, despite being qualified and sending follow-up emails, their personal opinion of the brand is sure to sour.
“Do you know how much effort and dollars advertising and marketing spent to make [them] a fan over all of those years, and this is how it ends?” Rosales explains. This person has come away from their experience thinking “Bleep you, I’ll have tea.”
To avoid this issue, crafting a warm and helpful rejection email is the perfect place to start. If you need inspiration, the hiring consultants at Dover recently compiled a list of 36 top-quality rejection emails, taken from companies that know how to say “no” gracefully: Apple, Facebook, Google, NPR, and more.
Here’s a few takeaways from that list to keep in mind when constructing a rejection email of your own…
Include details about their resume to show they were duly considered. This shows candidates that their time, interests, and experience are all valued, particularly with candidates who came close to making the cut or have a lot of future promise.
Keep their information on file, and let them know this rejection only means “not right now.” That way, next time you need to make a hire, you will have a handy list of people to call who you know have an interest in working for you and relevant skills.
Provide some feedback, such as common reasons why applicants may not succeed in your particular application process.
And be nice! A lack of courtesy can ruin a person’s impression of your brand, whether they are a customer or not. Keep in mind, that impression can be blasted on social media as well. If your rejections are alienating, you’re sabotaging your business.
Any good business owner knows how much the details matter.
Incorporating an empathetic rejection process is an often-overlooked opportunity to humanize your business and build a positive relationship with your community, particularly when impersonal online applications have become the norm.
And if nothing else, this simple courtesy will prevent your inbox from filling up with circle-backs and follow-up emails once you’ve made your decision.
Ageism: How to properly combat this discrimination in the workplace
(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?
Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities, and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.
Unfortunately, age discrimination lawsuits aren’t uncommon. We have covered cases for Jewel Food Stores, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Inc., AT&T, and iTutorGroup, all alleging age or disability discrimination in some form or fashion. This could be from using vocabulary such as “tenured,” hiring a younger employee instead of promoting a well-season veteran, or pressuring older employees with extra responsibilities in order to get them to resign or retire early.
How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?
It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.
- Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
- Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
- Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.
Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.
What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?
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