Do You Have a Skilled Customer Service Team?

Chances are, whether you have direct client contact or not, you and your team members are providing some sort of customer service. You may not be dealing with outside clients, but in almost every situation you have some sort of internal client (another team, accounting, human resources, etc). Regardless of who your client may be, you need to have the customer service skills necessary to make your customers happy.

But how do you offer great customer service, from a management standpoint?

  • Start by hiring a great group of people. We’ve spoken quite a bit about interview skills – so use them. Make sure you aren’t only hiring people who can get the job done, but who can get the job done while remaining friendly and interested in their work.
  • Make sure you outline a clear set of customer service standards for your team members to follow. They should dictate how they speak to customers, how they act in the presence of customers, and how they respond (in both attitude and time frame) to the needs of their customers. Once you’ve set the standards, hold your team members to them.
  • Ensure your team member are getting the training they need. Believe it or not, most people aren’t born working in customer service industries and, as such, the skills needed to deal with people do not come naturally. Ongoing training will support your cause.
  • Develop an incentive program through which those who go above and beyond the call of duty can be  rewarded for their efforts. Sure, you should be paying well, but you should show your team members a bit of respect by acknowledging their hard work from time to time as well.
  • Take criticism seriously. People who are unhappy with your business aren’t likely to tell you about their experiences – they’ll tell everyone else they know instead. If someone has something to say – listen. Others probably have the same sentiment.

The happier your team members, the more their attitudes will rub off on their customer interactions – guaranteed.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Conquoring Your Public Speaking Fears

fearI have met very few people who were not nervous about public speaking – especially the first time they were faced with the concept of standing up before a crowd to talk. Some get over it and enjoy future speaking engagements while others simply remain nervous and frazzled every single time. Learn More

An Exercise in Honesty

I know I’ve given you activities similar to this before but I’d like you to take some of the new information about honesty and ethics into consideration as you think about today’s question.

You have two resumes on your desk. One is from a bright, young college graduate with no experience. His college major is in line with the work you do within your organisation and – even better – he graduated from the same university you went to and has the same fraternity ties!

The second resume is from a man with a college education as well. He has about 20 years experience in the industry and has been relatively successful.

They’re both good candidates, but how will you choose?

Will you look at their experience levels? The younger candidate has very little but he’s mallable – you can mold him the way your organisation wishes him to be. He’ll also present a fresh, modern viewpoint when it comes to new developments. The second candidate is older – true – but he has all the experience. Will he be difficult to work with or will that experience add value to your team?

Or – will you hire the younger guy because you have common interests?

Oh – you didn’t think people made unethical decisions like that? Well, they do. And the funny part is that many of them don’t even consciously realize they’re choosing one person over another for an unethical reason. They’re justifying their decisions with concrete points that simply aren’t as strong as they could be in order to cover up the real reasons.

So which candidate would you hire? I’d love to know!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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The Main Principles of Team Building – Part 2

The other day we took a look at some of the main principles of team building and how they effect the success of a team from the inside out. Today I’d like to share a few more concepts in the hopes you’ll be able to apply them to your next team building (or team growing) experience.

Do the members of your team understand the context? In short, do they understand not only the main purpose of the team but how the work the team completes will help the organization reach its ultimate, long-term goals? In short, your team members should feel as though their team is important to the organization.

Does the team feel as though it has the tools it needs to perform competently?Most team members, when asking themselves this question, aren’t looking for materials but are looking at the other people on the team. Do they feel as though everyone in the group is capable of getting the job done. Are they kowledgeable and skilled?

Does the team have control of the project?Have you given the team the power it needs to get the job done while setting boundaries and limitations that will prevent them from going over budget or missing their deadlines? Control is good. Having to redo a project because the team members let the power associated with the work go to their heads is bad.

Is everyone communicating?Communication is key in any venture. Are all members of your team encouraged to give feedback and express their honest opinions. If not, they may be wondering why they are a part of the team at all.

Does your team understand that their work comes with consequences? Do they understand that they are accountable for what they do and do not accomplish and that if the job does not get done there will be consequences? Likewise, will they be rewarded for getting the job done on time and within budget?

Choosing a group of people to participate in a team is easy. Making sure those people are happy, can work together, and actually get the job done is another. You’ll have to work on the team from the inside out but I guarantee once you’re done you’ll have a highly functioning group you’ll be proud to have under your wings.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Three Main Motivators

During your time working with your team members and employees you are going to find that some are more motivated than others. During those times when certain team members seem less motivated you are going to have to find ways to get them back on track. Before you can do so, it will help you to understand that there are three main types of motivation.

The first type of motivation is the promise of some type of reward. The reward may or may not be tangible (recognition, an extra few hours off, or financial). Regardless, people are sometimes more motivated when they believe they are working towards a goal. A paycheck, in this example, simply isn’t enough.

The next type of motivation is the fear of loss – or a fear of being punished if the job isn’t done. You may find that you have to pull a team member aside for a meeting or review in which you lay down an ultimatum – start getting your work done or you may lose your job. This is, of course, an extreme example but in the end those who fear they’ll lose out on any level at all (no bonus, no extra holiday) tend to stay motivated.

Finally, those who have a sense of responsibility or obligation tend to stay motivated. They feel as though they have a sense of duty. Some people can find a sense of responsibility on their own while others may need help finding their purpose. The point is that once they have a sense of purpose they’ll begin to work for and with it.

Are you and the members of your team motivated? If not, what can you to do give them a little push in the right direction?

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Time Management 101: Prioritising

When it comes down to effectively managing your time you’ll find that there are dozens of resources offering tips for how to save time. Most of these resources tell you that you should prioritise your tasks but they don’t really tell you how to prioritise. How do you choose which tasks are more important than others?

A method I’ve found to work very well is to take every task and place it in one of four categories. Each category has a level of importance and it will make it easier for you to determine which ones should take priority over the rest. Here are the four categories:

  • #1 – Important and Urgent – These are critical items that must be taken care of before anything else.
  • #2 – Important but not urgent – These are the tasks you really want to complete in a given time frame but don’t find as pressing as those you placed in the first category.
  • #3 – Urgent and not very important – You may find something to be urgent but at the same time not very important to the success of your day. Don’t let someone make you feel like you need to complete something faster than it deserves to be completed. If it’s not important, how urgent can it really be?
  • #4 – Neither urgent or very important – You’d like to complete these tasks but not doing so won’t have an impact on your day either way.

Can you look at your calendar for the day and place each of the items on your to-do list into one of these categories? If so, you’re well on your way to effectively prioritising your day. Good luck!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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The Buying Facilitation Method

Sharon Drew Morgen is perhaps one of the most well known advocates for selling techniques in today’s society. Her concepts have earned her wide recognition both in Europe and the United States and has done a lot to change the way salesmen think about buying and selling.

Morgen’s theory is known as Buying Facilitation (R). Her book talks, in short, about why buyers refuse to buy and why sellers aren’t good at selling. She then outlines what you need to do in order to manage the chaos associated with the buying and selling process.

A few examples include:

  • A salesman helping the buyer understand their own systems and why they need to change.
  • A salesman helping a buyer understand that not all change results in chaos.
  • The seller has to help the buyer see the larger (macro) viewpoint instead of only the smaller, immediate picture. If he can do this, he’ll be able to show the buyer that the new system or product is worth using despite the initial hardship associated with implementing a change.
  • The seller is able to act as an adviser to the buyer, helping him to meet his exact goals as they apply to buying.

These are just a few examples of the items detailed in Morgen’s Buying Facilitation(R) Method. Sadly, she doesn’t make much of her work available to the public so in this instance I’d have to recommend you take a look at her book, Buying Facilitation, or visit Sharon Drew Morgen’s website. If you’re in sales, or working as a sales manager, I’m pretty sure you’ll find it to be an easy and useful read.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Communicating with Effective Body Language

thumb upBody language, also known as kineesicks, is incredibly important when it comes to effective communication skills. In order to become a good manager or leader you must be able to convey what you say with both words and physical body language. If you praise someone with an angry look on your face, for example, your words or praise simply wont’t go over very well. Learn More

Advertising Tricks: AIDA

We don’t often talk about sales on this blog but if you are the manager of a sales team you’ll need to make sure you are familiarizing yourself not only with tricks for managing your team’s personnel but for managing their work and guiding their successes as well.

One of the most common sales tricks used to help new salespersons is the acronym “AIDA.” AIDA stands for Attention, Desire, Interest, and Action. Learn More

Specialisation of Labour

When you are training new employees it is important to keep your organisations specialisation (or division) of labour in mind. Specialisation of labour refers to the way organisational jobs are divided and subdivided to ensure that they are properly completed. As a manager you may be responsible for breaking a task down into parts and then assigning each part to a different individual.

Specialisation of labour has its benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand you will have a highly specialised workforce in which each person, responsible for only one task, can contribute his very best work. Because employees are allowed to specialise they are more likely to work efficiently and get more done. Learn More