Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I heard this from your clients.

June 18, 2015

I find people have the same goals at work and at home: to be more organized, productive and strategic, and more importantly to go through each day as easily and enjoyably as possible. Sometimes we’re the provider and sometimes we’re the client. I get to hear it from both perspectives.

I’ll share some of the frustrations and wishes I hear fairly often so you can apply them to your client service practices. Surely you’ve said some of these yourself.

“She was very attentive before I became a client but now I rarely hear from her.” Regular non-sales contact with your clients helps them feel less like just an income source for you, while providing an opportunity to listen for their cares and wishes. Do they need a referral to another professional in a related field? What free service can you provide that enhances what your already sell to them?

“I hate it when I call with a question and he reminds me I can find it on their website!” We know your intent is to empower your clients with easy access to information. Remember, though, that people tire of trying to remember passwords, portals and your programs. They often don’t have easy web access due to travel or busy schedules. They hire us to make it ultra-easy for them, so walk them through the process while on the phone if they want a tutorial, or look up the answer for them.

“Do I need to save this or not?” Help your clients understand if they need to save your invoices, statements and other information. If they do, what’s the reason? Like you, your clients get overwhelmed with information and paperwork and appreciate guidance. Remind them at year end they can toss their quarterly statements, or that you always provide insurance claim information at no charge. Don’t promise it’s available online, though, unless you’re certain it’s permanently available and they know how to access it.

“They told me they’d get back to me but I don’t know when that will be.” Being specific verbally and with follow-up emails about what they can expect from you and when to expect it creates trust, if you do what you promised. Here’s a suggestion: In your email signature or phone greeting add information about who to contact if you’re not available and when they should expect a reply. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver. What’s your system for follow up reminders? If you don’t have one, get one.

“We got a lot done but not what I really wanted.” We all have expectations. Sometimes we know what our clients expect and sometimes we don’t. It’s not that you didn’t ask or they didn’t tell you; this is more about what occurs to them after we asked. They often don’t realize they wanted something until they notice they didn’t get it. Ask often and allow a long pause for them to think about it.

“They went above and beyond….”  Hopefully this is what they say when they refer you. You’ve exceeded their expectations not just once, but repeatedly.

Providing your clients with outstanding customer service means being aware of what bothered you about working with someone else and being sure you do even better.

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Longing to hear those 3 magic words

March 13, 2015

The 3 magic words are “I will help.”

Try using them daily in any form and watch the reactions.

  • I can help.
  • I will help.
  • Can I help?
  • You’d like help?
  • Want a hand?

What’s this got to do with being productive, effective and plain old happier?

Everything.

When people understand you are willing to assist them, to take the time to support them, or even just hear what they have to say, their tension is reduced. Calm people are more effective than frustrated and tense people. Sometimes it stops a complainer from complaining because it highlights that they don’t really want help, they just want to vent.

What’s in it for you? Your focus turns toward them and away from what is often a habitually resistant or dismissive reaction to what they’re talking about or asking for. Resistant attitudes are exhausting and limiting.

Teamwork occurs. Negativity disappears. Stalled projects are restarted. Miscommunications clear. Profits happen. People feel better.

Sometimes you know just the thing to help them figure out a way to do something more easily. Offering a hand, even if it isn’t your job and maybe especially if it isn’t your job, helps people accomplish more and more quickly than if they’re working solo.

It’s productivity personified.

Valentine’s Day has passed and the cards have been put away. Keep the spirit alive by saying those 3 precious words at least once a day and watch what happens.  Challenge your staff and your family to do the same and remember, if you’re the leader, it’s even more important for you to say it.

Would love to hear your observations. Please write:

Leslie@MasteryConsulting.net

Spring and taxes

March 13, 2015

It’s gonna be warm in a minute or so.

Finish your taxes now so you can be ready to walk and bike when the better weather starts.

 

Hey, you might like this book too

February 5, 2015

My son observed he thinks the reason we don’t keep resolutions is, in part, because we’re not the same person as when we made the resolution.

The book I’m reading now seems to support his theory: The Organized Mind, Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, by Daniel Levitin.

“The mind-wandering mode works in opposition to the central executive mode: When one is activated the other is deactivated; if we’re in one mode we are not in the other.”       pg 41

In other words, when someone says you’re not in your right mind they may be right.

Winter Inertia

January 26, 2015

We know that winter is the best time to get to those projects that we don’t want to ‘waste’ a sunny day on when the weather is warmer and invites us outside.

Yet, when it’s cold outside we’d just as soon cozy up and not do those things we swore we’d do during the cold months.

I’m all for ignoring what we think we ‘should’ do if there are no major financial or health repercussions. Try that on.  What’s it feel like?

If it feels OK then that’s your decision.

If it feels worse, then that just might be enough motivation to start or finish the project you put off until now.

If you’re committed to a project that you’re having a hard time getting to, realize that most of the time the hardest part is just getting started. And most of the time the biggest thing in the way of getting started is the TV or the computer.

So turn off the computer and the TV and get started. You just might finish before the warm weather comes.

sun

Signed away privacy!!

October 29, 2014

I received another privacy statement from Citibank credit services about my Sears credit card.  It described how they’ll share my information and the very few options I have for limiting that sharing.

Citibank credit cardWhat confused me initially was I thought I’d closed the account years ago, so why were they sending me this notice?

Then I read, and remembered, the fine print: “….When you are no longer our customer, we continue to share your information as described in this notice.” 

That’s it. No end in sight.

Sure wasn’t worth the 10% I saved off a holiday gift that year when I signed away my rights to end my ‘relationship’ with Citibank.

Most of us have at least 2 credit cards; many people have 5 or more. The more cards you have, the more bookkeeping havoc you have, the more time and energy you spend trying to figure out how to redeem ‘rewards’ and how the bills got so high, and the more information about you and your habits you give away.

Is it worth it? Really?

 

 

When you are sure….

August 22, 2014

Remember this when you are absolutely certain of something,

Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction the sign of truth.

Blaise Pascal (died 1662, a French philosopher, mathematician and physicist)

Crisis mode

July 16, 2014

O No!! 

 

It’s cancer. My family loved one has cancer.

 

Wow. My blood turned to ice. My mind went both blank and in a thousand directions at once.

 

There are two schools of thought about how to cope with huge issues like illnesses, deaths, divorces and other major life events.

 

One idea is to carry on with as little change as possible. For some people that helps maintain a sense of control and balance.

 

The other is to ‘lean in’ to the issues and not attempt to continue life as usual, but to change the way you might ordinarily deal with schedules and daily life.

 

Either way, it’s important to decide which works better for you, and to let people know what to expect from you, especially those that rely on you.

 

I chose to ‘lean in’.  Here’s what that meant for me.

 

Meetings

I alerted people that, out of respect for their time, if they needed a 100% commitment for appointments, I’d have to decline. But if they could accept the small possibility that I would have to cancel the day before, I would make the appointment.  Some chose to decline (dentist and doctor) some said “No problem.” (long-time clients).

 

Financial

We’ve heard it before and don’t ignore this: Have 6 months of financial reserve in place, either in savings or guaranteed loan availability. Ironically, you cannot get credit when you need it, only when you don’t need it. Talk to your financial folks for ideas.

 

Health

You’re the only one that can take care of your own health. So take care of your health. Without it, everything you want or need to do is limited. 

 

Spirit

Just like being aware of your health, you’re the only one who knows when you’re spiritually depleted. Do what it takes to refill yourself. 

 

Independence

Be generous to yourself and others by offering the gift of accepting their help in whatever form it’s offered, within the boundaries you’ve set. People want to assist you; it helps them feel connected.

 

See all views

Be balanced and organized by alternating your view of things from the details to the long-range view and back again.  

 

Otherwise it’s like driving your car while looking only at either the gauges or the horizon.            

 

The crisis is resolving and it feels good to be ‘back on the road’ again, meeting clients and watching my family member regain the activities he couldn’t do during the treatment time.

All in all?  Everything here applies to everyone, every day, crisis or stasis. Hopefully you’ll gain some insights from my insights.

Where should I store my ….

September 18, 2013

stocks of stuff like the 50 roll pack of toilet paper, the 2 pound container of ground cloves, and the 12 quart bargain pack of strawberry jelly?

At the STORE! That’s why they call it that!

You’re only saving money if you’re sure you’ll use it up within the ‘freshness’ dates.

Feeding one’s anxiety about running out of stuff by overstocking is only practical if you have room to be organized and uncluttered about it. Otherwise recognize it for what it is: anxiety about potential deprivation.

Anxiety is rarely quelled for any beneficial length of time by shopping or any other consumer solution.

Far better to be realistic about what you can feasibly store, why you’re buying and learn to leave most of it at Costco.

Cards everywhere!

January 27, 2013

Questions Clients Ask

What do I do with the business cards I collect at conferences? I put them in my data base but miss the visuals and notes that help me remember the context of the conversation.  

  A few options:

1–Low cost, low tech: A simple binder with business card pages. Separate with tabbed inserts: by trade, by name, by professions, by conference, or whatever you decide.   

  2–Card Scan: A small, reliable, fast card scanner that allows you to look at both sides of the card on your screen, including your notes. New between $125-$250. I’ve seen them on eBay for under $60.  Bring it to the conference and be finished before you get home.