Is your bark worse than your bite?

Obviously, staff manning the shops able to stay open during lock down have been working under considerably stressful circumstances and we thank them in keeping the nation watered and fed. Without a doubt, working in the retail sector under the current conditions is stressful. Whilst we are all grateful to those shops I wonder how well the staff are managing.

I have heard, and indeed experienced scenarios, where the language used fired up situations with customers and could have been avoided with staff understanding the impact of their choice of words and tone:

  • A lady asking for help from a member of staff and promptly being (incorrectly) accused of shop lifting
  • A customer being asked for proof of purchase by just having the word ‘receipt’ barked at them
  • A gentleman being told to ‘hurry up and move out of the way’ whilst trying to find the correct medication in a pharmacy
  • A lady being shouted to ‘stand back and wait for me to say when you can move’ and then told ‘come forward now’ less than a second later
  • A member of staff not listening to the customer saying ‘is there anything else I can help you with’ the customer responding ‘you haven’t helped me with this so no’ the staff member then said ‘lovely, thank you, bye’!

I am sure these are isolated incidents but using more positive language and tone would have made staff’s lives easier, and avoided stressed customers rising up and in one instance vowing to never return to the store again!

In my experience, people do not appreciate the impact they have in ‘firing up’ or ‘defusing’ a situation.

TRAGIC – Negative language

Focuses the customer on what cannot be done and can have a subtle tone of blame. It includes words like can’t, won’t, unable.

  • You say that…
  • You should/must
  • Why didn’t you…….

MAGIC – Positive language

Suggests alternatives and choices available to the customer sounding helpful and encouraging rather than bureaucratic. It stresses positive actions and consequences.

  • I understand…..
  • Here is what we can do…
  • If you could do this, we can…

This approach together with active listening, make even the trickiest of interactions more effective. It encourages a positive two-way interaction and prevents situations spiralling into avoidable complaints.

To find out more about communication skills for your staff, we can offer you virtual sessions via power hours for teams or on a one-to-one basis. To organise a session contact Annie Mulady at Mulady Solutions Ltd on:

Call: 01628 475988 or email: annie@muladysolutions.co.uk

Who’s Zooming Who?

I heard a piece on Radio 4 back in 2014 about whether on-line learning was going to replace face to face training.

Events over the last couple of months have dragged me out of my ‘normal’ to providing one to one Zoom sessions for participants who are completing a management development programme. My conclusion is that both training formats have their place.

On-line training has its advantages, potential cost savings – particularly when participants are spread out geographically and it can also reduce the amount of administration in producing materials and organisation of training sessions. It is self-paced and more individual – on a one to one basis, delegates can focus on the training content they specifically need support in and subjects not necessarily on the original agenda can be covered. For example, in one session a participant requested advice on how to support a member of staff with a very specific and unusual issue which I was able to help with.

What subjects are best suited to on-line learning?

Process and technology/systems-based training suits E-learning and my experience so far has highlighted that subjects that work particularly well on-line are:

  • Setting and Managing Goals
  • Positive Appraisals
  • Managing Change
  • Pragmatic Problem Solving

Some subjects are better suited to the format of face to face. Group discussions and facilitated learning is more powerful than informing or telling. It creates an environment that encourages open discussion and learning from others. You can bring different organisations/departments together resulting in the bonus of sharing knowledge and best practice and training can be ‘high energy’ to facilitate different learning styles and get the blood circulating and energy levels high.

What subjects are best suited to face to face sessions?

  • Customer Service Skills
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Presenting with Panache
  • Building Top Teams

Both on-line and face to face training have their place, but the question should be asked – which forum will meet our participants needs the best before embarking on possibly costly mistakes.

To discuss your training and development needs, contact Annie Mulady on 01628 475988 or annie@muladysolutions.co.uk

 

 

Private or Public Sector – what is the difference?

 

 

There seems to be a myth that there is a world of difference between customer service in the private and public sector and I ask the question – is there?

True, in the public sector you may have customers who have no choice but to interact with you whereas in the private sector your customers can generally choose their supplier. True, in the public sector you may be interacting with customers who are vulnerable but particularly in these difficult times, that could also be said for customers of the private sector. Whilst the public sector is generally non profit making, both sectors are working to budgets and are accountable for their costs.

Surely the skills required to serve customers in both the private and public sectors are the same. Research over the years has come up with the top requirements from customers:

  • Effective problem solving
  • Efficiency
  • Timeliness
  • Professionalism
  • Easy to do business with

The public sector seems to be increasingly striving to focus and improve their customer service. But in some areas of the private sector the focus is on the bottom line and cost cutting rather than investing in their service and meeting the basic needs of their customers.

There are lessons to be learnt from both the private and public sector – the needs of your customers are not going to be fundamentally different so take a step back and ask yourselves are you meeting the five customer requirements? If the answer is no to any of these, consider your experience of being a customer – from which organisations do you experience service excellence? They may not be within your sector or industry but there could be lessons of best practice which can benefit your organisation.

 

Annie Mulady

Director of Mulady Solutions

annie@muladysolutions.co.uk

 

Consistent Service is Critical

As a customer, it is not my problem if you or your staff, are having a bad day. A recent event highlighted to me why consistent service is critical to any organisation and how having a bad day can have dire consequences.

I am a regular traveller on my local railway line and know by sight most of the conductors. On this day a couple of business people were sitting next to me in the carriage and clearly visitors to the town and not sure of what train changes they needed to make. The conductor appeared and the ladies asked him several questions about how they should proceed with their journey. This conductor is usually very cheerful and incredibly helpful but was clearly having a bad day as he barked at the passengers and seemed quite put out that they did not know what to do to get the right train.

I sat there and watched the whole incident and my immediate thought was ‘oh dear he is having a bad day’. Once he had moved on the two ladies expressed their dismay at being treated so badly and still not being clear on where they needed to go – I intervened and whilst not being an expert on railways, was able to tell them where they needed to change trains and which platforms to use.

However, they left the train with what can only be described as a bad taste in their mouths – their experience had not been good, and they are likely to tell everyone who is prepared to listen of the poor service.

Now I obviously do not know what put the conductor in such a bad mood that day but frankly it is not my problem, as a customer we do not care if the cat has been run over or you have had a row with your partner, we just want to be treated in a polite, professional manner.

The cloak of good service is critical – leave your problems at home, in the car or in your locker and continue your day with a genuine smile on your face and a positive attitude or you will create issues that do not need to exist.

So, take a moment to consider the consistency of service in your organisation. Do your people appreciate the impact they have on your customers? Are they motivated to want to give good service even on a bad day?

 

 

Let’s Get 2020 Off On The Right Foot

Let’s Get 2020 Off On The Right Foot

Retain your customers and grow your business…..

2019 has been particularly competitive for businesses. 18% of Britons say they will move to another supplier after just one bad experience. The bar has been raised and whether you are a business-to-business or business-to- consumer organisation, to meet this increase in demand, the following all need to be in place:

The Mulady Solutions TEMPT strategy for business success…..

  • Top Down – an ethos of service excellence needs to start from the top of the business in order for it to filter down to everyone in the organisation
  • Engaged Staff – just 25% of employees feel actively engaged in their job
  • Make it Easy – how easy is it to do business with you?
  • Put Yourself in the Shoes of the Customer – first impressions count but the customer will remember as much how the interaction ended
  • Transparency – unfair charges and hidden costs kill customer loyalty

Sometimes, we are so engrossed in what we are doing, we cannot see the wood for the trees and this is where an external partner can support you in ensuring that the all the elements are in place. Mulady Solutions has many years in-depth consultancy experience across a range of industry sectors, and an enviable track-record in delivering business building results.

We are offering a FREE 1hr business consultation to discuss your challenges together with solutions.

Contact Annie Mulady on 01628 475988 or annie@muladysolutions.co.uk

Are you floating your people’s boat?

 

Are we sometimes motivating with a one size fits all approach or do we take the time to find out what turns one person on and another off completely?

The term – ‘a public thank you goes a long way’ has been muted for years but that might work for Angela in the Accounts Department but not necessarily Andrew in the IT Department who find the whole ‘public’ element totally humiliating.

Second guessing what motivates your people is probably the best way of de-motivating them but taking the time to find out what makes them want to come to work everyday and give it their all, can reap dividends.

The most common misconception is that pay and reward is the biggest motivation – research has told us time and time again that this is not necessarily and please note, not necessarily, the biggest motivator.  In fact, interesting work, recognition for good work and a feeling of involvement score a lot higher in the league for motivation.

However, there are several other factors that may ensure that you have happy and motivated individuals within your team. You may have those who are ambitious and looking for a clear career path, those who like working in a funky environment, and those who would like you to take an interest in their lives outside of work but basically you will never know unless you keep regular dialogue with the individual rather than going for a unilateral approach.

There are two types of motivation, the first type we generate internally e.g. the feeling of satisfaction when we have completed a challenging job –intrinsic motivation.

The second type of motivation is gained by the influence of others e.g. our line manager praising our accomplishments – extrinsic motivation.

Research has shown that the personality types in the world of customer service are more likely to motivated by extrinsic motivation – they thrive on positive feedback from customers, peers and of course, their manager. But again, this is not a one size fits all theory.

So, I recommend taking the time to find out what motivates each individual team member. You can do this by observing them at work, listening to what they say and how they say it, asking them questions and, importantly, recognising and being aware of your own feelings about how well someone is working and the reasons why.

 

Imposter Syndrome – you are not alone!

Imposter Syndrome – you are not alone!

 

Have you ever felt that your friends or colleagues are going to realise that you are a fraud because you have stumbled into your career or successes because of luck rather than talent or hard work?

Imposter syndrome is an intense feeling that your accomplishments or status are built on fraud and that other people will find us out.

Studies show that approximately 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at some point during their careers.

Course Objectives

  • During this workshop we will explore our triggers, bad habits or patterns that may be holding us back from achieving our full potential. We will look at how to overcome imposter syndrome and improve our self-confidence

Course outline

  • What is imposter syndrome, how it can manifest itself and the different characteristics
  • Self-reflection – completion of an individual self-assessment to identify triggers, bad habits or patterns that may be holding you back from your full potential
  • How to overcome imposter syndrome and improve your self-confidence through
  • Assertive behaviour
    • Building confidence
    • Mindfulness
  • Personal action planning

Cost

We are offering this half-day course for groups up to 12 participants for £600.00 or a two-hour one:one session for £400.00 plus materials and travel expenses

Interested?

To find out more, contact Annie Mulady on: 01628 475988

E-mail: info@muladysolutions.co.uk