The Art of Receiving Constructive Criticism

The Art of Receiving Constructive Criticism

Many people find it difficult to be on the receiving end of constructive criticism.  It can feel like an attack—especially if it isn’t delivered thoughtfully and with empathy. 

We can’t stress enough how important it is to mentally reframe corrective action as an opportunity for continuous growth and improvement.  As an employee makes performance adjustments based on feedback, their performance reviews/ratings will increase (not to mention job satisfaction!).  When an employee can effectively process corrective feedback, they will be happier and more productive.

Here are a few practices that you can share with your team from Forbes.com:

1) Actively listen. Repeat and affirm what you’ve heard. This gives the brain time to process without becoming defensive. Body language is also a component of active listening.  Check your posture.  Are your arms folded?  If so, relax your arms and maintain good eye contact.

2) Thoughtfully consider the feedback given to you.  Avoid quickly rejecting or accepting the person and take your time to evaluate the information. Consider the impact of the requested change.  Reflect on how frequently you receive similar feedback from other coworkers or in other environments, i.e., at home.

3) Remain open…ask followup questions using the start, stop, continue format.  Begin by asking, “What is something that I am not doing that you would like me to start doing?”.   Next ask, “What is something that I am doing that you would like me to stop doing?”.  Finally ask, “What is something that I am doing that you would like me to continue doing?”.

Take these tips into your next feedback session and leave with clear understanding and amazing opportunities for improvement. 

Share your best practices for receiving corrective feedback in the comments below.   Make it a great day!

Resilient Leadership

Resilient Leadership

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the ability to quickly bounce back from changes, challenges, or traumatic events. Furthermore, the recovery process can affect intense personal growth. Employees rely on its leaders’ resiliency during turbulent times…they want to be assured that the company they work for will remain competitive, grow, and thrive.

In high pressure situations, resilient leaders accept difficult challenges; they think outside the box, create a crackerjack team, and create effective solutions—all without mistreating or disrespecting others. 

Generally speaking, resilient leaders are calm under pressure and avoid projecting tension onto others.  Instead of dwelling on human errors, they view mistakes as learning opportunities.  They communicate confidently in times of crises.  Also, they maintain important support networks to prioritize their mental and physical well being.

If you want to improve your resiliency as a leader consider this: 

1. Never stop learning.  Mental toughness and fortitude work hand-in-hand.  Resilience is a character trait that requires exercise to grow stronger.

2. Increase self awareness.  Learn to identify your stress triggers and how to manage them.  Focus on your wellness and your workload.  Improve your delegation skills to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  Maintain a healthy lifestyle through wellness rituals such as exercise, rest/sleep, and work life balance.

3. Build positive relationships.  Foster a strong network of trusted supporters who offer varying perspectives and skills.  They can also be a source of emotional well being by providing empathy and reducing feelings of isolation.

During times of calamity, leaders have a responsibility to be tough, empathetic, wise, and resilient; if not, their company will fall into the hands of competitors.   

In the comments below, share your best practices for improving resiliency and remember…make it a great day!

Tis the Season

Tis the Season

Ahh, it’s that time of year again. Undoubtedly November and December are peak months for discretionary spending. And as we enter another holiday season, it can be stress inducing for shoppers as well as business owners. Shoppers are under pressure to secure the perfect gift while competing with other shoppers for items in limited supply.  Business owners are enduring staff shortages and supply chain issues. So today we’re taking a look at 3 common customer service complaints and how to prevent/reduce their occurrence.

1) Calling the wrong number when trying to reach a specific service area or department frustrates customers. To rectify this, add department/service area descriptions next to the phone number provided on your website. Track the type of calls you receive to identify trends. If you’re able to identify a common cause for concern, consider adding that information to your website along with the direct number should additional assistance be required.

2) A common consumer complaint is long wait times for service. Generally everyone packs a little extra patience around the holidays, but you should always look for ways to operate more efficiently.  Of course, this will look different for every business model, but it can include things like pre-scan, self checkout, or order ahead.  Offer special promotions during low volume periods to help re-distribute traffic to your storefront. 

3) Try to make the wait enjoyable. Things like musical selection and volume as well as temperature can create a sense of ease and make long waits more bearable.

4) Rude customer service agents round out our list of common customer service complaints. While our hope is no agent is ever rude to a customer, it happens. 

Consider:

  • Adjusting shifts
  • Creating additional breaks
  • Providing a catered lunch/snacks to show your appreciation
  • Providing additional training on topics about effective communication with colleagues and customers

Will your company do anything unique to improve the customer experience this holiday season? Let us know in the comment section below and make it a great day!

Happy Employee = Happy Customer?

Happy Employee = Happy Customer?

Most companies put a great deal of focus on providing great customer experiences but when was the last time the employee experience was considered? 

Let’s be honest, often times, angry employees project their negative feelings onto customers (and colleagues for that matter) contributing to the cycle of losing customers due to poor performance and bad attitudes.

The pandemic-produced worker shortage coupled with the understanding that employees are the key to making or breaking a phenomenal client experience, smart companies are now asking its employees what they need have a fulfilling work experience. Employee engagement is becoming a strong trend.

So to answer an obvious question, yes, happy employees equate to happy customers.

Happy employees do, in fact, increase customer satisfaction.  In a study conducted by Gallup, energized and engaged employees who are passionate and know their purpose are 21% more productive than non-engaged employees.  Their drive makes them more detail oriented, more likely to complete assignments on time, and resolve problems quicker.  All of which translate into increased customer satisfaction.

How are companies making employees happy?  Companies are asking for feedback.  According to Forbes.com, Gen Z is interested in more than just their pay…they want to be part of ethical organizations where their work makes a difference in the local and global community. 

Surveys are a great way to find out exactly what employees are looking for in the workplace.  Combining feedback from both employee and customer surveys will provide invaluable insight into a company’s strengths and weaknesses.  It is important to use this information to further elevate the experience of both employee and customer.  A little known fact is that employees want to be provided with tools and training to achieve clear expectations.

What practices do you have in your company?  Let us know in the comment section below and remember…whatever you do, make it a great day!

Quality Customer Care on Social Media

Quality Customer Care on Social Media

Dialing up the client services department to complain (or compliment) about your buying experience can be a hassle.  Let’s be honest, it’s just easier to use social media to convey good or bad consumer experiences to solve our problem.

Social media customer service was once a rarely used service channel, however, that has changed.  Companies are bringing customer service pages back to the internet.

According to Forbes Business Magazine, addressing service quality on a social media platform boosts a company’s brand.  When executed with empathy, it presents situations to the public that describes how the business treats its consumers (this can also be a golden opportunity to shine if you’re delivering exceptional quality care).

To thrive in commerce on the world wide web, your customer service had better be on point. So, consider this:

1) Identify which social media platform you’ll use to communicate with customers.  Ideally, it should be the same platform the majority of your customers currently use.

2) Decide on an appropriate response time.  How quickly will you commit to responding to your customers?  Most customers expect feedback within an hour.  Establish customer expectations with automated responses that identify turnaround time.  Post your service hours.

3) Make sure your company’s values are reflected when acknowledging customers criticisms. Coach employees on proper verbal and written tone of voice.  Offer specific examples and encourage role play to enhance the training.

4) Monitor conversations on your social media platforms in order to gain insight into public opinions about your business and products.  Use it to improve your weaknesses.

Tell us how social media has impacted your customer service delivery.

Remember, make it a great day!