Providing Good Customer Service

If America is going to survive this economic crisis, businesses will need to change what they are doing. Behind this backdrop is a lack of understanding of a holistic approach in providing good customer service. Companies should not believe that they can provide good customer service while treating their employees badly. Bad treatment of employees will eventually show up in unpredictable ways.  

I’ve spent some time studying customer service as a practitioner and scholar. In fact, one of my star MBA students, Jalene Nemec Davis, and I co-authored book Good Customer Service: The Definitive Handbook for Today’s Successful Businesses.  United States companies are finding it harder to compete abroad. Is there any wonder why some individuals want to give up? This article examines how to create an amazing customer service for sustainable success. What follows will help you revamp your organization and, hence, the focus of your business’ customer service.

Defining good customer service is an essence. Before you can decide what good customer service is, you must first think about what it means to your company or your industry. Defining what good customer service is for any one company is difficult. A hospital’s idea of good customer service will differ from that of a restaurant. To help you determine how it is defined for your company, look first to your mission statement.

Every little detail counts for good customer service.  Paul B. Thornton, a Massachusetts-based business consultant and author of Leadership-Best Advice I Ever Got, suggests, “Customer service should, if written well, state what is most important to your company and why it exists. It should focus on the organization and keep everyone going in the same direction to achieve the same goal.” After all, when it comes to customer service, no matter the industry, isn’t it getting everyone to work as a team believing in the same mission? The mission being to service their customers to the best of their ability, regardless of whom they might be (shareholders, consumers, suppliers, co-workers, etc.). Look again at your company’s mission statement; does it include providing good service to your customers?

Build an organization that is built to serve the needs of the customers and be prepared to see better results. In fact, the business must determine what kind of customer service you and your company want to provide. Businesses should ‘WOW’ their customers. Organizations should create memorable moments for their buyers. Here’s a test. Take out a piece of paper and jot down what first comes to mind. Review your list. Are the items listed those that your customers truly value? If not, that is okay. In business operations, sometimes it is difficult to separate what the company wants versus what the customer wants because most companies only want to see the bottom line.

In fact, review some businesses that are very successful in the realm of customer service and see where they place customer service as part of who they are as an organization. For example, Let’s review Southwest Airlines, one of the most reputable airline companies. This airline states, “Southwest Airlines is a company that is for anyone and everyone that wants to get from point A to point B by flying. Our service and philosophy are to fly safe, with high frequency, low-cost flights that can get passengers to their destinations on time and often closer to their destination. We fly in 58 cities and 30 states and are the world’s largest short-haul carrier, and we make sure that it is run efficiently and in an economical way.”  

With enormous competition for customers, can you afford not to provide good customer service? Does your mission state measure up to the needs of your intended customers? This article demonstrated how to create an amazing customer service for sustainable success. In the end, customers are individuals who determine good customer service. Therefore, businesses should think from the mindset of the buyer, not the seller. Even if you cannot see room for improvement off-hand, what I have to say may strike up some ideas that will prove beneficial to you and your company. I pray that it is not too late.

Please share your insight on this topic.

 

© 2019 by Daryl D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:

Dr. Daryl D. Green is the Dickinson Chair of Business professor at OBU’s Paul Dickinson College of Business, teaching leadership, management, and marketing. In 2016, Dr. Green retired from the DOE, where he worked in the Environmental Management Program for over 27 years. He is the author of Amazon.com Hit Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence. For more information, please visit http://www.darylgreen.org.

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Gaining More Job Opportunities With LinkedIn.com

Today’s job seekers face a landscape of great opportunities as employers look due to growing competition and limited job openings. In fact, college graduates are under tremendous pressure to land a high-paying job to cover their college debt. In recruiting young engineers and scientists at the Department of Energy, I soon discussed a major disconnect between what employers desired from potential employees (i.e., college students) and what today’s job seekers expect of employers. According to a Glassdoor.com survey, each corporate job on average attracts over 250 job applicants. Of those individuals applying, four to six will be called for an interview. However, one person will get a job offer. With that said, individuals need to implement the right job strategies to be successful. This article examines how LinkedIn.com can help you build your professional brand for greater job opportunities.

Are you ready for the competition for your ideal job? According to Business2community.com, 427,000 resumes are posted each week on Monster.com, an online job board; 8 million job applicants said they found their job on Twitter.com. Having an online presence is vital for today’s employment opportunities. LinkedIn is the perfect digital footprint for working professionals. Being the world’s largest online professional network, LinkedIn.com has more than 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Professionals are signing up on LinkedIn.com at a rate of more than two new members per second. In fact, 89% of employment recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.com. College students may flock to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, LinkedIn is the website that makes them credible to future employers while building their own personal brand.  

Getting started on LinkedIn is easy. Connecting with the right person can increase career networking opportunities with the basic “Six Degrees of Separation” principle. In 1929, Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy coined the term ‘six degrees of separation.’ According to Whatis.techtarget.com, six degrees of separation is the theory that “any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.” When a person is established on LinkedIn, the individuals can see how their connections are linked to other influential people. To get the most attention on LinkedIn, individuals need to achieve the “All-Star” status. Some of the requirements include a completed LinkedIn profile, including a professional photo and summary. Below are steps to build an effective LinkedIn Profile:

  1. Submit a professional photo.
  2. Create a catchy headline aimed at potential employers.
  3. Write an incredible summary statement.
  4. Select a unique LinkedIn URL for your profile.
  5. Obtain recommendations from professors, employers, coaches, and other influencers who can speak to your character and leadership abilities.
  6. Post relevant articles on your LinkedIn profile (i.e., LinkedIn Pulse) that demonstrate your critical thinking and writing style.
  7. List appropriate work and volunteer experiences.
  8. Upload presentations and written documents that showcase your professional abilities.
  9. Follow businesses and organizations that are potential employers or contacts.
  10. Join LinkedIn Groups that add to your professional network.

With fierce competition for jobs, job seekers need to present a great image to future employers. LinkedIn provides an excellent gateway to more employment opportunities online. This article demonstrated that LinkedIn.com can help you build your professional brand for greater job opportunities. Unlike traditional social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn allows individuals to establish professional networks, obtain needed resources, and foster a professional relationship with prospective employers, clients, and partners. Creating an effective LinkedIn Profile can garnish great career and professional networking opportunities.

Please share your insight on this topic.

© 2019 by Daryl D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:

Dr. Daryl D. Green is the Dickinson Chair of Business professor at OBU’s Paul Dickinson College of Business, teaching leadership, management, and marketing. In 2016, Dr. Green retired from the DOE, where he worked in the Environmental Management Program for over 27 years. He is the author of Amazon.com Hit Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence. For more information, please visit http://www.darylgreen.org.

Finding Your Ideal Customers

Today’s businesses must build value for customers if they hope to be successful. Yet, value is a moving target. In our discussion, we will examine how businesses should target their ideal customers by building value for their customers. All customers do not have the same measuring stick for sellers to apply a cookie-cut approach. In fact, globalization has created all types of problems for businesses. One of the issues is how to stay ahead of the competition by exploring new markets while keeping the same customer base. Doing this action is not easy. Many businesses build their profitability on this simple equation. Companies seek to reduce their inputs (i.e., outsourcing labor, using better technologies) to obtain greater profitability. Still, the process is often self-serving with little regard to the customer and lesser value on employees. Therefore, many people might insist that some businesses simply stumble on what customer value is and how it affects their business.

Creating value is not that simple. Some businesses seek to take shortcuts in building relationships with customers with marketing smoke and mirrors. Some organizations simply believe that hiring a large sales force is enough. Jeb Blount, author of Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide for Starting Sales Conversations and Filing the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, E-Mail, and Cold Calling explains, “Lots of salespeople have the intelligence, talent, skills, and education to be top performers. Lots of salespeople are competitive, understand the sales process, and know how to ask for the business. Yet they consistently underperform the superstars… Superstars are relentless, unstoppable prospectors. They are obsessed about keeping their pipeline full of qualified prospects.” Thus, knowing your customers intimately will serve small businesses in creating value for customers.  

Creating value does generate ideal customers.  In identifying ideal customers, businesses target group of marketings who are most attracted to their products and services.  Therefore, businsses tailor their marketing, advertising, and sales efforts for these type of customers. Value is defined as “the total benefit that the seller’s products and services provide to the buyer.” Stephen Castleberry and John Tanner, Jr., authors of Selling: Building Partnerships, argued the critical need for value creation: “Selling is about creating value… The manner in which a product is handled suggests value. Careful handling communicates value, whereas careless handling implies that the product has little value.” Sadly, some business owners do not comprehend how value creation works.

John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, also maintains that building value for customers is no accident: “You can choose to attract clients that value what you offer, view working with you as a partnership, and want you to succeed…” For example, Shawnee’s Chick-fil-A Owner Jeff Madison understands the merit of this concept. Retired U.S. Army Colonel with 26 years of leading U.S. and multinational soldiers and civilians from cavalry scout platoon to the Pentagon, Jeff recognizes the essential of deploying a combat-proven, critically reflective, innovative and decisive strategy in ever-changing conditions. Despite all the MBA type strategies, success starts with building value for customers. Jeff explains, “We create value for our guests by connecting with our guests beyond the transaction (taking their money at the cash registers). We offer genuine hospitality and Matthew 5:41 Second-Mile Service. We carry trays to the table for guests who need assistance.” Madison seeks to build an emotional connection with customers.

With the economic crisis, local businesses need to consider changing what has not worked. In today’s discussion, I demonstrated how businesses can benefit themselves by understanding how to create more value for their customers. Being strategically conscious of these business relationships is stress-free. This process takes everyone’s total involvement. When small businesses place value creation as a high priority, prospecting for winning customers is a lot easier and more beneficial in the long run.

Please share your comments on this topic.

 

© 2019 by D. D. Green

Inspiring Generation Z with Transformational Leadership

I was stuck right in the middle. I brought a group of GEN Y and GEN Z college students on a service trip involving our faith. The coordinator for our service project was a good man with great intentions for the team. However, he managed the group as an authoritarian leader with a  militaristic top-down approach. Feedback and input were not necessarily desired. While I was accustomed to this style and could adjust, this leadership style did not resonate well with the young members of the group.

He conveyed to me that the students complained too much about the circumstances while the younger members complained about the leader not listening or caring about them. The relationship could have gone south. I provided each group a different perspective about each other. The leader attempted to make changes, including asking for my input from the group and the young members responded by acknowledging his attempt to build bridges. From that point, the group was able to achieve more and have a better relationship within the group. The situation reaffirmed to me the importance of understanding generational issues and how to inspire younger generations toward great performance.

In today’s organizations, they face an arsenal of disruptive change and chaos all around us.

Disruptive change speaks the changing nature of our society. In fact, our extensive experience about the past can haunt us in a world riddled with uncertainty. Having young employees who are technologically savvy and adaptable to these environmental climates could help an organization succeed. Yet, many executives do not know how to recruit, retain, or to inspire these young generations.    

As a result, organizations that wish to compete today must understand how to inspire Generation Z employees for sustainable success. However, this task is not easy. When Generation Y (aka Millennials) entered the workplace for the first time, some managers were given bad advice. The advice included telling managers to praise Millennials regardless of their performance, reward them for just showing up to work, put hand-held devices in the hands (and get out their way), and allow them come to work whenever they want to (allow them to bring their puppies). In this scenario, the workplace becomes a magical place where every workday is filled with fun and excitement.

That advisement was misleading and created unrealistic expectations of the workplace and resentment from older generations. What organization can afford to get Generation Z wrong under this global landscape?  Thus, understanding generational issues can assist managers with a multi-generation workforce and lead them toward greater performance as a team. In this discussion, I will examine how today’s organization can inspire Generation Z employees with transformational leadership.

Today’s businesses cannot afford to overlook Generation Z. For the first time in history, five generations are co-existing together in the workplace. Each generation has distinct attributes, such as belief systems, expectations, and behaviors. Managing Generation Z will not be easy. Generation Z is the most global, diverse, technological, and entrepreneurial generation ever. In fact, they have never known a digital world without smartphones and social media. In general, they were born in 1995 and after. This generation makes up about 26% of the U.S. population. Each generation is shaped by parenting and its social environment. Managers should not merely lump Generation Y and Generation Z in the same category. Some experts note that Generation Z is more focused than Generation Y or Millennials.

Forbes contributor Deep Patel in his article “8 Ways Generation Z Will Differ From Millennials In The Workplace” notes that Generation Z are more independent thinkers than Generation Y. He adds, “While millennials are often seen as more idealistic, and more motivated by purpose than a paycheck, Generation Z may lean more toward security and money. This is a pragmatic generation — they care about making a difference, but are ultimately motivated by ensuring they have a secure life outside of work. If you’re looking to recruit members of Generation Z, you may be able to tempt them with promises of job security and raises down the line.” Given the unique characteristics of Generation Z, employers cannot afford to use the same old recruitment and retention strategies on this younger generation.

Dr. Green reads to Generation Z students at Revelation Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa.

In this unstable environment, organizations need the right type of leadership for Generation Z employees. These younger employees will tend to respond better with transformational leadership than a transactional leadership style. In a nutshell, all managers are not leaders. Some managers are great at defining tasks and having the employees work toward that goal. They rule by their position in the organization. Otherwise, no one would follow them. In fact, these same managers are lousy at inspiring their employees. In transactional leadership, individuals lead others in an ‘exchange’ of work for rewards/punishment. If employees completed the assigned work scope, they would be compensated with wages, full employment, or other benefits; likewise, if they do not perform, they could be punished or fired.

Dr. Green attempted to connect with Generation Z students at Revelation Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa.

Whereas transactional leadership rarely produce zealots who are inspired in organizations, transformational leadership has the ability of getting the greater buy-in of followers. In the simplest sense, transformational leadership can be defined ‘as a leadership approach that causes a change in individuals and social systems…it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.” Generation Z employees need leaders who can connect with them and inspire them toward greater achievements. Generation Z are realistic and concerned about their safety and the world. Some would call them anxious. According to one study, 58% of Gen Z’s are either somewhat or very worried about the future. Below are some interesting statistics on Generation Z:

  • 66% say that technology makes them feel that anything is possible.
  • 76% feel that their online experiences will help them reach their goals.
  • 79% display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices.
  • 72% of Gen Z want to start a business someday.
  • 30% feel their college has failed at teaching them applicable real-life business skills.

Leadership guru Dr. Richard Daft argues that transactional leadership may not be enough in a disruptive, changing world: “Transactional skills are important for all leaders. However, in a world in which success often depends on continuous change, organizations also need transformational leadership…Transformational leadership is based on the personal values, beliefs, and qualities of the leader rather than on an exchange process between leaders and followers. Given the generational characteristics of Generation Z and the need for success in organizations, the following suggestions are offered to lead this generation:

  • Create a shared vision within the organization.
  • Get to know employees, especially newer ones in the organization.
  • Define goals, objectives, and desired objectives, making boundaries clear.
  • Ask for feedback when appropriate and follow-up on the endpoint.
  • Show how each person is valued within the organization.
  • Seek to inspire employees by tapping into their intrinsic rewards.
  • Build teamwork in the organization with group incentives (i.e., bonuses).

With continual pressures to compete, today’s businesses need to have employees who are adaptable to disruptive changes. In our society, there are 5 generations that co-exist in the workplace. Perhaps, Generation Z with its diversity and ingenuity may be the best of all generations. Yet, managers who do not understand Generation Z employees may not be able to get the most out of them. In our discussion today, I outlined how today’s organization can inspire Generation Z employees with transformational leadership.  Unlike transactional leaders, transformational leaders must tap into their followers to find what motives them. Working with Generation Z employees will pose the same type of challenges. With change continuing to be more rapid and unpredictable, today’s organizations cannot hope to succeed without getting the best out of each employee. We pray that it is not too late to inspire Generation Z in your own organizations.

Please share your insight on this topic.

© 2018 by D. D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:
Dr. Daryl Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s business leaders. He is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. In 2016, he retired as a senior engineer and program manager with the Department of Energy after a successful career. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit http://www.drdarylgreen.com.

Retiring Early: Planning Out Your Exit Strategy

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“I was ready! In my early 40s, I started thinking about retiring early. I sat through my organization’s mid-career retirement classes and had gotten several retirement estimates (i.e., different retirement years). I had kept myself marketable by continuing to take advantage of career opportunities and obtaining additional education in my professional field. Some co-workers mocked me because they said any scholarly education would not advance my career.

Yet, I felt that professional growth and a continual learning mindset would only increase my value in the market. I had developed an exit strategy. Working with my friend (Dr. Gary Roberts), I had mapped out a future purpose in academia. I could fully utilize my professional experience while at the same time applying my other skill sets. However, things did not work out as planned. The time and opportunities did not align with my plans. In fact, it took 9 years and more than 200 job applications for the exit strategy to work. Because I was patient and adaptable, God opened up a door, which was much better than my initial plan. Having an exit strategy was invaluable!” 

Are you happy with your current job? In general, US employees are satisfied with their work life. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, about half (49%) of American workers say they are very satisfied with their current job. Yet, 30% of them are somewhat satisfied, and the remainder says they are slightly dissatisfied (9%) or very dissatisfied (6%). Continue reading

Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders

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My wife and I wanted to get a motion detector in our backyard. We had a backlight on the house already. The house was a new construction. The motion detector would be additional security. We estimated the price to be under $200.

When the electrician arrived, he talked with us about our needs and did a thorough inspection of the home. He came back with an estimate of over $600. He rationalized this price due to the configuration of our home and the difficulty of wiring this fixture.

My wife and I both wanted this motion detector. However, we were unwilling to pay the price for this addition. Thus, we needed to redefined the problem. We wanted this motion detector as extra security for the home. We asked the electrician what it would cost to change out the light fixture. He mentioned less than $80. The motion detector was about $50. By redefining or refocusing the problem, we were able to carryout a better solution. 

In search of more lucrative markets, today’s companies are looking for more opportunities across the globe. The United States is a land where dreams come true. Individuals from across the globe come to this country for possible opportunities. Yet, companies fail every day in the marketplace.

According to one study, the failure rate for new startups is about 46%. Botch understanding of your business competencies and market opportunities may put to be fatal. On the contrary, businesses that provide value to customers by solving their pressing problems are rewarded.

By solving someone’s challenging problems, individuals are compensated very well. Thus, solving ‘wicked problems’ could yield greater rewards.  In this session, we will discuss the concepts of wicked problems and introduces how organizations can solve them with effective leaders who provide a burst of innovative thinking.

Continue reading