Friday, April 08, 2005

Its People, Just People

As discussed in earlier posts, we have folded, bent or mutilated much of our people skills in business over the years beginning with the memo, then voicemail, the fax, overnight mail, email, text messaging, instant messaging and other digital forms of communications.

Slowly but surely we have withdrawn ourselves into our cubes and offices away from others and now spend our days responding to the bits and bites that come to us through fiber optic glass. Yes, there are still a few phone calls, but some can go a whole day without a call!

There are those who spend the day on the telephone in call centers, collection centers, service centers and whatever else kind of center. Those telephones are answered in scripts, queries are received and analyzed based on key words and solutions are structured in layers based on the complexity of the problem and may have to be escalated should the customer stick to their specific issue and want a specific solution.

Only two companies that I speak to still speak to me as if I am a person. Now I will admit that even those companies require that I put in my account number or some other form of entry into my telephone, and then go through one or more series of choices of what I think I want from them before a person answers the phone on their end.

These two companies then DO NOT do as most others and AGAIN ask me for my account numbers. Apparently their call center software is pretty good. Who are these two, American Express and AT&T for my home telephone. AT&T wireless, now Cingular is worthless at customer service. I wont go into the several debacles I have experienced with them.

Management consultants and business gurus tell us regularly that we need to abandon the ‘industrial age’ thinking we were all raised and trained with and get with the information age, the knowledge age that is now upon us. Actually, they are half right.

The control from the top and the philosophy of ‘thing management’ of the industrial age where people were to be treated just like machines should go away. But the face to face and voice communications of the industrial age needs a revival in this information age.

In the 80’s everyone complained about wasting their time in meetings and they could not get their work done. In the 90’s there were not any people left to have meetings as they all were leaned, gleaned and laid off.

Now, in the 21st century we need to get back to the real value of people. The knowledge of the business and the best way to use that knowledge and share that knowledge and make effective that knowledge for the customer is to talk to each other.

Ah, but once we all talk, and make a plan on how to do things best, those same people need to be held accountable for delivering what they spoke about. Management needs to give people room to use their knowledge, but measure, measure, measure the outcomes and reward those who deliver, train those who work hard and make mistakes and locate those who are just along for the ride and ride them to the door.

No amount of equipment, software of any ilk (ERP, CRM, SCM, TMS, WMS, VIOP, or any other acronym) or other wonderful ‘thing’ can ever replace the mind of an engaged, loyal, hard working, empowered person. NEVER. That person is the source of productivity, effectiveness, customer satisfaction, profits and returns to shareholders. That person, the persons like them and only them.

Now, to those of you that go to work and ride along, I give you the words I gave a customer service team of nearly ninety people I was with several years ago. If you are riding, I will find you and will kindly but firmly ask you to get off the train. No one rides for free.

LivingTheDream.

10 Comments:

At 7:27 AM, Blogger Ralph said...

SO RIGHT ON! I hate calling anyone about service. The dreaded service iterface programs are so dreadful. PG&E is the pits. You try anything to get into the channel that connects you to a person but it takes listening to endless response questions. And why is it that they all ask for an account number but when you finally get to the service and person you need to reach, they have to ask you again? Harking back to you earlier post on customer service, how have we allowed thing to go this far wrong? Monopolies under regulation are hopeless. But what keeps us from terminating services where we have a choice?

 
At 11:41 PM, Blogger prying1 said...

I find it best to just hang on and not push any buttons on some phone systems. The answering system will look at your call as coming from an old 'rotary dial' phone (remember those?) and automatically transfer you to a real live person. Than you get to deal with incompetence a bit quicker instead of dealing with the long distance run-around of pushing buttons and listening to the next set of options...

 
At 7:24 AM, Blogger Ralph said...

Thanks for the advice.

 
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All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such. We may own,
take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or
involve discussions with respect to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans,
projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are not statements of
historical fact and may be "forward looking statements." Forward looking statements are based
on expectations, estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a
number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially
from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid four thousand dollars from a party
(IR Marketing). Forward looking statements in this action may be identified through the use of
words such as: "projects", "foresee", "expects". in compliance with Section 17(.b), we disclose
the holding of IF LH shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent
conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation
of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made
regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in
our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance
on forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving
various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from those set forth
in the forward- looking statements. This is not solicitation to buy or sell stocks, this text is
for informational purpose only and you should seek professional advice from registered financial
advisor before you do anything related with buying or selling stocks, penny stocks are very high
risk and you can lose your entire investment.

 
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All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such.
We may own, take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect
to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are
not statements of historical fact and may be "forward, looking
statements." forward, looking statements are based on expectations, estimates
and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results
or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid $3,000 from third party (IR Marketing).
Forward,|ooking statements in this action may be identified through the use of words such as: "projects", "foresee", "expects". in compliance with Se'ction 17. {b), we disclose the holding of EGTY shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward,looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to
differ materially from those set forth in the forward- looking statements. This is not solicitation to buy or sell stocks, this text is
or informational purpose only and you should seek professional advice from registered financial advisor before you do anything related with buying or selling stocks, penny stocks are very high risk and you can lose your entire investment.

 
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