Do you work in another language? Many of my colleagues work in English and I notice some differences. Stephan can work all day, make puns and relax over a beer. Taniguchi appears to go to sleep but listens intently, until asked his opinion. Joseph appears to flick between French and English without blinking.
Personally I’ve always tried to speak more clearly and slowly when speaking to multilingual audiences at conferences. And to try to say a few words in any native language of a country where I’m presenting.
But latterly I’ve been stretched into speaking, listening, presenting and writing in French all day. Well… a lot of the day.
About dum de dum years ago I was pretty competent, but since then the memory chip filled up, the plastic brain got stretched in other directions, so it’s come as a bit of a shock.
The spoken and written language is coming back. But what is so hard is to listen. I’ve made a living out of listening carefully, above and between the lines. And now I can’t. It’s so different.
So I enter a new phase of respect for my colleagues who can not only work all day, socialise all day, but also get right what we English speakers we’re rattling on about all day.
Which brings me nicely to next week and a harsh trip to Melbourne to share learnings with said colleagues at our 20th (or is it 21st?) LimeBridge global gathering and to meet friends, old and new at the 19th Aussie Chief Customer Officer Forum. Someone’s got to do it
I can sense you falling asleep already…. but couldnt leave the story unfinished. Just going back to the proof of no claims discounts from Admiral (NCD).
I’ve been away for a few days and come back to a pile of post – ah it must be those NCDs. Doh – 5 separate envelopes! But on opening – no proof of NCDs. Just 5 identical letters asking a I confirm in writing I really do want to cancel and to send back my policy docs. I call and tell them to stop sending me post, and to check they really did cancel it ( see previous post about trust and credit cards) . Yes it’s cancelled. Good that’s that – dont expect me to write and dont write to me!
But on finding the policy docs, I notice they contain the NCD proof letter anyway – why didnt anyone say that earier in the process. And of course there were 3 out of 4! Aaargh. So off the 4 policy docs have gone in the post – to Axa.
I can’t believe it’s been a gap of months since blogging. A few major events have taken place – not least we got married, went on honeymoon and then the Olympics took over so I have to confess to taking a more “easy on work” summer than ever before.
Lots of people have blogged on the success of the Olympics, particularly the volunteers. The contrast between the highly paid footballers and the highly motivated athletes with a clear purpose have been examined by the pundits. No doubt we will see a lot more of how the volunteers were motivated in the coming conference season – though I suspect its a simple recipe: take a look at Daniel Pink’s famous animation on motivation – it’s all autonomy, purpose, mastery. Revel in its simplicity. Scratch your head hard and ask yourself why you cant apply it. Now.
I just wanted to pose one question to the sponsors who put in Olympian amounts of money – how do you think your sponsorship made people feel about you? Did you tune in and tap in to the Olympic spirit and if not what could you do differently even at this late stage for the Paralympics?
Here’s a couple of classic examples at either end of the spectrum. Coca Cola had a Brazilian-style street band making a fabulous din as it danced through the Olympic site. Visa had slogans in the restaurants saying “proud to accept only Visa” which was kind of missing the Olympic Spirit really.
This week started unusually when Peter returned from a visit to India straight into a Monday morning meeting with David Cameron and Boris Johnson at our offices atCentral Working. The topic was entrepreneurialism. A small group of entrepreneurs were invited to put forward their insights ranging across supporting growth, flexible space, banks, government schemes and red tape.
Today we went along to the Responsible Business Convention in Islington – a terrific event and a real chance to see what charities, social enterprises and other companies are doing to make a change. Whilst we were there we bumped into Creative Connections (http://www.creativeconnection.co.uk/), a company we’ve worked with before at our Stop Doing Dumb Things Unconference in November last year and are working with at our future one in June (see the website for tickets if you haven’t already got one http://www.dumbthings.co.uk).
They are fantastic at taking an idea (aka pro bono) and making it really creative, here’s what they whipped up with our idea!
I was impressed today in Starbucks in Bangor. There was a little sign that said something like ” we noticed lots of our customers are buying extra shots with their larger size drinks. So we’ve added an extra shot at no extra charge. Tell us if you don’t want the extra shot.
That’s impressive use of data, interpretation of what’s being said ( Starbucks tastes like hot milk…) and doing the right thing for the customer at no extra charge. Impressive.
I tried to log onto one of my credit card accounts today to check the balance. I rarely use the site as it was a 0% balance transfer, never use the card – don’t even know where it is. So, no surprise that I can’t remember my login details and password. I have a couple of goes recalling all my stock passwords (yes I know it’s bad practice and I’m encouraging identity fraud, but we all do it. Don’t we?). Anyway, no problem, I call up the number on the website and the guy on the phone is really helpful. Some basic security questions, one of which I get wrong so he asks me another and bingo, this time I’m right and he gives me my balance and offers me another 0% balance transfer. Nice touch…but I decline. Towards the end of the call I ask him to reset my login details so that I wouldn’t have to call in future. Strangely, bearing in mind he’d established that I was the real Tony Weimer and that he’d just given me my balance and some other details, he tells me my login name but says he can’t reset my password and that I have to do that on the website. OK, a bit of a pain and more effort required on my part but, he’s been helpful and I’m sure it’ll be straightforward. Wrong. Will I ever learn? I login using the name that he’s given me. Fine. I’m prompted for the password that I don’t know, so I hit the “forgotten password” link that takes me to another page to enter my credit card number (remember I don’t have the card but cunningly I find a way of getting the card number). I refuse to let them grind me down. Brilliant, plain sailing now. Wrong again. I now need to enter the 3 digit security code (that I don’t have). Scuppered. Unfortunately, I wasn’t cunning enough to record that anywhere.
Given that I had established who I was on the call, wouldn’t it have been easier for the guy to have reset the password for me? Not only for me but for them too. Next time I want a balance I have no option but to give them a call. And yes I can hear you all saying, “If you weren’t so dumb and had your card there wouldn’t be a problem”. I can’t argue with that and customers do do dumb things from time to time but that’s no excuse for companies using dumb processes that just doesn’t make sense, are counterproductive and leave me feeling frustrated.
At a recent Budd networking event one of our guests asked “we’ve had customer service, continual improvement, CRM and whatever the next buzz word will be, but do you really think customer service has improved over the last 10 years?” She had a point. As I’m just about to embark on our annual telco contact rate benchmark exercise it prompted me to question whether we would see any real change from last year. At that time we saw the continued emphasis on shifting customers from pre-pay to post pay, the widespread use of 24 month smartphone contracts and the advent of social media support. All against a backdrop of generally poor NPS scores. And, contact rate reduction had levelled out too.
On the surface it looked like another case of poor service and nobody really cares. As always the devil is the detail and on closer inspection it became evident that it is no mean feat that contact rates remained stable given that mobile phones are far more complex that they were say, 3 years ago and our propensity to call is greater than ever. By encouraging the shift to crowdservicing through the use of community forums and customer help customer support, the telcos have managed to maintain their service in the face of greater demand. I’m not saying service or the customer experience has improved and I still get incredibly frustrated when they do “dumb things”, but it hasn’t deteriorated either.
That brings me on to the best find of last year’s research – giffgaff (www.giffgaff.com). With their radically different business model based entirely on crowdservicing for support and crowdsourcing for new product ideas, they led the way and the big boys were following. They had managed to build a loyal customer base by engaging and rewarding their customers in a way that hadn’t been achieved, certainly by a telco, before. Known as the people powered network they integrated their community into the business from day one by incentivising them to recruit new members and provide support to the community.
I’m not sure I’m going to unearth another giffgaff, but I’m hoping I’m going to find some innovations that really are having a positive impact on the customer experience and who knows, might even have a positive outcome for the telcos too. Sadly, I’m not sure I will but I’m willing to be proven wrong. Watch this space.
I was inspired today by a most excellent Chef Customer Officer Forum. As one member just emailed: “a packed content day of exchange and learning. A truly not to miss event.”
One of the many nuggets came back to purpose and I wanted to share something I’ve been using from the England cricket team – well in their heyday at the end of last year. Apparently the coaches spent some time getting the players to explain, understand and brand themselves around their purpose.
So batsmen became run getters and bowlers and fielders became wicket takers. Simple, fundamental.
When did you last ask your staff what their purpose is?