Over the last few weeks I have had to deal with the fall out from actions I thought would be simple, putting in a new phone line in my office, getting some frequent flyer points that went to the wrong account in the right account, and changing some facets of how my websites work.
In dealing with each of these I spent an incredible amount of time waiting on phone queues where over and over I encountered:
Your call is important to us ...
We are sorry for your inconvenience ...
In each case I was made to feel that problems not caused in any way by me were actually my fault!
While I did make productive use of my waiting time I also amused myself by writing down the following lines people in call centres could give.
Your call is important to us however because we aren’t a profitable business we can’t employ enough people to answer customer calls so you will just have to wait and listen to some very ordinary music.
Your call is important to us however our company provides no training or learning in customer service for us so you will just have to wait while we read the manuals and try and figure out a solution to your problem that we know nothing about.
We are sorry for your inconvenience however we know we are incompetent, we just don’t have time to learn what we know we should because people keep calling us.
We are sorry for your inconvenience but our systems were created by people who have no real world experience and are designed to reduce our customer numbers so that we can cope.
I am really sorry for your inconvenience. We have supervisors who can fix this for you however they are all at lunch. (I am not making this one up!)
Blame, shame, buck passing, no accountability, incompetence.
What would I experience at your place if I called you?
When things don’t go according to plan for your customers how do you solve the problems that you caused and still retain a good relationship with your customers?
What time, energy and money are you investing in ensuring your people are professionally able to provide a customer service experience you can be proud of and that your employees and customers are proud of too?
How well are you tapping into the unique talents of your employees and then deploying them in the best interests of your employees and your customers?
What promises are you making to your employees and your customers and how well are you keeping them?
Some people have heard the talk, don’t believe it and therefore don’t walk the
Some people have heard the talk, believe it, but don’t walk the talk.
Some people have heard the talk, talk the talk, but still don’t walk the talk.
Real leaders rarely talk the talk, they just walk the talk. For the sake of your sanity and your personal and business prosperity I hope this is you.
In an online discussion recently I stated that change management is an oxymoron and that what we need is change leadership. I was thanked for my thoughts by one person who then said “If Management is defined as Planning, Leading, Organising and Controlling/Co-ordinating (Fayol’s 1849), then change leadership is only one (albeit very important) component of a change manager’s role.”
What may have worked in the 19th century doesn’t work anymore.
And clearly a lot of 20th century innovations don’t work anymore either!
What are you doing in your business today that belongs in the 19th and/or 20th century's and not the 21st century?
Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.