Category Archives for "Employee Engagement"

5 Ways to Improve Performance

Every business leader and executive I speak with talks about performance.   Financial performance, people performance, marketing performance, sales performance, operational performance and so on.

Great performance requires people to be onboard, engaged, aligned and passionate about the vision, purpose, passion, goals, personality and promise of the business – and this is one of the biggest challenges within an organization.

MagicianPerformances, on the other hand, are delivered by employees, managers and leaders.  They are also delivered by customers, vendors, supporters, investors, partners and franchisees.

In other words, all people play a role in the success of a business.

The Theater references don’t end here…

Every business has a stage which is set by its marketing team and reinforced by employees and customers.  When employees see themselves as performers and their actions as performances, it’s easier to see how great behaviors and decisions make an impact.  (It’s also more fun!)

Great Experience

Leaders and managers are also challenged to improve the performance experience to add more value to customers, to differentiate their business from competitors, to improve relationships and to increase profits – while striving to deliver consistent performances regardless of who is on stage at any given moment.

 

 

Performance matters, regardless of how you define it.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance

  1. Ensure you have a strong vision, purpose, passion, personality, platform and core values which are easy to share.  Then share it!  All employees need to know where you are headed.  All employees and customers need to know what you stand for and how you are different.  They will then choose whether to support your business or not.
  2. Review your policies, procedures and decision making criteria to ensure these are in alignment with #1.  If one of your core values is “sense of family” and yet you have departments or silos which compete with each other or don’t speak to each other, then your sense of family is dysfunctional!   If you say that you are customer-centric are you making decisions which support what your customers’ value and are willing to pay for?  If you are all about efficiency, how are you continuously improving it?
  3. Immerse yourself in your performance.  In this definition of performance, you are looking at the roles your people play; how customers and employees act; which “sets” on your “stage” need to be updated and how you can improve the experience delivered to employees and customers.  Think of your business in the theatrical sense to give yourself a different perspective.   Find out what it’s like outside your office.  Get immersed in the experience and ask how it can be better.
  4. Take action.  You’ve identified gaps in performance — both in the traditional business sense and through the eyes of the performers.  Review #1 and #2 and come up with a plan to close the gaps.  Every business will approach the action taking in a different way — just be sure to stay in alignment.
  5. Get help.   You can’t optimize your performance alone.  Involve your employees, customers, supporters, partners, investors and vendors.  Ask for insight.   Remember that your perspective isn’t going to be the same perspective that others have.  Let their input help to guide you.  If you are out of your element or you cannot take on more work, hire someone to manage the project or various parts of the project.

Performance is a one of those great words which means different things to different people.  Remember, your business is similar to theater.  You create the stage, you choose the performers, you deliver performances and your people act in certain ways.  Each of these elements impacts your business performance.  Improve the theater and improve your business.

How do you define performance?  How do you improve it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Customer Experience Failure – Boston Pizza Style

I have always been a champion for the customer, which is why I look at the customer experience first when I help business leaders to transform their businesses to become more profitable.

People-Power-Profit-300x35

People can power profit — or they can destroy it. And sadly — more often than necessary — they make decisions to destroy it.

Tonight is a case in point.

I have taken my first day off in ages. It’s a glorious, hot, sunny Sunday here in Courtenay, BC. It’s also a long weekend. And here’s where Boston Pizza comes into the picture.

It’s 6pm and I’m well into the “relaxation mode” I had planned for, so I went online to place an order for delivery. I’d been building myself up to have my absolute favourite dish — the Chilpotle Chicken Salad — for a few hours. I ordered 2 of them for delivery.

2 Seconds after I ordered online I got a call – which is normal and appreciated. However, this time the message was “I see you chose debit at the door as your payment”. I said “No, it’s credit, which is what I chose. There was only an option for cash or credit payment at the door.”

I was then told that they could not deliver to me because the machines for accepting payments at the door were broken. If I have cash it’s fine.

Okay… think about this for a second as it’s a classic Customer Experience Fail.

#1. I was able to place my order online. Why can’t I pay online? (my guess is that it will require extra administration on behalf of Boston Pizza — guess what? I don’t care!) The customer experience is what matters across all touch points in the customer journey. So figure out the logistics behind the scene and don’t make any decision a burden for your customers.

#2. Why are the machines broken? Every single one of them? On a long weekend? On a hot and sunny long weekend?

and most importantly…

#3. Why didn’t the gal say “I’m really sorry but we’re experiencing problems with our machines for payment at the door. Can you give me your credit card number and I’ll punch it into my machine here? Then you can sign when we deliver your meal.”

or failing all of the above, as a back-up measure…

#4. Have one of those old fashioned machines with the “cha-ching, cha-ching” that takes an imprint of the credit card and you sign it? I travelled to Mexico a few months ago and they still use them there. My credit card was charged just fine too.

So, before I go off to spend 10 minutes making a salad — I’ll share these parting words:

The majority of customers will not return after a poor customer experience. Often it only takes one poor experience to lose a customer.

Many people (myself included) will happily share customer experience fails online via social media, review sites and blog posts.

Boston Pizza — and every other business — needs to start thinking about the customer experience as the only true differentiation between itself and the myriad of other choices in each market.

Customer Experience is in every decision.” ~ Carol Wain

3From the decisions at head office — those who made a website that allows you to order but not pay — to those in the field who don’t think about how they can make a work-around to ensure their customers have an awesome experience, it’s time to rethink what you are doing.

  1. Think about how your decisions impact your customers and ask before implementing.
  2. Have designated staff to be the Voice of the Customer and ensure those people have a seat at the Executive Table. Ideally, all employees should be encouraged to watch and listen for customer reaction and are invited to share what they learn.
  3. Train your employees to ensure your customers’ experience is as expected. Of course you have procedures and systems but there are times when employees should be permitted discretion to go outside of them.
  4. Have a back-up plan
  5. Ensure your customer journey is consistent across all touch points

 

Update:  August 11, 2014  — Here’s what has happened since my initial experience.

After I wrote this post and shared it on LinkedIn I went to Boston Pizza’s Facebook Page and posted there.

I applaud the community manager for responding and suggesting we take the conversation offline (which I teach!)

I wrote a very long email with suggestions and counter-arguments to some of the “policies”.

I was assured that someone would be in touch shortly.

I received a phone call from the restaurant owner, Gary, who was on vacation at the time.  He left his cell phone# for me to call.

I called back a day or two later and we had a conversation about the experience.

I explained my Customer Experience passion and that I can’t help but speak up when things are going badly.

He spoke for a while to explain the problem (again, as the customer, I really don’t care that TD Bank had screwed up so none of the machines were working).

I was sitting there ever so silently wondering if he was going to ever get to “me” rather than an explanation about why I experienced what I did.

I also wondered when he would accept ownership (or if anyone would).

I wondered what — if any — offer would be made to “make it up to me”.

I was waiting and waiting…

And then Gary said “I would like to offer you gift certificates to make it up to you”.

He also suggested I may be able to help them improve the customer experience (oh hell yes, I can!)

I was not angry — I came from a place of  “sharing and caring” while I also wanted a resolve.

I explained how most people wouldn’t give a second chance and how important customer experience was.  We chatted a bit about my services and we ended the call.

Fast forward to today — exactly one week to the day I attempted one more time.

What a nightmare!

Today, I placed my order online.

I received a call a few min later to confirm the order.

I corrected the delivery time — I didn’t want it in 50 min, I wanted delivery at 6:30.

So at 6:35 the delivery person arrived (oooh… he smelled badly… not good in the food service industry … although he was pleasant enough as a delivery person.)

This time the order was for one Chilpotle Chicken Salad and one personal cheese pizza….

…………Except the “chicken and bacon” part of the order was missing…………

You’ve got to be kidding me!  The Customer Experience is actually worse this time!

6:38   I called the restaurant and explained what happened.  I received an apology and a promise the chicken would be delivered soon.  I pressed to find out what “soon” meant.   I was told 15 – 20 min depending on traffic.

6:39  I emailed the email address Gary gave me when I spoke to him

7:15   I called the restaurant again and apparently the driver was there and he’d be leaving with my chicken right away.  I asked to speak to the owner.  Gary is still on vacation.  I asked to speak to the supervisor.  I explained today’s situation and last week’s situation and I had spoken to Gary.  She attempted to correct me that perhaps I spoke to “Steven”.  I said “no, I contacted Head Office and Gary gave me his cell phone #.”  She seemed surprised.

I’ll cut to the learning points:

  • I discovered during this call — this is a common occurrence — the onus is on the host/hostess to ensure the order is complete but they don’t.  Why is the problem common?  and…. Why on earth do they share this?
  • The supervisor does not have the authority to authorize a refund — this time I’m expecting one — tomorrow she’ll talk to the office manager to see what can be done.
  • The delivery guy showed up with my new salad and he said words to the effect that he only delivers what he’s given.
  • It is now 1 hour after I asked for my salad to be delivered… 45 min after I was promised the chicken would be delivered.
  • I’m actually surprised I haven’t “Lost it” by this point — maybe because I knew I’d be using this as an example in my teaching for years to come 😉

Whoa!  Whoa!  Whoa!

You’ve got to be kidding me…  Remember, the customer doesn’t give a sh*t about excuses and who isn’t doing what.  The customer expects to experience the brand promise and to receive what they bought in a timely manner with the quality promised.

Boston Pizza desperately needs a Customer Experience overhaul — I’m here and I’ll consult with corporate and franchisees.  I’ll also train staff.

Consistency is missing — as is a focus on the Customer Experience — instead, the culture appears to be one of “pass the buck”.

In the restaurant business, this combination is a death sentence… perhaps my first best-selling book Guerrilla Tourism Marketing might be useful as the first step!

What Suggestions Do You Have for Businesses That Have Challenges Like This?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Want to Make Your Customers Feel Special? Thank Them!

TD Bank Takes a Page from WestJet — Combining a personalized Thank You with great PR

Watch and you can’t help but feel moved.

This video shows the power of a personalized thank you.    How are you thanking your customers — particularly your long-time, most profitable customers?

How do you show your customers that they are valuable to you?

It seems like such an easy question to answer, doesn’t it?  So why aren’t more people doing it?

In his book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk talks about the Joie de Vivre hotels in California.  As part of their Dream Maker program, the hotels ask each guest to provide a significant amount of personal information upon registration so that they can find ways to give their guests a memorable experience.

This program challenges the employees to come up with ways to provide exceptional guest service.

Gary tells a story about a reservations manager, Jennifer Kemper, at the Hotel Durant in Berkeley, which incidentally is the number three hotel in Berkeley according to TripAdvisor.  One of the hotel guests needed multiple, long-term stays because her son, a 20 year old Berkeley student, was undergoing chemotherapy treatment while trying to continue with his studies.

The guest needed to visit often to help her son during his sessions but some of the dates that she needed were not available.

Jennifer told her guest that she would be taken care of but she did not stop there.

Jennifer thought of the guest’s plight and determined that she would be a great candidate for the Dream Maker program.  A few days later, Jennifer went and bought a card, sunflowers, chamomile tea and a dragonfly mug with a built-in strainer.  The card said “For a loving mother who deserves to relax.  Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.”

Naturally, this touched the heart of the guest, who continued to stay at that property until her son graduated.  This example of a fantastic customer experience also shows how a simple touch can have a viral effect.  Imagine how many people heard about this story from the guest and her son.

Thank-You-300x199That caring, attentive service, which is one of the guerrilla marketing principles, provided exposure to this hotel they could never afford through traditional marketing.  Talk about a win-win situation.

The appreciation you show can take many forms – from saying “thank you” to following up after the sale, to responding quickly to requests or questions to finding a special gift for them for a special occasion.

 

 

How can you / do you thank your customers in a meaningful, personalized way to make them feel special and appreciated?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Enlightened Capitalists Prioritize Employee Experience

TeamLeader5 Reasons to Focus on Employee Experience (EX)

  1. Lower turnover
  2. Attract high-caliber employees
  3. Improve customer experience
  4. Increase productivity
  5. Increase profit

EX Insights

  • Gallup research also shows that active disengagement costs the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually (State of The American Workplace)
  • Only 30% of US Employees / 16% of Canadian employees are engaged; 52% of US employees / 70% of Canadian employees are not engaged and 18% of US employees / 14% of Canadian employees are actively disengaged (Gallup – State of the Global Workforce)
  • Gallup sees employee engagement built on these basic elements – “What do I get from this role? (salary, job satisfaction etc) – perceived value of my contribution – answers to the question “Do I belong here? – Can I make improvements, learn, grow, innovate and apply new ideas?“ (State of The American Workplace)
  • 75% of people quit their bosses not their jobs (Roger Herman)
  • Above average companies – those with more highly engaged employees – experienced 147% higher earnings per share (EPS) compared with their competition.  (Gallup)
  • 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies will use gamification to boost retention, revenues and engagement in 2014 (Gartner)

Employee Experience Process

  1. Understand your culture – does it support a great employee experience?
  2. Ensure your employees core values match the corporate core values
  3. Practice appreciation – informal recognition and formal recognition – Peer to peer and manager to employee
  4. Deliver honest, open communication
  5. Provide opportunities for training and advancement
  6. Create a career path
  7. Disallow toxic people in your company
  8. Pay attention to turnover, particularly with specific managers
  9. Use 360 degree feedback to improve experience
  10. Hearten contribution and innovation
  11. Encourage a caring approach to dealing with mistakes – what is the lesson?
  12. Compensate fairly, reward exceptional behaviour

Employee Experience KPIs

The 3 main Employee Experience KPIs are Acquisition, Retention and Profit

Acquisition – Recruitment costs, training costs, number of employee referrals

Retention –Employee engagement level, employee satisfaction score,average employee tenure, 360 feedback score, employee churn rate, attendance rates

Profit – Revenue per employee, safety, customer experience

5 Steps to Success

Define – Define which objectives you want to achieve, what KPIs you want to impact, prioritize your objectives, define the timing, identify resources, allocate budgets, identify return on investment expected

Discover – Find out what it’s like to be your employee.  The more trust you have generated, the easier it will be to get truth in return

Design – Use best practices, discovery insight and your objectives, design an employee experience plan

Implement – Implement your plan, educate your employees, engage in two-way dialogues with employees, encourage two-way dialogues between customers and employees

Monitor – Monitor employee responses, customer reaction, customer learning, feedback, impact to KPIs and adjust as needed

Our Role

  1. Coordinate with your project managers, senior leaders, management team,  supervisors and trainers for requirements
  2. Define – what are your objectives? … Identify KPIs, create your baseline
  3. Discover – what is it really like to be your employee? … Coordinate with HR team and test that HR insight matches employee reality
  4. Create your employee experience transition plan, employee engagement plan, employee recognition plan and incentive programs with input from all stakeholders
  5. Implement and support training, coaching, mentoring and facilitating
  6. Co-ordinate with your team to report on results and make appropriate adjustments
  7. Leave you with the insights and practices to continue to grow your employee experience

If you’d like to know more about how to reinvent your business, contact Carol or check out how to work with Carol

What are some of the ways you focus on customer experience and employee experience in your business?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

carol-showCarol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com

Career Reinvention

Is a Career Reinvention in Your Future?

hate-jobAs a consultant who helps businesses become more profitable by leveraging the relationships they have with their employees — and as a previously miserable employee — I know how challenging it is to have employees in the wrong role, at the wrong company and managed by the wrong supervisor.

From your perspective as an employee, being in the wrong company, the wrong role and/or managed by the wrong supervisor is no fun at all and from the employer’s perspective it’s expensive and potentially disastrous.   A misalignment between employee and employer is also the cause of unnecessary stress and health issues on behalf of the employee while also being a cause of lower productivity and profitability for the employer and nobody wants that!

Wearing my miserable employee hat for a moment, the reason I was miserable was that I was “stuck” in that job.  There were no other comparable jobs that paid as well in my community and as a single Mom I needed a well paying job that also had regular hours.

Feedback and recognition — two elements needed for employee engagement were lacking.  I did not have one performance evaluation in the 9 years I worked for the company — although I was suspended on my birthday once — I won’t forget that day!

I did not have any opportunities for advancement (perhaps it was my attitude 😉 — another driver of employee engagement (ugh)..

… and I had no idea what the mission or the vision was for the company and I certainly didn’t know how my role fit in — and I had a few roles within the company over those 9 years.

My managers didn’t manage — I really don’t know what they did — and my supervisors ranged from being great to downright horrible.

My trust in the abilities of senior executives was lacking (trust is another driver of employee engagement!) because the executives gave absolutely no indication that they cared about anything other than wheeling and dealing — which resulted in huge bonuses on top of their salaries.   I never saw an executive — ever — in my 9 years there, so they had no clue what was really going on “in the field”…

… And then there was the “plan” — the strategy for efficiency which changed like the wind — first we centralized, then we decentralized then the focus was back to centralization — which was my fortunate “out” including a severance package.

I suspect many people who read this Career Reinvention blog post can find themselves nodding their heads in agreement to what is happening in their world.

If you are one of those people who are miserable at work too and you are ready for a career reinvention — which is in the best interest of both you and your employer — allow me to offer you a suggestion or two:

  1. Know what you want.  What do you want for your life?  What is your ideal lifestyle?   What does your ideal day look like?  Your ideal week look like?  Who are you working with?  What are you doing?  What are you feeling?  Where do you live?  What are your clothes like?  Do you have children and if so, where do they go to school, who do they hang out with, what are their goals for their life?  Become very clear on what YOU want.
  2. Figure out your gap.  The role of every consultant, marketer and salesperson is to figure out where the “ideal customer” or “prospect” is now compared to where they want to be and then they propose the bridge over the gap.  For your career, where are you now?  Where do you want to be (see question #1)? How do you close the gap?
  3. Create your plan.  Using what you’ve uncovered in the first two steps, how are you going to close your gap — realistically — how will you fit in the training, mentoring and experience you need?  Are you able to take a leap right now or do you need to be more conservative and methodical?
  4. Treat your career like a business.  Yes, a business — you are the CEO of “Brand You” — the strategist, the sales person, the service person and the cheerleader for your career.
    1. If you intend to stay with the same company but in a different role — do the same “gap analysis” you did with your career but instead do it for the company and present it to them.
    2. If you see a company you’d like to work with, connect with people inside of the organization — LinkedIn is a great place — to find out what it’s like to work at that company.  Be friendly, be transparent and be honest about why you are contacting people and ask for their opinion.  Realize that the person you contact won’t open up to a complete stranger on the first contact, so tread slowly and carefully.  See if you can connect with the person on Skype or a Google Hangout — so they can get a sense of who you are.  Have specific questions — not an interrogation — but questions to help you determine if this organization is a better fit for you.  Questions framed well are obviously better.  Questions such as “It’s really important to me that I have the freedom to _______, is this something that happens at XYZ company?”  The more people you can speak to, the better — after all, every person has his / her own “stuff” going on too.
    3. If you were a sales person, what would you sell to the company to make it better?  (BTW, you ARE a salesperson!)
    4. If you were a consultant, how would you improve the business? (BTW, you ARE a consultant — you know ways to make a business better!)
    5. Create a business case  and a sales pitch and pitch yourself as the one and only specialist who should be considered for this role.   Be memorable (in a good way!).  Note that you should have done some “sleuthing” before this pitch — find the hiring manager on social media (not the recruiting person) and make note of what he/she shares.   What is his/her name (use it!)?  Is he/she active in any charities?  Does he/she participate in sports?  The arts?
    6. When you get the interview — mix it up.  Without being obnoxious, ensure that you have the opportunity to pitch your plan.  Tell the hiring manager why you requested the meeting — remember you did request it when you created your pitch — and then have a conversation.  You will likely have to humour the “usual” hiring questions, however, it’s also important that you show the research you’ve done and also interview the hiring manager.  You want to be sure that you can work for this person, in this role at this company in  a way that gets you to that ideal life / lifestyle you imagined.
  5. Show them that you want it — in this world of computerized resume / cover letter scanners and other “non-humanized” recruiting, show the person you want to work with that you have done your homework and why they should hire you — even if there is no current job posting for what you want.  Your passion and your resourcefulness will get you places that you can never imagine.
  6. Don’t give up — in any sales role it usually takes multiple pitches in different ways to close a sale.  Don’t give up if the response is not positive on the first try.  Remember, this is what YOU want — it’s coming from your ideal lifestyle, your dream life.  If this is what you truly want — the perfect company for you and the perfect role for you — your tenacity will make you memorable and remarkable.
  7. While you are not giving up — find ways to continually improve.  Would writing an article — or better yet — a book help you?  Would appearing on an expert panel?  Would volunteering for a non-profit in a role similar to the one you want, give you more experience?  Would taking a course give you that little “oomph” you were missing?

What you focus on expands — a brilliant lesson I learned from my mentor years ago.  So focus on this ideal lifestyle, this ideal life you want.  Make decisions based on this “dream” and never, ever give up.

As you go through your career reinvention plan, remind yourself that leaving a job that makes you unhappy is in your best interest, the best interest of your loved ones (no-one wants to live with someone who is miserable!) and of course, you are doing your current employer a favour by “releasing the job” for someone better suited.  (Full disclosure — I say the same to employers — release the employee so they can find a better fit for themselves — but doesn’t it sound a whole lot better for you to “release the job for someone else”?!)

On a scale from 1 – 10, how willing are you to take these steps to get out of the job you don’t like / want and to reinvent  your career?  (btw, if you are finding deep resistance, check out the blog post on the Quadruplets of Discontent and see which one is showing up for you.)

Do you need a career reinvention?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com