All posts by Hutch Morzaria

I am an ITIL Expert and extremely passionate about customer service, customer experience, best practices and process improvement. I have led support, service, help desk and IT teams as well as quality and call center teams in Canada and the UK. I know how to motivate my teams to ensure that they are putting the customer first.

Can a Call Center Help in a Pandemic?

Firstly I hope that everyone is staying safe and sane during this very weird and bizarre time in the world! What is currently going on is something no-one expected & how people have generally responded is nothing short of miraculous. There are of course exceptions out there – I’m looking at you toilet paper hoarders – but otherwise, I’d say in most cases people are acting reasonably well. However, how people are behaving does not really explain how a call center comes into the equation does it? Well, stick with me.

Now one group that is going above and beyond during this crisis is probably the medical profession. I think regardless of whether we’re talking about doctors, nurses, admin staff or even cleaners in the hospitals, those individuals have literally been putting their lives on the line to help us. I’m lucky enough to know a doctor and in one small way, I believe that I was able to help also.

The Situation

You see, many people are frightened by what is going on. Normally the doctor would be the perfect person to speak to for advice and information. But when we’re talking about a disease that seems to be this contagious, people are staying away from doctors’ offices. This tends to only increase the level of fear and confusion.

Now my friend wanted to help address this gap. So he came up with a very innovative solution. With potential clients and patients being frightened of meeting a doctor in person, he thought going virtual would be a good solution. However, this was going to be a free service so the overall cost was definitely a factor. Knowing that I was involved in customer management and experience he reached out to me for some guidance and help. So we came up with a strategy.

We basically split it up into three different parts. A website, a call center and a CRM. Coming from a corporate background, this might have been overkill, but I thought we could do it all at a reasonable budget. Luckily I was wrong!

Website

Create and launch a website to inform people of what he was doing. Why he was doing it and how it could be of use to them. The website was not only used as promotion though. It was an entry point with an integrated form that could be filled in. This ensured the doctor had the required information they needed to help. We didn’t really get into SEO and advertisement as that was not the function. He was basically going to promote it through his own local channels and with the current panic, had no concern about traffic.

Call Center Phone Services

Potential patients and interested parties needed a way of getting in touch. Here’s where things got a bit interesting. I found a company called MightyCall that offered a cloud-based IVR solution. This was a US-based company, but one that had operations in Canada so it was ideal. The best part – they had a special offer for Health Care professionals and offered their service for FREE for three months as a response to Covid19.

This made things super easy in terms of decision making. I’m happy to say that the setup was exceptionally simple and the features were more than I could have asked for. I was able to quickly configure an ACD/IVR for my friend with defined operating hours and voicemail services. In this time of social distancing, having the system point to individual cell phone numbers was super simple and easy. In addition setting it up as round-robin ensured that no one, single call taker got overwhelmed.

For anyone looking for a simple solution, I cannot recommend MightyCall enough. It is a great solution for a call center and can be easily expanded as requirements change.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Now, this was something my friend didn’t really understand that well until I showed him. By integrating the form into a simple CRM – I used Hubspot because it offered a free option – I was able to get all of the information into a single location.

However, the CRM had other benefits. In addition to providing a single source of truth, it gave us the capability of assigning work based on skill and availability. Added to this was the fact that repeat calls/emails could now be tracked and a record maintained of previous interactions. It all started to make sense really quickly.

As I continued to play with Hubspot I became even more impressed with its ease of use and capabilities. As someone that uses SalesForce on a daily basis, I’m used to complex systems. Similarly, with the time I’d spent on Freshdesk over the years, I was familiar with simple ticketing systems (well, Freshdesk is simple to use but deceptively powerful).

Hubspot however, seemed to be a perfect, happy medium. It provided a fully functional CRM, but one that didn’t require hours, days and weeks of study. In fact, I probably had it up and running for the purposes we needed inside of an hour. If you’re looking for a great CRM at a great price (you can’t go wrong with free!), I’d really urge you to look at Hubspot.

Now we didn’t go the full-service desk route with integrated Chat and Chatbots. That’s potentially a step we’ll take in the future as this offering grows. However, it’s really nice to see how technology can help in a really measurable way. For me, it’s even more important as I can say that I potentially helped save lives. Like the MasterCard add, that’s something that is truly priceless.

How Chatbots Improve Customer Experience

With businesses around the world adjusting their teams and ways of servicing customers, new technologies and tools need to be embraced. Social distancing and isolation are phrases we’d not really heard in our regular parlance. Now they are the only things we hear on a daily basis which can be quite difficult to rationalize. However, while at times it feels like the world is ending individually, there is some comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

For businesses, remote working is something that needs to be embraced & when we eventually come out of this, the way we live and work will change. Technology changes and enhancements are leading the charge here. In fact, as early as ten years ago, this capability would not have existed. One way that businesses can be more efficient now and in the future is through the use of chatbots.

Chatbots are conversational interfaces that are revolutionizing customer service. Little by little, they started to show up through different areas, and customers are successfully engaging with them. But a chatbots’ success also relies on the development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies.

Although chatbots are still in their infancy, predictions and their effective use are proving they will do nothing but keep growing. In fact, market trends are pointing to a compounded annual growth rate of close to 30%. Currently, big and medium-size enterprises are their main users. Small businesses are going slow but they also are growing due to the sophistication of the technology and the price to implement it.

By checking how businesses are using chatbots, we can see how they are improving the customer experience.

How do Chatbots work?

Chatbots substitute regular communication channels with humans. They do it through computer programs that simulate human conversations. A computer programmer powers them with Artificial Intelligence to collect and interpret human phrases and words to give answers.

Just as human conversations may include any topic, chatbots can include any topic too. Hence, they have multiple uses. They speed up the communication cycle because they can process the information faster than humans. However, as they are machines, they can´t show the same empathy and ability to relate new terms.

Businesses found a way to leverage their use by using them to improve the customer experience. Primarily this is through the alignment of a chatbot to a knowledge base. This helps provide customers with a speedier resolution to their most commonly asked questions. In addition, it removes the onus of monotonous work from technical staff. As computer programmers find better ways to include new functions, their use is also expanding to more CX areas.

One useful way to determine how chatbots improve CX is by taking a look at their different uses as follows.

Customer Support

Currently, this is one of the most popular areas to use CX chatbots. You can find them in chat windows on websites. Sometimes they activate automatically to offer help. Other times they offer the first response when you try to reach a customer support agent. And, the most advanced versions can give you full support to solve inquiries and complaints.

As the problems become more complex in scope they can also help refer the customer to more senior staff. Chatbots are great in this area as they dramatically improve first call resolution (FCR) and help improve customer satisfaction.

LiveChat is a simple and beautifully designed tool for online communication between a company and its customers. Now your clients can contact you faster and easier than ever before.

LiveChat offers a built-in ticketing system, offline messages, canned responses, customer message preview, exportable reports and SSL encryption.

It’s possible to fully customize LiveChat widget with CSS styles. The customization can differ for domains and pages. It comes with many native integrations like WordPress, Shopify, AdWords, Mailchimp or Facebook. It also allows you to build your own integrations, as you get access to powerful API.

LiveChat support is available 24/7 so you can reach them at any time you need to.

Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out all the features!

Reminder

People interact with businesses for many reasons. Whilst they have to complete payments, send information, and more. Those activities have to be completed on different days and times, and chatbots can act as very effective reminder services.

Service Provider

Some chatbots can provide a complete set of services. They may offer advice, initial therapy, and more. The limit of the chatbots depends on the amount of information that you can include and the type of service you can provide. Ultimately, customers have the last word to decide if they like it or not. So, we still have a lot more to see and try.

Selling/Buying assistant

When people are trying to decide what to buy, they face many options and try to solve any doubts. In such cases, chatbots prove to be very useful as they can offer information to compare products, prices, and features.

On the other hand, chatbots can provide help to sales agents and the entire sales department to provide information and guide a customer through the sales funnel.

LiveChat is an online customer service tool for ecommerce. It opens up a new sales and support channel that can complement your email and phone use. With features like visitor monitoring, built-in ticketing system and many integrations, you’re ready to serve your customers from one place.

You can use LiveChat from your favorite browser or via desktop apps for OSX and Windows. When you’re on the go, you can simply turn the mobile app on and talk to customer from any place and at any time. You can also place LiveChat on your Facebook page and reply to messages and comments directly from the app.

Ready to go? Sign up for a free 14-day trial to test out all the features!

Specific Improvements from Chatbots

Overall, when chatbots can solve customers’ inquiries and help them to satisfy their needs, we can say they improve the CX. So, this is how chatbots improve CX.

Significant reduction in response times

Whenever some people get in touch with chatbots, they obtain a fast answer or acknowledgment of receipt to their requests. This is the most outstanding feature of chatbots. Even if there are many customers connected at the same time, chatbots can respond simultaneously to many requests at high speed.

This speed comes as a result of using Artificial Intelligence and other last generation technology that speed up all the processes. ChatBot gives you the flexibility you need. Just create a chatbot scenario and let the bot handle customer service 24/7/365.

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Chatbots can be connected 24/7 without human support. Once they get installed, they start working automatically. This availability allows customers to reach the business at any time of the day and get satisfactory answers to their requests.

In these trying times, this is even more important than normal as staff around the world are impacted. While chatbots cannot and will not take the place of humans, they can provide simple solutions quickly and easily.

Knowledge Base Integration

Chatbots have a huge capacity to store knowledge by integrating with other internal systems. This capacity will definitely allow them to provide answers to commonly asked questions and as a result, they can offer more answers to customers.

ChatBot provides the best bot platform for designing, building and deploying conversational chatbots to talk to customers and to provide information to users. With support for one-click integrations with Facebook Messenger and a range of other services, you can run powerful and intelligent bots in no time. ChatBot allows using entities, creating conversational scenarios, and it leverages both Natural Learning Processing and Machine Learning to develop a human-like experience for customers.

Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out all the features!

When chatbots work, they can collect all the data from customers and process it to provide useful stats. As they are fast to obtain and process the data, you can obtain benefits from such data in a short time.

Reduction in Costs of Operation

Programing and installment of chatbots require an initial investment. Then, they also need some costs for maintenance. However, it needs less investment than human agents due to the following:

  • They don’t quit or need replacement by other agents.
  • They don’t need time to learn and get training either.
  • Chatbots don’t occupy physical space

ChatBot is a one-in-all solution that lets you create fully operating chatbots. The scenario tree structure and drag and drop interface are very intuitive. Quick Academy lessons can guide you through more complex topics such as capturing user data, using filters and training your bot. You can publish your bot in seconds using one-click integrations with popular messaging apps, and live chat services or just use a Chat Widget.

Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out all the features!

Control of Bad mood and Bad temper

Due that chatbots are machines, they neither have emotional reactions nor are affected by emotional bursts. Therefore, your agents are safe and don´t have to handle these types of difficult situations.

When it occurs before getting in touch with a customer agent, they can be prepared by checking the communication history between the chatbot and the user to prevent any issue. This is critical as sadly situations with irate customers are at times bound to happen. If you can get a bit of a heads up, it cannot hurt.

CONCLUSION

Chatbots are gaining relevance due to all the advantages they provide to improve CX. They also add value to businesses by easing many companies´ processes. Although we still have to see more of what they can offer, they already proved many of their benefits.

With time, many more businesses’ lines will be able to implement a chatbot as part of their CX strategies. Therefore, an important part of the future belongs to them.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Brand Through Customer Service

A brand is the front line of any business and what customers retain in their heads in the long run. Therefore, strengthening it is crucial for the success of your business. Impacts to a brand have far-reaching implications and can significantly impact a business’s growth. Companies that have brand issues, often utilize re-branding strategies to start a new business from scratch. While their name might change, they use the same assets and resources of the older organization so they can take advantage of the investments already made.

How Brands Work

Despite their importance, brands are immaterial resources. Hence, you can’t physically touch them, but certainly, you can feel them! It means that brands consist of ideas, feelings, sensations, and experiences. Therefore, that is what you need to offer to strengthen a brand. Whatever happens to your business affects the brand too. The positive side of it is that your strategies to strengthen them may include almost anything.

And one of the most impactful ways correspond to customer service (CX). This a zone where you can mold and affect how people feel, think and react toward your brand. Here are some ways to make sure your brand obtains the benefits when applying CX strategies.

Include and Train your Entire Team in the CX Strategy

All your employees must get involved with your CX tactics because, in some way or another, they all relate to customers. Even if they never get in touch directly with customers, they must know the way their actions affect them.

A good CX strategy should include relationships with providers and employees too. And, they will surely get in touch with customers. You can create this by implementing a permanent service culture. Once you set that clear goal, it would be time to design and implement specifics tactics that correspond according to each team member or employee.

Set and Follow the Company’s Mission and Values

Any company has a compass that works as a guide to develop their operations. That compass consists of mission and values. And the best way to align a CX strategy is to follow them. Otherwise, your brand would be at risk of taking action without order.

Therefore, taking time to develop missions and values is one of the best investments. In addition, you shouldn’t be afraid to review them from time to time to make sure they reflect what you want from your brand.

Educate your Customers

Now we live in the information era. As a consequence, people can access a lot of information on any subject. It makes us more aware of what happens around us. Also, we are willing to learn about the product and services to obtain the highest benefits from them.

Thus, educating your customers will increase their awareness of your products and services too. When customers are satisfied knowing all the possible ways to use and handle them, they connect easily with your brand. While they get educated about your products, they get engaged with your brand too.

Develop a Strong Digital Marketing Strategy

Due to the advance of new technologies, it would be hard to survive in a business environment without developing a digital marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter the size of your business, there is always a way to create and develop it. And, there are many types and sizes of digitals strategies available too.

Nowadays, customers engage with a brand through digital platforms. That is why the competition to reach them by these means is fierce. By developing a digital strategy, you also guarantee a long- term relationship because you know how to reach them closely.

Every year, a new trend or digital opportunity arises, and that makes it important to keep pace with all new developments. As a result, you must be aware of and always remain competitive.

Be Consistent

Consistency might include the following approaches:

  • Consistency through many sources: They might include customer support agents, omnichannel digital platforms, events, and more. In any case, your brand, your strategy, and your messages must show consistency by appointing the same goal. It avoids confusion for the customers.
  • To achieve this consistency, it is important to include all your team and employees in the strategy. Also, make sure that whatever your company delivers, is aligned with everything you offer. For these matters, ethics is essential.
  • Consistency also has the side of strong high-quality. In this sense, customers like to know the business is strong and capable to support their requests. Therefore, your investment in training your team and improving the quality of the service and products will surely pay off.

Include your Brand’s Designs and Logos Everywhere

Brands’ logos and designs are the visible part of a brand. When customers recall their experiences, they always connect them with the brand’s image. Therefore, your designs should always appear in any activity.

In cases when the business is not applying direct customer service tactics, the logo and designs should still be visible. As set above, the customer experience is the result of all the interactions between the customer at any given moment during any stage of the relationship.

As your logo and designs are such an important part of your brand, you should also invest the time and effort to develop them with the best approach. Besides, make sure you protect them properly with Intellectual Property rights.

In short, using CX to strengthen a brand is a smart way to speed up its success. As CX offers the chance to get in touch with customers, you can offer them valuable information to recall your brand easily. CX also offers the flexibility that other strategies might not offer. As a result, they adapt to any business or company.

But obtaining results to strengthen your brand requires that you apply the right strategy that includes a strong sense of inclusion, ethics, and respect toward your customers. After all, that is what brands are made of.

8 Trends that will Drive the Future of Digital Customer Experience in 2020

Products and services are simply commodities now. There are probably hundreds of companies around the world that can offer what you are offering. I’m sorry to surprise you, but in this, you are not that unique. However, the way you service your customers can change how they perceive you. This is where customer experience matters.

The introduction of new technologies in the equation of customer experience changed forever the way that customers and businesses interact. Every year, new tech rises, and businesses try to adapt their internal processes to adopt it. On the other hand, it molds the way that humans handle the CX too.

This year is no exception, and it includes a new set of tech-related trends that are already shaping the customer experience. As technology tools take the lead this year again, there is a growing need for balancing them with human abilities. In this sense, we could affirm that seeking that balance is a trend too.

This text will show some of the hottest trends to interact with customers and some effective ways to handle them. After all, digital tools always need humans behind them.

1. Voice Search

Without a doubt, this is one of the hottest trends for 2020. Although this technology became available in the past, platforms like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa turned it more friendly. Also, these types of platforms improved significantly the quality of the results.

Overall, there is a clear pattern of users increasing their preference for voice technology. That includes other methods like WhatsApp messaging and similar. Little by little voice searches are gaining terrain, and customers also want the chance to talk at some point with representatives. Therefore, implementing this trend will also become one of the most challenging options for many businesses.

2. Local over Global

Despite the presence of many global brands all around the world, many people try to obtain a local experience from them. That might include the same language, nearby stores, local menus, and more. It means that businesses need to adapt their Customer Experience strategies to satisfy local demands.

Currently, there are many apps and programs to allow businesses to find their place in local markets. Among them, you can find listings in local directories, positioning brand names in local markets through digital strategies, just to name a few.

Moreover, some businesses try to open office branches in more cities to get closer to their customers. And customers welcome them by choosing their proposals. Companies that need help with this should contact a developer to help them build a suitable application to service their needs.

3. Chatbots and Customer Experience

This year, this is the tool that best represents the rise of Artificial Intelligence for CX in 2020. It allows businesses to offer 24/7 support and speed up the relationship with customers. However, it is still limited to solve basic problems.

In this sense, the biggest challenge will be to include as many solutions as possible using chatbots. Customers are already engaged with chatbots, and they only need to get more benefits to keep going ahead with them.

On the other hand, human customer support will have to prepare for more challenging requests. That´s because basics stuff will be handled by chatbots, and when customers effectively reach an agent, it would be for important issues.

4. Segmentation

In previous years, omnichannel strategies took a privileged position. But now segmentation is the new rule. Customers only want to receive the information and attention that is relevant to their lifestyle and tastes. And they want to get it from specific channels. For many of them, the omnichannel contact seemed to be overwhelming.

Fortunately, businesses can collect much data from many different sources. The challenge will be to be able to organize it well to obtain accurate profiles. Besides traditional segmentation, the business will have to dig into new behavioral patterns. It will require using the data more effectively.
Also, businesses will try to expand the use of segmentation to handle their relationships with their employees, providers, and partners. After all, they have a direct influence on customers.

5. Self-Help in Customer Experience

DIY is ruling the world now. It seems that everyone can learn from YouTube videos and education platforms. Due to this, all types of businesses have the opportunity to show their customers how to use their products and services. And customers are actively using such platforms.

To be successful in attracting clients, businesses will have to produce high-quality videos, guides, and texts. Currently, many websites offer blogs with a lot of information. But that is not enough. Companies will have to evolve to help their customers to learn.

6. Multisensory Experiences

As virtual reality and augmented reality become widely available, brands will start offering them to expand the way they engage with their clients. Nowadays, businesses are already trying to implement them. But it might take more time before it becomes more popular.

To increase the number of customers who can use these methods, there will have to be more equipment and devices available. Those businesses that use them first will obtain the best engagement.

7. Internet of Things (IoT)

This is a major trend that will go even further this year. It has two sides. Firstly, the data it can collect from the constant use of multiple devices. Businesses can use this data to personalize even more their products services. Secondly, is the development of all kinds of programs and software that ease people´s life.

In any case, the 5G network is already on its way. Although the USA-China tensions to decide who leads the network, it is ready to go and implement.

8. Clean and Accurate Data

Businesses offer a lot of information to satisfy customers’ needs. Trends to consume such information are already in use. But customers are demanding more quality when it comes to accuracy. In this sense, these are some areas where businesses will have to improve this strategy, and some examples include:

  • Accurate and clean data about phones and addresses in directory listings
  • Direct answers to customer´s questions.
  • Relevant information about the business´ operations
  • Updates about offers and promotions

To sum up, 2020 is bringing new challenges in digital customer experience. Fortunately, customers know well how to figure out what they want and need. And businesses just need to follow their path. When a digital trend appears is because customers show clear preferences toward them.

Unlike previous years, now everybody is familiar with digital interactions to develop customer experiences. And that is especially good if we consider how far the new solutions are going. From all the above trends, some are going very strongly, such as the chatbots and local experiences.

Others, like multisensory experiences, will need more time to go massive. However, those that are already implementing them are showing huge success.

Understanding How Your Help Desk and NOC Services Connect

This post about the Help Desk and NOC was initially published on CX Expert. It has been updated to reflect current market trends and information.

Perhaps, there is no other obstacle that causes more concern to managed services providers than how they are going to manage, monitor and provide services to their clients. For companies that are getting into managed services or cloud, one obstacle must be tacked. This obstacle is what you will do about your help desk and NOC. You must determine the best practices to follow, the cost, and many other essential things.

Origin of the NOC

The help desk and NOC is the heart of managed services providers. It is capable of providing redundancy, physical security and an area that is secure for collaboration for technicians to be able to manage and monitor customer environments.

Every managed service provider (MSP) service delivery model needs the NOC. However, many people don’t know where the idea of the NOC came from and how the early MSPs came to rely on them. With the advent of cloud computing and other business process and technological advances, it is essential to know how different factors influenced the NOC for the cloud provider and MSP today.

The idea of the NOC is not new – it has been around for a very long time. Initially, it was a creation of telecommunications, and it was used to monitor and manage telecommunications networks. Technicians sit and receive information in real-time inside the NOC. The NOC’s physical configuration allows for an intimate, secure and safe place for technicians to collaborate and discuss with other technicians on issues and problems that would otherwise be unsafe or unsuitable around other non-approved personnel.

MSPs came into existence in the mid-1990s. During this time, nearly all companies had a business plan. The plan included a 27/7 operational NOC that was physically secure from which to deliver their managed services. These configurations, procedures, and tools used in each of the MSPs were different, but the presence of the physical NOC was an essential and consistent characteristic.

The Help Desk and its Importance

A lot of people confuse the terms help desk and NOC when they serve two different and vital functions. The main reason behind the confusion is easy to understand when you look back at how they both came into being and how they have been split apart gradually in modern time managed services conditions.

We have already discussed the role of NOC, but it is important to look at how the help desk fits in the equation. Older NOCs have the help desk integrated into them to maximize the benefits of security, redundancy and collaborative work environments. The simplest and easiest way of distinguishing and defining the two models is system-based work, and the NOC performs network around the management and monitoring of objects that are under management with the MSP. On the other hand, the help desk is more responsible for interfacing with end-users, and it is also a customer-facing department. It helps to respond to problems and get solutions.

It is easy to see why the two areas seem to be similar. Each company should make these choices on their own, but it is important to understand that there is a difference between the two and they service unique and important functions within managed services practice.

The Interaction Between the Help Desk and the NOC

Now that we know the difference between help desk and the NOC, we must look at how they should interact with each other in managed services practices. It is important to acknowledge that there are different ways in which help desk and the NOC interact and co-exist.

Helpdesk Existing Within the NOC

Having a help desk and a NOC should be evident. All MSP’s logical and physical security controls can be addressed in one physical space. The physical access to workstations, how technicians log in to systems belonging to clients and change management are important to control and can be monitored effectively and be enforced if the NOC has the help desk residing into it.

There are more configurations where the MSP can create an entire floor of their work premises, where the help desk teams and the NOC teams work, complete with secure access, albeit in sections within the secure area. The main purpose of mingling the help desk and the NOC is to take advantage of the process efficiencies and security. If you take the security of your operation into account in the same way, there is no need to build out different facilities. Instead, you can just build it once.

There are many other benefits to have the configuration. Any interaction between the help desk and the NOC is naturally easier when they are both located within the same secure area. This can help with redundancy, and the continuity of the business plans should anything happen to the facility.

The Help Desk Existing Outside the NOC

In larger MSP environments, you will find the help desk outside the NOC. This is common, but it will depend on your unique situation. In most cases, you will find large companies with the help desk located outside the NOC because the help desk team won’t fit within the NOC. Typically, MSPs that need to have multi-time zone help desks or multilingual helpdesk do not manage the MSP centrally, but they have several help desk facilities that are located in different locations.

It is not always needed to build full NOC around all the help desk areas. Therefore, help desks exist outside the NOC. Regardless of how you operate and configure your NOC and help desk, there should be enough controls that deal with how the two elements in your business interact with one another. There should be documentation on the handling of trouble tickets, the handling of the connectivity within the MSP and how the redundancy of power is handled within the MSP organization to maintain operational effectiveness.

Do the Grammys Epitomize True Customer Experience?

I’m not a huge fan of modern music to be 100% honest. I’m still stuck in the 80’s and 90’s when it comes to my favorite songs. So you’d probably be surprised that I’m commenting on the “The Grammys – the biggest show in music!” Well, let’s just say that I have a daughter who’s probably one of the biggest Jonas Bros fans so I was forced to watch the show. Now, I’d not normally be commenting on a music show on Customer Experience website. However, right from the start Alicia Keyes did some stuff that stuck out as perfect and lessons we could all learn from.

Don’t Hide From the Truth

Sadly, today is the day that Kobe Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash. Now, I’m not a huge basketball fan. As a proud Canadian from Toronto, I followed the Raptor’s run for the title with rapt attention. But I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a latecomer to the party. Despite my lack of basketball experience or knowledge, I had heard of Kobe Bryant. I cannot recite his stats from memory, but I knew that he had a significant impact on the game.

With his death I really wondered what they would do on the show and if they would acknowledge it or just gloss over it. I expected that they would simply state that he’d died and then briefly mention him. After all, these shows are planned out weeks and months before they are filmed and I was not expecting any major changes.

I was, however, very pleasantly surprised. At the Grammys, Alicia Keyes not only spoke about Kobe, but she also went one step further. With Boyz II Men, Alicia gave an extremely moving tribute to him, his impact and the impact his loss would have on others. It was done well and it was done with respect.

Treat Your Clients Well

Now, since we’re talking about award shows, let’s continue that topic. The Golden Globes was hosted by Ricky Gervais. This show was actually something I was interested in as it’s about TV and movies. The contrast between Ricky and Alicia could not be more pronounced though. It is almost like night and day.

Alicia at the Grammys epitomizes talent with her introduction and launch of the show. Her skill on the piano and ability to riff on the fly is astounding. Ricky Gervais, however, went with a completely different tack. His focus was not on building up, but rather tearing down. While I don’t necessarily disagree with everything he said. In fact, in some ways, I agree with his statements. It is more how he said it & who he said it to. His “targets” were definitely the self-centred actors which is fair. Unfortunately, as a host, his clients were us. His attitude and treatment of the actors was disrespectful at a minimum. Worse, his ongoing attitude throughout the show continued that trend.

It was disappointing and demeaning. It actually devalued Ricky Gervais in my eyes as he is capable of so much more. He could have delivered the same message in a much more professional manner. I can only imagine how he would have acted or treated the death of Kobe in his monologue. If he would have received a mention at all, it would probably have not been anything worth remembering.

Empathize With Your Clients

One of the tenants of good customer experience is the ability to empathize with your clients. Alicia and the Grammys have demonstrated this throughout the show. Aside from a frequent mention of the importance of family and community, they have emphasized the importance Kobe played on the people of LA. This was well done and something I can get behind.

I don’t know if my music tastes have changed. I do know that I will watch the Grammy’s next year without being forced to by my daughter. I’m curious to see if they can surpass this show and improve their customer experience even further. Well done Alicia. Well done, Grammy’s.

Building a NOC or Outsourcing

This post was initially published on CX Expert. It has been updated and revised based on current technology and changing business requirements.

Regardless of which side of the issue you are, there are a few people who would dispute the fact that the managed services model of facilities offers the most control and security for the client. The reason behind building a NOC should be evident.

If the NOC is built and operated correctly, it will provide a secure and enclosed space for the managed service provider (MSP) to be able to view its managed services operations. You can think of it as a mission control center where managed service providers can view the IT network of the client and manage all the activities that take place across an MSP’s entire network of clientele. The NOC has come to represent one of the characteristics of MSPs for many years. Companies can still rely on software such as Freshdesk CRM to ensure good results.

For the NOC to be effective, it must possess certain features. The features tend to be similar when you compare them side by side. For the MSPs who are starting out, there are cost-effective methods to help them achieve each of these essential features.

Security

It is necessary for a NOC to be secure. However, most people might find it difficult to understand what this means. A lot of smaller MSPs have visions of expensive and large NOCs. These preconceived notions cause smaller businesses concern and many never undertake to build their NOC.

A NOC does not have to be expensive and cost millions of dollars for it to be effective. It is essential to have a NOC enclosed. It should be limited to the employees who can access client networks. Also, the facility should have security controls to ensure that only the authorized employees can enter the NOC. This simply means that you must have locked in place and have systems or people to watch the technicians who come in, work and leave the facility.

If a business is or deals with credit cards for example, the requirement is quite similar and the PCI or PA DSS certifications require a secure facility.

Redundancy and Backups

It is worthless to build a NOC on the sand. The NOC represents the security, stability, and integrity for those MSPs who possess one as well as the clients who rely on them. The NOC should be well-built.

This means that it should take into consideration the natural order of things. This includes how unforeseen problems can happen to throw an MSP’s entire world into problems. Some natural occurrences such as storms, earthquakes and power disruptions can cause havoc on an unsuspecting managed service provider.

Backup power and redundant internet connectivity are just a few of the features that will make a NOC effective and viable.

Sharing of the minds

A good NOC should be able to do more than provide physical and network security. It can offer a managed service provider with something more important than the technological benefits. This means that the MSP’s technicians working in a central place should collaborate to solve problems.

Physically proximate technicians to one another can work together and solve issues concerning client and share information that can help in educating the MSP. As a managed service provider, one of the most important traits is expertise and education related to business and technology. Being in the same room is more superior to sharing information through the email.

Building a virtual NOC

A lot of MSPs choose to forgo building a NOC that is physical in favor of building a virtual NOC. Maybe you don’t know what is involved in constructing a virtual NOC because it is very natural. For you to answer this crucial question, it is important to consult with the UCS which is the Unified Certification Standard because this is the template that exists and addresses how the MSPs should employ a virtual NOC in an environment of managed services.

The certifications of managed services and audits outline the use of virtual NOC and the operation guidelines for technicians as they travel. Operating a virtual NOC and MSP comes with the challenge of maintaining adequate security. As the virtual NOC technicians leave or enter the office, traveling to client sites and going to other locations, keeping physical security, accurate logs and maintaining managed services of high standards can be difficult. Therefore, the MSP should implement certain protocols that will ensure the integrity of client data. Using encryption technologies, poison pill technology, strong authentication and other forms of common sense should be cheap and small MSPs should be able to afford them.

This means that a technician who takes a laptop that was used to monitor a client should be guarded both outside the MSPs office and inside. The managed service provider should, therefore, have a mechanism for auditing the work done by its technicians irrespective of their location. In short, audit procedures and security employed in running a NOC that is physical should also be used to operate a virtual NOC. The redundancy backups and physical security are the only things missing which only a physical NOC can offer.

Partner vs. Build

This is an important issue that consumes the attention of a lot of young entrants to the managed services profession. There is the opportunity to build a virtual NOC that is robust although there are some MSPs who still decide to partner with existing managed service providers in order to leverage that manage services provider’s NOC. Partnering with another MSP to access a physical NOC should not be taken lightly. It is important to know all the facts and make informed decisions for your practices.

Young MSPs come into the partnerships for the reason of having nothing to do with the availability of a physical NOC. It is normally a reason for lack of confidence and business process. However, MSPs should weigh the decision because the wrong choice can lead to unwanted repercussions. It is difficult to advise everyone on the right path in the long run because companies have unique situations. However, if a business decides to partner with a managed service provider who has a NOC, then it is important to choose a partner that has passed the audits.

STOP PLACING THE BURDEN FOR GOOD CX ON YOUR CUSTOMERS

This post was originally published on CX Expert. It has been updated to reflect current market trends and new research.

What do you understand by customer experience?

My understanding of customer experience is the customer’s cumulative attitude and feelings towards the interactions and quality of services provided by the supplier or the supplier’s employees.

Customer care determines how a customer perceives the brand. To create a good customer experience, a business owner should ask themselves, “What do my customers want?” All successful companies and business owners ask themselves this question.

A business owner should take the following points into consideration to improve their customer experience:-

Observe

Customers go through a system of mini-experiences that add up together to form what they refer to as customer experience of a given company or business during their interactions with a company or business. Companies need to observe and view the world as their customers. This helps companies to reorganize themselves around the needs of the customers.

Shape

Customer experience has to be designed by shaping all the interactions into desired sequences. This will involve creating and establishing the company cultures and the introduction of new approaches that of course blend well with modern technological advancement. 

Perform

The first two points involve establishing a system of customer care. They basically are writing the customer care constitution of the company in question. Now, sometimes just writing the constitution is not the hardest part, implementing it is. Getting your employees to provide the good customer experience that you intend for your customers is not something you wake up and do but takes time, probably years, to get cemented and becomes a culture in your business.

Let’s take an example so you see what I’m talking about.

I have a friend that bought a laptop. The laptop came installed with the Windows 8 operating system. He didn’t want Windows 8 though, he wanted Windows 10. He didn’t think it was a big deal though, he would get Windows 10 and install it himself, so he thought.

Unfortunately, when he tried installing windows 8 on the laptop, he got an error message. It turns out the laptop wasn’t compatible with windows 10. He tried contacting the store and every time they presented him with a series of emails explaining to him on how he should go about it and every time, it didn’t work.

He personally took the laptop to the store and the response was exactly the same. Nobody at the store was willing to take it upon themselves and install the OS for him instead, they just kept telling him what he should do.

He was so frustrated and really felt the customer experience of the store was of very poor quality. Meanwhile, the employees at the store felt they were offering the best customer experience considering how eager they were at asking him to submit his reviews on customer satisfaction.

Their attitude was that the customer should bear the burden of ensuring the product they bought was working properly and to their satisfaction. The store was losing customers for placing the burden of customer satisfaction and good results on the customer instead of considering the three points I stated initially to rewire their company and create a good customer experience culture.

Good customer experience is supposed to make it easier for a customer to purchase your product, not harder. In the modern world, almost every product you offer is being offered by many other businesses and companies and individuals. The competition is high. Customers are looking for the slightest hurdles, and that will justify their moving from you to another supplier. The options are too many. Don’t let a basic thing like Customer experience keep customers away from your business. Master the three points or customer experience, observe, shape, perform.

The customer is always right, and any change that needs to happen should be done by the businessperson.

What the Business Should Do To Improve CX

Now that I have explained that the burden of a good CX lies with the business owner and not the customer, so what should the business owner do to improve their CX?

Be Likeable to Your Customers.

This involves making it easier for the customer and not easier for you. Don’t come up with terms and conditions that are favorable to you at the expense of the customer. Observe and shape the areas where you receive complaints from the customers. It is important that in your observe phase, you involve the customer. You can get their views through having suggestion boxes and giving them voluntary questionnaires to fill after interaction with them.

Develop a Fan Culture

An important part of CX is the culture of the business.

A customer buys your product at their own convenience, but a fan will go through hurdles and obstacles just to buy your product. Fans will keep you afloat even in the hard times.

Getting fans is not an easy task though.  This could result in a complete overhaul of your business. The overhaul should be done with the customer as the centerpiece – the transformation should be such that everything else revolves around the customer. Your research should ask the right questions – especially those whose answers you don’t like to hear – they are normally the most transformative. Focus on what the customer wants and feels other than the quantitative “how many ………….. how much ……… .” Type of questions.

Conclusion

The customer is always right – even when s/he is wrong.

In the modern era of social media, this is not just a buzzword to get business owners to do better. This is actually a do or die thing – you only need a few dissatisfied customers on social media complaining about your poor handling of customers and boom! Your business is in shatters.

However, a good CX can save you from this. Having the majority of your customers happy about not just your product but also how they were handled by you or your employees could earn you more than you bargained for. Customers are not going to be so happy if you insist on having them cater for themselves during interactions with your business. This burden shouldn’t be born by your customers but you.

How to Build a NOC

This post was initially published on CX Expert. It has been updated and refreshed before being republished here.

A network operations center (NOC) is the central point of monitoring for your network. It helps to ensure uptime in your business. NOCs are not limited to networks. They can provide visibility into systems management, virtualized infrastructure, IT security and many more. In most cases, only large companies have resources necessary to create a NOC infrastructure that is effective. However, even small and medium businesses can gain visibility into the performance and availability of their networks by creating their own NOCs or using tools that NOCs use.

 For you to create your NOC, you don’t need to have a modern room that is full of expensive and high technology gear for network surveillance. It is possible to create your NOC just about anywhere and have the ability to know where and how network issues occur in time for troubleshooting. We will look at some essential capabilities to build into your network management system and get a NOC field of vision.

Centralize Alert M

When dealing with a growing network with a lot of devices from different manufacturers, alerts can be useful. You should be able to receive them in a single and central location for actionable and easy access and insight.

Alerts may include but are not limited to:

  • performance metrics,
  • availability statistics,
  • errors message,
  • hardware thresholds, and a host of other relevant factors.

The primary challenge with alert management lies in receiving alerts on time and managing them at a centralized level to help in comparing alerts, tracking alert history, eliminating false positives and deducing alert functions.

Group your Network Elements

It is possible to have network hardware in different models, types, versions, from different and unique makers in different locations. They are compatible with different platforms. It is therefore difficult to get an understanding of the network issues given the medley of network devices. The best solution is to create logical groups of your devices. This will allow you to monitor your devices as a group and not disparate entities. You can also create static groups to help you add network nodes manually. You can also add network nodes automatically, but this is based on a pre-defined condition.

You can get a logical understanding of the situation by using grouping devices for monitoring networks. You can also use grouping to set parent-child dependencies between your network elements, and this can allow you to eliminate any redundant alerts and be able to understand the impact of any faulty device on its dependents.

Customize Your Network Diagnostics

You may find it hard and frustrating that even though you have the ability to get network performance and health, you are not capable of dissecting the information as fast as needed. This ties directly to the KPIs you are measuring but in many cases, this problem arises due to the dashboard view that is used to see the network performance data.

You need to use a web-based dashboard because it is the best and can be viewed from anywhere. The ability to customize the dashboard will also allow you to understand your data easier and faster because you will see the things that need attention fast such as:

  • The top interfaces by traffic
  • The top errors and discards
  • The top interfaces by traffic
  • Top interfaces that face maximum percent utilization

Map device topology

You are sometimes faced with the work of searching for the reason that caused your network to go down without any clue if you are a network administrator. However, it is straightforward to pin the problem on a map and trace the source of the problem. You just have to use the mapping topology. This will help you to monitor the availability by looking at a map. You can use the following steps to do it.

  • Discover the nodes of your network such as interfaces, network devices, and servers
  • Place the nodes of your network on a custom map
  • Connect the elements of your network on the ARP table data to get a graphical depiction of both virtual links and physical links.

Unify Management Platforms

The budget is not the only thing involved but also the operational expertise, and management overhead are also needed to run different platforms for network management for different requirements. You can cut back on time and money if you unify the management platform.

Unifying your platforms can also give you a comprehensive view of the NOC functions. Therefore, it is important to look for a solution that can stand alone and still be compatible with other management modules for systems management, network configuration management, and virtualization management. You can simplify your operations if you have the same management platform. It also allows you to customize your interface and doesn’t require a lot of work to manage your NOC.

Make sure you can access the network performance monitoring data of your organization from the comfort of your workstation because this can be the most effective NOC that any network admin could ever have. Also, it is crucial to have the right NOC dashboard to get a comprehensive view that is always available to you. This clearly shows how the network devices are doing and the things that are causing your network downtime. You don’t need a chief network engineer when designing your NOC.

Conclusion

If your company manages multiple networks, then you should be aware of the challenges involved when it comes to monitoring them at once. The data from your clients and your data is private, and your networks should be running without any delays.

Unless you have a time in your business that can handle this high level of network management, you may want to outsource professional support. You can use NOC engineers and technicians to monitor the health of your infrastructure, the capacity of your infrastructure and the capacity of your infrastructure.

With all this important information, they can make informed decisions for your business and adjust the systems to optimize the productivity and performance of your organization. They will send out alerts in case of any issues based on the type, severity, and level of expertise needed to solve the issues and any other things your NOC team specifies. After resolving the issue, you can alter things in your system and monitor your system to prevent the problem from recurring.

THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF JOB SATISFACTION

There are many ways that job satisfaction affects the productivity of a company. Companies and organizations with more job satisfaction among their ranks will tend to have a higher production rate compared to companies with lesser rates of job satisfaction. An organization can ensure job satisfaction in various ways depending on the set regulation and rules governing the running of the business. The relationship between the owners, the managers, and other employees are what contributes to job satisfaction. A great relationship with good salaries and remuneration, high levels of respect and trust, a healthy working environment, among other factors, enhances job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction plays a crucial role in the well-being of an organization. This can be seen in an employee who sees his or her job as fulfilling and enjoyable thus will take it with the importance deserved, unlike that employee who doesn’t give his commitment since he or she feels dissatisfied. The human resource can realize these crucial points through various factors listed below.

Lower turnover

Satisfied employees will not be in a rush to leave or look for greener pastures elsewhere. They will own the job they do, love what they do just because they are content with the systems of that particular organization.

This, in turn, gives the human resource ample time in recruitment since few employees are leaving.  Retaining employees’ cuts on the cost of recruitment and training, ensuring the valuable experience is utilized. This also gives the organization time to search for talent and improve their workforce.

Improved productivity

Once an employee is satisfied, the work input will generally increase.  Many factors will push the worker to improve their work output. A great working environment that ensures reasonable working hours, good hygiene conditions, and a nice salary will force the worker to give back in terms of salary. Such a worker will want to impress at his or her work, thus improve on their production rate. Efficiency is always improved when one has to work under favourable conditions, and these favourable conditions are what contributes to job satisfaction.

Increased profits

There are many ways that profits can be maximized through the job satisfaction of your employees. Job satisfaction, as we have seen, can lead to improvements in individual output, thus leading to greater production and efficiency. Efficiency, on the other side, is an important attribute to cutting the cost of production. Bringing these factors together maximizes profits in that particular company. There are also other factors that can lead to an increase in profits in case of job satisfaction. Since the workers of that organization will tend to stay longer than opt to search for greener pastures, the experience in the labour force will be retained, this will lead to innovation thus the development of effective ways of running things cutting on cost and eventually increasing the profits.

Loyalty

Loyalty among the employees creates goodwill among the workforce and the friends of the company. Employees who are satisfied with their job will always have a sense of belonging. They will have the feeling that that organization is trying to keep their interests at heart. Loyalty to the company will grow among the employees if there is a feeling of job satisfaction. Loyalty, in the long run, will contribute to the employee’s need to contribute to the organization’s vision and mission support by the employees, thus helping achieve the company’s objective.  Goodwill can be promoted by employees spreading the best ideas of the company promoting the sales and career opportunities making it easy in the talent search.

How to promote job satisfaction in a company

It is not hard to improve your employee’s job satisfaction. A good personnel management department can start by creating better working conditions by promoting good hygiene, safe working environment, equal opportunities for both genders and disabled people, giving out incentives, salary increments, rewarding the hard-working employees, promoting innovations and on-job learning through simple training like first aid; fire fighting and safety and other motivation aspects.  A good relationship between the management and the workforce can also play a major role in bringing in job satisfaction. These factors can bring about an understanding between the management and the workforce. This can be promoted through the following factors:

Respect

The SHRM report stipulates that a respectable treatment of the employees is a major factor in the development of job satisfaction. The management should not look down on lower workers but treat them with the required level of respect deserved.

Trust

Trusting the choices of your employees in the decision making at their post is very vital. An employee can choose to do a particular chore using a particular method that will lead to better results than the way you want him to work. Such trust builds up confidence in what they are doing thus improving on job satisfaction.

Security

A worker will be settled on his task knowing he or she has job security even during the recession period. Lack of security can cause anxiety among the workers, thus reducing the productivity and worse of all, lead to employee boycotting duty or even striking.

Healthy environment

A healthy working environment is not necessarily a hygiene issue. There are factors, especially psychological ones that can contribute to a great working environment. Such factors include harassment and discrimination based on gender, race and even nationality. A workplace free of these things will greatly promote a good working environment.

Career path

Career path simply entails personal growth. Every employee will aspire to grow career-wise, get a promotion, gain the required experience and skill that can enable him or her get a pay rise or another better paying job in case your organization goes south. Giving out new duties to employees and promotions is a good start to growing and enriching the employee’s resume.  

Pay and benefits

The major reason why people work is to get some benefits to enable them to take their living standards to a higher and better level. Ensure your employees are paid deservedly.

Customer Care Cheat Sheet

May 2019 was the time I last vented my frustration online about a horrible Hard Disk replacement experience I had been through. I also promised a follow-up if something related happens again. It didn’t take much longer to happen. Another hard drive of mine failed last month, and I had to submit an RMA request for it. The hard drive that failed this time was from a different company, Western Digital. These two replacement experiences fell in stark contrast to each other and became a perfect example to understand how to deal with customers.

Well, if you want to be that ‘be different’ company and for some particular reason and want to drive your customers away, then sure, head over to this hilarious article. But if you are in for the long haul, then just see what these guys at WD did right. It turns out; they carefully implemented all the to-dos for excellent customer experience displaying a stellar example of how things need to be done.

Less Waiting Time

After being welcomed with a much-needed breeze of AC on a sunny day, their office felt like heaven. A well-organized stack of numerous hard drives was on my left, and few guys dressed in the company’s shirt were standing on my right, strangely smiling as if they were waiting just for me. The soothing fragrance of a freshly mopped floor was one of those unnecessary details that added up to the experience which I am so excited to share.

The three replacement counters in front of me had a short queue each. One of these smiling guys approached me and asked me to join the line, as I was waiting in the queue, he verified my documents. The waiting time was brief, and I successfully submitted my HDD for replacement. This whole experience was the complete opposite of what I had in May, where I had to wait in queue for almost an hour and wasn’t given any satisfactory service. I agree the staff might be the problem, but it spoiled my impression of them anyway.

Verifying my documents beforehand saved the time of the executive behind the counter and also prevented me from wasting my time in the queue if my documents were incomplete. Fortunately, this time, they weren’t.

There were two things that you can learn from this; Firstly, if possible, reduce the waiting time of customers by dividing the waiting queue into several small queues. Secondly, allowing other employees to assist each other, which in turn makes your organization’s operation much smoother and efficient.

Connect

It was very simple for him to come and approach me with a smile, but that small action etched a great first impression in my mind about him and the staff. Those friendly initial greetings established the tone we had for the rest of our conversation. The thing that pulled my attention the most was his concern to help me solve my problem. He genuinely listened to my concerns and happily answered everything I inquired about.

In the end, he also made a comment about my phone, “Nice phone, man! I’m saving up to buy this one too.” Even though that was completely unnecessary it helped me in getting more comfortable with him.

I would ask you to recall your last poor customer service experience where the attendant hearing your queries actually showed interest in them. I bet you can’t remember anything like that. The point here is that, customer personnel who actually tries to understand the concerns by making the conversation customized and breathable eventually sets a personal connection with the customer. Which, if not always, could solve the most difficult of situations.

Utilize your Expertise

This time, I also wanted to buy a new Hard Disk. Considering my budget and type of requirement, the salesperson picked five different drives for me to choose from. If I was given a choice to look myself from that overwhelmingly big rack of drives, I’m sure I’d have ended up with a Decision Paralysis. Even though I consider myself a techie to some extent, but my knowledge stands nowhere near the expertise of these guys. Getting a second opinion is very advisable. This surely helped me in making the right decision and helped them in making a sale.

The reason customers seek support during a purchase is that having an expert’s recommendation removes the ‘what if’ factor from their mind and helps them in decision making. Compare this to what I experienced when I went to purchase a Computer Monitor a couple of years back. I went into the shop, and the salesperson simply placed several monitors in front of me to choose from, that’s it. He didn’t tell me much about them, and as expected, I was dumbfounded. I left the shop shortly due to indecisiveness. I was ready for a purchase, but it felt like he wasn’t interested in selling. That’s a missed opportunity, I must say.

Be Quick

The whole replacement process of the earlier mentioned company was an absolute mess. I was first required to drop an email to their customer care in which I had to prove that my HDD was indeed failing. After wasting time there, they asked me to fill up an RMA request form, print it out and paste it on the inside of the box which I was supposed to pack my hard drive in. Even after all that I was supposed to drop this HDD to their hostile office myself.

I do understand these customs are made to prevent forgery, and WD did the same thing, but the difference was in the time I spent in the process. With WD, it took me less than a week to get my drive replaced with brilliant customer service both online and offline. Whereas, I wasted a whole month getting the replacement from the other company. Me getting my drives replaced with this company shows that I’m already a committed customer but the pace at which WD solved my issues ensured that I’d buy from them again. Which I shortly did.

Make Waiting Pleasurable

While waiting for a brief amount in the queue, I was offered water and even coffee. The AC’s were at full blast, and the whole office had a peaceful environment, in contrast to what I experienced earlier, where only one counter had the luxury of a working fan. I was sweating while waiting in the queue, and the loud noise of packaging was banging my ears like anything. WD understood, if the customers are going to spend some time waiting, then it should be a pleasant experience.

Stay True to Your Word

WD promised me that replacement drive would be delivered within two days and it actually did. A simple thing to do, right? The other company made the same duration of promise, but the delivery took nine days. In the end, they even stopped responding to my emails. If your company sets an expectation and doesn’t adhere to it, there will be problems.

Even though the WD hard drives are a bit costlier in comparison to that company, it didn’t hurt me much. I’m already assuming they’ve taken this extra premium to serve their customers better. For me, it was worth it.

It is just a simple thing to understand. If you make it easy for your customers to do business with you, your business would not only prosper, but your customer’s experience will improve as well.

The Different Types of Emotions and how They Impact Human Behavior

As we have already seen in our previous articles, human behavior affects organizational growth. In this article, we are going to talk about what I’ve learned about how emotions affect human behavior. There are different types of emotions that can influence the way we live and talk to others. Sometimes, it may seem like these emotions rule us. The actions we take, the choices we make and the perceptions we have been influenced by greatly impact our emotions at any given moment.

Psychologists and scholars from other fields have identified the different types of emotions we experience as humans. Different theories have come up to categorize and explain different types of emotions that people have.

Basic Emotions

There are six basic emotions that are universally experienced in all people irrespective of their cultures. These emotions are sadness, happiness, disgust, surprise, fear and anger. If we try to go further and expand these emotions, we will come up with other emotions such as shame, pride, excitement and embarrassment.

Combining Different Emotions

Emotions can be joined together to form different feelings. Just like the way we can mix different colors to form different shades. The basic emotions discussed above act like building blocks. Mixed emotions build complex emotions. For example, basic emotions such as trust and joy can be combined to create a greater emotion such as love. Now we will take a closer look at some of the basic emotions and try to figure out how they affect human behavior in an organization.

Happiness

Most people strive to have the happiness of all the types of emotions discussed above. Happiness is a pleasant emotional state, and it is characterized by the feeling of joy, contentment, satisfaction, gratification, and well-being. Scholars have done numerous researches on happiness since the 1960s within different disciplines such as positive psychology. Happiness is sometimes expressed through body language, facial expressions such as smiling, and a pleasant tone.

Happiness is one of the basic emotions, but things that create happiness are majorly influenced by culture. For example, the hip-hop culture emphasizes that buying things such as flashy cars makes one happy. This makes it hard to understand the things that contribute to happiness because different people are influenced by different things. Some people believe that health and happiness are connected. According to research, happiness plays a major role in mental and physical health. We can link happiness to a variety of outcomes such as increased marital satisfaction, increased salaries and a welcoming working environment when it comes to organizations.

Conversely, we can link unhappiness to a variety of things such as anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression and more.

Sadness

Sadness is a transient emotional state. It is typically characterized by feelings of grief, disappointment, disinterest, hopelessness, and a dampened mood. Sadness is an emotion that all people experience. In some cases, people experience severe and prolonged periods of sadness that can become depression.

There are several ways we can express sadness such as quietness, dampened mood, withdrawal from others, lethargy and crying. The severity and type of sadness can vary depending on the cause and people cope with sadness in different ways. Sadness can make people avoid other people or even have negative thoughts about life.

Fear

This is a very powerful emotion, and it can play an important role in survival. People go through flight or fight response when they face some sort of fear. Your heart rate increases, your muscles become tense, and your mind becomes more alert. This primes your body either to stand and fight or to run from danger. The response ensures that you are prepared to deal with the threats in your environment which can be an organizational setting. Expressions of fear include attempts to flee or hide from threats, facial expressions such as pulling back the chin or widening the eyes and physiological reactions such as increased heart rate.

People experience fear in different ways. Some people may be more sensitive to certain objects that may trigger fear. Fear can be defined as an emotional response to a sudden threat.

Disgust

This is a basic emotion that can be displayed in numerous ways such as turning away from things of disgust, facial expressions such as curling the upper lip and wrinkling the nose and physical reactions such as retching or vomiting.

Different things can cause disgust such as unpleasant smell, sight or taste. Experts believe that disgust evolved as a reaction to harmful foods. When people taste or smell foods that have been contaminated, they experience disgust. Infection, poor hygiene, rot, blood, and death can cause disgust. There is also moral disgust when people observe other people engaging in behaviors that they find immoral, distasteful or evil. Relationships between bosses and employees in organizations can be disgusting to other employees.

Anger

This is a very powerful emotion, and it is characterized by feelings of agitation, hostility, antagonism, and frustration towards others. Anger is similar to fear in that it can trigger a flight or fight response in the body. A threat can generate a feeling of anger and make you fend off the danger or fight to protect yourself.

Anger can be displayed through body language such as turning away from someone, facial expressions such as glaring or frowning, tone of voice such as yelling or speaking gruffly, a physiological response such as turning red or sweating, and aggression such as kicking, hitting or throwing objects. Anger can negatively affect the productivity of employees in an organization.

Surprise

This is another one of the basic types of human emotions. It is typically brief, and we can characterize surprise by a physiological startle response due to unexpected things. Surprise can be negative, positive or neutral. The unpleasant surprise might involve someone scaring you as you walk. An example of a pleasant surprise is when you arrive home and find your friends gathered to celebrate your birthday. We can characterize surprise by facial expressions such as widening the eyes raising the brows and opening the mouth. We can also characterize surprise through physical responses such as jumping up or back and verbal reactions such as gasping, screaming and yelling. Positive surprises to employees in an organization can increase their productivity.  

A Blueprint for Getting and Keeping Customers

Last year I had a pretty horrible experience that I never shared with you. However, the experience I had has impacted my decisions this year. In Canada when winter hits, everyone scrambles to get winter tires for their vehicles. It’s something that happens every year and you’d think that people would be prepared but in this, I find that I am as fallible as everyone else.

Well, last year the company that I shopped at for my tires really left me disappointed. This company is quite good normally and they are one of the most popular and well-known stores in Canada, however, their automotive department (specifically tires) is really subpar. They provided little to no information on the differences between different brands, nor did they help me choose, which would be the best option for my vehicle. I was left to my own devices to conduct all of the research. Fortunately, a friend suggested an alternative.

Related: Customer experience and feedback are two major aspects for successful business

The following points are the most important to keep your customers with yourself according to my experience:

Minimize Wait Time

At the new place, I went to, when I entered the store, there was just one person in front of me in the line, and they were being helped. A lady who was wearing numerous different hats in the office stood up from her desk and approached me with a smiling face.

While I didn’t ask anything, it gave me the impression that the employees in the store were basically focused on responding to any customer who enters. Give it a thought, that you are standing in a long queue in a store and only one person is behind the counter who was helping the customers, while the others were just there doing god-knows-what behind the counter, not making even a single bit of effort to directly help the customers? How would that make you feel?

Well, there are two lessons here. First, don’t ever make your customers wait excessively. And second, there will be times when the staff addressing the line won’t be able to help each customer without a long wait. The one thing to do in that situation would be to help or empower other staff to help.

It would be not fair if I didn’t mention that if you’re drowned with long wait times, then a good outsourcing partner won’t just throw more oil to the problem but will also holistically help you to optimize your staffing and help your entire operation run more smoothly.

Making Connection

The first impression I got was when I was helped with a smile. The “Welcome! How may I assist you?” was said with a welcoming tone. The first welcome greeting sets the mood for the rest of the interaction to come. Later on, the salesperson addressed my jacket, which I was sporting. He noticed it was a souvenir from a past location I had visited in and he then talked about that city. This made me think, “Wow, this guy is good!”.

I want you to recall poor customer service. The service staff serving you showed the least interest as a person. A compassionate customer service professional who gives a personal touch to the interaction is different. They make a connection with the customer and can easily sort out issues easily with disappointed customers.

Sharing Your Expertise

A few weeks back, I visited another tire shop (its winter again and my wife’s car needs tires also!). The sales staff showed me no less than ten different types of tires and asked me to choose according to my needs, but he didn’t even explain to me about any difference in the features of the models.

I ended up walking out of the shop and going to another shop. Comparing this experience to what I’d received earlier was very different. Here the salesperson presented me a few options which were suitable for my vehicle and explained each of them very well along with the prices and their features; then he helped me to choose the tires with the best features that fit within my budget.

A huge reason why customers contact support is because they want an expert to guide them. My unpleasant tire buying experience in 2018, the salesperson simply said, “We don’t have any tires for your vehicle. You need to go order online. Next customer.” Seemingly helping me, select tires was not part of his job. The big joke was they seemed to have had more tires than the company I chose did. Regardless, as a customer, I was ready to hand him my money, and he essentially communicated that he didn’t want to sell the tires to me. That is a serious loss of customer base.

Solve the Problem Already

The experience which I shared, I actually had to go home and order the tires, then impatiently wait for another week before I could have them installed in my vehicle. In comparison to this, my chosen vendor had five different types of tires in stock and installed them within an hour. It’s crucial to note that once my car is in the garage, I’m already committed as a customer. There’s no turning back. By such a nice experience in just an hour, they ensured that they would get my repeat business.

Related: The impact of customer experience

Make the Wait Pleasant

My son was with me during this session, and he was so thrilled by the free popcorn and the activities that were there for the kids while we waited. I was happy with the abundance of available seating and of course, free Wi-Fi. Clearly, this dealer understands that the time customers spend waiting can be more pleasant and have taken adequate measures.

Keep Your Promises

They also promised me that they would call when my car will be ready, and they did. It is a simple task from their side, but this is the most important step to keep your customers. Look onto a condition when the company never calls or even picks up their phone, ridiculous right. Setting a standard expectation is one thing. Exceeding those expectations with great customer service is another thing. If you don’t meet or exceed expectations, then your business will soon be in the dust.

If you follow closely, my tire buying experience in 2018 was painfully long and not very fruitful. My experience with the new company took a little over an hour. While I may have paid slightly more, they’ve obviously taken that small premium and ensured that I get a better experience. But I’d say it was worth it.

I have stated this earlier, but it is worth repeating. When you enable the customers to do business with you, they’ll not only be with you but will also reassure others about your service, and the network goes on.

The Relationship Between Locus of Control and Work Behavior

Locus control is a crucial variable when explaining human behavior in an organization. The measurement of the concept, the nature and the general evidence for the validity of the concept are discussed in this article.

People have presented several hypotheses that involved the locus of control in the context of an organization. Evidence from applied studies has been reviewed as well. The evidence suggested that that the locus of control has a relationship with the effort, motivation, satisfaction, performance, compliance, the perception of the job, supervisory style and the compliance with authority. Locus of control may also moderate the relationship between motivation and incentives.

Organizational Behavior as a Function of the Locus of Control

Individual personality has received little attention in the research of job satisfaction and motivation. The major theories in organizational psychology believe that the same process accounts for behavior across different individuals and that characteristics of situations cause behavior that is predictable across different people.

The theory of locus of control came from research and observation in clinical psychology. Both the theory and the measurement have been refined to the extent that the concept is heuristically important. Numerous studies of the locus of control have been related to motivational, attitudinal and behavioral variables in the setting of organizations.

The Locus of Control Concept

People attribute the control of events or the cause of events either to the external environment or themselves. People who ascribe the control of events to themselves possess an internal locus of control. Such peoples are referred to as internals. On the other hand, individuals who attribute the control of events to outside causes possess an external locus of control. Such people are known as externals.

Measuring Locus of Control

The Rotter’s internal-external scale is the most widely used instrument to measure the locus of control. The instrument consists of twenty-three locus of control. It also consists of six filler items in a format that is forced-choice. You add up the total number of responses that are externally oriented for each pair to get the scores.

The Impact of Locus of Control

A locus of control is a belief about whether the results or outcomes of our actions are related to what we do or things that other people do. If you possess an external locus of control then you believe that fate, deities, karma, randomness or other external forces determine your success and what is going to happen in your life. If your locus of control is internal then you believe that your fate is dependent on your actions. In short, people who possess an internal locus of control are go-getters. This orientation has numerous benefits.

Internal Locus of Control

People with an internal locus of control perform well in school, are less vulnerable to depression; they deal better with stress, are more satisfied with their jobs and actively find solutions to their problems. People with an internal locus of control are more determined towards achieving their goals. This doesn’t mean that an internal locus of control is only associated with a nice time. When it is taken to the extreme, it can become problematic.

Extreme internal locus of control can be psychologically unstable and unhealthy. It is always important to match the internal locus of control with self-efficacy, competence and opportunity. This will make it possible for you to experience a sense of personal responsibility and control. People who are overly internal but lack competence, opportunity and efficacy can become anxious, neurotic and depressed. In short, internals should have a realistic sense of influence in order to be successful.

The main concern comes in when people start questioning as to whether the locus of control orientation in people is natural or nurtured. The orientation of locus of control is not as stable as other traits like extroversion or introversionand it can change based on your personal experiences. However, the good news is that it is possible for you to learn that you have agency in your life.

The Impact on Employee Performance

External or internal locus of control plays a very important role for people to sustain usefulness and learning performance. The experiences and knowledge gained by an individual through organizational learning are crucial in increasing the performance of that individual. It is, therefore, necessary for businesses to fulfill learning in an arrangement and use it to improve employee performance.

There is very little in an individual’s life that your locus of control does not impact. According to numerous studies, internal locus of control is associated with success in sports, school, business and psychological and physical health. An internal locus of control is associated with achievement and success because of the tendency to attribute both your successes and failures to your actions. It gives employees a reason to study their actions and find out where they went wrong and take the necessary actions to improve. Locus of control has effects on a lot of areas of life and this makes it a subject of discussion and debate outside the realms of psychology.

What Effects does the Locus of Control have on your Health?

Locus of control affects our health either directly or indirectly. The feeling of control over what we do can help us to reduce stress. It also affects our physical health. People with an internal locus of control relate their actions to their health. This makes them more likely to get involved in activities that are likely to keep them healthy such as doing exercises, eating a balanced diet and making appointments with their doctor on regular occasions.

However, according to research, it is not just the locus of control in individuals that determines how well people take care of themselves. You can have a locus of control that is very strong but if you don’t value your health, you will not be able to take good care of your health.  

Management & the Achievement of Objectives

Management is considered to be a universal phenomenon. It is a widely used and popular term. Management is the act of getting people together to work and accomplish desired objects and goals using the available resources effectively and efficiently in an organization.

It comprises of organizing, planning, staffing, directing, leading and controlling organizational effort for the purpose of accomplishing a certain goal. On the other hand, resourcing encompasses the manipulation and deployment of financial resources, human resources, natural resources, and technological resources.

It is also right to say that management is purposive because it is an activity done with a certain purpose. Management directs group efforts towards achieving certain pre-determined goals. Management is the process of working with other people or working through other people to achieve organizational goals by using limited resources in the ever-changing world. Different organizations have different goals to achieve. For example, an enterprise may be launching new products by doing market research, and for others, it may be minimizing cost and maximizing profit.

Management entails creating an internal environment and puts into use different factors of production. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the management team to create such conditions that are conducive to maximize people’s efforts to attain goals effectively and efficiently. This includes determining salaries and wages, ensuring that raw materials are available, and coming up with rules and regulations.

Good management includes being both efficient and effective. Being effective is doing the appropriate task such as painting a room while being efficient is doing the task with minimum wastage of resources and ensuring that the task has been done correctly.

Management has three main roles in the achievement of objectives in an organization:

Interpersonal Roles

Just like the name suggests, interpersonal roles involve people in an organization and other ceremonial duties. Leaders are responsible for training, staffing, and other associated duties. Liaison is responsible for maintaining communication between informers and contacts that compose an organizational network. The figurehead is typically the symbolic head of the organization.

Informational Roles

These are roles related to receiving, collecting and disseminating of information. It involves monitoring which is seeking and receiving information to be able to understand the organization. The disseminator is responsible for transmitting all the important information received from outside stakeholders to other members of the organization while the spokesperson gets information from the managers and transmits the information to outside stakeholders. Examples of this information include policies, plans and more.

Decisional Roles

These are the roles that revolve around making choices in an organization. In most cases, the people who play decisional roles are the negotiator, the entrepreneur, the resource allocator and the disturbance handler.

The entrepreneur looks for opportunities, searches for change, respond to the change and exploit it. The resource allocator makes and approves all important decisions related to resource allocations. The negotiator represents the organization when it comes to major negotiations. The disturbance handler has the task of taking corrective action when the organization faces any form of disturbances.

The Major Functions of Management

Every business has managers. They do the same type of work in different businesses. Whether you manage a factory or a hair salon, the job of the manager consists of the same tasks. Organizing, planning, controlling and leading serve an important part in achieving the vision of management. All the components of management are important and you need all of them to function together to achieve goals.

Planning

This is the first component of management. Managers should determine what the goals of the organization are and how they can achieve the goals. Most of this information can be found from the mission and vision of the company. Setting up the goals and following up on the execution of the business plan are important components of the planning function. A manager in a local bar will need to have a hiring plan, a marketing plan and a sales plan to achieve organizational goals.

Organizing

Organizing is another important responsibility for managers and this includes organizing resources and people. Managers should know how many employees are needed for particular shifts to accomplish the objectives of a company. If the company doesn’t have the necessary resources to tackle their jobs, the organization will fail. Employees will see a manager be unprepared without an organized workplace and this will make them lose respect for the managers and their management techniques.

Leading

Leading and managing are entirely different. Managers manage workers, and they ensure that the tasks are done and completed on time. They ensure that the policies are followed. The staff will follow managers because they are the supervisors in charge of the employees. Employees will see a leader as someone who motivates them. The manager works as a leader in an ideal situation. Managers who want to effectively lead need to discover what motives their employees.

Controlling

This is a function of management and involves monitoring the performance of the firm to ensure that goals are being achieved. Managers should pay close attention to the costs in relation to the performance of the organization. If the company has a goal of increasing sales over the next two months, managers may check the progress of achieving the goal at the end of one month and share the information with the employees. This will build trust and an involvement feeling for the employees.

Managers have a lot of different tasks to accomplish. They need to plan, organize, lead and control. Managers act as a balancing act of different components and good managers are able to keep the balance and motivate employees.

Organizations have different levels of management. We have the top-level managers, the middle-level managers, and the low-level managers. Managers at different levels have different functions. Top-level managers consist of the managing director, the chief executive, and the directors. The middle-level managers consist of departmental and branch managers. The low-level managers are operation managers and supervisors.   

The Best Employee Traits for an Organization

When talking about human resources management, it is highly likely to talk about personality. Whenever we talk about cultural fit, job fit, conflict resolution, and team productivity in an organization, personality is often a key talking point. Personality is therefore very important in an organization.

It makes sense that certain personalities make people more suitable for the company, certain jobs, and certain teams. So, what is so informative about personality? There are certain things you should look at when evaluating someone’s personality.

Learning Mode

The first thing to consider about the personality of your employees is how they learn.

  • Do your employees assimilate information quickly or they are good with concrete data?
  • Are your employees more methodical or analytical?

It is crucial for employers to know the learning mode of their employees because this helps them to know if the employees have what it takes to be the most effective people in certain positions. It will also tell managers the best approach to training, onboarding and development plans.

The Strength of Character

The strength of character is not the ability of a person to walk all over others. It is the tendency of a person to stick to things that they know. Are the people traditional in things that they do or are they adaptable? Do the employees do well in ambiguous situations or they prefer familiar situations with directives that are clearly defined.

There are numerous positions that require people to be adaptable, ones who love trying things out and thrives in environments that are not familiar to them. However, you would not want such people to be your accountants.

Behavior

Behavior involves people as being either organized or spontaneous. This dimension of personality is one of the easiest to understand. Employees are either more organized or spontaneous.

Organized employees plan things ahead of time and have well-structured action plans. Spontaneous employees don’t mind interruptions or are comfortable at improvising or not as detail-oriented as the organized employees.

There are, however, those who land in between the two as with other dimensions. Individuals typically have a tendency to be either organized or spontaneous regardless of the strength of the traits. It would be important for people to know when they want to plan for important meetings.

Competitiveness

Sometimes, we meet people who seem to be unmotivated and lazy at first but become a fiery ball of accomplishments when they are pitted against other people. On the other hand, there are people who seem to be motivated but end up failing when you ask them to compete against others.

We are all different, and managers should understand this. Some people are less competitive than others while others get their satisfaction when they are serving others and find themselves in work environments that are harmonious.

Motivation

It would be awesome to know what motivates your staff. It would be great if you know that your best workers want more stability and security and not the big corner workspace.

There are some people who move across the world for a prettier paycheck or a better title. There are also those employees who have everything they need in their benefits plan. There are different things that motivate different employees. It is, therefore, crucial to know where your staff lies and what motivates them.

Assurance

Assertive people are very assured of themselves, and they like to lead, to argue and are opinionated. They can also be very persuasive. On the other hand, conciliate individuals tend to appear more composed, avoid confrontations and find it hard to express their opinion.

We also have those who are in between, but the main point is to recognize the importance of distinguishing between the two. This is more important if your business requires too much teamwork. It is crucial to ensure that the team is complementary and compatible.

Level of Trust

When we talk about the level of trust we are not referring to the level of trust one has in other people when they are given information. We need to know whether they question everything or when they accept the things that are at face value. Managers or business owners should consider having a great employee who would be a great manager.

However, after a few months in the new role, you will notice that the projects of the employee are not going smoothly as you expected. Investigations also show that new managers are a little too trusting for their role and are not doing the control required to be a manager or following up. Employees and situations are different, and life would be easier and better if you know the things you are dealing with.

Sociability

I am sure you have heard a lot about employee sociability. If you have ever done a test about personality, then there are high chances that you have looked at your results on this scale and thought of the things you are and the things you are not as far as sociability is concerned.

It is crucial to understand that different things get measured when evaluating sociability. A lot of people don’t see the benefit of the scale as far as business is concerned. It is crucial to know which of your employees are willing to initiate contact with strangers.

You need to know employees that are best listeners and those that prefer being alone. This will help you know the employees to put at the front desk, and the employees to assign marketing tasks that involve talking to strangers.

Nervous tension

It is essential to know how your employees will react when they are under pressure or when they are under strict supervision. Are they cool, calm and collected? Are they affected by the pressure or are they anxious? This information should be used by managers to know the employees who can work under pressure, supervised and unsupervised. It is the best way to know who can lead and who cannot lead.

MACHIAVELLIANISM IN ORGANIZATIONS

What is Machiavellianism?

Machiavellianism is a political theory by Niccolo Machiavelli. Machiavelli focused lots of time to writing after he was exiled in 1512. He then published a very famous book known as The Prince.

The Prince suggested that to keep power, leaders should be cunning, brutal, cruel and use any means possible to maintain power, rule and achieve their goals. This infamous recommendation is what has come to be known as Machiavellism.

Machiavellism thus is defined as the personality trait where someone is so focused on achieving something or maintaining the power that he/she is willing to used deceit, cunning, assassination, cruelty or any means possible to achieve it. Machiavellism is one of the three traits that form The Dark Triad. The other two are psychopathy and narcism. People that embody all these traits or score high on them are known to have malevolent qualities. Psychologists and psychiatrists see the Dark Triad as a mental illness, or a set of mental illnesses, whose victims end up either in jail or very successful.

People with Machiavellism personality tend to be unemotional and with little regard for human life and are not influenced by the conventional morality code.

In this article, we are going to look at why and how Machiavellism is used in organizations by business owners and managers and workers and how prevalent it is.

Machiavellism in organizations

Nicolo Machiavelli theory was developed mostly to point out how successful leaders manage to maintain power and build successful entities. He simply identified how great, or rather, effective leaders manage to exercise power over their juniors. Machiavellism thus existed long before Nicolo Machiavelli put his theory to paper.

Machiavelli described how organizations run within in all human societies then explained what the leaders had to do to ensure the survival of the organization. Note that it is irrelevant whether the motive of the organization is good or bad, the theory applies.

The theory is fully based on human nature – feeding on the tendency of human behavior in a natural environment where there is an unlimited choice. What he saw thus does not really describe the conventional good or moral behavior but a selfish urge to achieve whatever one wants to achieve.

Humans are naturally self-interested. We seek to satisfy and achieve our goals with varying degrees of zeal and rationality, and we employ varying levels of rationality to the means we use to achieve those goals. However, the things humans pursue in their lifetime are generally similar – food, shelter, pleasure and sexual/reproductive partners. There is thus a natural competition which we also indulge in varying levels of zeal and ruthlessness.

All organizations are comprised of people who are involved in one or more ruthless pursuits and zeal to achieve something selfishly at the expense of the organization or others. There are also individuals who are in a ruthless pursuit of achieving something for the organization and will employ any means possible to achieve what they want.

Machiavelli also noted that human beings are inclined to live communally and corporate with other social groups. However, this too is done with the sole aim of personal gratification and humans will only corporate with other humans if they see a possibility of the cooperation advancing their personal interests. This is one element of Machiavelism that helps organizations grow – everyone pursuing their own interests while in so doing, furthering the interests and growth of the organization.

Normally, great empires (both business and nations) have a criminal justice system that punishes unbridled self-interest within the organization and where possible, a military that deals with unbridled self-interest emanating externally. This is a clear manifestation of Machiavellism where the leaders assume that, where an opportunity shows itself, people, within and outside the organization, are likely to act in self-interest.

The emergence of trade unions in Britain in the 17th Century has its roots in Machiavelism in organizations. Even though they were formed to pursue a noble cause, they were also formed to pursue self-interest and oppose the ruthless self-interest of mining company owners in Britain.

Advantages of Machiavellianism in Organizations

Though running on ruthlessness and selfishness, Machiavelism has a good share of its advantages in organizations.

For one, the most successful organizations in the world have managed to reach where they are courtesy of Machiavelism. It is the zeal and selfish desire to succeed that made organizations become so successful. It is the competitive nature of its employees that led to innovation, hard work and giving up their all for the sake of self-interest and in the long run benefitting the organization. The famous phrase, ‘why do the bad guys always win’ is an example of how Machiavellianism has led to the success of organizations and individuals. The more ruthless one pursues their goal, the more likely they are to be successful.

Machiavellian tendencies also intimidate and frighten competitors giving organizations a better platform to better themselves.

Disadvantages of Machiavellianism

All elements of Machiavellianism can be described as unethical behavior in human society. All individuals with the Machiavellianism trait have a propensity to behave amorally and love manipulating other people. Machiavellian employees are likely to commit lots of counterproductive behavior that may not just lead to the suffering of other people but could also lead to losses within the organization. These actions range from behaviors that will affect other employee’s performance to ignoring the most important activities in their quest of achieving their own goals to outright thieving from the organization.

As much as they love being high achievers and would not let anything stand in their way, Machiavellians are also known to be thieves. Machiavellians will still from their colleagues and employers irrespective of how they are treated in the organization. This has a negative effect on the organization and will make it less competitive among its peers.

Machiavellians are also easily bribed. Somebody whose sole motivation is self-interest will not let an opportunity to enrich themselves without doing much pass and competitors are likely to use them to bring an organization down.

Quality, Productivity, and Striking the Right Balance

What strikes first in your mind when I say ‘limited edition’? Probably expensive clothing, footwear, or an accessory from a high-end brand that you have been yearning for years. The pivotal questions arise here: What makes it a limited edition? Why is there a huge demand for it? How is it different from a product you bought from the local market?

If you have already made a comparison between the two, apparently you have the same answer as mine – “SUPERIOR QUALITY, LESS QUANTITY.” Wouldn’t there be a reshuffling of terms to make it the other way round, if we replace a ‘limited edition’ product with something that has ‘Made in China’ inscribed on it?

Here begins the game of ‘metrics.’ When it comes to determining the efficacy of a company and its output, ‘Quality metric’ and ‘Productivity metric’ are something to be taken into serious consideration. The two metrics, however, are in a constant race to surpass and win against each other. This leads to an imbalance that further results in negative upshots. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the metrics.

Measuring Productivity

Productivity reflects a company’s potential and effectiveness to achieve the desired set of goals within a specific period. Productivity undervalues output and lays its focus on inputs and resources used to produce them. The ratio of total outputs to a measure of data used in production is the measured productivity.

A simple Google search for ‘measuring productivity’ can lead to several methods deployed for measuring productivity. Multifactor Productivity (MFP) and Labour Productivity (LP) are the two most commonly employed. The former determines growth in value-added output, while the latter measures the growth of the value-added production per unit of labor used.

Consequences of focus entirely laid on productivity

 Let’s take a quick look at some instances –

  • The Green Revolution in the 1960s rapidly increased crop production to meet the growing demands. That brought the doom for organic farming.
  • China is turning into a global economic power, owing to production in enormous scales. Indian markets are overflooded with Chinese goods. The ‘imported’ electronic toy made in China that you just bought dismantled.
  • 9 to 5 jobs offer fixed working hours. You work for 8 hours, five days a week, and earn a steady salary by the end of the month. More and more people these days are ditching their 9 to 5 jobs.

Even though these instances seem paradoxical and very different from one another, the similarity lies in their productivity metric.

It has been observed that focus on productivity alone, often stimulate adverse responses. With emphasis solely laid on productivity and quality of an output compromised, the company usually gets pushed downhill.

That for sure, explains why the Green Revolution failed in spite of enormous support, Chinese goods find way only to the markets in developing and underdeveloped countries and 9 to 5 trend has been replaced by freelancers.

Measuring Quality

Quality is a pack of various attributes. It is mostly vague and cannot be measured directly. Measuring the quality of work or product largely depends upon its nature and customer satisfaction. Asserting that, quality can be grouped into different entities:

  • Data quality,
  • Product quality,
  • Service quality,
  • Process quality, and
  • Software Quality.

The first step involves identifying the entity to which the item belongs. Based on that, several other methods like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter (NPS), and Customer Effort Score (CES) are employed.

Consequences of focus entirely laid on quality

Focusing on the quality of work or product often bears fruitful results. The demand and popularity of high-end brands or can be solely owed to the superior quality of their products.

However, importance only to one aspect can never add to the company’s growth. Imagine your leader being obsessed with quality products. S/he is most likely to provide you with flexible working hours and extendable deadline. In such a situation of little or no workload, an employee will undoubtedly be reluctant to display his/her potential, thus restricting productivity and growth. One has to be inclusive of the other.

Striking the Right Balance

Why is it necessary to strike the right balance? — There is a reason you’re still yearning for the ‘limited edition’ product, I had mentioned earlier. Quality comes with its own set of pitfalls. The higher the quality, the higher the cost! Hence, in a world full of people, where not everyone is a millionaire, it is essential for quality to merge with quantity.

  • Be a good boss/leader. The secret of attaining the desired output in any work depends on the one supervising or leading the team. You might be in a position that already seems evil to your employees. The term ‘boss’ has been attributed with negative connotations, while a ‘leader’ has been associated with positive. Whatever the position you are in,  try to guide the team. Respect them as human beings. Don’t just throw orders, show them. The efficiency of an organization is only reflected when it has a kind boss/ leader.
  • Loyalty is an essential factor in determining the quality of a team. A person holding a personal grudge against the boss or any of the teammates is undoubtedly not going to put maximum effort. Internal conflicts should be kept at bay for the smooth running of the team.
  • Pair up the assets with the potential. A team is an amalgam of heroes and mediocre. Every team undoubtedly has members who excel in maintaining both quality and productivity. Such assets should be paired up with the members having similar potential. A rotten apple spoils the barrel. The asset can be the rotten apple influencing the possibilities.
  • Let Productivity and Quality walk hand in hand. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. There will be members who excel in quality but not productivity and vice versa. This calls for guidance and support until they attain their fullest potential.

Quality and productivity might in a race not stand a chance to win against the other. But friction between them is sure to cause spark!

Separating Hype from Reality: Exploring AI in IT Service Management

IT service teams have been under continuous pressure about two matters for quite some time now. On the one hand, they must to do more with less. On the other, they need to deliver superior customer service and reduce downtime. We have seen that the complexity of these issues has also increased to a significant extent.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are a helpful solution to all these issues. AI offers many opportunities to address these challenges. Besides, it helps improve the overall IT service management. It is worth observing how IT managers and directors can implement AI to improve their operations.

ITSM is improving but still needs work

We are continually witnessing the evolution of IT operations, how they adopt new technologies as they progress. We see organizations using more and more IT management systems and automation. IT management systems help to realize their strategies better. ITSM can not only develop and implement but also, manage and optimize IT domains.

ITSM can help to optimize both IT services and the end-user experience. There is an ever-growing business dependence on IT services. This is a testament to the fact that there is a need for constant improvement and innovation in IT operations. Above all, IT customers have imposed an irresistible necessity in the department.

We believe that the IT team still faces a great deal of pressure from its stakeholders. This is due to the fact that we face “delivering more with less” mentality. This has an underlying implication of the concept of “faster, cheaper, better – pick any two.” Fast-paced improvements in IT services or operations attract users along with greater flexibility.

Again, doing things cheaper is not about reducing operational costs and realizing efficiencies. Instead, it is necessary that we focus on value over cost and add business value wherever possible. The concept of being better can mean many things. It can mean improving IT service quality and including availability. It can also be about meeting the end-users’ high expectations of IT services. At the same time, it also means that we have to have a continuous drive to offer better support and customer service.

As faster, cheaper, and better are all equally important, we recommend a solution for ITSM that doesn’t force organizations to pick two of the three. Lucky for us, AI and automation in the present day make it possible for IT departments to prove all three qualities.

AI and automation will change the game.

When it comes to IT management, AI, machine reasoning, and automation are gaining rapid momentum. It’s not merely hype. We understand that AI’s well-deserved popularity is on the rise for many reasons. AI is already helping different business functions across many industries in several ways. AI can replace or augment existing manual processes. Moreover, automation adds “heavy thinking and lifting” capabilities to various assets.

We have observed a movement toward digital agents that use Natural Language Processing (NLP). They use machine reasoning to add intelligence to IT management tasks. This is possible due to the early application of machine learning, which includes concepts like pattern matching. Automation libraries, adding to this, will provide end-to-end automation. This will help to resolve up to 50 percent of repetitive manual tasks in an instant. Applying these innovations in the correct manner can help us in large ways. They allow IT, service employees, to focus instead on bigger and more important issues.

This will help employees to provide a 24/7 “consumer-like” IT services. This, in turn, helps to increase employee engagement and productivity. AI and automation increase the speed of execution and task or process adaptability. They are useful in reducing costs. AI provides efficient alternatives to human intervention and cuts errors caused by humans. Thus, we can see how AI provides better customer experience to the end-users. This then helps to increase customer satisfaction scores (CSAT).

Examining specific use cases of AI and automation

We have put forward some of the cases that provide demonstrations of how AI and automation will transform the field of ITSM below:

  • A digital agent with auto-resolution. Here, end-users interact with a digital agent through chat and voice conversations. The digital agent understands the intent of the conversation. The agent deciphers what the problem is. The agent, in this way, proceeds to auto-resolve up to 50 percent of end-user requests.
  • Self-serve resolution. It is now possible to put in place an automation solution that increases optimal end-user productivity. Moreover, AI enables us to do this in a cost-efficient way. It enables us to find pertinent information. This supplies the solution to our problems instead of filing tickets. These articles may also be served by digital agents on request.
  • Catch and auto-dispatch. We understand that we lose too much time waiting for the ticket to be assigned to an agent. There is an extra issue of fixing a mischaracterized ticket. AI enables intelligent ticket routing that optimizes ticket assignment. It considers factors like the priority of the request. It also considers the knowledge, availability, and past performance of IT agents. These factors are based on past data and continuous learning.
  • Advanced agent assist. A lot of “tribal knowledge” is generated in the operations team that is not formally captured. A knowledgebase should incorporate tribal customer knowledge. That makes available the right knowledge articles and information about similar past incidents to IT operations staff (L1, L2, L3). This goes a long way to reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR) while troubleshooting.

The time is now

Finally, it is high time for IT service teams to strive to meet the needs of demanding users on the rise. This is a time of increasing complexity. Fortunately for us, AI and automation are finding their way into the IT department to help save the day. AI is already helping organizations across industries with external customer support. Thus, IT teams should expect to be valuable for both customers and the IT teams themselves. AI will soon become a necessity for IT departments shouldering heavy loads. Organizations that want to stay ahead of the pack should begin their AI journey now.

Developing and Understanding Organizational Culture

Managers and HR professionals must have a thorough understanding of what organizational culture is. They also need to understand what their specific organizational culture is. The culture of an organization is based on values that are derived from assumptions about the following.

  • The relationship of the organization to its environment- This is how the organization defines its constituencies and business.
  • Human nature- it is crucial to understand whether people are inherently bad or good, whether they are immutable or mutable and whether they are reactive or proactive. The basic assumptions lead to beliefs about how the customers, employees, and suppliers should interact and how they can be managed.
  • Appropriate emotions- these are the emotions that people should be encouraged to express and the ones they should suppress.
  • Effectiveness- these are the metrics that show whether the organization and its components are doing good. Organizations will only be effective when culture is supported by the business strategy and an appropriate structure for both the desired culture and the business.

Culture is an undefined aspect of organizations. It is a nebulous concept. There exists extensive academic literature that relates to the topic of organizational culture, but there is no universally accepted definition of organizational culture. Instead, the literature has numerous views as to what the culture of an organization is.

There are many ways that the culture of an organization can manifest itself. These ways include communication styles, leadership behaviors, corporate celebrations, and internally distributed messages.

Culture in a business compromises a lot of elements, so it is not surprising that the terms that define culture vary widely. Some of the commonly used terms for describing cultures include customer-focused, aggressive, fun, innovative, ethical, technology-driven, process-oriented, family-friendly, hierarchical and risk-taking.

Now that we have seen that it is difficult to define culture, organizations may have trouble when it comes to maintaining the consistency in creating and spreading their messages about culture. Employees also find it hard to communicate and identify perceived cultural inconsistencies.

Factors that Shape Culture

Leaders in organizations often talk about the unusual natures of their organizational cultures. They see their domains as special workplaces. Organizations that are known for their unique cultures are not many.

Most organizational cultures are not very different from one another. Companies in disparate industries such as health care and the manufacturing industry also share common core values. Nearly all the private sector companies want to increase their revenues and grow. Most of them try to play teamwork and demonstrate their concern for others.

The companies are driven and not relaxed because they compete for the market share and the money. Some of the characteristics that differentiate most organizations include:

Values

There are commonly shared business values at the heart of the cultures of an organization. There is none that is wrong or right, but organizations should decide on which values they want to emphasize. The common values include:

  • People orientation- this is insisting on tolerance, fairness, and respect for all individuals.
  • Outcome orientation- this is emphasizing results and achievements.
  • Team orientation- this is valuing precision and dealing with problems and situations analytically.
  • Stability- following a predictable course and providing security.
  • Innovation– encouraging risk-taking and experimentation.
  • Aggressiveness- encouraging a competitive spirit among the employees.

Hierarchy degree

This is the extent to which the values of an organization traditional channels of organizational authority.

We have three unique levels of hierarchy which are high – having a defined structure in an organization and expectation that people will work via official channels.

The second level of the hierarchy is moderate – having structures that are defined but accepting that people work outside their formal business channels.

The third level of the hierarchy is low – having job descriptions that are loosely defined and accepting that individuals challenge authority.

Organizations that have a high level of the hierarchy are more formal and move slowly compared to organizations that have a low level of hierarchy in an organization.

Degree of urgency

This defines how fast an organization needs or wants to drive innovation and decision making. Some businesses choose their degree of urgency while other businesses have it thrust on them by the nature of the market.

Organizational cultures that have a high level of urgency have a need to push projects through quickly and the high need to respond to the marketplace that is always changing. Moderate levels of urgency move projects at a pace that is reasonable. Low level of urgency in an organization means that people work consistently and slowly and value quality over efficiency.

Organizations that have high urgency are fast-paced, and they support a decisive style of management. Organizations with low urgency are more methodical, and they support a management style that is more considered.

Task Orientation or People Orientation

Businesses have a dominant way of valuing tasks and people. Organizations that have strong people orientation put people first when it comes to making decisions. Such organizations also believe that people drive the performance of the organization and productivity.

Organizations that have a strong task orientation put process and tasks first when it comes to making decisions. Such organizations believe that quality and efficiency drive the productivity and performance of the organization. Some businesses may get to choose their task and people orientations. But other organizations may have to fit their orientation to the historical issues, nature of their industry and operational processes.

Organizational subcultures

Apart from the dominant culture in an organization, organizations can have a mix of subcultures. Subcultures in an organization exist among individuals and groups that may have their own traditions and rituals. Although the subcultures may not be shared by the rest of the people in an organization, they can get deep and underscore the core values of the organization. The subcultures in an organization can end up causing a lot of problems.

You can find that in one department, there is a subculture of aggressiveness. The subculture will spread gradually throughout the organization as the employees interact with people from other departments.

How Can Organizations Use Information About Introversion And Extroversion?

Introversion and Extroversion plays an important role in understanding human personalities.

Introversion is the lack or apparent lack of interest in other people and instead focussing in one’s mental self. Introverted people tend to be reserved and shy and prefer alone time to group time. An introvert focuses their energy on reflection and tends to be quiet in group interactions.4

There is this notion that introverted people are hard to socialize with and some people will have a hard time interacting with them just from the notion.

Extroversion is the opposite of introversion. It is the state of somebody being gratified by interaction with other people rather than focusing their energy in their mental self.

There are lots of misconceptions about introverted and extroverted people. Some careers that involve lively interactions with other humans such as politics, musicians, lawyers etc are seen to be suited for extroverted people while other careers that mostly involve deep thinking and reflection like philosophy, science, engineering etc are seen as suitable for introverts. However, this is a very false notion. Barack Obama, for instance, with his charismatic speeches and lively interactions with people is a well-known introvert. Same with Julia Roberts – the famous award-winning actress. Meanwhile, other historical figures that may pass as staunch introverts like polymath Benjamin Franklin and philosopher Socrates were known extroverts.

In business and organizations, you can use the introversion and extroversion of your employees to your advantage when you understand them. In this article, we are going to look at how organizations can use information about introversion and extroversion of their employees to their advantage.

Working with an Introvert

Once you realize your employee is an introvert, there is a way you should handle them and work with them to ensure high productivity and harmony. Below are some of the ways you can work with your introvert colleague or employee.

Make them aware in advance

Introverts are people who love reflecting and deep thinking. They are well-organized people and want to prepare for everything that comes their way. They don’t like being caught by surprise. It makes them more comfortable and since they are shy people, prepares them for what is to come.

Embrace technology

Introverts are more into themselves than into other people. An introvert will work better by themselves when and if they can work by themselves. If you can pass information to them electronically like via online chats, do it. You don’t have to subject them to the unnecessary stress of them having to attend meetings and ‘unnecessarily’ interact with people when they would rather just get the information through an electronic device.

Perfect the art of patience

Introverts are less likely to share information with other people than extroverts (and normal people who are neither introverts or extroverts). An introvert will take time to warm up and share their ideas with the group. You might thus not get much feedback from an introvert while discussing ideas with them. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t paying attention. It doesn’t mean they have nothing to say either. Being patient with an introvert means that you’ll get more out of them.

Give them space

This is closely related to being patient. Introverts don’t just only take longer to warm up to the group, they might not warm up at all if not offered the opportunity to. Sometimes, the type of opportunity they get might also not be perfect enough to enable them to warm up. It is thus important to follow up to the introvert in your group just to confirm if they hard anything to say. Friendliness is key.

Working with an Extrovert

Just like with an introvert, there are challenges that come with working with an extrovert. Here are some tips to take to ensure you get the full productivity of an extrovert when working with one.

Let them be extroverts

Being an extrovert might be fun for some people but sometimes one might find them unbearable. Statements like ‘he/she talks too much’ comes to mind.

It is good to understand that, that is their nature and sometimes be patient with them even when you feel they are talking too much. Just let them speak. This makes them feel part of the team and inspires them to share more and never feel unwanted.

Always be assertive

As much as you’ll allow your extroverted employee or workmate be an extrovert, make sure you demarcate some boundaries. It is good to understand that extroverts don’t tire from speaking and mind end up taking all the time and all the limelight making other people feel useless. Make sure the extroverted teammate leaves some time for the rest and learn how to politely interrupt them when they go beyond the boundaries you demarcated.

Ask Questions

Introverts think deeply and reflect on whatever they have to say before they say it. They thus will only voice an idea that they’ve already refined and might not need much clarification. Introverts also tend to draw keener ears when they speak since everybody understands they only speak when they have something important to say.

Extroverts on the other hand voice any idea that comes into their mind and you might have to separate the chaff from the grain to get what they really intended to put across. It is thus important to ask questions when an extrovert speaks for clarity and a better understanding of what they have to say.

Managing extroverts and introverts

If you are a manager, it is 100% unlikely that you’ll end up with a group full of extroverts or a group full of introverts. In fact, it is 100% unlikely you’ll have two people with exactly the same level of introversion or extroversion. As a manager, it is important to delegate tasks based on your understanding of your team’s personalities. It is, for instance, more prudent to delegate the task of making a presentation to an extrovert while a project that requires keen attention to detail should be given to an introvert to lead.

How AI will Transform IT Service Management

Remember ‘Jarvis’ from Iron Man or ‘Irona,’ the Robot Maid from Richie Rich? Well, if you do, then you already had a glimpse of the shrewd adroitness of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Artificial Intelligence or, what we call machine intelligence is all set to create an unprecedented phenomenon shortly. The rate of its progression has been swift, dramatic and very real, and as Elon Musk said: “It is capable of vastly more than anyone knows and the rate of improvement is exponential.” Artificial Intelligence in the realm of IT, has a vast potential in developing and transforming the IT Service Management (ITSM).

How ITSM works

ITSM, in itself, is a broad spectrum connecting the dots between IT services and the end-users. It encompasses all the activities performed by an organization to design, create, implement, deliver, and manage IT services provided to its customers. ITSM employs several frameworks to meet its ends, ITIL being the most popular and preferred. ITIL CSI has come to be mainly in use for improving business. To understand ITIL, let’s look at its definition by Wikipedia.

ITIL an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a set of detailed practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of the business.

ITIL describes processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists which are not organization-specific nor technology-specific, but can be applied by an organization for establishing integration with the organization’s strategy, delivering value, and maintaining a minimum level of competency.”

See, easy to define but hard to understand. Not everyone is a Tony Stark after all. So, we have tried putting this into an explanation for the many Steve Rogers, who only understand ‘English.’

Let’s, for example, take a restaurant. If the food and ambiance provided by the restaurant are equivalent to IT services offered by a company and employees catering to the customers are similar to ITSM, ITIL is the approach adopted by the restaurant in situations provoking customer dissatisfaction. To learn more about IT trends click here

Reactive vs. Proactive

The very first book written on ITIL was the service desk, a modified version of the help desk that was created to resolve issues and support its end users. The take was on Incident Management. The initial idea of a help desk or service desk was responding to a call from a customer detailing out the issue, the mere goal being user back up and getting the program somehow running. Moreover, it called for a reactive response, which means that one had to wait until the issues showed up.

As certain issues started appearing over and over again, a proactive response was called for. A dynamic reaction contemplated identifying the problem area and fixing it even before it occurred. Prevention is better than cure after all!

Thus emerged ITIL Problem Management on the screen. With automation and advancements like pattern recognition in technology, problems could be traced and fixed way before they have planned. So, we had technology that could foresee what is coming and report it to the human analyst for preventing it. What we intend on discussing in this article is what if it never had to be reported? What if technology could make it vanish?

Predictive analytics

Have you ever wondered how Amazon, Google, or Facebook know you better than your closest friend? From recalling the person, you stalked last year to remembering your sizes. They come up with word suggestions and content recommendations even before you have typed or searched for the information. 

This Predictive Analytics, in the last few years, has been seen detonating under the name of ‘Big Data.’ Artificial Intelligence had already made its mark in the e-commerce and automobile sectors, much before IT embraced it. Can you imagine its scope in IT?

How AI will transform service management

Not long ago, did we even dream of automated cars, yet today we have them in reality. Artificial Intelligence escalated real quick optimizing itself and empowering others, along with its partners- Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Their efficiency is immeasurable. AI in ITSM will renovate the system in whole. Let’s look at some of the possible fields for its growth.

  • Incident management. A report by Pink Elephant states that 96% of the IT incidents are caused by changes made by IT, which means incidents are inevitable. That calls for rapid human action after every alteration. Lean defines incidents and incident management as ‘waste,’ dissipating time, energy, and resources. Wouldn’t it be great they were resolved automatically? Deploying AI in such locus can save IT employees from such routine tasks, not to mention its efficacy.
  • Problem management. The key to problem management is pattern recognition. Most of the AI systems, depend on sophisticated pattern learning to identify specific issues. With such advanced pattern recognition in ITSM, problems can be fixed by machines themselves way before they even surface.
  • Machine Learning. True Machine Learning, according to George Spalding, the Executive VP at Pink Elephant, is ‘still in its infancy.’ Even True Machine Learning neural network creators aren’t sure how it works, adds Spalding. ML bears the potential to optimize ITSM in unimaginable ways. The future of ITSM is brighter than the sun with its real advent.
  • Intelligent Chatbox for ITSM. “By 2020, the average person will have conversations with bots more frequently than their spouse”, according to Gartner. With Siri and Google Assistant in your hand, you already have a general idea about its capabilities. AI implementation in ITSM chatbots will have more natural automated support provided with a conversational user interface, while natural Language Processing (NLP) assists it to converse in several languages. Machine Learning will enable such bots to deliver real-time answers.
  • Increasing Productivity. A comparatively large number of companies, over the last few years, have adopted ITIL for enhancing their business. ITIL powered by AI will offer self-help as a smart option for its end-users, reducing Incident Management a.k.a. Ticketing, increasing customer satisfaction, accelerating business performance, and adding to the company’s productivity.

The advent of Artificial Intelligence is just about to cause global and phenomenal changes but has also put an end to limitations with the sprouting of vast and imminent possibilities. Not far from where we stand today, we can imagine a future shaped by machines.

Is Remote Working A Fad Or Is It Here To Stay?

Since the recent past, we have been thinking of open floor plans as a tool to inspire collaboration and communication in the workspace. What is an ‘open floor plan,’ one might ask? We may define it as being a generic term used in architectural and interior design. This can be any floor plan which makes use of large and open spaces. It minimizes the use of small, enclosed rooms such as private offices. However, companies are coming to recognize what employees have known for a long time. That is, open floor plans actually reduce productivity. We believe that meaningful work requires acute focus and concentration. Karen Lachtanski makes a great case for the need for ‘remote working.’

Distractions Derail Productivity

 We realize that knowledge-based activities such as writing and software coding need high concentration. We can cite the example of Lachtanski, who had worked for a small startup company where a cowbell was rung to celebrate every time it secured a big order. While we cannot deny that it was a great team motivator, problems were swift to come to the surface. And especially so when one of their web developers asserted it to be detrimental to his ability to concentrate. According to him, it took him about 30 minutes to refocus after the interruption.

To corroborate this, we can look at the research undertaken by the University of California, Irvine. The study shows that it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to a task after a distraction. This compels us to take a moment to think about how many distractions we face in a day. When we consider how many people are wearing headphones in the office, we can guess its effects on collaboration and communication.

For many of us, working away from the office, whether at home or in a quiet place, is steadily becoming the norm. In fact, many companies and individuals are participating in a Global Work from Home day on April 10.

How to Convince Your Manager Remote Work Is Necessary and Better

 We feel that, sometimes, the benefits of remote work aren’t immediately evident to managers or the higher-ups. Below we have put forward a few recommendations to make its case.

  • We should frame the conversation with the benefit in mind. We need to make it clear that we want to provide quality work and need a quiet space to do our best work.
  • We have realized that the offer to work remotely on a trial basis (one or two days a week) works wonders at getting the conversation started. The trial period is to prove that we can be more productive than our peers. We can achieve this while working from home by setting evaluation dates and defining what success should look like. Supervisors are left to consider the utilities and the value of the service provided in their own terms.
  • We should discuss the collaboration tools which we will use to stay in touch with our manager, the team, and others.
  • We find that communication is of the greatest importance to prove that we can be trusted to do the work. Communicating what we have accomplished can be very helpful. It is valuable to have similar projects that were completed in the office as examples to compare to.
  • We should establish the working hours if they are different than normal office hours. We stress the need for transparency and diligence in attendance. Proper steps should be taken to ensure rewards, as is stated in this post by Morzaria.

We find that it is necessary that we explain our remote office situation. We need to clarify if it is at home or in a co-shared space. We should discuss how we will handle company materials and assets in a responsible and secure way. To be efficient, we need to share pictures of what our workspace would look like.

We agree that remote working might not be right for everyone. Yet, we believe that when it is, everyone wins in one shape or form. And we do feel that it a valid concern for most managers to wonder if allowing remote work for one person means it should be allowed for everyone. There are many reasons why working from home is not viable for everyone.

In the present day, we discover that graduates, when entering the workforce, are looking for alternative work styles. At the same time, retaining talent and hiring the best talent is a growing concern for companies. This means they are looking at ways to change the office workplace.

We do recognize the difficulty of the older companies for whom accommodating work from home requests can be a major shift from what they had been doing earlier. There can be situations where managers may not have the discretion to say yes even to a trial. In such cases, we advise the discussion of the proposal to be shifted to the HR and other managers. It is incredibly helpful if one’s company views them as a valued employee who contributes in a professional way. In companies where remote working is a new concept, it is trust which forms the basis for the realization of the concept. For instance, when one needs a doctor’s appointment, we advise doing so near the end of the day. The employee should work from home instead of returning to the office. We find that it is crucial to talk about what we were able to accomplish during that time at home and suggest doing it more often.

One’s manager can be the kind who wants to see concrete data. In the case of such scenarios, we suggest showing them the research mentioned earlier along with the results of a 2-year Stanford study by professor Nicholas Bloom. This TEDx talk in 2017 shows the remote workers’ productivity and longevity in terms of working hours, with their employee attrition being 50 percent less than telecommuters. Additionally, the company benefited from needing less office space. Further ways to effectively combat employee turnover or churn rate is discussed in depth in this article.

Finally, we cannot fathom how one can override the benefits of an employee who worked longer, was more productive, and was less likely to leave. As a matter of fact, remote working is surely and steadily becoming the norm. Eventually, we will find that requesting the need for it will no longer need negotiating with such detail.

Employee Needs and Organizational Productivity

Both employers and employees have needs to meet within an organization. Employees have got families, outside work activities and events they consider important. Businesses have services and products to deliver to customers and different obligations to stockholders and investors.

It is crucial to recognize this tension. Employers implement creative approaches to make employees happy because they understand that unhappy employees are not creative and productive.

How to Identify the Needs of Employees

Running a business means that you are responsible for managing employees in a way that every member of the team perform and delivers to his maximum potential. The best way you can do this is to set up the workplace so that every staff member has the proper tools to perform his or her job.

This may be a computer, fax machine or even proper training. It is crucial for business managers to learn these employee needs to know their industry, their workplace, and the procedures. It is also very important to understand the needs of the employees which can be unique in nature.

Employers or managers should design a performance review for the employees in an organization. The reviews should be based on the position of the employees. They should include the skills and abilities to perform the job.

The second step is to fill out a performance review for the employees every year. Managers should meet with employees to discuss their performance review. You also need to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the employee at the meeting and listen to concerns, questions, and suggestions.

A training regimen should then be implemented for each division in order to increase the knowledge of the employees. Assign the highest performing employee to run the training sessions. All employees should attend the training classes to help them improve in the needed areas as you had indicated in the performance evaluation.

It is crucial to talk to your employees continuously throughout the year. This will encourage the employees to be honest and open about their suggestions and concerns. You should let the employees know when you are available and let everyone know that you will meet with any employees to discuss their needs and performance.

Instruct your supervisors and trainers to implement an open door policy. Meet with them every week to discuss the needs of the employees.

How to Meet the Needs of Employees in an Organization

Employers and managers have an obligation to provide their staff with a good work environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and unsafe conditions. They should also be responsible for meeting the needs of the employees in other areas. The areas may include employee recognition, job satisfaction, financial needs, and job stability. Organizations should employ common sense to know what the employees need and how they can meet the employee needs.

Purpose

Before the relationship between the employee and the employer is cemented; organizations anticipate their future employee needs to provide job descriptions that are straightforward and accurate.

The job description should clarify the roles of the employees, the expectations of the company, and the qualifications and skills that the employee needs to be successful in doing their job. Without the job description, the purpose of the employee is unclear, and this makes it impossible for the organization to start an evaluation of their performance.

When you provide the employees with a job description, you meet the needs of the employees to define their purpose in the organization. It is crucial to give the employees a sense of purpose.

Feedback

Employers need to provide employees with a job description because it is important to provide feedback on the performance of the employees. However, when the supervisors interact with the employees frequently, it provides the needed feedback to help run the business.

Employees should know that they are doing their duties according to the expectations of their employers. Feedback from the supervisors is important to correct deficiencies early in case the employees are not meeting the expectations. Feedback also satisfies the needs of the employees for constructive input and helps to reinforce performance and improve weak performance.

Equality

It is crucial for employers to assure employees that they are entitled to fair treatment at work. Workers who don’t feel like they get equity in the promotion, hiring, training, and retention may end up losing faith in the company. They become dissatisfied, and this can harm performance and productivity. It can also kill their morale.

It is therefore essential to meet the needs of the employees as you treat all the employees equal. Also, all the employees should adhere to the laws enforced by the government and the business rules for them to be treated equally.

Pecuniary

Workers have pecuniary needs. This means that they need to earn salaries or wages in exchange for their services. It is crucial for employers to assess their benefits practices and compensation to ensure that they are paying competitive staff salaries and providing financial rewards for special services offered by the employees.

Workers have the desire to feel like they are making substantial contributions to the organization. However, satisfying their intrinsic desire is not enough to sustain the lifestyle of the employees. Therefore, businesses should do more than following the laws that apply to mere salaries. They must also create structures that let the employees know that the organization values their talents and their contributions to the business.

Stability

Sometimes, gossips and hoaxes may come through the organization and make the employees think that the business is not stable or not being managed well. It is crucial for business owners and managers to address such issues before they become out of hand.

It is crucial to make the employees feel that their jobs are safe and stable and that they will continue to work for the company. This will help them to bar any misconduct from their part. It is important for managers to gain the confidence of their employees by creating a clear communication path and addressing employee issues as soon as they identify them.

The Growing Usage of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service

The rapid advancement of AI technology has led to benefits in numerous business sectors. We have previously talked about their growing popularity in contact centers, but an even more increasingly popular usage for AI is in customer service. It is no wonder that – within three years – 55% of retailers are planning to employ artificial intelligence to improve customer service, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey.

To find out why, it is essential to examine how AI works in the field of customer service and the advantages it brings to the table.

What Artificial Intelligence Can Do

Scientists are striving to make consumer-to-producer (C2P) communication AI-based and indistinguishable to manual communication. This is far from perfect, but through using complex learning algorithms and studying consumer behavior, AI technology is advancing to an extent that it can replicate most manual interaction.

Firstly, AI aids in strategic decision-making by tracking trends in consumer behavior through the analysis of readily-available transaction and browsing data. The conduction of this analysis allows digital retailers to refine their product recommendations and personalize their purchase suggestion for each user.

This does not come off as a surprise as we have formerly discussed how using consumer data can significantly improve customer experience. Most, if not all, large-scale digital retailers employ this feature of AI to attract more demand. For instance, Amazon uses AI to detect a pattern in customers’ browsing and transaction history on the website to make purchase suggestions.

 Secondly, an ever-increasing number of digital service providers are using AI augmented messages. This usage may occasionally be difficult as customers often feel frustrated when they are dealing with a pure bot in live chat support. However, this technology has experienced rapid development within these few years to an extent that – as LivePerson claims- “Half of all customer service interactions are currently highly suitable for bots.”

LivePerson is one company which is currently working with IBM Watson to transform customer care through the usage of AI augmented messaging. The same augmentation can be adapted to customer care phone calls. As a matter of fact, IBM claims that “customers make more than 270 billion phone calls to customer support lines each year.” Such a high load cannot be adequately handled by manual customer support workers and AI helps relieve the pressure.

The advancement of voice recognition software and the development of faster self-learning AI will improve the sustainability of using technology to improve customer care. In addition, bots and humans can work hand-in-hand to provide the most sufficient service in customer support. This is possible in both: phone calls and live text support – as seen below.

Thirdly, AI comes in very handy in streamlining responses to email inquiries. This brings forth numerous advantages. Most importantly, using artificial intelligence can reduce the average handling time (AHT) as it is able to classify the inquiries into different categories so they can be deal with faster and easier. Based on that, the AI can either automatically respond to the inquiry if it classified as a FAQ or it can forward it for human assistance.

The reduced AHT lead to increased customer satisfaction while the automation of responses leads to reduced consumption of human resources. As such, the usage of AI technology in handling emails provides a win-win situation and leaves no side at loss.

The Long-term Benefits of AI

AI provides services which are useful for all types of business, so we can see their usage continuing to grow in the future. This trend is reinforced by the self-learning nature of AI. Self-learning, or deep learning, refers to the phenomena where machines can learn by experience and acquire skills without human involvement. This allows them to improve over time and adapt more effortlessly to the market and consumer behavior.

Every single day, 2.6 quintillion bytes of data are generated. That number seems incomprehensible to human beings, but AI actively use the data for their improvement through deep learning. This can be directly observed in AI which is fixated on improving customer experience. Most notably, Netflix uses deep-learning AI to analyze patterns in what users watch and personalize movie recommendations accordingly.

We have spoken earlier about the numerous benefits of Continual Service Improvement (CSI), and the deep-learning aspect of AI provides just that. The implementation of AI in the customer service sector of one’s business will allow it to continually improve in accordance with the ITIL model since the bots will be adopting more over time. Thus, the employment of AI has as many long-term advantages as it has short-term advantages, making it perfect for almost every business model.

The Growing Prevalence of AI

In light of all those benefits, one question arises: Will AI ever completely replace humans in the field of customer service? To date, the answer remains a mystery. However, most people do not think so. It is true that AI is able to outperform humans in numerous areas, but one must consider that they are dependent on the first-hand human experience at the end of the day.

Smart technology such as deep-learning AI LivePerson independently improve but it still lacks many of the qualities which humans uniquely possess, most remarkably human empathy. From the phrasing of sentences to the tone of voice, human empathy plays a crucial role when assisting customers as it paves the road for healthier communication and improved satisfaction. Bots may be able to deal with a situation adequately, but true customer comfort lies in being understood. Such a feeling cannot be replicated by AI, which reinforces the need for a human-bot synergy in customer assistance.

Nonetheless, scientists are working on enriching bots in this sector by adding different voices and styles of writing. This can be observed in the improvement of chatbots. Using deep-learning, chatbots are becoming more emotionally in tune to the extent that they are even able to help humans overcome fears.

It is only a matter of time until we see these features used in customer service, further increasing its popularity. Hence, it is never the wrong choice to look into ways of implementing AI technology to improve customer experience.

The Difference Between Customer Experience and Customer Feedback

In every business, the most important factor to satisfy to be able to become successful is the customer.  They are the very reason why businesses are willing to spend millions, just to get the attention of the customers.  The purpose here is to convince the customer to patronize their products or services.  And to achieve that, businesses strive to provide good or excellent customer experience and harvest good customer feedback.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience to me is the interaction, between the customers and the business itself, through its people, logistic, system, and management.  This is the result of all the collective efforts of the whole team, against the experience of their customers.  This includes:

  • How the staff welcomes the customers.  This is a very important factor in business.  The first time a customer step in your establishment/office, they already think of getting something from you.  They already expect that they will be treated with kindness and that the business put value in their presence.  So, if the staff was so welcoming to them, they will be sure of a good customer experience in your resort.
  • How the staff addressed their concerns.  Another way to be able to provide a good experience is being able to address all your customers concerns. Such complaint as leaking, not cold AC, no hot water, etc.  If you are able to address their concerns fast, they will have a good experience.
  • How the staff provides support. Support from staff is a welcome gesture from the new guests.  Supporting your customers in many little things will give your business a good start.

Providing Excellent Customer Experience

Since customer experience is important, here are a few tips, on how to make sure your customers will have one good experience:

  • Familiarity with your products/services. This first step is the most important.  Customers will always appreciate when the staffs answer their questions about the products.  Sometimes, a customer’s doesn’t know the location of some items. 
  • Be friendly. Be friendly to anyone that enters your establishment.  A simple smile and greetings will make a difference.  You need to do that to get good feedback as well.  Do not be judgmental towards anybody’s looks.  Treat everyone as equal being as they are the same customers and paid the same amount of money.
  • Training. Training is equally important to provide your customers with good customer experience.  If your staff is trained on standard customer service, there is no reason your customers will not have a good customer experience.
  • Respect.  Respect your customers, and you will also get respect.  And the respect you showed your customers, will then convert into profit.  Customers when you show them respect, they will not forget it.  This will remind them of your resort/hotel when they plan to visit your place again.
  • Be responsive. Some staffs in many businesses are not so responsive when customers are asking for any details.  But, being able to respond accordingly to their queries will make them feel important.

What is Customer Feedback?

Customer feedback in my own opinion is the result of the customer’s interaction with your business.  It is written by customers, to be able to show their gratitude for the service offered or they provided feedback to allow customers, to get share their experience of a certain product or services.  They also bring this customer feedback to give businesses to work for improvement.

The importance of customer feedback on the business

  • It improves products and services. Customer feedback will result in improvement in products and services, because, through it, you will know, the defects of the product. You will have time to make improvements and adjustments regarding their services.
  • Helps to know how customers react.  This will also help you to know how your customers reacted to their experiences in your business.  Getting their feedback, positive or negative, is still beneficial to your business.
  • Shows that you value their opinions.  This signifies that you value what is important to them.  This will change their impression on your business.  This will give them the impression, that they are valued in your business.
  • It makes you aware of the capability of your staff, in dealing with your customers.  Most often, the problem lies in your staff.  They cannot promote your products and services that lead to poor customer feedback.
  • It helps you make adjustments in the operation and management of your business.  Once you get negative feedback, you just have to look at the entire system.  If you need to re-design the system, do it.  If you only need to put some adjustments, then be it.  Then, try to get more customer feedbacks until you have perfected the system.
  • It will be a factor in future business strategies.  Running a business is done in stages.   Getting feedback from customers will make you decide to proceed to the next stage or fixed the current stage before going to the next level.

Poor customer experience will always result in poor customer feedback.  The best way to give your customer the best experience in your business is to make him at home and comfortable, while they are in your establishment. 

Giving them the importance and being attentive, to their every need’s, will always result, to their satisfaction.  Once they are satisfied, they will always want to provide customers feedback.

The success of every business lies in the execution and the customer’s satisfaction.  Failure on this regard will affect the profitability of a business. Unless it is fixed, and customer service is given utmost importance, business is destined to fail.

A customer’s feedback is just the mirror of how you deal with your customers. Don’t be afraid to get customers feedback, as it will help you redefine your business. 

The Six Secrets of High Performing Leaders

Business is becoming more and more complex with times. It is survival of the fittest. Interestingly, opportunities are increasing. It is the dynamic way of business that is making it very complex.

Business needs a leader to flourish. Some businesses have everything it takes to flourish but lacks the leadership to lead the way. Leadership is fickle. Many people want to lead. People fight and even kill for leadership, but few have what it takes to lead.

The high tech dynamic socioeconomics of the current world demands leaders who have mastered leadership skills in order to remain relevant and productive. The end product of good leadership in a business is success.

How Do You Define Success?

I have met people with different and sometimes weird definitions of success.

Sometimes it is having lots of money, others urge the world to tone down on materialism because to them success is being happy. Others think it’s being healthy, others think it’s being powerful, etc.

So what is a success? Success is simply the ability to accomplish your aim, whatever your aim is.

So it’s true, different people will have different definitions of success, but when you come down to it you realize that it’s quite similar because human goals all over the world seem to be the same – win an election, get a job promotion, make money, etc.

All leaders want success. We are going to look at some of the things that successful leaders consistently have in common – the secrets to their success.

Successful Leaders are Servants

Servant leadership is the kind of leadership where the leader is willing to have some temporary discomforts in order to deliver to his followers what needs to be delivered. It is the selflessness of a leader. It is the kind of leadership where the leader focusses on the greater course over self-actualization.

A leader who humbles themselves for the benefits of their followers prepares themselves for a greater future. A servant leader goes out of their way to do what has no benefit to him but benefits the community and the people they are serving immensely. It is the servant leadership that drives the philanthropic world. Leaders who are servants and not bosses have the edge over leaders who love being the boss.

It’s important to note though that most current world leaders love projecting themselves as servant leaders, but in a real sense, very few of them can pass as such. Doing something for the cameras does not make you one though it might earn you some superficial respect. In the end, real servant leaders always show.

Creativity

Unlike management, leadership is fluid. Managers many times have rules they must follow, and their decisions are more limited. A leader can break the rules once in a while if that is what it takes to achieve the greater good. This concept allows leaders to be creative.

Creativity doesn’t have to be in the creation of artwork. Creativity in leadership revolves mostly around how we treat other people, how we interact with other people, partners, stakeholders, and customers. Creativity in leadership is expressive.

Creativity involves moving away from rigid structures and trying new things. A creative leader sees things that other people don’t see and may offer solutions that other people first find ridiculous but later come to appreciate very much. A 2010 survey by IBM of 1500 top business heads found that creativity was the most important quality a leader needs in order to succeed.

Creative leadership helps businesses and organizations discover new problem-solving ways. It also assists in achieving growth where creative leaders will be able to identify new routes of reaching a particular goal which may be cheaper, more effective and more practical.

A creative leader will keep the lower level employees from feeling forgotten by coming up with new opportunities for them. Creative leaders engage all levels of employees and allow everyone to brainstorm their ideas which gives everyone a sense of belonging.

Creative leaders will embrace very unpopular perspectives which many times end up being what the organization just needed. The world is changing fast and keeping on doing the same thing over and over is not good for business.

Unlimited Vision

Vision can be defined as the picture of the future that somebody has in his mind. Vision is guiding. Vision gives us the drive to keep going on and keep working hard on whatever we have been working hard on. Vision gives hope and purpose. It inspires. Vision gives a snapshot of the possibility.

The one thing that sets high performing leaders apart from the rest is their unlimited vision. Unlike many leaders who achieve one goal and feel they’ve gotten it, successful leaders keep creating new visions after the former has been achieved.

The vision shows a business where it’s headed. You can’t just run a business and keep on running it without creating a goal – a vision. You have to be moving towards something. Vision helps a leader prepare for the future and keeps the fuel burning during the hard times.

As much as a leader needs to inspire the follows, he/she needs something to inspire them too. This is how vision comes in handy.

Self Compassion

I used to do very well in Mathetics back in high school. I was always the top of the class. One day I didn’t make it even to the top ten. I was very heartbroken and criticized myself for not working hard enough.  I tore into myself mercilessly and internally made a very big deal of it until some of my friends realized it and felt I was being jealous. I wasn’t though, I was just not happy at myself.

Self-compassion is seen by many as selfish, and many leadership trainers don’t really emphasize it enough. This is a reason it is often ignored by many leaders. Many also feel it leads to mediocrity when you keep on forgiving yourself of mistakes. Self-compassion is, however, a very important attribute to successful leadership. Here are some tips for enhancing your self-compassion:-

  • Nobody is perfect. Stop expecting perfection from yourself when nobody who’s ever lived has ever been perfect. Expecting nothing but perfection from yourself is unrealistic and unhealthy.
  • Learn to prevent negative thoughts. In fact, reframe your negative thoughts and make them look like works from a miserable person who doesn’t wish you any good.
  • Learn to address yourself in a nice way. Don’t be mean to yourself in your thoughts. This is something you can practice on a daily basis.

Courage

Winston Churchill once referred to courage, as something that real leaders have to depend on.

Having courage means a leader can take risks and try new paths. Life has no certainty. Nobody knows tomorrow, so everything you do is a risk. If doing the same thing over and over is already a risk then there surely is nothing wrong with trying something new. Great leaders understand this, and that is why they keep on taking risks and making inroads.

The future is for the risk takers to take and not for the security seekers to hide. Great leaders move out of their comfort zones and take on the future and whatever it has to offer.

A leaders courage is put to the ultimate test in a time of crisis. The crisis is inevitable in leadership, and during a crisis, everyone looks at the leader for guidance and direction. The ability to take on a crisis can’t be taught in class. Courage cannot be taught in class. It’s something you train yourself to do.

A good leader should train themselves to be courageous by taking risks when there is no crisis so as to remain calm during the crisis. Just remaining calm takes you a long way in terms of how your followers respect you and maintain the faith in you. The first lesson in the school of courage is to decide that you will always remain calm even when crisis strikes.

Successful leaders give their followers a reason to stay

Studies indicate that 1/3 of employees leave because of being in bad terms with their boss. The boss is supposed to be the leader. The leader is somebody who should have followers. If people are starting not to follow you, then it simply means you are not worth following – in simple terms – you are not a leader.

Employees performance depend on how well they get along with you. A leader’s following is dependant on how the masses view the leader. A leader should not only be an example to the followers but also make them feel he cares about them. A leader is thus supposed to listen to his followers and respond to their whims appropriately. Small gestures like appreciating their hard work, recognizing them, saying hi when you meet and generally attending to their needs where necessary give them a reason to stay. Remember to carry yourself in a respectable manner too – nobody wants to follow somebody they despise.

The Impact of Customer Experience and Omnichannel

Customer experience is the most vital aspect that needs to be positive in order to be successful in the market. When we discuss customer experience, the term Omni-channel has emerged to be one of the most prominent and irreplaceable buzzwords. However, people are confused in understanding the literal meaning of this terminology.

According to HubSpot’s explanation,

Omni-channel experience is a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out.”

The terms integrated and cohesive should be considered as the most critical part of the whole explanation. Another important aspect that should be kept under consideration is that the experience of every customer should be positive regardless of what medium the customer is choosing to develop a link with you.

You might be satisfied with the fact that “your customer is able to buy your product or is getting facilitated from your services through different channels and your marketing team is capable to carry out communication through multiple ways. This means that you have specialized the Omni-channel approach”. Well in such case you should reconsider.

OMNI-CHANNEL VERSUS MULTI-CHANNEL

The concepts of Omni and multi-channel are two different theories and approaches.

The practice of multi-channel is linked with reaching customers in multiple ways. It can be a direct person to person or indirect which involves web as a medium which allows them to reach their customer on various social media platforms or on their phone.

This approach is constructed to unite sales and marketing processes. Despite everything, your major focus should be keeping your customer facilitated through making yourself available on multiple mediums without worrying about the alignment.

However, Omnichannel considers the concept of multi-channel one step advanced. The digital and physical channels are combined to develop a single, cohesive and all-in-one brand. The differences between two distinctive channels become avoidable and they disappear. Examine it as a customer-centric as compare to the other format.

The customer might initiate a conversation with the brand representative through the facility of live chat on their website or any social media platform page. However, if the conversation proceeds to the advanced level, it automatically gets transferred to direct emails and telephonic conversations, maintaining the main purpose of the conversation between the customer and the representative.

Apart from that the feedbacks and the experiences of the customers are kept confidential and safe initially within the company and they are posted on different social media platforms. The representatives who are in contact with the people on different social media platforms are also aware if their customer is visiting a local store or another outlet. The customer record is kept accessible in the Omni-channel system.

The customer is not asked to repeat his statement again during the brand conversation.

This format can also be termed as an experiential marketing campaign. In such system, you are capable of building the whole conversation based on the experience itself.

The vital importance of Omni-Channel Experiences

It was predicted by Gartner in 2014 that by the year 2016, 89% of the organizations will expect to give a tough competition to each other on the basis of their customer experience. However, this prediction was made three years ago. CX is now emerging as a different factor.

When we talk about customer experience without understanding the concept of Omni and multi-channel theory, business leaders are preparing themselves for disappointments.

Considering the fact that Omnichannel must be considered as the main goal of a business entire digital strategy. Apart from everything modern digitalization and digital transformation are the most important element.

Developing a Brand Hub

Keeping an Omnichannel is not possible until the company brand has uniformity. Apart from text messages, voice calls and overall experiences must be considered as a part of a similar conversation.

81 percent of organizations as of now have an online help network in which clients can approach different clients for specialized assistance and investigating.

The online people group that offer versatile and work area encounters, shopping, interpersonal interaction, learning, and even diversion, for example, recreations are turning into the go-to mark goal. Think about that 77 percent of organizations trust that an online network fundamentally improves the brand presentation, mindfulness, and believability.

What Now?

Since you comprehend the distinction between Omni and multichannel encounters, and why they matter, it’s imperative to spread the message inside your association.

You essentially can’t bear to put off embracing these client driven methodologies. Figure out how to fuse them into your present procedures and systems, or else you’ll discover your association is unfit to contend.

Include Your Outsource Team as Well In-House Training

Usually, companies are outsourcing some of the departments. Such as; customer care and quality assurance department. It’s fine if it’s giving you result to make quality efficient customer care service.

You just to make sure that everyone is following the standards and meeting the KPIs.

Give the value to everyone’s hard work and give them rewards for outstanding performance. It doesn’t matter that they working in-house or not. It’s important to align your company departments on the same vision. It will allow you to work together and make improvement from bottom to top.

Making Sense out of Irrational Behavior

Sometimes, perfectly sensible, intelligent and rational colleagues reject or resist rational, perfectly sensible and intelligent ideas. Have you ever wondered why this happens? Obviously, this does not happen because they are stupid. This happens because there is something going on that we can’t realize.

We can use an example of a large, and overcrowded urban hospital that is trying to free up beds by reducing long patient stays. An analysis showed that one floor never seemed to be discharging patients during the weekend.

When the administration and the nursing teams were asked about the data, the head nurse said that she did not support any attempts of increasing weekend discharges. She added that it was not a good time for patients to be discharged from the hospital.

From the surface, the decision of the head nurse didn’t make any sense. Eventually, the nurse shared the fact that a few years back, a few patients lost valuable things during weekend discharges.

She did this to ensure that the belongings of the patients could only be removed from the safe in her presence. The nurse kept the only key, and she did not come to work on weekends.

If you told someone rational this story, they would laugh thinking that the nurse was stupid, but in the real sense, the nurse did what she thought was best for the patients. This made the nurse appear irrational to others.

Once the motivation and the history behind her decision were revealed, the decision made sense. This prompted a review of the discharge procedures and how to secure the personal property of patients.

Irrational Behavior

It is essential to understand that irrational behavior is normal and part of the human condition. There are a lot of things that we know we need to avoid, but we still do them anyway. And there are also lists of good things that we know we should do, but we still avoid them.

This is why, despite knowing that cigarettes are bad, people still smoke cigarettes. People still drink alcohol and drive, and people still don’t floss their teeth.

Unconsciously or consciously, we have reasons for our actions that most people don’t understand and think that our actions are irrational. Some of the reasons why we do irrational things include lifestyle, convenience, peer acceptance and many more.

Irrational Behavior in an Organization

Organizations are composed of different people and all the people in an organization act irrationally at different times. This is the reason why we often encounter a boss, colleague or subordinate staff that can’t consider a suggestion that is completely reasonable. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you should use the following guidelines.

Don’t try to use Rationality to Fight Irrationality

When you try to use rationality to fight irrationality, it will make you more frustrated, and the other person will become more defensive. You may offer well informed and constructed arguments, but you will never win. The best way to go about it is to understand the motivation that is driving the other person to make the kind of decisions they make.

Focus on Understanding the Rationale of the Other Person

Even if you are being driven by the unconscious motivations of the other person, it is important to figure them out. Being resistant to apparent logic will always come from somewhere, and you will not be able to break through until you get to understand the underlying reason.

For instance, salespeople will resist straightforward and logical model changes because they fear that the compensation will be affected. Or maybe they fear that their relationship with customers will be harmed. You must understand and deal with the main issues to make headway.

Don’t take it Personally

Sometimes, our emotions can be blazing with anger, helplessness, frustration or confusion when we deal with irrational behavior. The actions of other people can make us confused, and we may want to label them hostile, insecure, miserable and inferior.

What can happen is that we start to see the person in that color and even trap them in a stereotype with a label that is self-fulfilling. You should not hold resentment of people you work with because it punishes you the same way it punishes them.

You will not be able to change relationships by trying to control the behavior of other people, but you can only change yourself in relation to them. Try not to place your energy in deriding and blaming someone, rather, you should focus on finding a more productive interaction with them.

It is not always easy to go back for more of the same mistakes concerning someone time after time. You should try and change something/

Don’t Focus on Positions

Basic communication problems lay not so much in conflicting positions. It lies in the conflict between every person’s needs, concerns, desires, and fears. One person may think that the other person is a perfectionist in everything they do, but this may just be an opinion of that person.

Sometimes, interests make people act the way they act. The underlying interests may be a fear of competition, lack of training and so on. Sometimes, we think that when people act irrationally, they are trying to compete with us when in the real sense they are just doing their job. Your perception is what enables conflict to arise. Sometimes, interests motivate us and are silent movers behind our positions.

If you want to achieve a solution to a problem, you should try to reconcile interests and not positions. There exist several possible solutions for every interest that could satisfy it. However, people tend to adopt the most obvious position.

You can find an alternative position that meets both your interests and other people’s interests when you look behind some opposed positions for motivating interests. When we should reconcile our interests and avoid compromising positions because this can work. Under positions that oppose each other lies more interests than the ones that conflict.

How to Take Care of Your Company’s Most Valuable Assets

Loyalty in every relation brings happiness and satisfaction. Even at the workplace, employee loyalty is essential for the long-term success of the company. It not only boosts the productivity and efficiency of the company but also decreases turnover costs. Good employee relations ultimately provide a stable and secure work environment.

Managers know the importance of employee loyalty, but their focus shifts on the “hard” numbers when the company faces tough times. The result is that the company faces downsizing and restructuring.

Layoffs seem an easy option to take to pull the company out of debts and other troubles. It also seems like the company is getting serious about controlling their finances. But in the long run, these steps hamper the company’s output and performance. They fail to realize the long-term cost savings and productivity, which leads to more employee layoffs.

Link Between Employee Loyalty and Profitability

It seems a very subjective thing to say that employee loyalty is a huge factor behind the company’s productivity and performance. But it’s not. Researchers and analysts from the University of Pennsylvania have revealed that investing some amount in developing employee capital increases productivity by 8.5%. This means that investing in employees gives positive financial outcomes.

This directs us towards another concern- knowing how loyal the employees are. This doesn’t mean asking simple questions to them, but getting strong feedback from all employees. This may include the manager’s relationship styles, and provision of required equipment and training to the employees. Along with rewards and incentives are given to them for their cooperation.

The point here is to identify specific vital components or dimensions that influence the success of the company. Once you get to know them, you would need to associate them with the main factors of the company. These factors may be- productivity, customer loyalty, employee turnover, and revenue. Aggregating this employee data into groups and associating them with these factors is an important step. It would give a rough correlation between employee-loyalty related attitudes and company’s outcomes.

But still, the problems of staff restructuring and employee layoffs coexist with the company’s downfall. The reason being lack of management will to conduct such research and compile the data together. It brings out the company’s flaws and mistakes, which they don’t want to hear. But the essential information to remember is that employees remain loyal until they know that the company is being faithful to them. So ultimately, we are left with the strategies to encourage them and let them know that the company needs them.

How to Increase Employee Loyalty?

Inspiring loyalty is an abstract concept which has no defined methods. But there are certain actions you can take to build employee loyalty.

#1 Connection with staff

Personal interaction between management and staff and amongst the staff is essential. It increases job competency, satisfaction, and productivity. It’s the role of the managers to keep this in mind. Explaining the employees about workplace attitudes might help. The managers need to become models of what they want their employees to be.

A proper work culture would determine the health of the company. It is important for the managers not to mix personal affairs with the professional ones.

#2 Provide necessary training and equipment

Hiring talented individuals is easy, but providing them with the required training and equipment is essential. Challenging employees and expecting them to win them is only fair when they are adequately trained. It is also necessary to use their talent and offer them new tasks so that they can excel.

It is also important to update the software and techniques from time to time. And teach the employees about the same. Up gradation is necessary at work and in life.

#3 Fairness and neutrality

It is natural sometimes for the employees to have a conflict of interests. It is important to have a structured system for dispute resolution. It gives a sense of fairness and discipline to the employees, and they are assured of a neutral decision.

Good managers ensure that no arbitrary steps exist in such a process. Subjectivity and objectivity should be balanced, along with emotions. Employees should feel comfortable to approach their bosses with the issues they are facing. Hence, a sense of confidence and trust is also developed.

#4 Respect them and their contribution

Any human being would like to have some respect for whatever he does. Same is with employees. Managers shouldn’t feel hesitation or annoyance while respecting their employees. The employees work for them, not just for the money but also to grow with the company. They like when someone appreciates and respects their work, no matter what hierarchy they work in. Some genuine suggestions and advice would also work. The employees would feel the real nature of the company and wouldn’t tag the leaders as fake ones.

#5 Giving them their space

Part of human-environment consists of the space he lives in. His personal space is as important as his workspace. If being a manager, you’re constantly looking over their shoulders for whatever they do, and they wouldn’t get their freedom. The originality comes only when employees are allowed to work in solace and given their own space. Helping them with the resources and things they need and giving them feedback after their work has done.

#6 Rewarding them appropriately

Rewards aren’t just money envelops for the employees. They are called “rewards” because the person receiving them has done a commendable job. The leaders and managers should appropriately reward their employees for their extraordinary work for the company. It gives them a sense of pride and confidence that the company acknowledges their work.

It is also necessary that the rewards match their deeds and that they are distributed from time to time. A balance must be there, and every employee should be motivated to work harder to receive the rewards.