Tuesday, December 4, 2018

How to Respond to Challenging Customers

challenging customers

As the holiday season swings in to high gear, retail businesses and service organizations are likely to see a rise in the number of customers they serve each day – as well as stress levels associated with challenging customers.

The importance of excellent Customer Service cannot be overstated in today’s competitive markets. The reality is that people have many vendors, providers and merchants to choose from when making purchases, and if you want to keep them coming back to yours, you and your staff need to understand why it’s important and how to achieve it.

Let’s begin with the “Why”. Excellent customer service…

• Builds trust – According to business mogul Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

• Is more important than price – 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. (Harris Interactive/RightNow)

• Builds positive brand awareness

• Reduces problems for the company

• Appeals to the customer – 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. (American Express)

As you train your staff to respond to challenging customers, here are 10 principles they need to put into practice:

1. Remain Calm and Listen – You cannot intelligently or effectively respond to someone’s problem without first hearing and accurately understanding it.

2. Empathize and Sympathize – Empathy is the ability to understand and mentally share the feelings of another. Sympathy is the ability to express compassion and sorrow for someone’s misfortune.

3. Agree when possible – Agreement on an issue, no matter how small, puts you in less of an adversarial role and helps to diffuse negative emotions.

4. Remember that others may be watching – Albert Einstein

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Keys to Confronting Well – Part II

ConfrontingIn last week’s blog I shared the first five of ten keys to confronting well. Have you had an opportunity to practice those principles in a confrontation? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Confrontation can be a scary proposition, but when you learn to do it well it can be the key to resolving differences and strengthening trust in your relationships.  Here are the last five keys to confronting well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Keys to Confronting Well – Part I

ConfrontingMany people struggle with confronting well. The thought of speaking up, especially during a conflict or uncomfortable situation, can be almost paralyzing. However, the ability to effectively confront tough issues by clearly stating what you think, feel, and want can be one of the most valuable interpersonal skills a person can possess.

This week we will look at the first five of the ten keys to confronting well so you can be prepared for those difficult conversations.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Are You Together or Unified?

UnifiedYou can certainly notice when a sports or business team is unified because they tend to experience a great deal of success. Each player focuses on their role in creating a well-coordinated effort to win as a team.

The same is true for marriages. In my work with couples I find that one of the major contributing factors to relationship dissatisfaction has to do with the fact that they are together but not truly unified.

Many couples are together in that they live in the same home, share the same financial resources, sleep in the same bed, attend their kids’ Saturday soccer games and go out on an occasional date. These things are good, but they don’t necessarily reflect unity. Let me explain.

Unity is defined as the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole. This definition applies so perfectly to marriage! It goes deeper than simply being in proximity to one another. Unity in marriage is characterized by several key qualities:

Shared relationship goals: Are you both “all in” to make your marriage the best it can be? Working diligently toward growing together will result in both partners experiencing greater satisfaction. If either partner is more interested in meeting their individual needs rather than prioritizing the relationship, the marriage will be unsatisfying for both partners.

Joint participation in parenting, financial management and general decision making: After the dream wedding, life starts to get real. Practical, everyday responsibilities and opportunities occur for every couple, and they can’t be addressed by romantically gazing into each other’s eyes. Successful marriage is accomplished through cooperation, compromise, and willingness to work together.

Mutual loyalty, support and encouragement: Many of the couples I have worked with seemed to have forgotten the important principle that

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

America, The Beautiful – Be Inspired!

America The BeautifulAs we approach Independence Day, I am mindful of how grateful I am for the freedoms we enjoy and for the people who have worked to make this a great country. Some people have contributed with acts of service and heroism, some by scientific research and exploration, some by simply working hard and living with integrity and civility in order to set a great example for the next generation.

Others have enriched our nation by their creative efforts, such as Katharine Lee Bates, who was inspired by a trek up Pike’s Peak and wrote America, The Beautiful in 1895 and Samuel A. Ward, a church organist, who set it to music in 1910.

I grew up singing this song in school and it still inspires patriotism and gratitude. Happy 4th of July to our readers!

America, The Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dealing with The Critic

CriticEvery time Steve turned in a project, his boss consistently found something to criticize about it. Despite Steve’s many attempts at trying to please his boss, he couldn’t find a way to make it happen. After several months, Steve became so discouraged he gave up and quit his job.

Laura could never seem to please her mother. She studied late into the night and made straight A’s in school. She was Student Body President and showing great promise with her leadership skills. Yet her mom would say, “I am so proud of you, but why can’t you use some of your talent to clean your room?”

One of the most challenging people in life is the Critic – the person with the “gift” of spotting a flaw a mile away. Whether it’s your spouse, your boss or your parent, here are some tips for getting along with the critical person in your life.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Authentic Self-Disclosure Makes You a People Magnet

People MagnetEveryone wants to be liked and accepted, although you wouldn’t always know it. Some people give the impression that they couldn’t care less about what people think about them, but that is rarely true. Their cool, standoffish style is more often a wall they have built to protect themselves from possible criticism and rejection. This wall may succeed at deflecting emotional pain, but it also prevents you from experiencing the meaningful, satisfying connections that close relationships provide.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Peace on Earth Begins at Home

PeaceFor many families Winter brings the biggest holiday celebrations of the year, with relatives making it a priority to come together even if they have to travel from all over the country. Our own branch of the family tree is growing as our children marry and have children, and I can’t think of anyone I would rather spend time with on a special holiday than my extended family! I love to anticipate laughing, eating, playing games and opening gifts together.

Between holidays, birthdays, weddings, and funerals, there may be many times your family gathers together, and maybe you eagerly look forward it the same way I do – unless your happy holiday bubble bursts because conflict arises between your loved ones. I hear often about the heartache people feel when Christmas or another important occasion is tainted with strained relationships or bad behavior by one or more family members. Somehow, a feud or a bad attitude seems magnified during the season of hope and joy. So, how do you try to restore peace for your special day? Here are some ideas:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top Performers Use Executive Coaching

Executive CoachingBehind every world-class athlete is a dedicated and committed coach. The same can be said for many of the top performing leaders, executives, professionals, directors, managers, pastors and entrepreneurs. If you are serious about achieving and accomplishing greater results and embracing all you are capable of becoming you will want to experience the proven power of executive coaching.

Generally speaking, those who take advantage of executive coaching are success minded, goal directed and performance driven. They may have already experienced an impressive amount of professional success in their life, but desire to maximize their potential even further by creating greater balance, clearer focus and a fresh perspective.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Do You Know An Emotional Vampire?

Emotional VampireIt’s that time again – time for little ghouls and goblins, superheroes and princesses to swarm into the neighborhood and charm you into giving them some candy. You may even see a miniature Count Dracula looking like he’s checking out your jugular vein.

Halloween and trick or treating is all in good fun, but I’m wondering if some time in your life you’ve known a warm-blooded vampire – an Emotional Vampire, that is. You might recognize them as someone you’re afraid to ask, “How are you?” because you suspect they’ll overflow with more gory details than you want to know.