Check out my suggestions for finding hidden opportunities from unhappy customers, featured in the September 2007 release from the Society for Advancement of Consulting ® (SAC®). Members worldwide were asked to examine the issue of how to “save” unhappy customers.
Pam Harper & Scott Harper’s News & Views
On a recent flight from Newark to San Francisco, I witnessed two scenarios:
First, in the crush of people swarming the Elite line to board the plane, a woman in front of me stopped to pick up a coin she noticed on the floor. She smiled, apologized to me and explained “I pick up all the coins I find – each of them represents something good. I journal about every coin and what I was doing when I found it. Someday I’ll give this to my grandson so he can know more about me.”
Second, during the flight, my seatmate had a heated exchange with the flight attendant because the movie being shown was not the one listed in the catalogue. Despite the attendant’s explanation that the movie wasn’t loaded onto the plane, the passenger kept demanding that she deserved better treatment because she was an Elite customer (of course, so were all the rest of us within earshot). She grudgingly settled down, mumbling that she was going to bring this to the attention of executives at the airline.
While the above events may seem unrelated, in fact they represent two ways that people handle the same difficult circumstances. Whether the situation is travel, addressing competitive challenges, or dealing with an unexpected changes in your organization, we can either find whatever opportunity there is to discover or we can get stuck on the negatives. Two sides of the same coin…. which side do you focus on?
One of my favorite quotes that I keep in my office within easy viewing distance is: “Sometimes what may seem like the end, may be a new beginning” (original author unknown). It’s especially relevant because as Labor Day approaches, there’s been a substantial increase in the number of people mourning the end of Summer rather than anticipating the beginning of Fall. Transitions can be challenging, whether they’re personal or in the business world.
When facing a new situation, I’ve found that many people spend more time looking backward and magnifying how great everything was, rather than being grounded in reality and looking forward to what is possible. For example, this is the perfect time to reassess your January goals for 2007. Questions to ask yourself and others include:
- What has changed and what has remained the same since the New Year?
- Given the changes, how do I/we need to adapt goals to get more of the results we want?
- What do I/we need to do differently or better to accelerate progress toward goals?
While it’s important to acknowledge what is ending, it’s counterproductive to stay there. Focusing on new beginnings keeps us moving forward and getting the most from what life has to offer.
What makes you happy at work? While dining at a restaurant during the height of dinner hour, I was fascinated that the waiter pivoted in dancer-like fashion as he delivered our food with efficiency and style. After the fourth turn, I finally asked him why he was dancing. His answer: “I own a ballroom dance studio, and this helps me stay in shape.” Interesting…
So often I meet people who are in so-called “dream jobs,” but they’re desperately unhappy. Yet here was a person who wasn’t in his career job, and had figured out something he could do to make the work more enjoyable. Incidentally, he got a good tip.
If you are wishing that you were happier at work, the answer isn’t necessarily to find a new situation. First ask yourself, “What can I stop doing?” “What can I start doing?”, and “What can I do differently or better?” Sometimes the key to happiness comes from approaching the same situation in new ways.
Just when you thought you knew as much as there was to know about social etiquette, along comes a guide from Helio called “The New Social Etiquette.” The purpose is to help us become savvy mobile users – especially regarding dating relationships.
Of course, the “guide” is actually a playful ad targeted to those who are young and already tech savvy, complete with its own buzzwords and insider’s humor. However, underneath it all is a serious message: how you communicate is just as important as the message itself. This issue is especially important to consider because email, texting, and instant messaging leave off critical visual and vocal cues.
For example, I once had a situation where my computer keys stuck and I innocently emailed a message entirely in capital letters. The receiver of my communication immediately shot back a reply: “DON’T YELL AT ME!” While we were able to resolve the misunderstanding, others are not always as tolerant.
Every form of communication has its own etiquette. Be sure you know the guidelines before tuning in.