4 Things Every Supervisor Should Be Doing to Address Unacceptable Employee Performance

Portrait of a smiling business woman with an afro in bright glass office

Story highlights:

Setting clear expectations, getting employees to agree on performance gaps, explaining consequences of not meeting expectations and follow-through are key in managing employee performance 

I had to take my daughter’s phone from her last week. I don’t like that I had to do that, but I had a responsibility to take her phone. We have a rule in our house. Having a smartphone is a privilege and certain actions can result in a phone being taken away. One of those actions is a grade of a C or lower. My daughter’s Pre-AP Algebra 2 grade dropped to a 77%.

From the day we bought her first phone, my daughter has always known that any grade less than a B will result in loss of phone privileges. My daughter can see her grades daily online, as can her father and I. The expectations are set and clear. She has every possible opportunity to keep her phone, simply by maintaining excellent grades.

Yield

So, I don’t have to feel guilty about taking her phone away. There’s no benefit to her for me to go soft and let her slide. For what would I be teaching her if I let her slide? I’d be teaching her that she can slack and get away with it. She’d learn that my word is not solid. The focus and determination in academics my husband and I are trying to instill in her would be harder for us to teach. So, the consequences stick and it is indeed for her best.

As a supervisor or manager, can you easily set expectations and deliver consequences?

If you are a parent, you likely can easily set expectations for your child, issue consequences and not feel guilty about it. You know what you’re doing is best for your child. But, can you behave the same way at work?

Can you follow through on consequences, knowing employees were clear on your expectations? Can you discipline your employees without feeling guilty?

Continue reading “4 Things Every Supervisor Should Be Doing to Address Unacceptable Employee Performance”

“Wow” Works for Zappos, But It Won’t Work For You – Here’s Why

03_zappos-employee

A corporate trainer in one of my client organizations is gung-ho on the Zappos culture and she is convinced that what her contact center needs is agents trained to make small talk with customers and empowerment so agents can consistently deliver wow experiences – “Just like Zappos does,” she says.

Now, I love what Zappos has done. I have delivered many a keynote and webinar on the Zappos culture. Zappos is the best at the customer experience, bar none. So understand me when I say this: I respect Zappos. But the Zappos culture will not work for anybody but Zappos.

Continue reading ““Wow” Works for Zappos, But It Won’t Work For You – Here’s Why”

That Time When the McDonald’s Happy Meal Didn’t Make My Daughter Happy

 

12-B-IMG_1963.jpg
Me and Lauren when she was 6 years old

When my daughter was 4 years old McDonald’s was her favorite place to eat out. We always got her the Happy Meal with chicken McNuggets. To this day she’s still not a “burger” person.

One afternoon we stopped at McDonald’s on the way home from pre-school. I placed Lauren’s usual Happy Meal order through the drive-thru speaker.

I drove up to the first window, and the employee opened the window and waited for me to hand him my money. He took my $20 bill, gave me change and the window closed.

I drove up to the second window, it opened, and an employee handed me a small Sprite and a Happy Meal in a bag. I handed the bag and drink to my daughter in the back seat.

As we drove off, my daughter said,

“Mommy, do they talk at this McDonald’s?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“The people. They didn’t talk when they took your money, and they didn’t say anything when you got the food.”

 

Wow. I actually hadn’t even noticed the lack of verbal communication. Me, the Customer Service Queen didn’t even notice. You know why I didn’t notice? Because rote interactions like this are so common that this felt like the norm. 

But she was right. Other than the voice coming through the drive-thru speaker, there was no verbal communication.

 

It just so happened that 5 weeks to the day from this muted drive-thru experience, I was scheduled to deliver a keynote at Hamburger University, on the campus of the McDonald’s worldwide headquarters outside of Chicago.

I’m a storyteller. I had to tell this story to my audience of McDonald’s managers and executives. So I did. I opened my keynote with the story of “Mommy, do they talk at this McDonald’s?”

The audience was stunned. Frozen. Speechless. They may hate me for this, but they needed to hear it. I knew I’d done the right thing. Regardless of how awkward I felt on the big stage at that moment, they needed to hear this.

Continue reading “That Time When the McDonald’s Happy Meal Didn’t Make My Daughter Happy”

The 2 Mistakes Your Front Desk Staff Cannot Make in the First 6 Seconds of a Phone Call with a Patient

Bad Customer Service iStock_74914755_XLARGE.jpg

I took my son to the pediatrician yesterday afternoon for his annual checkup. The nurse did a quick vision test and then recommended I get my son to an optometrist. I was hoping my son would be the one person in our family who did not need corrective lenses.

In the car on the way home I called the eye doctor we’d used for my daughter a few months ago. Here’s how the call went.

Continue reading “The 2 Mistakes Your Front Desk Staff Cannot Make in the First 6 Seconds of a Phone Call with a Patient”

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On How to Write the Best Complaint Response Emails

Man with afro hairstyle working at his desk

An apology, empathy, and an explanation of why the problem happened are the keys to writing complaint response letters that restore customer confidence.  

One of the things I do in my practice is write the templates for complaint response letters for some of world’s most renowned brands. My work usually starts with me throwing out all robotic and boring messages that are in use.

Then, I custom create response letters that reflect the brand’s voice. Once I get the brand voice down, my complaint response letters follow 5 steps.

The 5 steps ensure that the complaint response letter restores customer confidence and regains goodwill. Here are my 5 steps with great examples from great companies that know how to regain customer goodwill after the worst has happened.

1. Apologize

Making an apology to customers after things go wrong is positively related to satisfaction with the recovery. When a service employee apologizes to a customer, she conveys politeness, courtesy, concern, effort, and empathy.

Take a look at this outright apology from JetBlue Airlines after a major service mishap. (See the first sentence of JetBlue’s response)

Continue reading “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On How to Write the Best Complaint Response Emails”

Bad customer service has pissed me off, inspired me to tweet and even made me cuss.

fullsizerender-1

Part of what makes me good at what I do is I genuinely hate poor customer service. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who gets irritated with bad customer service.

Research by RightNow Technologies found that after suffering a negative experience with a company or organization:

Continue reading “Bad customer service has pissed me off, inspired me to tweet and even made me cuss.”