Tag Archives: Customer Care Coach

Stay Beautiful

This is co-posted on JoAnna Brandi’s blog.

I once had a boyfriend who used to end every phone conversation and every email with the phrase, ‘Stay beautiful.’ At first I was delighted by it, but as time went on, I have to admit, occasionally it annoyed me. At that time in my life I was certainly not used to taking compliments gracefully (I’ve gotten over that) and there were many days where I felt far from anything that resembled beautiful. So one day I talked to him about it. I explained that it made me uncomfortable ‘ that I didn’t feel beautiful all the time (in fact I felt it rarely) and his saying it so often had the effect of me feeling ‘less than.’ Oh, I was so off base. ‘Beautiful,’ he explained from his perspective, was a state of being. It was a graceful way of interacting with the world. It was a consciousness, rather than a thing. The phrase, ‘Stay beautiful,’ was a reminder to put myself into that way of being and operate from there. Oh, that’s different. Time has gone by since he was here to remind me, but that phrase often comes to me as a reminder that I do have a choice how I show up in the world. I ask myself if I am creating beauty in my relationships, my work, my attitude. I think about my clients and the people I teach ‘ am I encouraging them to create a vision of what beauty, caring, and positive interaction can be in their organizations? What does it take, especially in tough times, to stay beautiful in the eyes of your customers? Today I’m in Disneyland, just hours away from premiering my latest workshop, The Positive Leader, at the NACCM Customer’s First conference. I’m in a restaurant surrounded by pictures of Walt Disney. Before sitting down I had a delightful conversation with 5 year old Tara who was dressed up as Cinderella. She’s been here for three days, and I suspect been wearing the dress just as long. The excitement in her voice and the twinkle in her eyes lead me to believe that Walt knew how to teach his ‘cast members’ the quality I know as ‘Stay Beautiful.’ Stay tuned this week to the NACCM website where we will be broadcasting live podcasts, and interviews with speakers and guests. http://www.iirusa.com/naccm/event-home.xml I’m the conference chairperson this year ‘ I’d love to know that all of you are getting to share in the excitement and the learning ‘ even if you can’t be here in person with us. Remember, stay beautiful.
Visit JoAnna Brandi’s blog and website.

Walk Like A Dancer

This post is cross posted on JoAnna Brandi’s blog.

I was schlepping myself and my luggage through the airport this week feeling tired and old when I heard my friend and teacher Scotty’s voice in my head. ‘Walk like a dancer JoAnna, walk like a dancer.’ I have to tell you that at that very moment I felt myself grow taller, I felt my gaze rise from the moving sidewalk to what passes for a horizon in an airport, I took a deeper breath, I lifted my head and heart and then exhaled. I thought of how a dancer might move her body through an airport pulling luggage. I figured it had to be different than the way I’d been doing it. So I made up, in my mind, a vision of how I thought a trained and graceful dancer would be moving herself through the tunnel between terminals A and B ‘ a mighty distance. Scotty, tries to teach me to dance, and once in a while succeeds. (That is, if I’m in town when he’s in town and there’s space in our schedules.) I’m a tough student. And if I never learn to dance that’s okay. Scotty taught me how to walk ‘ forward and backward ‘ across a stage, down the aisle forwards and backwards with confidence, poise and grace. I’m not sure of the score he would give me if he actually saw me work with an audience, but I know that I can continue to improve if I allow myself to keep hearing Scott’s voice in my head. ‘Walk like a dancer, JoAnna, walk like a dancer.’ What a beautiful reminder for me of a principle I teach (and sometimes forget to practice myself) Act ‘As if.’ I wrote about it in my first book ‘Winning at Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ‘em Happy, Keep ‘em Loyal and Keep ‘em Coming Back’ Here’s an excerpt on that wonderful practice. ‘Service providers can’t be expected to be nice all the time, to be polite all the time, to care all the time, can they? No ‘not human ones, anyway. However, there’s a skill that’s easy to apply that can bridge the gap between the times you feel genuinely, positively involved in your interactions and those you don’t. I call it acting ‘as if.’ What if you’ve had a tough day? Can you act ‘as if’ you haven’t? Or, if you feel confused about solving a customer’s problem, ask yourself how you’d act if you weren’t confused. Suppose you’ve just heard some not-so-encouraging words from a supervisor about the status of your big project, and now you have to get on the phone with a customer. Can you act ‘as if’ the interaction with your supervisor didn’t take place, muster faith in your ability to overcome adversity, and go on to help the customer? You have a headache; can you act ‘as if’ you don’t? As a performer, [and you ARE] you’ll be called on to perform when you simply don’t feel like it. Skilled performers ‘ actors, speakers, service reps, and salespeople ‘ have developed great confidence in their ability to ‘do what they have to do.’ Many know the act ‘as if’ secret. As a performer and frequent traveler, I can assure you there are many times when a delayed flight, a night of fitful sleep in a hotel room, overwork, or a cold threatens my ability to do my best in front of an audience. But what are my options? Cancel the perfor??mance? Resign myself to giving a bad show? Beg the audience for forgiveness? I’ve never considered any of these acceptable alternatives. With faith in my ability to rise to the occasion, I act ‘as if’ ‘ as if I had a good night’s sleep, as if I were feeling terrific. Very often, I find myself starting to feel just that way. When I’m nervous, I remind myself how it feels to be at ease ‘how my voice sounds, how my face looks, how I stand. I try whatever I can to affect that other feeling. Very often, by changing something in my body, by acting ‘as if,’ my mood changes and then my attitude and state of mind follow suit. Begin right now to act ‘as if’ you have faith in your ability to succeed as a performance specialist and relationship expert. (Of course, this includes taking action, not just harboring positive thoughts.) Remember, if you act helpless, you’ll be helpless. If you act creatively, on the other hand, you’ll be creative. Acting resourcefully can make you resourceful. Cultivate the habit of acting like a first-rate, best-in-your-class customer-care expert, and it will be so.’ Well said, even if I say so myself. So there I was standing tall, breathing deeply, pulling my luggage through the strangely psychedelic underground tunnel in the Detroit airport, acting ‘as if’ I was one of those people on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ The experience was fun. It gave me energy, It stretched the muscles in my body and it put a smile on my face. It simply had to be healthier then schlepping through the airport with my head down and my shoulders bend. . ‘Act as if,’ is a simple and powerful concept used by people in all walks of life. When Billy Joel is struggling with writers block he puts on a particular set of clothing ‘ relaxed and easy ‘ goes down to the coffee shop where he has successfully written things before, buys the same kind of beverage, and takes out his old familiar notebook and pen. He puts himself in the same spot ‘ ‘as if’ the words and music were flowing from his fingertips. Because the body and the mind are so connected, he knows that when he puts his body in the same place, his mind will follow. Where will you find the opportunity this week to ‘Walk like a Dancer’ and act ‘As if’? May you have many opportunities to excel!

Visit JoAnna Brandi’s blog and website.
This post is cross posted on JoAnna Brandi’s

Customer Service Week with JoAnna Brandi — Day Three

On day four of customer service week, JoAnna Brandi talks about employee happiness and customer happiness.

Watch the video here:

What can you do to promote happiness within your company? Do you have any activities you do on a daily or weekly basis to promote happiness within your organization?

A Gold Medal for FUN

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

It all started as a crazy idea. From an intern nonetheless. While the ‘real’ Olympics were taking place in China the folks over at the Midwest ISO were having an Olympics all their own. The intern – Brooke Rodda – thought it would be great fun to come up with some challenges for interdepartmental games, and it was easy to think how that might just be good for morale. Deb Lang, Director of Training, liked the idea and built on it. Deb’s big on teamwork and fun so the idea instantly appealed to her. As fate would have it, the Friday before a box of ‘BeanBoozled’ had landed on her desk and she saw immediate application. (For the uninformed like me – it’s a box of BeanBoozled jelly beans – 10 colors of beans and 20 flavors – every color has one tasty flavor, and a disgusting flavor – the idea is that you never know whether you are about to get a good one or a bad one. This, apparently, makes it ideal for party games.) This instantly started Brooke’s mind going in the direction of whacky games ‘ one having to do with blindfold bowling another with condiment painting (held in the cafeteria at lunchtime of course.) Before long she and her team of equally creative thinkers had planned the games and word rapidly spread throughout the company grapevine and more people came on board. ‘We want to be involved too,’ was the most common sentiment heard. Energy and excitement were building. By the time the day for the Olympics arrived representatives from several divisions withing the company were on board, with more joining in to coach from the sidelines as word continued to spread. The Olympics occurred mostly in 15 minute increments so not to take too much away from the work days. These short burst of activity really energized people throughout the five day competition.

I just happen to call on the last day and got a ‘blow by blow’ on the final minutes of the events. I sat laughing in my parked car while a thunderstorm threatened right behind me. I had to make sure my car was not moving because I laughing much too hard to be driving. Since I wanted to find out the results, I called back the next week and got the scoop. ‘So what did you get out of it’? I asked.’Besides fun? Team participation, increased communication between departments, memorable common experiences, innovation, engagement.’ ‘I gather then, this is only the first of your Olympics,’ I asked.

‘Yep, the first Annual.’ A tradition is born. All because a company was open enough to listen to a suggestion of a young intern ‘ a crazy suggestion at that. Gary Hamel, oft called the world’s greatest strategist, says that we need to find ways in companies to create thousands of crazy ideas, and out of the thousands we’ll distill them down to hundreds of not-so-crazy ideas, and out of them perhaps 10 or so viable ideas and out of the one or two really really great ideas that will fundamentally change the nature of our business and give us a competitive edge. Congratulations Midwest ISO, you’ve got a great start.

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

Speaker Profile: JoAnna Brandi

With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to begin to introduce you to the speakers we will have this year at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to JoAnna Brandi. JoAnna Brandi is currently the CEO & Publisher for Customer Care Coach. JoAnna Brandi started her career with CPM Media, where she was responsible for helping to create a multi-million dollar Direct Market Services profit center, building the first database, and on-line customer care system. After leaving CPM in 1990, she opened her own business which has successfully built on the principles that she had learned. Some of the main insights that JoAnna shares through a bi-weekly online magazine ‘Customer Care Tip’, which she authors, are on the topics of positive psychology in business.She has written three books: ‘Winning at Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ‘em Happy, Keep ‘em Loyal, and Keep ‘em Coming Back‘, ‘Building Customer Loyalty ‘ 21 Essential Elements in ACTION‘, and ‘54 Ways to Stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging and Sometimes Negative World‘. In addition she was a contributing author to ‘Inc. Guide to Superior Customer Service’, and ‘Best Practices in Customer Service’. To learn more about JoAnna Brandi visit her blog and read more of her musings. Meanwhile click on this link to see a video found her company website depicting her in action. We invite you to come see JoAnna Brandi at NACCM as she presents her workshop on Sunday, November 16th, The Positive Leader. Be sure to look for another speaker’s profile next week.