Tag Archives: JoAnna Brandi

A Blessed Vacation

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

I sat down on the flight from West Palm Beach to Atlanta, shortly followed by my seat mates, a lovely couple from Chicago who were just coming from an anniversary celebration trip on Singer Island. Not expecting much of a response I asked, ‘How was the vacation’? Wow. Turns out the vacation was outstanding. ‘Over the edge.’ Apparently The Resort at Singer Island treats its guests quite nicely. With a grin on his face that went from ear to ear my seat buddy went on to recount a customer experience that will remain a fond memory in their lives forever. Last night, the last of their trip, they returned to their room to find a card and an anniversary gift made of chocolate, but that was just the topper to a stay that was full of special attention. From the front desk personnel, the people that handed out the towels at the pool, to the valets that got the car each day everyone was friendly and took the time to talk. The service, he repeated, was ‘over the edge.’ From the infinity pool overlooking the ocean to their room fully equipped with a kitchen every part of the vacation made them feel ‘very very special.’ Last night they found a restaurant that kept up the remark-able experiences. They dined at the Capitol Grill. While making the reservation he did mention it was their anniversary. The restaurant responded by offering them a free dessert and delivering it with a fresh flower and a candle. It was a beautiful display. When his wife said she felt badly because she’d forgotten the camera, John, the server went into the back and came back with his. He took the picture and then came back with a printed copy and slipped into an envelope for them to take home. As I sat in amazement (I usually hear about bad experiences) he smiled and me and said, ‘I feel like God blessed our anniversary.’ Oh my. And his wife pointed out, it was so reasonably priced. Here’s where my ears really perked up. That kind of luxury attention for the same price I pay at the courtyard hotel I’m headed to? Double wow ( off season of course. ) Perhaps a possibility for a weekend getaway, I tucked the idea away for the future. And so before I opened my paper to read the bad news of the day, and it was worse than usual today, I soaked up the joy of their blessed anniversary celebration. Emotions are contagious and I’m really glad I caught some of theirs.

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!

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:
http://www.customercarecoach.com/CSW2008/CSW_day4.asp

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?

Customer Service Week with JoAnna Brandi — Day Three

On day three of customer service week, JoAnna Brandi addresses the return on happiness when your employees are happy.

Check out the video here:
http://www.customercarecoach.com/csw2008/CSW_day3.asp

And as a reminder, we have a webinar this week presented by NACCM. Bill Price will be presenting “Outsourcing and offshoring, insourcing and onshoring — so many choices, so little frank information.” It’s tomorrow, Thursday, October 9, from 2:30PM to 3:30 PM EDT. We hope you can join us!

Sign up here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/890742670

Customer Service Week — Day One

For Customer Service Week, NACCM Conference Chair JoAnna Brandi will be sending out a daily message. Here’s the message for day one:


Let ‘em Feel the Love The Customer Experience is all about emotion – loyalty is an emotional attachment. The ‘Experience’ is the sum total of the feelings a customer has as a result of interacting with any part of your organization. It’s based on THEIR PERCEPTION.

All Fired Up

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

Over the last year I’ve done some things that have some of my friends wondering about me. Maybe it’s that I’m getting better with age. Maybe it’s being afraid to age. Maybe it’s all these happiness coaches I hang out with and study with. One of the things we learn in happiness training is that positive psychologists have proven that the more time you spend using your strengths the happier you are. That makes sense. When you are doing something you are good at you feel good, and you usually get better at it. When you spend a lot of time doing something you are not good at you usually don’t feel as good. I can relate. So it turns out that the psychologists have found ‘ and have evidence to support this ‘ that if you identify your top strengths and spend time each week deliberately working to improve them, you will be happier over time. Certainly happier than if you identify your weaknesses and spend time each week trying to improve them. (Which is basically what I HAD been doing.) All righty then. Let’s get going. And so I went to www.viastrengths.com to identify my top strengths. (Warning: don’t go there without a food or at least a beverage ‘ the instrument they use to determine your strengths is long and a tad redundant, you’ll need at least a cup of tea or equivalent to get through it.) My first strength is creativity ‘ that was fun. I knew that, so it’s always fun to find ways to be more creative. My second strength it turns out is bravery and courage. What? Me? That was a bit of a shock. And so it was that I began challenging myself in ways I never thought I would. It all began with ziplining last year in Costa Rica. http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/canopy/tour.htm It looked something like this. Soaring some 120 feet above the ground scared the devil out of me, but in the end, I was thrilled and excited that I had done it ‘ and done it with a good attitude. I chose excitement over fear. I told everyone that would listen about my ‘SuperCheeka’ experience and reveled in the admiration. Me, a perennial scaredy cat, doing something brave and courageous – how cool was that? So I figured I’d done my brave deed and that would be that. Until I got that email from Connie and Karen. They are friends of mine from South Florida. They do workshops too. We met about five or six years ago and have a lot in common. Except that when you take one of their empowerment workshops you break things, bend things and end the evening walking on fire. I swear, I never, never had the desire to walk on fire. They’d been kind about inviting me to come and see their work, but I’d declined each time, until one day I got an email that said they were filming a corporate video and we asking friends to participate since there would be cameras starting and stopping and bright lights in the night. They invited friends that would be patient and would work with the awkward situation. It’s tough enough to do the activities in that workshop ‘ and with a cameraman in your face ‘ well! Well 53 friends showed up! From early afternoon until late in the night we broke boards, bricks and arrows. We bent rebar, walked on glass and then at the end of the night topped it all off with a little walk on fire. Everybody chose to walk (they say that never happens.) Even the cameramen walked (on walked while pointing the camera down on his feet. Everyone did the firewalk ‘ about 1250 degrees at its hottest ‘ and no one burned their feet. When you walk on fire things change. You learn that your mind is powerful. You get to see your patterns. You think differently about beliefs. There was no hypnosis involved. All choice. I’m the second one you’ll see on the video ‘ busting through the brick. And now I’m all fired up, because I have this belief that when I put my mind to something (and keep it there) that I can make it happen. By the way ‘ want a firepower seminar? Call me, I’ll fix you up. We now proudly tell our clients that board breaking and even firewalking are optional add-ons to any of our workshops. Empowered? You bet! Whooooooooooowahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! http://firepowerseminars.com

Also, check out JoAnna’s first customer service message for Customer Service Week here:
http://www.customercarecoach.com/csw2008/CSW_day1.asp

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!

Podcast Series: A Conversation with Michael Cubric

The NACCM team has released a new segment to the Customers 1st Podcast Series in anticipation for this year’s NACCM Customers 1st Conference. In this podcast, JoAnna Brandi speaks to Michael Cubric of Firstline Mortgages who gives a taste about what his speech, ‘Being customer-centric is not cheap; are you ready to put your money where your mouth is’? is going to be about. Don’t miss Michael’s track session at NACCM on Wednesday, November 19th at 10:55 AM at Disneyland Hotel Anaheim in California this year.

Listen to the podcast here.

My Favorite Book

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

I had to call the bank the other day and ask the embarrassing question, ‘What’s my favorite book’? The woman on the other end of the line didn’t understand, she said ‘Excuse me’? ‘My favorite book, I need to know what it is’ ah, was ‘ I said. ‘Apparently the favorite book I had when I used that clue as my security question is not the same book that I think is my favorite this week.’ ‘Oh!’ she laughed. ‘I get it. The answer to your security question doesn’t match.’ ‘Right,’ I said, ‘but I really need to know what I thought my favorite book was because I tried all three I think are my favorites and none of them work, and now I’m really confused.’ ‘Oh!’ she replied, using a tone of voice that made me think she really understood why this was a problem for me. One thing I routinely find about the people in the call center of Commerce Bank is they seem to ‘get’ me. No easy task. I resisted the urge to share with her what my top three favorites were and hope that she could find a match because she told me that as much as she’d like to help me solve the dilemma, the answer was controlled electronically and was pretty much lost forever. Would I like to choose a different question? Okay. And so it was I chose a different question and said ‘Thank you for your help, I appreciate it.’ ‘Would you like me stay on the line with you until you have your security questions changed’? ‘No’ my ego said, I’m a grownup and can do this myself. But she was quick to say kindly, ‘Why don’t you just keep me on the line until you are sure you have it, and know it so the next time you need to use it it will work for you.’ Ahh, I thought ‘proactive’ okay, let her just do her job. I’m sure I can get this right. Well low and behold I forgot to put a period after an abbreviation in the answer and (just as she thought would happen) the new security question didn’t get me in. Ahh, I thought now ‘ she really knows her job, and her customers well. We had a good laugh together and after she was sure I had picked an answer I couldn’t forget or misspell she let me off the line. Now you know and I know that it is probably cheaper for the company to do it that way, because it takes less time to make sure I do it right than to initiate another call when I do it wrong again ‘ but that’s not what it felt like. It felt like someone who knew the ropes was getting me used to them, and doing it with TLC (tender loving care) and not TVC (thinly veiled contempt) which tends to be so rampant in some of the ‘helping’ professions. Bravo Commerce ‘ I hope your merger doesn’t interfere with your customer care, because so far, I like it.

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!

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!

Doing More With Less

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs. I’m an ‘expert’ columnist for Customer Advantage Newsletter and ever few weeks or months they send me questions which I answer. I almost always forget to publish those Q & A’s and so today with my new eyes on potential blog posts I answered one of their questions and then before filing it away said ‘Yippee! A blog post!’ So here we go. The question: Customer demand is rising, but we can’t add more people to Service. So we have to do more with less. What’s a good way to approach this situation? The way you frame the situation is important. You must come at it believing that every one on your team is smart, creative, talented and has something to contribute. In order to bring out the brilliance in everyone in your organization, you must believe this (or ‘act as if’ you do until you realize it’s true). In holding open the possibility that people will shine they usually do. People live up (or down) to our expectations of them. If we expect and empower them to be competent, creative, innovative problem solvers who create exquisite experiences for customers, they’re more likely to do so. Once you hold this as true it’s time you give people the chance to help. In a meeting, start with the truth. ‘I know we would all like it if we had more resources, but we don’t and in the short term, won’t. We can’t do anything about that but what we CAN do is start getting really creative around here and find ways to work around the reality we’re faced with. I believe this team has the talent and ingenuity it takes to come up with solutions to even our toughest challenges. Let’s brainstorm some ideas together and get started.’ Set aside real time for brainstorming (no judgments, no idea-killer phrases, set amount of time where anything goes.) Get people limbered up with some silly challenges ’52 ways you can use a teabag’ and when they are loose and laughing introduce your real challenges. Try using analogy ‘If this were a zoo (a garden, a circus etc.) how would we look at it’? Convince yourself and your team that you have the creative potential to discover solutions for any problems and you will. A hint ‘ little rewards, like mini candy bars, stress toys and kazoos always make creative sessions more fun. Once people are in the habit of being more solutions focused you reinforce it when ever you see it. ‘Jill, I am always so amazed by the way you come up with out of the box solutions that make our customers happy. Great work.’ You might even want to have a once a month celebration for the most workable solutions. Even in the most severe of situations there’s always enough for movie tickets and popcorn rewards. My answer: The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. Companies everywhere are asking people to do more with less. The second thing you need to know is that times like this give us the opportunity to show how good we really are. I believe that most of us have the ability to do a little better every day. 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!