I’m going to INBOUND 2017 and I’m so dam excited! I can’t believe I am able to go.
And I’ve been such a huge fan of most of the 2017 speakers for years… I can’t wait to hear their talks.
“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”
– Richard Branson, Virgin
As a business, your customer experience strategy has a direct impact on the success of companies. However, with increasing methods of communication and rising customer expectations, managing customer experiences is becoming harder to measure.
Customer service metrics are changing.
Traditional metrics such as call handling time are going down in importance, because they are not important to the customer. Metrics that have a direct impact on the customer are going up. The Customer Effort Score is a new, simpler metric which focuses on how much effort they had to put forth to do business with your company. It offers a better predictor of loyalty than the Net Promoter Score and helps identify areas for improvement to make it easier for customers to deal with your company. (1)
Customers are more loyal to companies that focus on solving problems quickly and easily, particularly in phone interactions. The less effort a customer needs to make to resolve problems, the more a company will improve customer service, reduce costs and decrease customer churn. On the other hand, customers leave companies because of terrible service all the time. (2)
When your employees are not engaged and constantly dealing with customers, their attitudes transfer to the customer. This came to my attention in a recent comment on a LinkedIn post:
“Customer service only counts if you care. Engage with cold callers, and they will talk for ages and reveal they really don’t like their employer. It teaches me a lot…!”
– Gareth Williams, Business Development Director, Azureus Ltd.
You will lose customers if you don’t make it easy to deal with your company.
So how does a business drive employee and customer engagement at the same time?
The best contact centre solutions help inform customer experience managers and ensure employees have the best tools to engage with customers. Better employee engagement leads to better customer experiences, every time, while happier customers make make jobs more enjoyable. It’s a happy circle.
Small and medium businesses work faster, smarter and more effectively, across all devices, with contact centre solutions.
(1) Carolyn Blunt, NetPromoter vs. Customer Effort: Which is best?
(2) Harvard Business Review, Stop Trying To Delight Your Customers.
My previous post had the best of goal setting that I have seen.
Danielle La Porte alluded to how it is essential to feel you DESERVE the goal you set.
And… here’s more thoughts on why goals are a bad thing.
We often set goals from a place of lack. It’s possible to set a goal when you’re feeling great, and you just want to move in a different direction. But even once that is set, in my experience, once there’s a set goal in front of me it’s really, really difficult to strive and feel happy about not having had achieved it yet. Or, if I’m not making enough progress in time, it’s really, really hard not to feel down on myself.
Even if, from the perspective of core desired feelings or values or being, we are actually moving in a better direction, or we have moved to a different goal, or we just feel better – it’s really hard to pull that piece of paper down of my wall without a sense of failure. Shortcoming.
JP Sears here makes some great points about whether you are becoming who you want to be, and think you are – and how creating goals sets up the construct between an ‘old me’ and a ‘new me’. And that involves a rejection of who really are, in going after who you want to be.
It’s interesting that JP Sears actually thinks goals are a good thing – but what you need to ask is what part of you is creating your goal?
The insight that struck me, is that setting a goal is often to reject yourself. And if you do that, you’ve set yourself up for failure. Because achieving that goal wouldn’t resonate with the real you in the first place.
“Goals (wanting to improve) are not consistent with contentment (being happy with where you are).” – Leo Babatua
I first read the idea of having no goals in this post at The Minimalists:
“As for my new novel, I intend to finish writing it—I’ve never worked harder on anything in my life—but I’m enjoying the process of writing it, and if I never finish, that’s okay, too. I’m not stressed about it anymore.” – Joshua Fields Millburn.
Now when I first read those, I felt a bit empty and unfocused. I felt a bit of despair and a lack of purpose. That was a few years ago.
I have regretted not doing things year on year, and when I set goals to do it I often feel so much better for having achieved them. In the absence of goals, then, what do you replace it with – in order to ensure that you grow?
Kyle Cease in this video explains why we should set intentions.
I love this video. I watched this the other day and it really hit me.
“Move yourself out of a sense of a do, and more into a sense of be” / “Allow yourself, more and more and more, to just be you.”
So, while marker pens can make my goals bold, and help me focus, and it’s a step up from how I used to be, I also see that the intention to simply do more good things every day e.g. meditate or write is a more grounding process.
So, of course, goals are important, and necessary to start to move forward. But there is a darker side to goal setting and I would like to either feel better about the entire process of setting and achieving (or not achieving) goals, or, feel more free altogether and simply become more of who I am as an intention.
When I feel at my best, I am open to possibilities, happy, and free to simply own who I am. I know, deep down, what I want. The question is, how do I accept where I’m at now, and also strive for a new goal? Similarly, how do I accept where I am now and feel proud of myself and have confidence, unless I know what I’ve achieved so far? Writing out goals helps with that, and helps me to see both my strengths and my weaknesses, with evidence. Instead of being swayed by my changing perceptions and the opinions of others, I have my own bold and trusty marker pens and paper.
So what do you do – do you set goals, or intentions? How do you set goals and how do you feel about them?
Here’s my two favourite videos on goal setting.
So, I’ve continually gone back to this video by Clark Kegley. Since July last year, I’ve created a goal list each month. When it didn’t come easily, I listed everything I would ever want to accomplish, and pared it down to my 3 categories: adventure, health, and work (contribution, achievement, etc).
He also kinda got me into marker pens. Goals are way better to tick off with marker pens.
I’ve been pretty happy to see the goals bright and bold and ticked off – or not. I really like all his videos, and his channel dedicated to growth and learning new things to become a better person has really inspired me to drive for more each month. It’s not about the specific achievement, it’s about growing in the time that you have. It’s working for me, it’s making me prouder of what I do each month, and driven to make my goals new, interesting and bigger each time.
If you’re not growing, you’re dying – Tony Robbins
Danielle La Porte has been really close to my heart for years. And this interview with Marie Forleo is how I first found her. From such an ‘ambitious cat’, it was a relief to hear Danielle articulate all the less-than-good feelings around goal setting, and come up with a wonderful new solution.
The concept of finding your core desired feelings also alludes to whether those goals are from you or simply to be seen as successful, or approved, by other people in your life (family, peers, society). How do you know? Knowing how it feels is the one true way to test why you want something. Expansive, or contracted? Is it your own intuitive joy, or some feeling of vague obligation? It really shifted my perspective and the more I worked through The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul… the more I brought out a clearer picture of who I want to be, inside.
“The goal isn’t about the goal, it’s about the way I want to feel.” – Danielle La Porte
Even when I couldn’t bear my goal list, or when I didn’t want to achieve anything. I get those days.
This concept also navigates the way setting goals often – not always – comes from a place of lack. Learn to love the process, not the outcome. Instead of saying you’ll be happy when x, how about finding a way to be happy now? Fulfilled. Loved. Worthy.
(By the way, my present core desired feelings? Love, Expressive, Free / Possibility, Ecstatic, Grounded. That’s me, yo.)
Should we scrap goals and not set any at all?
In my next post, I’ll explore the case for that.
It is no accident; it has been crafted and manufactured with much deliberation for this zeitgeist. How it went from a BBC article to a huge proliferation of books, articles, and looking to other countries for guidance on how to live our lives, amid Brexit.
Did the industry provide one trend, and then provide an antedote?
This is the audio of this article in The Guardian, here:
The Hygge of Oasis: Why I find the band strangely comforting: New Statesman:
Audience: Second short question is why haven’t you written down your set of formulas or your strategies in written form so you can share it with everyone else?
Warren Buffett: Well I think I actually have written about that. If you read the annual reports over the recent years, in fact the most recent annual report I used what I’ve just been talking about, I used the illustration of Aesop. Because here Aesop was in 600 BC- smart man, wasn’t smart enough to know it was 600 BC though. Would have taken a little foresight. But Aesop, in between tortoises and hares, and all these other things he found time to write about birds. And he said, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Now that isn’t quite complete because the question is, how sure are you that there are two in the bush, and how long do you have to wait to get them out? Now, he probably knew that but he just didn’t have time because he had all these other parables to write and had to get on with it. But he was halfway there in 600 BC. That’s all there is to investing is, how many birds are in the bush, when are you going to get them out, and how sure are you?
Now if interest rates are 15 percent, roughly, you’ve got to get two birds out of the bush in five years to equal the bird in the hand. But if interest rates are 3 percent, and you can get two birds out in 20 years, it still makes sense to give up the bird in the hand, because it all gets back to discounting against an interest rate. The problem is often you don’t know not only how many birds are in the bush, but in the case of the internet companies there weren’t any birds in the bush. But they still take the bird that you give them if they’re in the hand.
But I actually have written about this sort of thing, and stealing heavily from Aesop who wrote it some 2600 years ago, but I’ve been behind on my reading. Yeah?
Money Chimp have made a really explicit formula here.
” ‘Cause this youthful advantage fades while the sand is
Dripping from the hour glass”
“Fashionably sensitive, but too cool to care”
“Mistaken you for someone else –
Someone who gave a dam… somebody more like myself”
“Wanna slay ’em, wanna lay ’em, wanna play ’em
My favourite toys
“A simple life’s my cup of tea
I don’t need nobody but me
What I wouldn’t give just to be left alone
I want to be a millionaire someday”
When you hate, what you read, from the day before
When you’re never finished
When the feeling never comes
And it’s hard to remember…
Why do you write?
When you’re not sure even you believe
In the words
When you’re not sure it does good
When you question this odd hobby
That sits you in a crumpled heap on your chair, again
And there’s an answer lurking inside of you
But you’re not sure it’s a good one…
Why do you write?
When the people you care about, tell you to get real
When people you want to care about you, don’t
When you receive no recognition
When there seems to be no beauty in your words
And it’s everything you dread…
Why do you write?
This could be like Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ – then, you’ll be a writer, my son:
When you can do all the above and keep going.
And not give up the dream, even if it’s necessary and good to take a break from it, for life,
But you grow in that break, and you return to that dream with different perspective.
When you can doubt yourself but work through those doubts, and learn about yourself
And you can still, confidently in a crowd, or alone at night, you can still call yourself a writer.
Then, you’ll be a writer, my son.
I’m finding the hardest thing about freelancing is pitching. Regularly.
I have all the ideas in the world – they’re not all good, obviously. But when I think of the infinite number of publications out there that could possibly take any of those ideas, and how I could adapt it for several different publications if I was organised enough, it’s often overwhelming – and crafting a good pitch is an art, and takes time, and research. And yet all that – all that is part of the dream. It’s fun, it’s creative, the endless possibilities are inspiring, and you love that response.
But what I’m finding hard about it; it’s uncertain, it’s work-intensive, I risk rejection (without any constructive criticism) and even if they do accept it, it might be changed and revised beyond recognition or the pressure starts when they give the commission and then it could be pulled, or not published (and therefore not paid) or the rejection could come at the end of all the work, rather than at the beginning (and without any constructive criticism).
In short, it’s unpaid work. And potentially pointless; if there’s no results, it means I have no work, and I am left with doubts and tumbleweed.
Sure, risk it, for the biscuit. If I don’t try, I don’t get. But I am talking about the very real possibility that I put all that work in, and nothing comes of it – if I’m endlessly pitching and nothing is good enough (for those companies, for whatever reason) then, am I still working? Am I still a freelancer? Do I still exist?
The equivalent in a normal job.
So, the way I have reconciled this in my brain.
The work of pitching (which includes coming up with ideas, researching publications, reading news and anything else) would be, if I was working in a role for a company, the equivalent of the commute.
So, say in London (where I happen to be based) I don’t get paid for commuting on the London Underground for an hour each way. The office doesn’t value that time; there is no reward for hacking it or doing a ‘good commute’ (whatever that means). Essentially, a boss doesn’t care how you get there, they just care that you do get there.
As for the risk of rejection? If you’re late, you could lose your job. (Equivalent: if I don’t pitch, or don’t pitch in time, I could lose my work).
But it gets you (to) work.
In fact, that gives me an idea to frame it. I could aim to pitch (think of ideas, research companies and read news, etc) for an hour each way. One hour before work, one hour at the end. It could help to see which time of the day I’m better at it – and it becomes a habit. And it is the most important part of freelancing – which is why it’s the hardest. Without pitching, without setting your own ideas and agenda, you are nothing. You don’t exist as a freelancer.
(Which, by the way, is fine – freelancing what works for me right now, and I’m committed to it because it improves my skills. I also apply for roles where I can apply those skills. Here’s my CV on LinkedIn if you’re interested in a journalist/marketing/research type.)