Tag Archives: customer satisfaction

RECOGNISING FACTORS OF STRESS

what do you want me to do
I have been very humbled by the comments and emails I have received about my Blog about stress and its challenges. There is one overriding theme through these communications. How does a person realise they are stressed or not? Remember stress is an essential part of Humans functionality. This part is good as a reasonable level of stress does work for us, not against us.

However when these levels get too much, our minds go into overwhelm. This in itself creates what some might call ‘irrational behaviour’. This may not be recognised by the individual concerned. It is easy to say – recognise and deal with it – not so easy when you are immersed in it.

Apart from the obvious indicators or stress such as , levels of low energy, irritation with others, anger about stuff in general, possibly leading to a withdrawal into a ‘personal world’ almost cutting yourself off from others both and work and socially. We all have what I describe as trigger points that will spark a reaction from this person. These trigger points vary from person to person as each set of circumstances are different. Here is a small list of what for some are those trigger points. Have a look at these and read them with an open mind. Some of them may strike a chord with you, a co-worker or close friend. As we all know stress can and does have very serious effects on a person’s quality of life – and life itself.

Alcohol/Tobacco
In my experience as a Coach, I have come across some people who call for a drink on the way home from work. However in some circumstances one drink will lead to two and maybe more. This person might then end up in court on a drink driving charge, involved in an accident hurting themselves or another innocent person. In fact they might have another drink when they get home.
The same thoughts apply to smoking. There are some people who ‘eat’ cigarettes; they go through 2 or 3 packs a day. Not only is it expensive, and they are damaging their health as well. The alcohol and tobacco elements become this persons ‘comfort blanket’ – their ‘feel good factor’.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Do you have a drink because the bottle is there?
Do you light up that cigarette, even when you don’t want it?

Anger/Frustration
I have also coached people who are fine at work. They perform their job well; they are liked and respected by their peers. However when they get home the family bears the brunt of their stress and frustration. The slightest little thing will cause a person to raise their voice at their other half. I have come across examples where a person walks into the house and steps on a toy – Boom – World War 3 has started. There are some people who have very heated discussions as to who has the TV remote. Something as simple as this can escalate into a very serious situation. Sometimes this type of interaction could lead to physical harm to one or both parties.
Does this sound familiar to you?

The ‘Bedroom Department’
The ‘Bedroom Department’ is seldom talked about. There are times when a person (Male or Female) has not been able to make love to their other half in the way they used to. This is not just a male issue. This in my experience can affect both men and women. In most examples that I have come across, the very fact that they cannot make love brings an added level of stress on top of the existing one. Another factor comes in to play here. Which is a person’s Ego. Like excess alcohol consumption, drugs, unacceptable behaviour at home and the office and the ‘Bedroom Department’, become a Taboo subject or subjects.
Do you have a Taboo subject?

Work Related Issues
Work related stress is one of the most common causes of raised stress levels. If you work at a Company where there are the usual levels of stress – then that is good. This is a Company that does not makes totally excessive demands of its work force. There are structures in place such as your job description is clearly defined. The Company empowers and trains you to complete your allotted tasks. It will have work schedules that are achievable and realistic and challenges you in your current role.
On the other hand, you may experience bullying, unrealistic time pressures, overbearing supervisors and senior staff, no or very little training, travelling to work, redundancies, down sizing and maybe having to work overtime to make a decent wage. These are just a few examples – I am sure that you can think of a lot more. I do not have a ‘silver bullet’ for the examples above. However, in most countries that I deal with there are Company policies and National legislation in place to protect workers against such actions and anti social policies.

If you are involved in your Companies downsizing policy – then see it as an opportunity to seek a role elsewhere. You will have skills and experience that are transferable to another employer. All is not necessarily lost, even though it might feel that way at the moment. Focus on what you want in the future – is what you are doing and having to experience getting you there.
Do you have an Action Plan to get what you want?

Do Not Become A Statistic
I was once a Police Officer in the UK. I was working in the gaol area one night when a guy was brought in under arrest. It turns out that he was arrested on suspicion of Burglary. He was an articulate man, well spoken. Not the usual type of person that a gaoler is used to processing. Once he had been placed in a cell, I did my rounds. After 30 minutes I checked on him to see if he was alright. I got a lot of attitude from him, he thought I was judging him. As I was on the other side of the cell bars to him.

He went on to say that he was a former Company Director with a 6 figure salary, Company Car, Health Benefits, the full works. He was then let go by this Company – and could not face going out in the job market for fear of failure which stressed him enormously. The only way he thought he could feed his family was to rob houses. Which thankfully he was not very good at. He made the point to me, that, I could be on his side of the bars if I make a wrong turn or decision in the future.
Do you know that conversation has stayed with me since 1982!

You are not alone, call me (+44) 0799 099 1103

richard@saxtonpartners.co.uk

LR10aa

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STRESS AND HOW TO RECOGNISE AND DEAL WITH IT.

LR10aa
Stress is nothing new in human evolution. Our ancestors have experienced stress and its effects. However we all seem to think it is a modern day phenomenon.
Stress has all sorts of definitions. The one I like describes stress as the experience of unpleasant over or under stimulation. Yes – Over Stimulation OR Under Stimulation. We as humans cannot function without some sort of stimulation or challenge. This stimulation provides excitement, drive and indeed motivates us – as long as you feel in control.
Stress is the mismatch between these challenges that face you and your belief in your own ability to cope with those challenges.

Stress can affect you in four different ways:-
1. Physically – you might get headaches or tummy upsets.
2. Emotionally – you might become grumpy and irritable.
3. Mentally – your ability to think might become impaired.
4. Behaviourally – they way you are acting, is not the ‘normal’ you.

There is a lot written about stress and how to cope with and deal with it. Here lies the fundamental problem. A person, who is stressed, does not necessarily know they are stressed! All the medical people say that a certain amount of stress is good for you – as it stimulates the mind and body into action – which is very true. However if we become stressed we will start to become overwhelmed with anxiety, tension, frustration even anger. These emotions will show in the way we interact with people.

The danger here is burn out simply put burn out is a loss of idealism, energy and purpose. Physical and emotional exhaustion is the order of the day as your ‘fuel tanks’ are empty. There are 4 stages to this process:-

Stage 1 – Lots of energy and enthusiasm for the role you play.
Danger signs – Too busy to take holidays or time off. Taking work home. Too little time with family and friends. Unwilling to refuse extra work load.

Stage 2 – Small bouts of irritation, combined with feelings of stagnation. This may lead to you blaming others.
Danger signs – Not happy with quality of other people’s work. Starting to crumble under workload, hence you might to start working extra hours to catch up. Time management goes out of the window.

Stage 3 – Increasing level of anger inside you. Will lead to low self esteem even be quite apathetic.
Danger signs – Life becomes a chore and whatever you do tires you out. Your commitment to work and home life wanes.

Stage 4 – Complete withdrawal, combined with feelings of failure. You may become or feel ill at this point.
Danger signs – Avoiding people, maybe calling in sick at work. Becoming increasingly isolated. Could lead to increased level of alcohol consumption or use of chemical substances.

If you are at any of the 4 stages. STOP and look at the contributing factors, or see a Personal Coach. They will be able to guide you off this self destructive path. It is vital for your well being to take action now!

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MIND OVER MATTER – VERSION 2

Richards Arrows

For those of you who have looked at my post MIND OVER MATTER. Here is a little something extra.

Over the weekend I was clearing some stuff from my loft at the house. I can across an old bag. In this bag were these broken arrows. I had a wonderful memory of how these became broken. The story of which I will share with you now.

We have all heard of the ‘Fire Walks’ or ‘Walk of Trust’ or whatever people call them. This is where you walk across hot coals. I am sure we have all seen this done in various website and you tube clips. These types of things can be very empowering when done in the right way.

There some people who do workshops on this theme. Where they get them to break a piece of wood that is in front of them. The basis of this is, the mind says, that woods too thick, and it essence it is only as strong as you think it is. So, when you go to break the wood you are hitting through it – focussing on what is behind the wood.

I had a similar experience with these arrows. These are wooden arrows, not knowing much about them. All I can tell you is that the name on the side is CAJUN Archery Inc and it says BOW WT. UP TO 35#. They have feather flights with a plastic knock on the end. On the other end they have an aluminium arrow head. The length is around 63 cm or 25 inches. You only use wooden arrows for this.

How I broke this arrow is very strange and interesting. I was asked to think of a current challenge in my life – which I did. I stood face to face with another person. This other person put the end with the plastic knock against a square piece of wood. This was to hold it in place. Then I was then asked to put the other end of the arrow (the aluminium head) against my throat, near to my Adam’s apple. I was asked to walk forward on to this arrow.

Yes – you are reading this right – stepping forward on to this arrow shaft with its arrow head to my throat.

It snapped, thus breaking or exploding the myth or belief around my views on this challenging situation. I was quite stunned as to how quick it broke.

Do you know, when I reflected on the challenge that I did have in my head. It was no longer a challenge at all – it was quite diminished. I faced my fear about being hurt by this arrow and by doing so helped me with my challenge at the time.

I must stress, that this was done in a controlled environment with qualified people. I do not recommend that you do this yourself.

We all have to face things in life; we have to deal with all sorts of ‘stuff’ day in day out. The best way to sort this out is to actually deal with it and not put it off anymore.

Simple Mind over Matter – Do not take my word for it, try it yourself.

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Have You Ever Hit A Brick Wall?

There are times in our business and private lives when we hit that brick wall. This term will mean different things to different people. For me it is when I am not getting where I need to be, to some it will be just a state of de-motivation or stress.

Ask yourself this:-
1.) Have you ever put off making that phone call because you cannot be bothered?
2.) Have you run round all day at the office and not got a thing done?
3.) Do you ever sit in your chair and just sit there looking busy?
4.) Have you got so many balls in the air – you are not sure which one to deal with next?
5.) Are you due some time off?

You may or may not agree with any of the 5 points above – they are just examples to stimulate your mind – so that you know where I am coming from.

What you are experiencing is a state of flux, a stopped state of mind that just cannot process all those things going round in your head. You may feel that if you got up and made a cup of coffee or go to the bathroom that this will unstick this stuck state. Not so.

What is happening for you is that your head will be down, dashing around all over the place. Task after task after task – that is what it seems like to you while you are in this state of mind. It is called an Associated State – this is where your head is totally immersed in what you are doing.

To change this state you need to do something. There are a couple of techniques I will share with you:-

a.) Move from where you are sitting, change the environment. When it is safe to do so – simply raise your head and stroke the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. It will tickle a bit, however by doing this brings you out of that state of mind.

b.) When you are at home – away from the office. I want you to find your favourite chair and sit there. Close your eyes and see yourself in the office, doing what you have been doing recently. So you are observing you. See how you’re sat, your body language, and the tension on your face and see how you are coming across to other people.

By using one or both of these two techniques you will find that you dis-associate from the issues at hand. It will give to you a clearer picture of what is going on. This way you can take action – the great benefit of this is that you will become more productive.

Don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself.

Have a great day.

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Customer Service – How is Yours?

I came across an article by Pat Lencioni of The Table Group about customer service. I thought I would share this with you as I it highlights what a Companys perception of Customer Service is compared to what it actually is.

The Dangers of Dishonest Marketing
Summer involves a lot of air travel for me, and so I suppose I get inspired, or provoked, to address my airline frustrations and relate them to leadership and management. But the purpose here is not to complain about bad service.

That’s not to say that the flight that stimulated this essay featured good service. It didn’t. It was one of the big, legacy air carriers, and even as we were boarding the flight attendants made it clear that they were not looking forward to our disruptive presence in their workplace. But I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to that, so I wasn’t particularly upset by the situation.

What made this experience particularly frustrating was something that happened even before the plane took off. Just before the safety briefing, a video was shown featuring the CEO of the airline, who warmly greeted passengers and proudly announced that customer service was the hallmark of the airline, and that it always has been.

Really?

It got worse. Next we watched short clips of smiling employees – flight attendants, customer service agents,
pilots – declaring that everything they do, the reason they work, is to make customers happy. It was surreal and, frankly, insulting.

As unpleasant as this was for me and the other passengers, I think the most uncomfortable people on the plane were the flight attendants who had to stand there and watch themselves portrayed in a way that did not generally reflect anything close to reality. Whether they were ashamed of themselves or disgusted by their leader, I don’t know, but either way it was awkward.

Anyway, once I got beyond my initial reaction to all this, I came to realize that there are two lessons to be learned here. First, leaders should not use marketing to address an issue that is more fundamentally related to organizational health. This only masks the problem and prevents the organization from addressing it at its core, which almost always starts at the top.

Second, leaders who do this throw gasoline on a fire, making a bad situation even worse. See, there is something far, far more maddening than experiencing poor service: being lied to about that service and having your intelligence insulted. I am not proud to admit that I had a very visceral, bitter attitude about that CEO at that moment, and I think his flight attendants did too.

Frankly, I would have preferred if he had come on the video and explained, “Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for flying our airline. Though we say you have a choice, these days you probably don’t as we may be the only airline serving this route at this time of day. And I know all too well that the service you get when you fly with us is inconsistent, if not unfriendly. Unfortunately, for a lot of reasons that I can’t go into here, it’s difficult for us to get rid of surly flight attendants, and for that matter, reward the really good ones. But I hope you’re fortunate to have a really good one today, and if not, I hope the overall experience isn’t too unpleasant. And please know that we always do our best to make the flight safe.”

I would have stood and applauded. And you know what? I think that kind of honesty would actually do more to provoke a cultural change at the airline by making the less friendly flight attendants not want to be seen that way.

Okay, just as I was finishing this essay, I arrived at my destination city and checked in at a big airport hotel. My colleague and I were greeted somewhat unenthusiastically by a young woman at the check-in desk who was wearing a ribbon emblazoned with the word “WOW” on it. We asked her what it meant and she told us, a little hesitantly, that it had to do with providing customers with great service so they would say ‘wow.’

As she explained this, another ribbon-wearing employee was standing next to her, doing nothing. She neither smiled, looked up at us, nor asked if she could help my colleague check-in. I can only imagine what must have been going through her mind as she listened to our conversation and decided not to engage.

Again, the point here is not to be harsh on these particular employees. Like flight attendants and the rest of us, they have their stories and their challenges in life, I’m sure. The point is that leaders of organizations only make their problems worse when they use gimmicks and marketing programs to convince customers that they’re good at something that anyone with eyes and ears knows they do poorly.

Of course, what these companies need to do is address the underlying cultural and operational issues at the heart of their service problem. And if they ultimately come to the conclusion that they shouldn’t or can’t invest in improving service – which might be justified – then they should focus on touting their real strengths and stop insulting their customers and employees by making preposterous and unjustified claims.

Ultimately, people want honesty, clarity, and even vulnerability from the companies that serve and employ them. And I’m convinced that they’ll reward those companies for it. Heck, maybe the woman at the hotel should have said, “Hi. We’re not the Ritz-Carlton, but the rooms are clean, we don’t have bedbugs and there’s free wi-fi. That’s all you really need for the money you paid, right?” Okay, that may be unrealistic, but I swear it would be better than the “WOW” ribbons.
Yours,
Pat Lencioni

I agree with Pat on all the points he raises here. We have all put up with this type of thing in the past. Maybe it is time for a change.

Have a great day.

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Customer Service – How Do Your Clients See Yours?

I came across this story recently about customer service. You may have read it before, so bear with me. The story itself will make you think.

The story is set in the USA, where someone purchased a new $70,000 BMW car. He chose the colour and a few other things in line with what he wanted for this vehicle. This chap was a non smoker – so he ordered a coin holder to replace the ash tray. When his car was delivered, he was disappointed that his request seemingly had been ignored – as the ash tray was still in the car – not the coin holder that he had ordered.

He called the garage and asked if they would post to him the coin holder and he would simply take out the ash tray and replace it with the coin holder – quite simple. Not according to the garage as they insisted that he called into the showroom. This was inconvenient for him as it was 60 mile round trip.

In the short term he thought – to heck with it and got on with a few jobs in the house. Which gave him time to think. Why did they not give me what he wanted? What he did then was to call Mercedes, Lexus, Rolls Royce and a few other prestige car distributors. He put his current scenario to them – they all replied that would have put the coin holder in the post as it was their mistake in the first place, and, it was only right that they put it right.

Armed with this feedback from the other car dealers. He rang the original dealership where he had bought his car from. Told them exactly what the other dealerships had said – and, gave them a piece of his mind. Once he finished the call, he put down the receiver and had a coffee. About 30 minutes later there was a knock on his door. He answered it and a young mechanic gave to him a coin holder for his car.

“It’s amazing that I had to call you and tell you what other people would do just to get BMW to take some action and get out here.”

To which the mechanic replied;

“I can understand your frustration – but, I’m not from BMW I am from Lexus.”

Which begs the question – What do you do for your clients or potential clients?

For my part in Saxton Partners as part of our Executive Coaching, Mentoring and courses – we offer:-

Resource Library – A full use of our resource library, which includes books, CD’s & DVD’s. These are loaned out to whoever needs them.

Follow Through – We follow through with them after their Executive Coaching / Mentoring sessions with appointments in the diary and action points that they have to complete.

Phone Support – I am always at the end of my mobile phone. If I am coaching when they ring – I call them back. My phone charges up overnight on my bedside cabinet. So if any of them need me – they can get hold of me. Although offered as part of our service to clients, this has never happened – however they know they can get hold of me. That is enough to put someone at ease, when they are going through some change in their lives either personally or professionally.

Action – When I say I will do something for them – I do it. Even if it just a quick phone call to see if they are ok – or to email them a paper that I have written on a subject that they are interested in.

The above are just a few things that we offer ‘over and above’ what is expected or demanded from our clients.

This ‘added value’ is very important to both current clients and prospective clients. With the latter you are giving them an experience of dealing with you – even though they have not committed yet, to doing something with you.

If you are interested in Executive Coaching, then take action; just contact me, that way we can make it happen.

Have a great day.

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