Posts Tagged: No Excuses


Quit this One Habit to Improve your Customer’s Experience

August 19th, 2015

There is the idea of “moments of truth” in service. This concept basically represents every time we interact with a customer that we have a moment to impress, do our best, or make the interaction either positive or negative.

In a restaurant, when your hostess or waiter doesn’t bring you your menu for 10 minutes, it is a negative thing – not a good moment of truth. When the waitress finally arrives at your table, s/he explains that s/he had just arrived and all the servers are transitioning shifts and juggling tables. Thanks, I think. This is an excuse. The words offer me no value, and it actually makes me feel even more frustrated. All I wanted was an apology and a chance to order. The comments made nothing better. I really don’t care about why.

Over years of study and real world application, “Burkhard leaders” have learned that making an excuse at any time in service with a customer, peer, boss, vendor or friend never adds value or improves the mistake. An excuse always makes things worse. No one wants to hear you give an excuse. We just want it fixed and done right. The excuse drags out the negative moment and in fact, adds another negative moment of truth. Instead, when you offer me a solution to fix whatever broke, you could win me over forever!

No excuses

Apply this thinking to your own world at work or in your home life. All day long someone makes an excuse on why you did not get a response to the email, why they did not attend your important meeting, or finish the project. Giving any excuse simply makes it worse, right? When your son does not clean up his room or do his assigned chore. Which is worse: the missed work or what he has to say about why it’s not done? Johnny came over and we got distracted. Or, I got my homework done instead. We don’t need all that from a teenager! If he understood “No Excuses”, he would simply go up stairs and clean his room and tell you when it was done. Nothing extra, nothing more. No excuses.

No Excuses is a core value of our companies. No Excuses is about how we act and react in moments of providing service. At the Outside-In® Companies, we try very hard when we make a mistake. Yes, we make them too! Our playbook is to fix what broke. Apologize. But never, ever make an excuse. When we do it well (offering a fix instead of an excuse), there is no drama to discuss, no flames to fan. It is simply matter of fact. Fixed. Done. Over. I like to think this is about running head first into the problem. Get it over with. But for goodness sakes, don’t try and over-explain the why.

Win over your customer by quitting the habit of making excuses. No Excuses means no drama. No Excuses means action. No Excuses means taking one on the chin and not feeling like you have to explain yourself away. All we want as customers is what we asked for. Nothing more.

No Excuses Leadership

May 7th, 2014

no excusesWe make them all of the time. In our home life. At work. In our minds. We say it out loud. We think of it often and we blame others all too much. Our kid got a bad call on the sports field. We would have gotten that promotion or bonus if the boss was more reasonable. We could have hit our budget, however, the winter weather kept workers home. As leaders at the Outside-In® family of companies, we have serious responsibilities to consider as a team.

No Excuses as a value seems self-explanatory, right? Try hard to control the space between your ears and learn to own whatever you are responsible for and for whatever happens to you. Placing blame, well, that is the easy path to take. Everything can be rationalized and made someone else’s fault.

As a leadership team No Excuses requires a commitment to some important management ideals and practices.

1. As leaders we need to think in terms of contingencies. Things always go differently than planned. Thinking through different options. Planning to stay ahead of your business. Making sure you stay ahead of things. The concept of getting ahead matters.  

2. Getting ahead and staying ahead and out in front of your business. Having enough focus and balance on the future of your business is critical. Do you have enough staff? Do you know who your next hire is? Are they ready for your next opening?

3. Balance of today’s workload with tomorrow. Did you just barely get through the day? Are you growing your business? Are you giving employees a reason to come back? Would anyone notice that you’re not working towards a future state or plan? A business is a plan of resources that meet today’s demands but also keep you aligned to your future. Too much today focus can mean that stakeholders become disinterested and begin to question where we are headed. Too much forward focus? Well, the bright picture you’re creating maybe too big a chasm for your employees to believe it today and it looks ugly!

4. Anticipate. Everyday clients have issues. Staff needs help and coaching. You will have interruptions, distractions, things that occupy time. New prospects need cultivating. You know everyday these things happen. And this is just a normal day, where, nothing big happened good or not so good. If you know this be ready for it.

5. Have a daily plan. As a leader you can make it through your day and have a full one simply by helping the staff and customer that need it and by going to the standing meetings on your schedule. I bet success for you is defined by more than reacting to your day.

Avoiding excuses starts well in advance. To avoid making big ones requires planning, delegation and an effective of balance on the work of the day versus the long range direction you have set for your business.

Turn inside-out customer service Outside-in® to promote growth.

January 26th, 2011

I’d like you to take a minute to think about your experiences as a consumer.

    CBI-QuestionHow many of you have had a surly server in a restaurant whose first smile came when she was handing over the check and angling for a tip?
    CBI-QuestionDo you have enough fingers to count the number of times a retail clerk has continued to chat on a personal call while you stood and waited at the counter?
    CBI-QuestionConsider the last medical office you entered. As the doctor made you sit for 25 minutes past your appointment time without so much as a hello, did you notice the little sign informing you that you will be charged if you ever arrive late?
    CBI-QuestionHave you called your local utility lately and battled through six prompts on an automated phone system only to hear: “Your call is important to us. All of our operators are currently busy. Someone will assist you in” — ominous pause — “18 minutes.”

As leaders and employees we can relate to lousy service because we have all experienced it. These outrages are everyday occurrences in an inside-out world that focuses on cost-containment and internal “efficiency” instead of serving customers. You may be tempted to simply give up on the idea of getting — and maybe even providing — great service, but there is an antidote. It is the customer-focused approach of Outside-In®.
 
At CBI Group, we are customer service oriented and have three bedrock Outside-In® practices that any company could adopt tomorrow. Perhaps every company should. They’re easy to implement and have a profound effect on customers’ perceptions of our business:

    CBI-InterruptThe Interrupt Policy: We’re in the age of e-mail. That means if a client is resorting to the phone, you know there’s a pressing need that (s)he believes only you can help with. We give callers the option to interrupt our staff members no matter what meeting, discussion, or project they’re engaged in. And if someone is out of the office, we offer to put customers right through to their cell phones.
    CBI-SunsetThe “Sunset Policy”: Of course, once they’re actually given a choice, most clients really don’t mind leaving a message or taking their concern to e-mail. But some do and despite our best attempts, there are still times when someone really is unreachable temporarily. In those situations, we honor our customers’ and other team members’ needs by returning all calls, notes, and e-mails by the end of the business day, with no excuses.
    CBI-ICanHelpYou“I Can Help You”: Many front-line employees are led to think they have one function: pass customers off to someone else as quickly as possible. At CBI Group, we listen not for the hand-off moment, but for the customer’s need. Then we do everything we can to satisfy that need without transferring the call. But if the person who answered can’t help, we will personally find you the right person, with no further delay.

These practices are basic in nature and simple to adopt. I hope this is reassuring because when we think about our job and our company, the task of good customer service seems so daunting, especially when the day-to-day things seem to get in the way. It’s also important to recognize the strong impact that great customer service drives beyond customer satisfaction. It can help drive growth! Imagine that, a simple phrase like “I can help you” could help your business grow… Outside-In® customer service is just one of the ingredients that will help get your recipe for growth just right. More to come on smart growth next week!
 

“No excuses” is tough to live with in a recession

September 30th, 2009

No excuses is an important part of my belief system as a leader. Employees don’t want to hear them, and deserve better. As leaders we don’t want them, right? We don’t want to hear them from vendors. It is the worst thing to hear when you are on the phone and someone else blames another. I have spent a life time living and learning that excuses sound like defending. And defending it just not useful in any situation.  It drives a wedge right down the middle of the situation.
 
How wonderful is to hear no excuses? The best thing in the world. When my son or daughter actually listens when we ask them to pick up their towel off the bathroom floor without hearing, “it is not mine”,  that is a good thing. In business,  no excuses is a rare commodity.  It requires each of us to be humble. We might need to accept responsibility for something that is not fully ours. We might want to simply say “I can help you”. We need to learn it is ok to be wrong and to admit it. Think of the last time that you saw a press conference on TV and someone made excuses! All we want to say is if they had simply made “no excuses” and took responsibility, the whole thing would go away very quickly and the media would have very little to talk about! 
 
So as a leader make no excuses, and try on the following today in your workplace:

    – Don’t campaign for the job you have. Everyone knows you have it. No one wants to hear about how hard things are.
    – Try to practice the advice your mother shared. ” If you have nothing nice to say than keep it to yourself”. Employees and customers have enough to think about without our problems.
    – Listen to the great words of Dale Carnegie. “Be thankful for the problems of your job. They provide about half your income. Because of it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult people you have to deal with and the problems and unpleasantness of your working day, someone could be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid…”

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