Customer Service: Well, I Would Have Helped You

What Exactly Does This Mean?

Customer Service

I was doing some food shopping (my favorite thing, right after driving bamboo shoots under my fingernails) and this employee's T-shirt popped up in front of the All Things Workplace iPhone camera.

My immediate thought: "Somehow I, the customer, screwed up. Had I been a good customer I would have sought her out. But alas, there's nothing I can do about it now."

I wonder how many customer service/marketing/executive geniuses sat around a conference table high-fiving each other for creating this?

If they had just asked, I would have written one for them. Something like, "Hi, I'm here to help you."

Oh; and it would go on the front of the shirt.

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Diagnose Your Organization Like a Marketer

You can do a first-class diagnostic on your organization--regardless of size--by acting like the Marketing department.

Stethoscope Companies spend millions of dollars each year on internal surveys; Their marketing groups do the same with customer feedback. Rarely have I seen both efforts coordinated with broader organizational development strategies. When I've been able to make that happen (and I've been shot down more often than not), the path forward turns out looking a lot different than it would have with the traditional internal focus.

Most organizations acknowledge the validity of internal and external "customers".

Is your diagnostic making the connection between the two?

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When Customer Service Makes You Disappear

So I sat down quietly on Tuesday morning to do the next installment of the Career series. The phone rang.

Right now, it's Sunday morning at 12:34 a.m. Eastern Time and the first chance I've had to open up the software to get back in touch with our community here at All Things Workplace

What happened?

Frustration Well, it's been what you might call a consultant's dream/nightmare. Suddenly, it was important to take action immediately on projects ranging from 360 feedback to talent management to designing a new process for a global system. In the midst of that, a call came in from what turned out to be a new client.

The result: Four consecutive 15-hour days in different locations interspersed with a 4 a.m. teleconference to accommodate global participants followed by a surprise visit from out-of-town friends and then a dinner to celebrate another couple's wedding anniversary.

Hey, it's all good. But I got very, very antsy the longer I felt out-of-touch with the daily interaction at All Things Workplace.

The relationships here are every bit as genuine and real as those in the brick-and-mortar world and I really missed the daily contact and learning. If you commented and wondered what happened, I was working (contrary to much popular belief about consultants:-)

Before the phone rings again I'm headed toward the comment boxes to pick up where we left off, then add the next Career post (along with some things I think I learned from the various engagements this week).

Thanks for continuing to weigh in. . .it's good to be back.

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Systemic HR: This From The Real Workplace

Hr_logo The real world is weighing in on HR.

It's one thing to exchange thoughtful comments about Systemic HR; it's another to be a customer.

I received the email below from an employee at a large East Coast institution. An exchange revealed the juxtaposition of the terms "HR" and "Success" sent up a flag. The writer graduated from a major university with a high GPA, scholastic honors, leadership experiences,  and is multi-lingual:

"Your opening paragraph caught my attention:

HR folks may be the only ones in an organization who knew you before you got the job; participated in getting you into the job; helped orient you to your job; participated in your development for the next job; listens to what you hate about your job; talks to your boss about what you hate about your boss and how (s)he manages your job; and maybe even escorts you out of your job--and the building. (What the heck, Elvis became famous for leaving the building).

Participated in getting you into the job
I had one phone interview by someone who had been on the job for TWO days

Helped orient you to your job
By “orient,” you mean get my photo IDs and have me sign a bunch of papers, then yes…otherwise, that would’ve been the actual people in my dept.

Participated in your development for the next job
This is foreign to me

Listens to what you hate about your job
Also foreign

Talks to your boss about what you hate about your boss and how (s)he manages your job

And maybe even escorts you out of your job--and the building
Foreign, fortunately – however, I did see this happen to someone on my floor

Considering how many other interviews I was on (or how many potential interviews I wasn’t even brought in for), I am convinced there is no rhyme or reason in the hiring selection process (perhaps resulting from a lack of ‘process,’ or a faulty one).

Honestly – and this is kind of scary – I’m not really even sure why I was initially hired.  Think about that for a minute."

What to make of this?

OK, it isn't a scientific random sampling. But the individual took the time to read the article, respond to it, exchange emails about it, and didn't dump on the company's name nor that of a manager, co-worker, etc. It was clear that the experiences had to do with deep impressions gained from interactions with different HR reps at many different organizations-- including the now-employer.

If we're talking about the systemic nature of organizations, how were the "hiring" organizations ultimately impacted in their "war for talent" efforts? Can a single HR rep almost bring an organization to its knees without anyone ever realizing what's going on at the front end? Does the effort to automate hiring using keyword searches and clunky websites really compensate for a highly qualified human interviewer?

What else is happening at the intersection of people and systems (specifically HR here) that isn't delivering the (hopefully professional) desired results?


What are some of the real--and really readable--HR pros up to?

  • Who cares about those health care premiums when those wild-and-crazy Germans are firing people for, uh, not smoking? Really. Kris Dunn is on the case.

photo attribuion:

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Steve Roesler, Principal & Founder
The Steve Roesler Group
Office: 609.654.7376
Mobile: 856.275.4002

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