How May I Help You?

How frustrated do you feel when you give a call to the Customer Care and you end up with worst experience and I am sure you must have felt few things in a fraction of seconds, like:

  1. Why the hell did I called the Customer Care number.
  2. Why Companies don’t recruit agents who can speak well and have proper knowledge.
  3. And finally, most important point, why the hell I opted for this product from xyz company.

And we all have experienced this pain and are experiencing on daily basis, so what is the solution, should we stop buying the products where we end up calling their service desk for the support and help or should we go for products where we get support at our doorstep.

Main reason for companies to lose their business in today’s competitive hush and rush is because of their Product which is not put through various quality checks (as we know example of Samsung) before launching in the market and secondly, their customer care department.

Let us focus on Customer Care Support or Service Desk support people. Why are they so rude or why don’t they have knowledge of the product which they are supporting, why are we loosing focus on this important aspect of the business.

I remember in 2002-03 when there was boom in Call Centre business and culture, employees who used to work there were so passionate and enthusiastic about serving their customers and clients. Training which used to be provided after joining was at least for 2 months including shadowing period. People used to love their job and jump for competitions. I myself was part of such company where I grew from Technical Agent to Team Lead and I am sure most of you would have already lived that life. We were so focused towards customer relationship and providing the best support. Customer’s used to love the support and never wanted to leave the product and the company which owned it, so we used to end up providing Loyal Customers to our Clients.

Where are those days, why customer care now is so pathetic and non-supportive?

So, here are few tips for Service Industry and Product based Companies:

  • Work on your product and make sure it is tested and do go through various quality checks.
  • Hire resources for your support desk with good understanding and communication.
  • Train the Service Desk agents on Product, Policies and escalation matrix.
  • Make them understand what Customer means to them.
  • Most important, give proper training on Communication and Culture.

If we concentrate on above points, we will see change in our Customer Behavior and have loyal Clientele

 

The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary. – Sam Walton

My #BadManager

I am tired of my Manager, always doing micromanagement. I am done with my Boss and am going to talk to HR about the way employees are treated. My Manager is useless, he does not know anything and tries to expect us to do everything on time, does he know about what this work is all about, what process we follow. I am done, and putting down my papers, can’t work with such Manager and management like this.

So, have anyone of you also had such feelings and thoughts about your Manager or your Boss. I am sure yes, there are instances when you feel your boss is not doing justice to you and is expecting too much. We also feel that we are doing everything as expected for our job, but we don’t get full credit of that, or being a good employee have been never appreciated by Manager or management. This is true and honestly, even I have felt the same in my earlier days when I was new to the industry and corporate world. But, have we ever thought are we right in making such remarks or making judgment about our immediate boss. What if you were at their position and how you would have handled the situation which you are in, would you have done something different, well I doubt and depends on the situation.

We all sulk, crib and judge the other person who is managing you or you are reporting to, I can say 85% of employees are not happy with their management and there are various factors responsible for that which I will discuss in another article. But we have never tried to be in our Managers shoes and see things from his/her perspective, why because they are also answerable to someone and they do have their limitations.

So, here are few areas where we need to really work on and have focus to have good relationship with your Manager:

Communication:   Very fundamental principle in any relationship, is communication. Do we talk and discuss where we need to work on? If your Manager is not happy with your work or performance, did you ever spoke about it, did you tried to setup a One-on-One meeting with your Manager and discuss why he/she has this perception or what triggered this, your Manager is observing you, there may be instances where you may need to focus ON. So, start communicating about your performance once a month, get feedback how you are doing etc. and vice versa.

Visible: You are doing wonderful job, your peers are so happy with your work as you help them and share your expertise, the best thing, your Client appreciates your contribution, and you observe your Manager is not bothered about all this and when it comes to performance review you don’t get what was expected by you. Why, reason is you and only you, because you never highlighted your good work. When you are doing good work make it visible, show your Manager your initiatives what you do for team or when you get client appreciation share with your Manager, if its verbal appreciation, request for same on mail and forward that to your 1st Line and 2nd line Manager. This is called being in limelight, if I am doing good work why won’t I talk about that, you should.

Feedback:  Always ask for feedback from your peers, your stakeholders for you work who are involved in day to day business, Client, Management etc. who deal with you and know that you are contributing the best of knowledge and you are fit for your work. Make sure this feedback is in black&white and then share the same with your Manager.

Work/Data: We work so hard every day and make sure that we meet our deadlines and deliver on time. We make sure not or never to miss SLA’s and be the best of breed. But, do we keep track of our work, do we have our data points ready when appraisal time will come, and I can prove my work. I remember few years back when I was working for Dell, we had points system for all employees and at the end of the month top 50 employees were announced and among them top 10 were the best breed of that month. This one time I knew coming month I will be the No.1 and was waiting for the list to come out and flash on the board, I had my data points measured and had met all the points in metrics to have top spot, however when list was uploaded to my shock I was No.10, you can say wow still you made top 10. Na, wrong as I already said I had all my data points ready and I should be at Top of the list. You know I straight met with my Senior Delivery Manager and discussed about my rating for the month, he was so happy to see me and my passion, he made reporting team to re-look in whole list of 800 people and see where error has happened. And you know when new list was out, I was No.1 for that month.

So, how all this happened, I made sure I do the best of best. Worked in such a way so that no one questions my capability be it anyone. Always made point that my work speaks for me and most important my data points are ready with me.

Finally, we came to an end and what we learnt is, always note what you do and keep record of that. Most important always ask for feedback. When you set clear communication and expectations, make your work visible, like this we will never complain, or say my Manager is bad or he/she does not understand me, or is having undue expectations, or never appreciates my efforts. Remember, always your Manager is not wrong, you can be at fault too. You may be the best at your work but say you missed the SLA or you missed the timeline for presentation. Tomorrow you will be also Manager and managing employees, so imbibe above points and share the same with your direct employees.

Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners. …”

Busy, Busy and Busy…!

People say they are choked with work and don’t have time, always busy like crazy. Is this true?

I don’t think so, because if one knows how to manage their time and how to prioritize the work then no one can be busy . One should always know their priorities, everything one does may not have urgent priority as we think so. It’s human tendency to get stressed to see lot in plate and sometimes ending up doing nothing which turns in total chaos. So, always remember to :

  1. Have a list of things to do on daily basis written on notepad etc.
  2. Arrange the items in order of urgency or priority.
  3. Never jump from one item to another, always finish one and go to another.
  4. If you are good at multitasking, then do smaller items with least priority.
  5. Review your work which you have completed and move to another.
  6. Always read all your emails in your mailbox and keep to clean and tidy.
  7. Have sticky posts on your board and set them as visual board to have the idea of how much work is done and how is left, be Agile.
  8. Always have smile on face and be positive whether at work or doing other stuff apart from work, if you will work under stress it will get stuck.

These are few tips from my day to day life and the way I like to work. Hope you will start same way and see the change in your style of working.

 

You and Your Personality

We talk a lot about individuals personality, whether our friends, colleagues or even about your folks. All individuals differ at personality level, some are extrovert, some introvert and so on. Moreover, people do sometimes judge one another on basis of one’s persona.

How many of us know that what type of person I am, does an individual know about his real personality or who that person is. There are n number of questions which comes in mind when one thinks on this subject. There are individuals who are not aware of themselves at all, and they come to know about their personality from another person. Most of the times when one faces their own analysis on personality, they try to differ or disagree, or they don’t want to face their real side as how they actual look to the society or to the people.

Nowadays, we see lot of personality tests on web, where you answer few questions and get to know what you are or what type of individual you are, “if you answer them with your gut feeling and are honest”, rest analysis will do its work and come to conclusion about your persona trait. These tests assess your personality traits and how you think about things and how you react to certain situations. As per Wikipedia the first personality assessment measures were developed in the 1920s and this was mainly introduced for armed forces. Since these early efforts, a wide variety of questionnaires have been introduced and developed including the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), the Comrey Personality Scales (CPS), among many others.[10][11] Although popular especially among personnel consultants, the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has numerous psychometric deficiencies. More recently, a number of instruments based on the Five Factor Model of personality have been constructed such as the Revised NEO Personality Inventory.However, the Big Five and related Five Factor Model have been challenged for accounting for less than two-thirds of the known trait variance in the normal personality sphere alone.

According to me I prefer MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator most, I tried myself and found that my personality falls under ENTJ-A. You know, it’s good to know about your personality and very much aware of your strengths and weakness. If one really works on personality on areas where weakness is on higher side then it can change his way of life, the way one thinks or works or most important interacts with others. It can boost individual’s confidence and morale and can achieve the best in life.

Now, should we all try these Personality Assessments and see where we are and how are as an individual, I say yes absolutely we should go for it. Should we start putting our Personality Status on our resumes to let the hiring department know about us, so that they know what type of person they are hiring or will give them fair idea. I think we should put this status or mark on our CV’s like other details and feel proud about it. It will help people to know you more and interact at your intellect level.

Game Of “Thrones”, Or “Survival”!

New Technology and New Flaws, everyday we see “n” number of products being launched, companies are competing with each other to remain stable in the market. It’s like a game or a race, Game of Survival, Survival of the Best. There is no time for a Product Company to sit back and relax and watch its product for few years to see how it is doing. They cannot have that liberty now, if you are relaxing, next moment your competitor will take over and your product will be out of the market, so will be your company.

Now, the question is how is this race proceeding, are these products really good to compete in the market be it mobile phones, cars, or any other product. When Samsung launched Galaxy Note7, it was a WOW thing but because of the battery issue they had to recall the product from the market and as a user I will say they failed their customers, there market image got setback. According to the electronic giant, around 500,000 replacements happened which is huge. Recent survey was done and the results foreshadow tougher times for Samsung after the 1 million-phone recall, which analysts predict could cost the world’s biggest smartphone seller $904 million.

Now, in this race #Apple is never behind of #Samsung, they are launching new series of phones and recent one is “x” series. So, what do we expect from this product, how are consumers looking at it, are they flawless and with no issues, maybe or maybe not, fingers crossed J.

According to me keeping in mind this mad race of survival, companies are loosing on Quality and Testing. Are they really checking and monitoring the products before throwing them into consumer’s hands and making sure it really works? Who is responsible for this mess? From couple of years we have seen products being recalled because of tiny issues which end up in havoc, like from automobile industry Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda,  and yes Tesla and Mercedes are not behind, recalling their cars because of various issues.

Why is this madness, why can’t they do a proper Test and Quality check on the Product before launching it in the market. What this all is  resulting in, Customer Dissatisfaction and loosing loyal consumers and clients, Brand Image Crash and making the Competitor WIN the Game, Game Of Survival.

“Play to win, not “not to lose”.”

Do comment about your thoughts, and what you feel is the main issue on the Products Failure.

Searching for Solitude

We have lost human touch, respect and understanding one’s emotion. Gone are the days where we used to differentiate between Empathy and Sympathy. Alas, we lost our precious human days where people used to understand each other by just saying a word “Hello or Hey” or just by giving a smile “Real Smile” and not “Smiley”.

We must be aware, there are lot of people who are running away from cities, towns, and most important from social obligations and looking for Salvation, running for Solitude, Why? Do you have any answer?

Recently, I watched program on #BBC Earth, “Where the Wild Men are with #Ben Fogle”, I was surprised to see how established well to do and well settled people have left daily hustle bustle and living in some remote jungles and islands, happily and without any disturbance, from people around or social media. People are going back to Old Age style of living, where they breed cattle’s, grow their own vegetables and do little bit of farming for their survival.  Watched film on Ian Usher, who was doing very good in his career and living happily in Australia, but because of stress and disturbed marriage which turned into Divorce, he auctioned his entire life – car, home, job and friends – on eBay in a midlife crisis that made headlines the world over. He owns a Caribbean island now and is living happily. And like him there are so many people.

Why are we running from everything around us, what is bothering us? Now days, we have everything available on our finger tips, isn’t it? I have answer, the reason is we don’t have #PEACE. We all are searching for peace and tranquility which has gone from none to never. Technology is giving us so many things every day, be it IoT, AI, Watson, Robots, and so on and so forth. Social media is killing us all, WhatsApp, FB, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. We have lost our rights of privacy. We are growing in Artificial Technology and that is resulting in emergence of Robots and Loss of Humans. Soon, we will see only Robots around and Humans will be here and there, as they will be running towards stone age.

So, I am wandering are we heading to disaster and end of this human race as we have started building Robots and machines with human intelligence and ending the living people or pushing them to get out, saying, if you want to survive go back to the stone age as you don’t fit here.

Can we all put ON thinking Caps and try to do analysis as to where is the balance and where should we draw a line.

We all are humans with flesh and blood and we need human touch, we cannot live in virtual world and be friends or well-wishers on just social media. We are losing our health, mind, respect for others and most important ourselves because of this technology boom. I am not against the technology, it has done wonderful things but we need to have place for everything.

We need to understand and realize it soon, rather than at the point where it’s too late.

Welcome to the World of AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Well, everyone is talking about AI these days, few support it, few admire this new technology and some of them are feeling not good about it and are bit skeptical. Now, skeptical in what way, there are various areas where I also somehow feel bit scared of this technology, so the areas are:

  1. More of machine intervention in any Sector or Industry, resulting in job losses
  2. More threat to systems because of cyber threats, which is increasing a lot
  3. Maybe machines or robots will not be able to understand situation in critical condition, because they were not coded that way, in areas of self-driving or medical field
  4. Major threat in case of ammunition or military side, if AI involved that side

According to experts, there are three major areas where we see the threat in terms of Artificial Intelligence, Drones turned into missiles, Fake Videos manipulating public opinion and Automated Hacking which I mentioned in above points, and this happens if the technology goes into wrong hands and which we must be aware of. Policy makers need to put thinking caps related to these issues as to how this can be avoided. While AI researches and architects are working on this, they also should be aware and pro-active about if it goes into wrong hands and how to handle it.

Now, let’s talk about the jobs and people scared of this new technology and feeling insecure about their future. A recent report from Forrester predicts that by 2021, intelligent agents and related robots will have eliminated a net 6% of jobs. That’s a huge number. We must understand that when tasks are automated, becoming cheaper and faster, we need more human workers to do the other tasks in the process that haven’t been automated. So, for that we need to work on acquiring more skills or upskill ourselves, our employees need to be ready for future jobs. If an organization is planning to acquire AI and newer technology, then you need to first work and think how to upskill your existing employees and what all skills they need, we cannot just start laying off people or saying your service is no longer required now.

So, the most important point is you all need to think about new skills and expertise where you can grow. In present world you cannot survive on your old or existing skills, keep upgrading yourself as we upgrade the system etc. this is the need of an hour.

Lastly, will AI or Robots take over human intelligence and what will be consequence. Well, as per research and experts this is not going to happen soon or in near future, however this may happen down the line say 100 years or 200 years, so it is centuries away. As of now, whatever we are feeding into AI system or AI Robots or Super AI robots is working accordingly and needs lot of human intervention. So, we need to make sure whatever algorithms and codes are written are accurate and have security features. There are lot of myths related to AI which are just rumors, however as people see them as risks and concerns in that case AI researchers should take them seriously and work on them and make it safe.

The AI or robot misconception is related to the myth that machines can’t control humans. Intelligence enables control: humans control tigers not because we are stronger, but because we are smarter. This means that if we cede our position as smartest on our planet, it’s possible that we might also cede control. We humans made AI technology, we are behind the Robotics, so we know how to control them and it’s our brain and intelligence behind these innovations.

We will control this new technology and guide it and not the machines or robots. We are Smart and Intelligent, not the machines.