How to Win a Client for Life- Marriott Inspired Customer Service Story

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I am always the first one to give credit for great customer service, but the reason I must publicly acknowledge Marriott is because of my recent interaction with them this morning.

The story:

I call Marriott for a routine hotel booking this morning. The lady who answered my phone was INCREDIBLE! From the moment we started talking she made things simple and tailored for my situation. What stands out most to me in the interaction was that she had to deal with a problem during our interaction, but executed with perfection.

Without skipping a beat this flawless employee said “We are fully committed this night, so let’s explore some other options for you.” THAT’S RIGHT! Not: “We’re booked, sorry.” She asked all the right questions, she was personable and had an abundant amount of energy- she made my day.

I was so enchanted with her resilience I didn’t even care that we were moving on to other options. I gladly took her recommendation for a different hotel under the Marriott brand and will be staying there this week. I am emotionally attached to a brand, and that is power. How can we replicate this situation in our everyday lives?

So let’s explore the power this conversation had:

  • I hosted a conference call today where I discussed the impact of great customer service to 40 leaders
  • Many of those 40 people will share this with their friends, family, coworkers and so on…
  • I’m posting this article which will reach on average 70k people in one way or the other
  • Marriott keeps me as a loyal customer for life and even got a booking for another night

You might think this situation was routine, but you are absolutely wrong. Think about how many times hotels have to tell clients that they are booked, or that they can’t accommodate a specific need. The power that confidence, communication, and care provides us is beyond what we recognize. All the training in the World will not keep a disgruntled employee from providing awful customer service.

First of all, thank you Marriott for a wonderful experience. I think it is important to recognize passionate employees, and even more important to replicate their efforts within our own teams. Believe in the power of one, and develop daily!

Michael Dooley

leaderdevelopmentblog.com
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Question: what stood out to you as great service? What do you think is most important?

How to Embrace Transitions with Minimal Damage

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In both professional and personal environments it can be very difficult to embrace and include others in a timely manner. For some, it’s incredibly easy to embrace and understand other’s points of views, for many it can very difficult. There are many ways to smooth a transition and get to know teams before damaging relationships and preventing a smooth transition. Here are my views on How to Embrace Transitions with Minimal Damage:

  • Don’t have any preconceived ideas and visions of the other party. If you walk in thinking a certain way, you’re going to struggle to have an open mind about the reality. It’s okay to be educated and prepared to question for understanding, but don’t use labels until you have the opportunity to collaborate.
  • It’s a lot of fun to point out opportunities of others, but doing it too quickly can be beyond damaging. I recommend seeking feedback about your own opportunities; if the other team invites your perspective (which they usually do); you are free to share at that time.
  • Dig for strengths of the other team. I recommend this not only for relationship building, but I promise you each team and individual brings something to the table.
  • When others ask you specific personal questions; respond, and then ask them the same question. Other’s inquiries are often open invitations to sharing something they care about themselves.
  • Be authentic with your intentions of strengthening your team otherwise people will see right through your true feelings.
  • Find a strong mixture of both professional and personal-professional questions to enhance trust within the group.
  • Question the other team on what you can do to continue supporting and building your relationship together.
  • Make sure you introduce yourself to as many people as possible and learn the names and roles of these individuals.
  • Follow-up with those you met with a personal e-mail or phone call expressing your appreciation for your conversation.

Whether your families are merging, teams are working together, or you get a new leader, embracing these transitions are very important. Try to remember that each person has a value; make it your mission to find these values and grow a relationship based on them.

Develop daily,

Michael Dooley

leaderdevelopmentblog.com
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Questions: I didn’t even scratch the surface – what other ways can you share to grow unity?

10 Tips on How to be Presentable in a Group Setting

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So you have another meeting and you want to make a great impression eh? You should definitely keep your drive and enthusiasm going because meetings are far beyond informative group sessions. Meetings are often in environments that provide your only exposure to other employees. How you represent yourself both as a listener and communicator might be far more important than you imagined. I want you to analyze and think outside of what you know about meetings and review my 10 Tips on How to be Presentable in a Group Setting:

  1. Note taking: even if you find no value, the perception of taking notes shows a presenter you care about the message. Don’t find yourself sitting in a room being the only one not taking notes.
  2. Eye contact: give whoever is speaking your undivided attention. Keeping your eyes on the speaker not only shows them you care, it keeps you engaged in the moment.
  3. Come prepared: speaking from personal failure, make sure you are prepared for a meeting. Gum, writing utensils, paper, whatever it is, make sure you pack it before going into the meeting.
  4. Cell phones: face down, turned off, left in a locker, do whatever it takes to keep that thing out of your hand. A great best practice is to let a personal contact, and a professional contact know where you are and how to get a hold of you in a meeting without the use of your cellphone.
  5. Facial expressions: all it takes is one person to see you roll your eyes or laugh in disagreement. Your expressions are incredibly easy to decipher and everyone will be scanning the room for them. Smile, relax and be aware of your body language.
  6. Professional thoughts: the feedback you give needs to be productive and collaborative. By all means, state your opinions and give your perspective, but do it professionally. Feedback that singles someone out should be left for 1:1 discussion, not group settings.
  7. Provide feedback: following up from #6, you need to be engaged in dialogue. This could be your biggest opportunity if you are constantly being asked to speak up during meetings. Study the topics the night before if you are struggling coming up with your thoughts on the spot. If you sit silently time after time in meetings, others will perceive this as lack of knowledge, or lack of care.
  8. Team accomplishments only please: whether you are proving a point or providing feedback, be careful with leading in heavily with your accomplishments. It’s not flattering overcoming other’s thoughts with your personal triumphs. Use words like “we” instead of “I” to build community and avoid bragging about your individual achievements.
  9. Break networking: use breaks to network with others and don’t be shy doing it. Find others in the room that are sitting alone and approach them by asking “how are you doing today?” Introduce yourself and build relationships that will mutually benefit throughout your career.
  10. Mix it up: don’t make your leaders separate you when you walk in a room. Say hello to those you know, and go sit by those you don’t know. Building relationships, stepping out of your comfort zone, and showing leaders you are driven to grow teamwork will improve your advocacy.

Try to prepare and understand your role in each meeting and how important it is to employers. Meetings should be viewed as auditions for your next role, and should be taken seriously. Find value, seek guidance and ask for feedback if this is a challenge for you.

Develop daily,

Michael Dooley

leaderdevelopmentblog.com
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Question: Which best practices can you share with the World?

10 Reasons Diversity is Incredibly Important

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Diversity has been a hot topic with me and the rest of the World for a while now. My frustrations with many companies and employees are that diversity is a very misunderstood concept. The way we view diversity is a metric that we must hit. In fact, the very word diversity makes people narrow down their thoughts to a few select groups of people. I want to define my views on diversity as well as provide 10 Reasons Diversity is Incredibly Important:

Diversity defined:

Diversity is not, and should not be a narrow focus of putting people into positions to improve the appearance of a company. Diversity is a collection of unique qualities that individuals bring to the enterprise. Instead of viewing diversity as a metric, we should view it as a competitive edge to improve our overall functions in society.

I believe if we can focus in on the benefits of diversity, it will help us make quality judgments about our need to consider it soundly. The following list is an effort to drive awareness around the benefits of diversity so we can improve our decision making and scope of its potential:

10 Reasons Diversity is Incredibly Important

  1. Candidates who come from other companies share visions and best practices that can benefit the organization’s growth
  2. Wider range of customers when diversity is focused on the frontline
  3. Additional languages overcome obstacles that face many businesses
  4. Community involvement in multicultural events
  5. Understanding of demographic trends and behaviors
  6. Greater appreciation for difference and inclusion from employees
  7. Global perspective needed for future expansion
  8. Great collaboration from employees due to different personal experiences
  9. A focus on understood diversity improves employee’s perception of possibility
  10. Employees with diverse backgrounds can challenge traditional thinking and bring new ideas

It’s important to remember that diversity is about more than just gender, race etc., it is truly about the backgrounds of individuals. I have seen incredible benefits in morale, recruiting success, community involvement, and sales because I am dedicated to building a diverse and powerful team. Try to challenge your ways of thinking, and maximize your team’s diversity and value.

Develop daily,

Michael Dooley

leaderdevelopmentblog.com
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Question: what other functions have you seen a focus on diversity improve?

How to Move on With Life and Let Go of the Small Stuff

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There are going to be a lot of opportunities in life to “do the right thing.” The obsession with revenge, fixing, and seeking justice is going to be thrown your way daily. I offer these words in hope to bring solace to your near future. Although I do believe you need to do what’s right, here are ways to know How to Move on With Life and Let Go of the Small Stuff:

Why Moving on is Important

The World needs you; it needs your energy, focus and determination. You have a family, you have friends, and you have your dreams to conquer. Dwelling on the small things in life will constantly hold you back and tear your focus from what is truly important in your journeys.

What is considered small and how do you move on?

Most of us understand the reasons to move on, but identifying when things just bring hardship is the more difficult part. Here is a list of suggestions to help determine when the problem needs to be brushed aside, and how to move on when you can’t:

  • Seeking revenge is flat-out unacceptable; it poisons the heart, the greatest revenge is overcoming
  • If the situation will not likely be repeated and was a minor concern, let it go
  • If it is a legal matter, assist necessary channels and try to keep focused on your life if the problem doesn’t directly affect you in any way
  • Your opinion is powerful, knowing when to use it is even more powerful – consider what will be the long-term outcome if you can simply smile and move on
  • Your loyalty is wildly important to companies, don’t make a habit of threatening it each time something is inconvenient, seek understanding before you get frustrated
  • Those who report to you will often fail; ensure they learned something and move on every once in a while- they will learn more from that than any punishment you deliver
  • Policies are guidelines to help make companies prosper, I suggest reviewing them before purchase if it’s something wildly important to you
  • Consider your audience, “I know it’s not your fault” doesn’t soften whatever you’re about to say – seek a decision maker and have intelligent dialogue
  • These days you might twist the arm of one person and get what you want, but don’t expect to be welcome with open arms the next time – choose your battles
  • Focus on building relationships with those you do business with, when things become difficult you will have a greater range of being understood
  • Evaluate each resolution you are seeking, make sure it’s time and energy will outweigh your other goals in life

I feel frustrated and empathy for those who waste precious life demanding insignificant resolutions. We all must evaluate what is worth our time and energy these days. I want to make it clear that I understand we each mold our environment by speaking up, but we also have a responsibility to ourselves. Each person views problems and resolutions differently, it’s hard to give you an exact guideline for cost/benefit of these resolutions. My best advice is to evaluate the situation, and compare what you could be doing against what you will have to do to get resolve.

Develop daily,

Michael Dooley

leaderdevelopmentblog.com
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Questions: what other advice can you provide to help others move on?

Leadership Quote- The Capacity to Forgive

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Your capacity to forgive will determine your power to continue.

How to Ensure You Aren’t Taking Employees For Granted

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Isn’t it incredible that our top employees, the ones that we lean on the most, we often forget to recognize? We don’t even do it on purpose; those we count on, we often assume they don’t need reinforcement. Usually high performers will carry on without much frustration, but everyone deserves a pat on the back. Let’s perform a reality-check and review How to Ensure You Aren’t Taking Employees for Granted:

Reasons we don’t show appreciation for employees:

  • Employee doesn’t get excited when recognized
  • Performance improvement isn’t as strong as a leader wanted
  • A leader doesn’t value the employee in general
  • Employee’s performance is always excellent therefore it’s expected
  • Leader doesn’t get recognition themselves

How to guarantee appreciation:

  • Make it a priority to understand what is important to each employee so when they accomplish something important, you are celebrating with them
  • Even small wins are crucial to show appreciation for effort, positive reinforcement will help drive ongoing improvement
  • Everyone appreciates recognition and gratitude, even those who make it awkward; later on employees will feel valued and appreciated
  • Even when a leader doesn’t feel recognized themselves, taking it out on employees causes ongoing toxic environments
  • Never take high performing associates for granted, their success is greatly due to challenge and reward – never forget to admire their accomplishments

Ensure your teams are getting proper opportunity to reflect on their own accomplishments. Get to know your teams and what motivates them. Understanding how your team feels and operates equips you to make them feel valued. The perception that a leader doesn’t celebrate is not a good reputation to have. Reach out to your employees and make sure you are showing them how much you care.

Develop daily,

Michael Dooley

leaderdevelopmentblog.com
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Question: what have you done to show appreciation for your employees?