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5. Dump drama. Melodrama. It sells tabloids, and gets people to watch "Hard Copy" on TV, but it's something you don't need in your company. It saps valuable creative energy. If you've been using "Crisis Management" as your modus operandi, get out of office, read a few good books, (like Steven Covey's), benchmark with "new thinkers", and learn a new style. Crisis management is passe, wasteful and destructive.
6. Learn, teach and reward "Time-out" stress management techniques. A recent poll says that 90% of all Americans live in a state of chronic stress. YIKES!!!! No wonder customers get treated so poorly. Make sure people understand role they play in controlling their own stress. We don't have control over circumstances; we do have control of how we perceive them. Take a deep breath, count to ten, walk away (physically or mentally) when you have to and call a "Time-out." Short circuit stress on way in. Learn good stress management skills and teach them. Reinforce them. "Bob, I noticed how well you reacted with that angry customer yesterday, I was glad to see you take a deep breath and not react defensively - good job - you saved a valuable customer, and your own health as well. I'm proud to have you on team."
7. Encourage people to live in "now." Dwell on past only long enough to figure out what you want to learn from it, and then move on. Stop talking about "the good old days." What is important is what is going on right now. Give your fullest attention to exactly what you are doing now. Do it well, do it right and enjoy it. Customers can always tell if you are giving them your undivided attention, and they really appreciate it.
8. Start a list called "The 10 Best Things about Working Here." Let people add to it and watch it grow. It's fun, positive and a great way to focus people on what's right with your business. After list is finished start one called "Ten More.." Remember you get more of what you focus on.
9. Get psyched! Recognize that almost 80% of what average person takes in is negative. You've got a job to do. Create a positive sanctuary in your workplace. Develop a corporate library that includes all kinds of motivational literature, audio and videotapes. Play audiotapes and videotapes in lunchrooms, keep inspirational books around, start discussion groups. Create positive energy, people inside and outside company will feel it and want to come back for more.
10. Don't worry, be happy. Playing upbeat music helps lift your spirits. Challenge staff to develop "Happiest" of happy music tapes, a collection of tunes that will keep people smiling and whistling while they work. (They make great coming to and going home from tapes too.)
11. Smile. When you activate smiling muscles in your face, you activate "happy" brain chemicals that help you feel good. You can't be depressed when you are smiling, and smiles are contagious. So, smile.
As a manager, it's your responsibility to help to create an experience for your customer that has word "value" all over it. Customers respond better to a company that provides them with a quality product at a fair price served up by positive, upbeat, can-do people. Aw come on, who wants to do business with a grump?
JoAnna Brandi is Publisher of JoAnna Brandi's Customer Care Coach TM a weekly training program designed to teach managers "The Art and Science of Exquisite Customer Care." You can sign up to get her latest tips and get your personalized weekly coaching program at http://www.customercarecoach.com. You can reach via email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.