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Le blogue de Solutions & Co.

Le blogue de Solutions & Co.

100 Ways to Provide Greater Customer Service

Article January 2021 English TINY

Customer service is the staff’s ability to provide a series of activities designed to identify and meet customer expectations in order to acquire, retain, and grow a customer base that you trust.

The customers are all the people we interact with. The purpose of an exchange does not need to be economic and limited to goods and services. Exchange often has a psychological and intangible dimension.

The ultimate goal of a customer approach is not simply to satisfy the customers, but to maintain a strong and lasting relationship – a “loyalty effect” – with them. That’s what really matters.

Maintaining good customer service requires daily action.

Quality customer service can be provided through simple actions…

100 Ways to Provide Greater Customer Service

  1. Show that you take customer service seriously
  2. Take the time to get to know your customers
  3. Identify what your customers really want
  4. Thank your customers
  5. Be sincere
  6. Smile
  7. Respond quickly to customer requests
  8. Make quality and service your priorities
  9. Be proactive
  10. Help clients without overwhelming them with bureaucratic red tape
  11. Listen to understand, not to argue
  12. Inform your customers
  13. Turn complaints into satisfaction
  14. Be reliable
  15. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
  16. Do ordinary things extraordinarily well
  17. Exceed customer expectations
  18. Add value and integrity to every interaction
  19. Give every customer your best
  20. Speak in a reassuring manner
  21. Discover new ways to delight your customer
  22. Be surprised by everything you can do
  23. Take care of every customer – don’t overlook “internal” customers
  24. Make REALISTIC promises
  25. Admit your mistakes and apologize
  26. Know how to control yourself and your emotions
  27. Make sure you are available and accessible
  28. Learn about customer concerns
  29. Do not finish client sentences for them
  30. Pay attention, listen to what the customer has to say
  31. Find a fair solution to meet client requests while meeting organizational needs
  32. Do what you promise, when and how you said you would do it
  33. Demonstrate sensitivity to client needs by validating or empathizing
  34. Actively listen to client words, tone, and body language
  35. Put yourself in the customer’s position to see the situation from their perspective
  36. Try to understand before you make yourself understood
  37. Thank the customer for bringing an issue to your attention
  38. Recognize the customer and give them your full attention
  39. Be professional
  40. Connect, one client at a time
  41. Identify and anticipate needs
  42. Answer the phone before the third ring
  43. Make customers feel important and valued
  44. Be part of the solution, not the problem
  45. Take complaints professionally and not personally
  46. Know how to apologize
  47. Ask thoughtful questions and listen to the customer’s response
  48. Know that what counts is not what you say, but how you say it
  49. Approach the situation (even if complex) with optimism
  50. Tell the customer that you appreciate them as a customer, whenever they call
  51. Treat each meeting politely and pleasantly
  52. Don’t let the customer wait for nothing
  53. Do not transfer the customer from one person to another
  54. Remember that, to the client, their problem is unique
  55. Keep things in context
  56. Study all facets; do not defend or justify yourself
  57. Be respectful
  58. Be sensitive to your client’s situation
  59. Do not use the phone as a shield against broken promises
  60. Have the skills to help the client
  61. Welcome the customer warmly and positively
  62. Earn the customer’s trust
  63. Direct the client to the right service, place, or source of information
  64. Join forces WITH customer, AGAINST the problem
  65. Promise less…and give more!
  66. Accept responsibility for inconvenience without blaming others
  67. Let the customer be involved in finding a solution
  68. Try until the customer is satisfied
  69. Constantly self-assess yourself to find the best way to serve your customers
  70. Do not have a condescending tone of voice (as if you were talking to a child)
  71. Never let your negative feelings appear
  72. Choose to remain positive and client-focused
  73. Accept others as they are rather than wanting them otherwise
  74. Focus on the customer
  75. Don’t be defensive
  76. Listen to all the details before answering
  77. Do not interrupt the customer. If you need to interrupt them, say “excuse me” or “sorry to interrupt”.
  78. Try to help
  79. Stay objective. Don’t get caught up in emotions
  80. Propose an action plan
  81. Provide an appropriate solution to the problem
  82. Accurately rephrase the client’s words
  83. Support the client by showing them that it is worth taking the time to try to understand them
  84. Use de-escalation techniques when the customer is angry
  85. Adapt to the client
  86. Avoid anticipating the customer’s message
  87. Do not chew gum
  88. Give the customer time to ask their questions
  89. Call the customer by name
  90. Ask the customer for feedback
  91. Avoid professional jargon and colloquial language
  92. Gather the methods and techniques needed to succeed
  93. Agree to be flexible in your own expectations
  94. Offer multiple choices to the client
  95. Take care of the customer first, then their problem
  96. Be patient
  97. Focus on quality rather than quantity
  98. Be assertive without being passive, arrogant or hostile
  99. Wish the customer a good day
  100. Try one of these techniques a day!

It is your actions, your approach, and your attitude that will convince the customer of their importance.

And the customer is not the only one to benefit … knowing how to provide quality service makes our days easier and more enjoyable, and customer service is an investment in our credibility and professionalism. And it’s you who will get the long-term benefits!

  84 lectures
84 lectures

Being Assertive – When One’s Freedom Does Not Hinder Another’s!

Article novembre 2020

Assertiveness is frequently confused with freedom of expression. Under the pretext ofexpressing one’s opinion freely,we hurt or abuse someone else… Or, on the contrary,we feel misunderstood, victimized, or offended…

Being assertive does not mean claimingour rights or imposingour opinion… It is knowing how to express ourselves in a way that clearly indicates our needs while keeping communication openwith others in order to develop positive professional (or social) relations.

What does being assertive mean?  

Let’s begin by defining assertiveness as the ability to express our feelings, thoughts, opinions, convictions, and preferences freely, openly, and directly in an honest, appropriate and respectful (towards ourselves and each other) manner,despite environmental pressures.

Why is it important to be assertive?  

Assertiveness is an important aspect of professional behavior. It allows you to express yourself in different situations and to demonstrate your confidence and ability to deal with a situation while remaining respectful and building trust, credibility, and rapport.

The goal is to not generate anxiety and stress for ourselves and to avoid creating some for others while achieving results.

To assert ourselves is to take our rightful place; it is to know our rights, needs, and interests and toaffirm them. It also means being able to give voice to our feelings while knowing how to control them. Managing our emotions is an essential step towards defending our rights, and therefore towards asserting ourselves.

Assertiveness allows us to get what we need while respecting and recognizing the needs of others. As we build our interpersonal skills, we need to be able to assert our position and understand what we expect from interacting with others.

For example:

  • Are you able to talk to your supervisor about excessive workload?
  • Are you able to ask questions and make statements without fear of being judged?
  • Do you stay strong when others offer resistance or when a friend or colleague is rude or unreasonable?
  • Can you express your opinion clearly and unambiguously without generating distrust or anxiety?

People who assert themselves approach situations with confidence and maturity. In general, people whoassertthemselves:

  • Get win-win results more easily - they see the value of their interlocutor and their position and can quickly find common ground.
  • Are better at solving problems - they feel apt to do what it takes to find the best solution.
  • Are less stressed - they know they have personal power and do not feel threatened or victimized when things go wrong.
  • Are people of action they move things forward because they know they can.

Assertiveness creates new opportunities, influences people, and improves relationships with co-workers, customers, suppliers, and personal contacts by providing you with a closer and more honest relationship with those you meet.

On the contrary, a lack of assertiveness undermines physical and psychic energies, causes many psychosomatic disorders, complicates and deteriorates interpersonal relationships, and generates frustrations and dissatisfaction.

Understand that it is above all a matter of respect  

The notion of respect plays a key role in the ability to assert ourselves. To assert ourselves is to establish a win-win relationship in which respect for others (and their opinion) is fundamental. Respecting others means recognizing that we are all of equal value and that the opinions and needs of others are valid. Concretely, it is a matter of being able to express our point of view with conviction while agreeing to consider someone else’s even if it is different.

Assertiveness is best expressed in the phrase “Neither doormat, nor hedgehog!”

Neither doormat - Passive people let others decide what happens to them regardless of their needs, are intimidated, and accept that they are shown little to no respect.

To be a doormat is to adopt a passive behavior in which one does not express their needs and desires, avoids conflicts, and leaves all the room to the other. Passive people who have difficulty speaking out to others do so out of fear of being rejected or to avoid harming others. Theybottlethings up and avoiduncomfortable situations.

They tend to feel “victimized”, blame others for not being considered, and experience feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction, guilt, or anxiety, as well as high levels of tension and stress because their relational expectations aren’t met.

Passive people value themselves less than others. They believe that their rights, opinions, and emotions are not important, and therefore, their needs are almost never met. In the long run, the helplessness and isolation associated with a lack of assertiveness can lead to feelings of depression, insomnia and health problems. Doormat behaviour is disrespectful to oneself!

Nor hedgehog -Aggressive people place their own needs above the needs of others, intimidate others, and show little to no respect.

To be a hedgehog is to adopt an aggressive behavior in which one is insensitive to the ideas, feelings, and needs of others. Hedgehogs meet their needs at the expense of others and interact in a way that is confrontational, violent, or disrespectful.

Hedgehogs are not very grateful for services others provide them with. They tend to victimize others and others usually respond,react with distrust and anger, and avoid any future interaction with them.

As a result, aggressive people experience a lot of stress, guilt, and discomfort. The satisfaction they obtainis short-term andcreates relational problems (repeated conflicts, relationship break-ups, etc.), and hedgehogs end up feeling misunderstood and isolated, which feeds their frustration even more and leads them to an even more aggressive behavior. Hedgehog behavior is disrespectful to others!

Express a balanced statement  

To assert oneself is to know how to find the right balance. It is to place yourself halfway between aggressiveness and passivity.

Assertiveness is based on balance. To assert ourselveswe must know how to express ourselves in a way that clearly indicates our needs, desires, and values while maintaining open communication with others. In other words, finding the right balance of respect for everyone. And this does not come effortlessly. Both poles are necessary: Self-respect and respect for the other.

Asserting oneself is … expressing ourselves  FOR  our needs and values, not AGAINST  those of othersBeing assertive also includes understanding that the freedom of some ends where the freedom of others begins!

  149 lectures
149 lectures

Not turning your camera on... Is like going to a face-to-face training with a paper bag on your head!

Article ENG Octobre 2020In order to optimize the participants’ experience, and offer quality training, Solutions & Co. trainers are physically present in their classes and give their training in front of large screens. As if you were there in the classroom with them. What we have seen over the past 7 months is that the success of the “virtual” experience is highly dependent on the participants, and that participants appear to be divided into three main groups:

  1. Thosewho donot have cameras on their computers. 
  2. Those who do not want to turn their camera on.
  3. Those who turn their camera on voluntarily. 

More details...  

1. Those who do not have cameras on their computers -No worries! Did you know you can use the app on your tablet? On your smartphone? The training is so much more effective by video that it is worth taking the time to reconnect. Do you mind reconnecting at the next break?

2. Those who do not want to turn their cameras on - There can be multiple reasons: 

  • They are not used to turning it on during internal meetings – I understand that the habit of using the camera during virtual exchanges is not yet rooted in many organizational cultures, but you have to know the difference between an internal meeting where everyone knows each other, and a training where the trainer (and sometimes even the other participants) is unknown. Keeping your camera off with «strangers» creates an unusual and uncomfortable atmosphere.
  • They are shy - in the pre-COVID reality, even if you were shy, you showed up to the training rooms in person and people saw you… So why this change? I think the difference is that, in the classroom, we don’t see ourselvesNowwith videoconferencing, we see ourselves in the small window and we feel a certain discomfort. If this is the case, choose the Speaker View format instead of Gallery View. You will only see the person who intervenes at that time.
  • They don’t want others to see their personal environment and invade their privacy – Virtual training is not an invitation in your personal space. If you are not ready to share your family life (toddler toys, pets, frames and pictures on the walls, etc…) or invite your colleagues to see the other facets of your personality… You don’t have to! Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to expose your personal life. Neutralize the background of your workspace or create a space where there is nothing personal to see – a simple white wall is enough.
  • They don’t want to show what they look like right now – There is something unacceptable about attending a virtual training while lying in bed, in pajamas… A professional training remains an environment where professionalism must remain present. Shower, brush your hair and dress as if you were going to a face-to-face training… Then make yourself comfortable. If you want, you can keep your sweatpants and your sandals - we won’t see it!
  • They want to do multiple tasks at once and they don’t want people to know – OK… You were already doing this in class! I can understand how that might sound like a good use of your time, but if you’re attending training, you’re supposed to be there and participate. Multitasking diminishes the understanding and assimilation of the material… Beyond being disrespectful to the trainer and other participants.

3. Those who turn their cameras on voluntarily - Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you so much! You make our work so much easier and more enjoyable.  

But you don’t have to do it just to make your trainer happy. There are many benefits when you turn on your camera.

Benefits of turning your camera on... 

For the participant: 

  • Significantly increases participant engagement and learning outcomes.
  • Makes a huge difference in the quantity of exchanges and quality of collaboration.
  • Facilitates conversations between participants and optimizes communication by adding more feelings and expressions.
  • When you talk to the trainer or other participants through your camera, it gives the impression that you are talking to them directly and looking at them directly – this is "virtual eye contact".
  • Increases the impact of your intervention and your credibility.
  • Facilitates concentration and listening during longer training sessions and avoids distractions.
  • Creates a sense of learner community and generates motivation.
  • If the visual environment is heterogeneous (some have their camera on and some do not), the trainer will tend to interact much more with those who have their camera on. It’s natural to talk to someone you see! Thus, the participant experiencemay be more positive for those who have their camera on and more unsatisfactory for those who have kept it off.

For the trainer: 

  • Seeing someone say something has far more impact than just hearing them talk. Body language contributes greatly to expression. During a training, we don’t just listen to the participant’s words; we also look at gestures, expressions, head tilts, eyebrows, etc… Because they are the bearers of information. Even if we were face to face and had to wear a mask, we would still have these clues.
  • It’s demotivating to talk to a bunch of black rectangles with names. The coldness of these black rectangles creates the feeling of monologuing. Without seeing occasional nods, confusion contractions, and appreciation smiles, communication becomes limited. We feel less anchored and less effective when our audience is invisible.
  • It creates a dynamic atmosphere – where no one is passive. Good discussions and exchanges require vitality.
  • Without the camera, the trainer does not know if you are there, pretending to be attentive, or playing with your dog, or preparing a meal… Without cameras, we are getting closer to anonymity, which destroys ties with participants.
  • It contributes to an environment of trust and respect. In trainings, we are all partners looking for the best answers. To that end, when someone formulates an idea or an objection, we give it our full attention. This respect and courtesy are often conveyed and received with visual cues.

The main point of this article is that face-to-face, either in person or virtually, is an important part of a training and contributes to its success. With remote training, turning on our cameras is close to a face-to-face interaction. Of course, video will never replace face-to-face interaction… But seeing someone on the screen psychologically encourages a more authentic human connection.

Please… Please… During your next virtual training – Turn on your cameras!

  147 lectures
147 lectures

Career Progression: Ladder or Lattice?

Image anglais

What is the best way to advance in a career?

The most common answer: get a promotion… For many, this is the only way!

Our concept of “promotion” is quite ancestral. It translates into increased responsibility, prestige and remuneration.

But career progression is not just about the legendary “promotion”. We have a choice of vertical or horizontal advancement.

Which path do you choose to take: climb the ladder or explore the lattice?

Let me explain…

Climb the ladder ?

Vertical advancement is what many call “climbing the organizational ladder”. It’s a promotion in its most traditional sense.

The advantages of following the vertical path

The benefits of vertical careers are widely known. This assignment comes with.... Higher hierarchical status…. Greater responsibility and…. A salary increase.

This approach has its place when you are on a specialized track, when job options are clear and when you know what role you would like to have. Indeed, each role throughout the journey will build on and deepen experience and knowledge, and it is natural to be motivated to acquire promotions and progress.

The disadvantages of following the vertical path

This type of career path sometimes creates a domino effect. Its sequence begins when the best performing individuals reach their peak: this is the famous Peter’s principle… This empirical law on hierarchical organizations. According to this principle, “in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence,” with the result that “over time, any position will be filled by an employee who is unable to take responsibility for it.”

We insist on promoting the best performing (or most loyal) employees without realizing that more skills, abilities and knowledge are needed to fully assume this new role! A new role needs preparation.... And it’s a process that sometimes takes place over several years.

When this is not done upstream, these individuals may find themselves without the necessary skills... What comes next is that their teams become suspicious, demotivated and disengaged.

Unfortunately, it is only once they are already full of bumps and bruises that we tend to help them acquire these skills. But sometimes it’s too late – the damage is done and is irreversible!

Not to mention that not everyone, even the best performers, is supposed to “climb the ladder” … And some just don’t want to! These high-performing employees can be advanced without putting them in a position of tension that can be unsatisfactory and detrimental to all in the long run.

Explore the lattice ? 

Horizontal advancement is when you move sideways within your organization, rather than upwards. Imagine your career path not as a ladder, which forces you to climb predefined levels up to your destination, but rather as a lattice… Which allows you to change your trajectory whenever you want, offers you several new positions in your organization and opens up a multitude of new possibilities.

Can you sense my enthusiasm? 😊

The disadvantages of following the horizontal path

Unlike the vertical path that comes with a rank, a status and a salary increase, horizontal advancement occurs when you move between different departments within an organization, generally at a similar level of status and with comparable responsibilities.

It only involves a change of designation and may look more like a transfer than a promotion. This is also why these types of “promotions” are less desirable than vertical promotions. However, just because you don’t climb the ladder doesn’t mean you don’t progress in your career.

Sometimes these side moves can be perceived negatively by recruiters, or even random, especially if you don’t explain the context in which you made these decisions.

Some side movements, however rich in challenges, satisfaction and skills acquisition, may be accompanied by a wage reduction. You will therefore have to assess the benefit of developing these skills against a potential loss of salary.

So what are the benefits of a horizontal career path?

Benefits to the employee

The main advantage is that you are exposed to new knowledge, skills and responsibilities. It’s a great way to prepare for challenges and to be agile when changes occur... Individuals who master a variety of disciplines are sought after by innovative and proactive organizations.

The horizontal shift also allows you to sample the work environment in different departments to see where you prefer working, which allows you to find your own niche and build relationships with the people you prefer to work with.

This approach is also useful for anyone who is considering a career change, who increasingly needs to balance work and personal demands, who is returning to the workforce or who is looking to add a few tools to their toolbox.

Benefits to the employer

Horizontal movement is an excellent management technique for improving productivity and effectiveness within an organization. It is a means to create value; in many organizations, the concept of the ladder is replaced by the lattice approach.

As job descriptions become more fluid, employees who are able to master a variety of disciplines, adapt, and be agile are invaluable to any organization that wants to perform.

The horizontal promotion of career choice helps to place staff in more challenging positions and can help reduce frustrations due to lack of vertical promotions during periods of uncertainty or slow growth.

What do you really want ? 

The best choice for career advancement depends above all on you, your reality, your ambitions and your interests. Only you can make an informed decision based on what is best for you in the short and long term.

But before you decide…… Have you:

… Taken the time to identify what you are passionate about, what makes you thrive?

… Explored what you like and don’t like doing?

… Identified how to get from where you are today to where you finally want to be?

Are you going to go up the ladder or exploring the lattice?

Vertical advances are undeniably good indicators that you are progressing in your career, but so are horizontal ones. The two are not mutually exclusive – in fact, they can be complementary.

As long as organizations are organized hierarchically, there will always be vertical careers. What makes me happy is… They are no longer the only choice!

  244 lectures
244 lectures

Hiring criteria: Experience or potential?

Expérience ou Potentiel English

Findings :  

  1. Highly skilled job seekers blame employers of not being interested in hiring unemployed people.
  2. Students with new knowledge protest about not being able to meet market demands (even for junior positions) after their studies.
  3. Workers wishing to change careers deplore the difficulty ofreorienting.
  4. Those who perform work that devalues their knowledge feel underutilized and neglected.
  5. On the other hand, we’ve heard employers complain about lack of skill” for years.

🤔 Ummmmm…..

What is wrong with the current hiring processes? 

It seems as though the priority of organizations is simply to fill the vacant position as quickly as possible, since time is money.

When the key word is "Fast", the best way is to rely on elements of exclusion such as years of experience.

When employers insist on hiring someone with experience, they create a vicious cycle…… 

Our efforts are focused on finding the ideal candidate quickly… The quickest way to find these employees is to recruit workers already hired by other companies.… 

We continue to steal the same people from each other, without understanding that we continue to lose our employees through the back door, all while increasing their salaries without any increased value.

Regardless of whether our recruitment and hiring process gives us better candidates… And without realizing that, by hiring only people with experience, there will be no one to hire at the end!

And that’s the beginning of the end….

We miss out on good candidates, we are constantly recruiting, we increase the cost of labour, while undermining the financial profitability of the organization and reducing the talent pipeline.

🤔 Ummmmm….

Yet there are so many high-potential individuals— 

Why hire based only on their experience or academic training?

What about candidates who might have the "knowledge" required, but did not have the opportunity to apply it in a workplace?

Or those who have acquired skills in a non-traditional way?

Those with an atypical background?

The ones with different work backgrounds?

Years of experience or academic training do not guarantee effectiveness. They do not predict a successful functioning of the corporate culture, nor do they ensure that the individual can successfully fulfill his or her role and responsibilities.

When hiring processes measure and engage based solely on exclusion criteria, organizations miss out on an incredible amount of talent.

An idea… A different approach 

What if we stopped evaluating candidates only on the basis of years of experience or their academic training?

How about looking beyond current hiring practices, reframing our criteria to broaden access to career opportunities?

What if we approached hiring in a holistic and inclusive way?

Why not let the candidates prove they have the right skills?

Why not allow candidates to communicate their way of being and thinking?

Why not evaluate them according to their soft skills and potential?

Potential is the willingness and possibility of the person to evolve or project themselves to solve new problems and/or increasingly complex and ambiguous situations.

It is the capacity of an individual to know how to intentionally arrange and combine their intellectual, practical, emotional and social skills. 

The question is not whether people have the right skills, but rather whether they have the potential to learn new skills. to adopt and adapt appropriate behaviours and skills according to the objectives.

When we talk about potential, people are massively underestimated and underutilized.

Bet on the “Potential”! The rest can be learned !

  197 lectures
Mots-clés :
197 lectures

Les participants le disent…

« Vraiment une formation extraordinaire, et habituellement, je suis très critique! Tout le personnel devrait suivre cette formation, il y aurait un gain d’efficacité! »

Ville de Québec

Témoignages des participants

…et nos clients aussi!

« C’est avec un grand professionnalisme que l’entreprise a offert une formation attrayante et de qualité à nos employés. Nous sommes particulièrement satisfaits des résultats obtenus grâce à cette intervention et il nous fera plaisir de retravailler avec Solutions & Co. dans l’avenir. »

Xavier Aymé, Chef des opérations | Mercator Canada Inc.

Témoignages des clients

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