Category Archives: Leadership
Biases in both the workplace and any organization are not limited to racism.
Biases can take the form of gender and class preference as well as behavior bias towards those who have dissenting opinions, and top performers or gift givers who benefit from favoritism.
Leaders in business are not the only ones who are prone to bias. In fact, many professors, pastors and doctors have shown biases in their teachings, ministries and practices.
Be willing to accept that you may have deeper biases than you acknowledge. The first and most difficult step in any personal and profound change is admission. You need to be willing to adhere to a level of self-awareness and come to terms with where your blind spots are towards others. You will not necessarily know what they are immediately, or even a couple of years after this decision, but you will being to open your mind and your heart to realize where you treat people disrespectfully. You then are able to start to work on those areas when they are brought to your attention.
Study your behaviors and tendencies. As much as possible, take the time before, during and after your interactions with people to do a self-awareness check. Are you going into that meeting already with your mind made up of who the other person is? Were you angry at this person for some reason other than their performance, such as making yourself look bad or not presenting the way you do? Did you leave the conversation with a feeling of superiority over the other person? When during these checks you become aware of your biases, start to study why you act or react the way you do, and work on remembering the triggers that create those changes in heart and mind.
Get feedback from people opposite your comfort zone. It’s easy to get feedback from people who are like you. In fact, they will most likely affirm the wonderful person you are. But that behavior in itself is a bias. In order to get a true picture of who you are, solicit some straight talk from those who are outside your sphere of comfort. You will get a more true picture of how you treat others who are different from yourself. In addition you will start to be more comfortable with people who are different from you and many times you will naturally drop those biases just by spending more time with them.
Make it right. If you have realized your biases have wronged anyone, you will need to set things in order as best and reasonably as you can. However you will need to exercise some caution, as some methods of remuneration and rectification may come across to the individual(s) wronged as disingenuous. Sincerity as well as the action to rectify a wrong need to be balanced, as the attitude towards doing so will speak volumes about how you truly are working to conquer your biases.
Inoculate yourself from bias-based behaviors. Preventing those same behaviors and showing true change can only be sustained by guarding yourself from those actions that contribute to these biases. For instance, you will need to be careful of accepting gifts to prevent being swayed by people you tend to favor. Insensitive jokes will not have a place to the one who is willing to change their biases for good. Also, talking ill of anyone with less than the respect you would want for yourself needs to be shunned as well. These and other behaviors will make us callous to those others whom we should be serving fairly.
At the end of it all bias is a choice. And while none of us can ever be perfectly without bias, we can make incredible strides to reign in our prejudices and not only change who we are, but also change the lives of others we have an obligation to serve.
You’ve spent the time ensuring your online processes deliver a solid customer experience.
Your email and IM chat response times are meeting typical customer expectations.
And the personal interactions, over the phone or in person, get good marks from your clientele.
You’ve gone over virtually every other customer touchpoint from follow-up calls to emails, thank you visits and promotional incentives for customers and all of your outreach efforts are there.
Is there anything else you’re neglecting?
Chances are quite good that two of the most vital components are overlooked.
Your FAQs and your Customer Surveys.
Why are these important and so often neglected? It’s because there are the most passive customer touchpoints. The fact that they don’t require anyone reaching out means they are vulnerable to being overlooked to ensure they deliver a great customer experience.
FAQs and surveys typically offer those customers who don’t want to interact with anyone a more passive method to get information or pass information on.
If you look over many companies websites, their FAQs don’t touch on the most pertinent questions a customer might have. Questions on product returns, shipping address changes and warranty information are left out of the queries. This leaves customers having to go to the method they don’t want – a live person (whether by phone or by chat) or slower email responses – to get what should be easily accessed information.
FAQs go beyond the acronym-ed “Frequently Asked Questions’ and should be thought of as a help guide for any potential customer inquiry. FAQs cannot answer all questions, but by going through the categories of questions a customer – satisfied, unsatisfied or inquisitive – could potentially ask, you can tee up the majority of inquiries and defer other questions in those buckets to an email, chat, or survey.
Speaking of surveys, many CX pitfalls occur here as well.
Survey tend to fall into two categories: tell the company how they did based on the questions that were asked, or tell the company about your experience based on the questions that were asked.
Unfortunately many surveys ask questions that aren’t truly helpful to a customer.
For instance, a recent survey from a retail chain that had a reputation for poor levels of customer service had just five questions. Those questions had a 1 through 5 ranking (1 being agree/very satisfied and 5 being disagree/unsatisfied). Those questions were based on the company’s metrics they wanted to score well on. What was missing were any questions on customer service. This survey was an opportunity for customers to give input on their experience, and many of them felt boxed in and couldn’t provide any real feedback on their recent visit. Because they weren’t able to give that input, a number of them took their business to a competitor.
Your surveys and FAQs are those final pieces of the CX puzzle that will enable those customers to get and give information. It’s only with an ease of open exchange that the trust factor that builds a great brand through customer experience can take a solid foundation to grow your clientele.
Take the time to answer your surveys and read your FAQs through many different customer viewpoints. The opportunities you may find there will help your customers remain loyal to you.
A company creates a solid culture and great initiatives to attain it’s overall mission of meeting customer needs and growing in the industry.
However a couple of teams buck the positive work, telling their staff not to do what corporate says, ordering their people to ignore those initiatives because there’s other (“real”) work to do, and speaking disparagingly negative remarks about the company and it’s leadership.
Perhaps you’ve been in a situation like this. Knowing what you should be doing but doing what you’re told because of your direct boss or office demanded it. It’s a tough situation for sure.
Rogue leadership is leadership that has runaway with it’s own sense of pride. It will do its own thing – usually not in alignment with culture and more for doing what benefits those at the top rather than the greater good. It puts its people in a struggle between doing what’s right and doing the maverick leadership dictates.
And when leadership has chosen to runaway like this, if being courageous and speaking up have yielded no results, than there is only one thing to do.
Runaway from that leadership, and seek a better group of leaders, ones that are authentic and aligned with the company’s culture.