Saturday, November 8, 2014

How to find great customer service and call center staff!

Great customer service is something that can be hard to find now days. I do however believe there is a revival going on in this country brought on by the wonderful world of social media. Had it not been for sites likes Angie's List, Tripadvisor and even Facebook, where a person can in seconds share their experiences with anyone on the globe, companies may have let this slip. I am glad.

Now as a person who prefers to shop online, I do not really need customer service, unless there is a problem, so I expect if there is great service as I feel I save the company a lot of time and money just by taking care of my order myself, online and having it shipped.

If you have ever spent time at WalMart or Mcdonalds, you must likely have experienced anything but stellar customer service. I honestly do not know if its the pay, benefits, atmosphere, culture or what, but time and time again, you will not get good service. Go to a Starbucks or Panera and you will be warmly greeted, even forced into conversation with a real human being and they politely the worker will up-sell you on items. It has to be culture and training. As someone who worked at Mcdonald's as a teen, I recall they spend a lot of time training on products and procedures but not a lot on customer service. They should reconsider this policy. I often thought it was a good place to start, but now that my own teenage daughter is working there I think its a bad place to start. Why start off your career learning how NOT to give stellar service.

So what is great service and how do you give it? Well great service always starts with an attitude. If you do not like people or serving people, then you really should find another line of work. You are not going to be happy and you will give the company and products a bad name. When people are recruiting for call center and customer service associates, you really need to start with attitude. How do you know if a person really cares about helping people? Look at their resume, look at what they do with their spare time, find out if they volunteer or what activities they do on the weekends. A true service minded person will live it, you will find it with good questions. Second, seek a coachable person. If you get someone who has the heart but not the talent, you WIN. You can also train a good worker with a positive attitude.

Start with those two items and you will be in good shape. More to come...


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Millennials and why I think they Rock!

There has been a lot said about the Millennials or "Gen Y" and much of it is incorrect. This is a generation unlike any of the previous ones. They do not buy into the good old work hard and climb the ladder methods, or the work for one company for ever model either. And I say GOOD!

They can appear disengaged or as some call it "lazy" but really, because of the technological advancements, they just have more time than us. They can avoid long phone calls by shooting off a text, heck you can even talk to your phone while driving and it will send emails for you. You can be working on multiple projects at any time of the day or night with the use of a computer or tablet. They are mobile and always connected.

They can communicate with anyone on the planet, in seconds. They can accomplish tasks, learn new skills on Youtube and much more in 1/2 the time. They appreciate life, friends, collaboration and doing something that really makes a difference. What is wrong with this idea? I love it.

I guess time will be the judge but we need to prepare and adjust to the new way of getting things done! #klpotter2

Here are some interesting facts about the millennials:

references: Red Brick-2015millennialmajorityworkforce-141022132049-conversion-gate01.pdf

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get out and Vote!

We are the land of the free so make sure you get out today and let your voice be heard! No matter what side you are on, let your voice be heard! #votetoday #karenpotter #klpotter2

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Review: How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

On a cold afternoon there is really nothing better than a hot cup of tea and a great book. How Google Works was a perfect read on this lazy afternoon. As someone who loves to use Google and not really terribly familiar with the companies origins or even its inner workings, I was not sure if this would be the book for me but I figured I would give it a shot!

As for me, I sometimes think how lucky we are to be alive during this technology renaissance. As some born on the very tail end of Gen X and with a much closer affinity to Gen Y, I like to think of myself as the best of both worlds. I have always openly embraced technology and the endless opportunities it brings to our world, the social connectivity, the knowledge and power at the fingertips of millions of people every day. But with a dash of Gen X in me, skepticism shines through as well. Cautiously optimist one may say. That said, this book is an amazing read for anyone, as it transcends all generations and opens the mind to the new age of business.

As a person who spent my 20's in college, reading books from Dale Carnage,  Lee Iaccoca, Jack Welch, John Maxwell, Trump, Who Moved My Cheese, Built to Last, Tribal Leadership, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Good to Great, pretty much anything I could get hands on so I could learn the "system", you know the way to move up in the world. One thing that always bothered me is the constraints and time it takes to get ahead. This theory of paying dues, with age comes wisdom and work your way up over time kind of annoyed me but I pressed on.

Then shortly behind me in the workforce came the Gen Y folks and their crazy ideas of graduating college and demanding corner offices or starting their own businesses. They were fearless with their requests  and maybe because they (and sometimes I consider myself in this pool) had seen 9-11 and the great recession Where in an instant the world changed for the worst and their older siblings lost it all in the housing and stock market crash, their parents who were just a year into retirement, now forced back into the low wage workforce. I think seeing the cruel world in this way, watching people fail so spectacularly and so publicly embolden these folks. I mean really, no matter what they try and even fail at, it could not be worse than Lehman Brothers or Government, I mean General Motors bailouts.

The generation who grew up with technology, social media is in their blood and perhaps because of all the bad they have seen, they are unfair to march ahead. Many feel they lack commitment, they are dreamers, maybe even lazy, some of those who think that are Gen X'ers who honestly fear them. Gen X lost over 10 years of progress in the workplace. When we should have been moving head in our careers, making progressively more money, going our 401K's, buying that next house-instead we were beat down. Many lost their homes and had to start over. Some lost all their money, lost their job and instead of reflecting on the last 10 years seeing progress, they have resentment and angry. Many lost the one thing that can truly set a person apart- Passion and Hope!

All of this said, leads me to my point as it relates to this book. Google does things differently, probably to the liking of those Gen Y. They do not run a business the way we all were taught in college, with business plans and hierarchies. They function in a collaborative, group think, academia minded way. It works and sometimes breaking away from the old gives life to the new. Personally I like the new, I am sick of the old.

I recall when I was first elected to office in my small little neck of the woods, the youngest elected official in our history and a woman, no problem there, hun? A arrogant man said to me, after I took my first political bashing for not falling in line with the rest, you know you would be wise to just keep quiet and learn the ropes for the first couple of years. Code for, listen newbie, sit down and shut up and let us older "wiser" men show you how its done. What a joke? No one who knows me or voted for me would ever think for one moment I would every sit back and fall in line with anyone, ever. The hierarchy and good old boys network was about to be introduced to a new generation of people. People, like me, who have watched the old way to running businesses and governments and have decided that is not how we are going to do things any more.

How does this all relate to the book you say?

Well the book talks about this revolution in the workplace and this new highly coveted worker. We learn the most coveted employees are called "smart creatives" they are the ones with traits such as "deep technical knowledge, analytical, understands that and how to use data, driven towards greatness, and business smart." They also mention the fact this person realizes work is not showing up from 9-5 each day, its about results as creative genius happens every where- they are full of new ideas and their perspective is different than the rest and best of all they can change their perspective as needed. Other traits are risk takers, not afraid to fail, self directed, charismatic, hands on, and do not stay with one thing for ever. (Schmidt, Eric & Rosenberg, Jonathan, 2014)

This an an exciting list of attributes and something I hope we are cultivating on our K-12 educational systems. 

In addition, the book talks about the importance of culture, something that has to be organic. Culture is something the younger workers are looking for and its not called Work-Life Balance anymore. Collaboration rules the day.

Where the book is it really starts to pick up steam for me is in the Talent-Hiring section. I have to say one of the best lines in this section is "Scouting is like shaving: If you don't do it ever day, it shows!" I agree completely. Hiring the right people for the right positions is not something that should be done casually or only when needed. It is something that requires consistent cultivation.

Many companies do not have the time or resources to adequately do that, hence the need for staffing and recruiting companies (a plug for my day job) where that is what they do, day in and day out. Another thing companies need to look for is what the book talks about as learning animals. People who are coachable and want to grow and learn. People who have skills and abilities but have something more important the ability and willingness to change, adapt and learn. You would think this is easy to find, but you are so very wrong. It is more important to have a smart and creative person who is willing to learn and grow then a egotistical super star who feels they already know it all.

As you learn more about the hiring process at Google, you begin to see why Google is a highly coveted place to work. If you get in, you really are the best and they will reward you handsomely for it. There are many companies out there that fall into this category and if you are in the job market, you should know who they are.
The sections on decision making, primordial ooze and communications are just as enticing to read. I found juicy nuggets through this short, day-long read and I would highly recommend the book to anyone wanting to get a better understanding of the worlds most interesting and sometimes frighteningly overly engaged in out lives company-Google.

Enjoy this great read and please share your comments!

#Google #EricSchmidt #jonathanrosenberg #business  

Buy the Book Today!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween- Where did this holiday come from anyways?

From the time we are born we are dressed up in outfits and sent out into the cold, dark night to fetch some delicious treats, but why? 

Most of us have no idea, and honestly I was not sure so I did a little research on the topic.

According to Britannica, "Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland". It was the day they consider the start of winter and their herds were to come back from pasture. In addition, dead souls we thought to visit their old stomping grounds and others would depart to the other world. (Britannica, 2014) People would do many of the things we do today, host bonfires, wear masks to scare away evil ghosts and other such traditions.

Well there it is. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween everyone!


#qualifiedstaffing #halloween 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The way we present ourselves matters, or does it?

The way we present ourselves matters, or does it?

A message I wish I could convey to students, job seekers and even my own children at times. I do not think you can judge a book by its cover, but I do think we are in charge of marketing ourselves, in person and online. What we post on social media, creates a image, what we say, creates an image, what we wear also creates that image. It it what it is.

Look, there a many folks who do not look the part and are super stars. We also have people who look the part and are not qualified to flip my hamburgers. But in general, I am a firm believer in marketing oneself in a professional manor.

Again, I realize we should not judge a book by its cover and in many creative corners of the world, dressing down is the new hip thing to do at work but call me old fashion, I believe you always put your best foot forward.

My family often teases me when I need to put on make-up for a quick run to the local grocery store but as an elected leader in my hometown and someone who works in sales and marketing, I really have to be "on" at all times. It has been my experience that the one time I go to the store with out the normal attire or make-up on is the time I run into all sorts of people. Now there is a case to be made for the natural beauty movement and I am not saying a person should be so vein that they worry about how they look at all times. I am not.

What I am saying is, especially when you are seeking employment or going to be in places where you could potentially run into someone of influence who might be able to help you on your journey, you should step it up a notch.

This great article talks more about the topic... what do you think?
#qualifiedstaffing #qualifiedstaff #klpotter2