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Happy Memorial Day

Posted on May 25, 2020 at 7:10 AM

What makes your business unique during Covid-19??

Posted on May 1, 2020 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

WHY YOUR UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION MATTERS

In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace consumers have a lot of choices as to where they spend their money as well as instant access to online reviews and product information.

 

Whether you’re competing against big box retailers, Amazon, or other brick-and-mortar businesses in your area, your ability to uncover and articulate your unique value proposition will have a direct impact on your marketing campaigns, lead generation, and ability to grow your business.

 


 

STEP 1. ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS

When we work with clients we always start by pouring over customer feedback--a core part of our discovery process. We're looking for one of two things.

 

  •  ensure alignment between the company and the customer as it relates to value proposition
  •  uncover new areas of competitive advantage. We then distill all of the information down and share specific recommendations with their marketing team.

 

 

In cases where feedback is somewhat limited, we help to develop a process for soliciting input including organizing small focus groups, creating customer surveys, and conducting short phone interviews.

 

STEP 2. ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES

Although we often think of customers first, https://goo.gl/cVHptu" target="_blank">your employees should also have a seat at the table. They’re often the ones who are having the most face-to-face conversations with your customers and hearing what sets your business apart from others in your space.

 

Look for opportunities to gather structured feedback from your team.

 


 

STEP 3. RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITORS

Targeted competitor research can provide a treasure trove of information and give you an immediate sense of who and what you are up against. 

 

Compare your listings in organic search results. AdWords campaigns. Website copy. Brochures. Any information you can easily get your hands on can help paint a clearer picture of your competition through the eyes of a potential customer.

 

Ultimately if you look and sound like everyone else, your marketing campaigns aren’t going to be successful.

 

When you’re competing in an overly saturated online marketplace, you need to be able to answer the question “Why should a customer buy from your business?” What makes you different? In many cases these are questions small businesses aren’t always equipped to easily answer.

 

Spend time exploring possible areas where you could provide added value.Use guided questions to give a launching off point during a brainstorming session.  Then pull in examples from other online retailers in the space to provide tangible examples to show points of parity – an eye opening exercise for you.

 

STEP 4. ARTICULATING YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION

Once you’re able to identity the 3-5 key themes at the heart of your unique value proposition, you can leverage those insights to help shape your interactions with customers as well as your marketing message.

 

In most cases prospective customers won’t come out and directly ask “why should I buy from you?” but that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking it. Whether you decide to address the topic directly by including a specific “Why Choose Us” area on your website or intertwine your unique value proposition throughout your https://goo.gl/6fNoya" target="_blank">online and offline marketing campaigns, the key is to always have those themes top-of-mind during every customer touchpoint.

 

One point of clarification: a unique value proposition doesn’t mean you have to deliver something completely different from one of your competitors. You can just do it better. Customer service is a great example. Every business offers some https://goo.gl/cVHptu" target="_blank">level of customer service. That’s not unique. But what is unique is your ability to over deliver and turn a point of parity into a clear competitive advantage.

 

STEP 5. TEST

We can’t stress this step enough. With your unique value proposition identified, create a series of highly https://goo.gl/6fNoya" target="_blank">targeted marketing campaigns to see which selling features and messaging generate the best results. Similar to customer feedback mentioned earlier, this will also be crucial in helping you validate whether your points of differentiation are resonating with your target audience.

 

WHAT TO DO NEXT

Ask yourself what makes your business unique. If you can’t quickly and easily rattle off 3-5 (or as many as 7) traits, one of your competitors likely can and will.

Taking Action

Posted on April 27, 2020 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Today I want to give you a quick tip to generate much needed income this week.


 

 

With the current lockdown, most are waiting around, which is a low-level, apathetic, passive activity that lets too many unknown factors rely on chance.

 

 

You want to be—as often as possible—the generator of any activity for yourself and your business because then you will control the outcome and income REGARDLESS of the economy in which you live and work.

 

 

In short, https://bit.ly/Setgoalsebook" target="_blank">be the cause rather than the effect.

 

 

I hate being a victim, and too many people right now are letting the COVID situation turn themselves into victims.

 

 

That’s why I want to remind you today that taking actions will generate additional opportunities and revenue and ultimately help you create your own economy.

 

 

Action Tip for YOU:

 

 

Call all of your existing clients and touch base to see if there is any way you can further serve them.

 

 

You’ll offer suggestions on how they can better maximize the product or service you sold them, and before ending the call, you’ll ask them to help you.

 

 

Lisa, let me ask you—do you have any friends, family, or business associates who would have a use for or an interest in the products and services I represent?”

 

 

Then be silent and let him tell you.

 

 

If he says he doesn’t know anyone, say, “I understand. If you did know someone, who might it be?”

 

 

It might sound confusing, but you will be shocked at how many times this second question will generate names.

 

 

You will also be surprised how many times you get a name the first time you ask.

 

Friend, if you do this, it will be something that happened because of you, not to you. The goal is to make this happen more often so that you aren’t waiting and hoping.

 

 

Let’s end the victim mindset this week, deal?

 

 

What actions are you going to start to create luck for yourself?


7 Essential Tips for Working From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted on April 17, 2020 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

In the midst of the new coronavirus pandemic, many companies are implementing voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies. That means lots of us are dealing with an unusual challenge: working from home for the first time, full-time.

 

Even if you’ve done it before, working from home because of coronavirus might feel like a whole new world: It’s probably sudden. It might be for an extended period of time rather than a day here and there (and you’re not at all sure how long it’ll last). Your whole company is involved. And you can’t necessarily socialize in person outside of work.

 

These tips will help you make sure that you’re successful, both at getting your work done and at maintaining your mental well-being:

 

 

1. Get Dressed

It might seem like a simple tip, but it’s a crucial one. Before coming to work for The Muse, I spent about eight months working from home when my full-time office job became a remote position with little warning. It was tempting to stay in my pajamas all day, but any day I gave into temptation was much slower to start and less productive overall.

 

You don’t need to dress as formally as you might for work, but the simple act of changing clothes serves as a signal that it’s time to wake up and get things done. “Don’t underestimate the power of putting on clothes suitable for public viewing. It makes you feel human [and] confident and helps draw the line between being at work and being at home,” says Heather Yurovsky, Muse career coach and the founder of Shatter & Shine. “Feeling human” might seem like an odd thing to have to actively think of, but it’s especially important at a time like this, when the breakdown of your everyday routines might make you feel cut off from your “normal” life and the “real” world.

 

Getting dressed also applies to other appearance-based tasks: Take a shower, brush your hair, even put on makeup if that’s what you’d usually do. You don’t need to go as all out as you would for the office if you don’t want to, but waking up and taking care of your appearance can go a long way toward helping you feel like you’re taking care of yourself.

 

Besides, just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that no one from work will see you. It’s 2020 and we’re all about to have a lot of video meetings.

 

 

 

2. Designate a Workspace or Home Office

One of the big challenges when it comes to working remotely is keeping your work and home lives separate. “For some people it becomes very blurry,” says Muse career coach Lynn Berger, who specializes in helping people navigate career transitions. If you never fully disconnect from work, your work productivity will suffer and your home life can take a hit as well.

 

If you’re used to going into an office each day, the separation between work and home is physical, and you want to try to recreate that as much as possible with a designated physical workspace at home. You may scoff at the idea of a separate room for a home office if, like me, you live in a small apartment. I’m writing this in the room that is my office, kitchen, living room, and dining room all in one. Your workspace doesn’t have to be its own room—in my apartment, it’s a corner—but it should feel as separate from the rest of your home as possible.

 

Try to make your workspace comfortable with a chair you can sit in for eight hours a day and a few decorations. Find an area with good natural lighting if at all possible. Even if you don’t usually spend a lot of time outdoors, losing out on the time you spend outdoors during your commute can start to weigh on you quickly, and it will only happen faster if you don’t have natural light coming in.

 

Entering your workspace will help you turn “on” at the beginning of the day and get down to work. On the flipside, leaving your workspace will also help you turn “off” at the end of the day and fully disengage. That’s why it’s also important not to spread yourself across your home—while it might seem great to be able to move from desk to couch to bed, if you let your laptop creep into your downtime space, it makes it harder to keep your work separate from your home life.

 

If you’re working at a table you need to use outside of work or a room you spend a lot of time in, pack up your work each evening to make the end of your day decisive. When I worked remotely in my last job, I was working on my personal computer, so I’d make sure to close all the tabs and programs related to my job as soon as I was done for the day. The key here is to do whatever you need to do to “leave” your workspace.

 

 

 

3. Keep Clearly Defined Working Hours

Just as you designate and separate your physical workspace, you should be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not. You’ll get your best work done and be most ready to transition back to the office if you stick with your regular hours. Plus, if your role is collaborative, being on the same schedule as your coworkers makes everything much easier.

 

“The biggest difference between working from home and working in the office is that you are in charge of your environment and have to treat yourself like an employee,” Yurovsky says. This means holding yourself accountable, but also recognizing when enough is enough, just as a good manager might. “If you feel yourself extending your work hours because you aren’t doing anything in the evening...tell yourself it’s time to put work away, recharge, and start tomorrow with a fresh mind. The work will be there in the morning.”

 

If you live with other people, this separation is even more critical. Communicate with the people you live with to establish boundaries so you can cut down on distractions during the workday—and then disconnect and give the people you care about your full attention. Having a separate time and space to work will allow you to be more present in your home life.

 

 

 

4. Build Transitions Into (and Out of) Work

Your morning commute not only gets you to work—from one physical location to another—but it also gives your brain time to prepare for work. Just because you’re not traveling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carve out equivalent routines to help you ease into your workday.

 

Maybe you usually read or listen to music on your commute. You can do that at home. Or maybe you can spend some time with a pet or loved one. You can even add in a workout (preferably at home because of the new coronavirus, but see what is being recommended where you live) or spend some time on a hobby (again, make sure it’s appropriate given the health recommendations where you are).

 

At the other end of the day, the evening commute does the reverse. “Commuters often take for granted the time they have in the car or on the train to wind down from a hectic workday and mentally prepare themselves for their evening routine.” Yurovsky says. Generally, you’re not going from getting a huge presentation done right to making dinner or doing chores. If you try to jump directly, “your brain doesn’t have time to hit the reset button, which can make you less present as you transition back into your personal life.”

 

Give yourself something that will signal the end of work and serve as a buffer. When I worked from home, I made it a habit to take my dog for a long walk as soon as I was done for the day. It helped me decompress with something physical and fun, and the habit was self-enforcing since my dog would lie in front of the door when it was time to go or would come looking for me if I was taking too long.

 

 

 

5. Don’t Get Too Sucked in by the News—or Anything Else

Distraction is one of the big challenges facing people who work from home—especially people who aren’t used to it. “Your home is right in front of you,” Berger says. That means that whatever you’re usually thinking about getting home to after work is now with you. It’s human to get distracted. But you need to be wary of how much you let yourself get distracted.

 

You probably already take a few breaks throughout the day at the office, and that’s fine to do at home, too. Using that time to throw in a load of laundry is OK, but try not to look at your new work arrangement as an opportunity to finally clean out that closet or anything else that takes a lot of sustained focus.

 

Right now, one of the biggest distractions is the news. And if you’re working remotely because of the new coronavirus, checking in on COVID-19 updates is going to be at the front of your mind. It’s good to stay informed, of course, but it’s also easy to scroll yourself into an anxious mess.

 

I suggest setting timers for any breaks you take. You don’t want to get too immersed and forget that you’re at work altogether. If you’re someone who’s susceptible to getting distracted every time you get a news alert, turn your notifications off during the workday, too. The news will still be there after 5 PM.

 

 

 

6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

If you don’t usually work from home, chances are there will be some bumps in the road if you have to suddenly go fully remote. The key to steering through these bumps is communication—especially with your manager and direct reports. Either before you make the switch or as soon as you know it’s happening, come up with a plan that lays out expectations for how often you should check in and how you’ll convey any changes or new assignments to one another. Do the same with anyone you usually work collaboratively with throughout the day.

 

This plan is likely to change as you go. And that’s OK. This is a new situation for everyone. So make sure to circle back and change the plan if problems come up. You’ll also encounter unique challenges as you try to do your job remotely, which can vary greatly depending on the type of work you do. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the same people you would usually turn to for help—even if you’re not in the same building as them.

 

And you don’t have to stick with only text-based communication. “Do not default to email if you would have spoken to a coworker face-to-face while at the office,” Yurovsky says. You might find it’s best to check in with your boss and coworkers over the phone or through video chat. This will cut down on miscommunication and break up some of the social isolation that can come from working from home.

 

Looking for more tech tips that will make remote work easier? Check out this list.

 

 

 

7. Don’t Forget to Socialize

When the whole office suddenly starts working from home, you’re cutting off a lot of the casual social interactions you’re used to having throughout the day that help you feel less lonely and break up the monotony of work. “People forget they need to be around others because it’s the small talk and random fire alarms that keep your days feeling unique and prevent that hamster-wheel feeling. When you work from home, you don’t have that,” Yurovsky says.

 

Combat this by talking with your coworkers throughout the day through Slack, calls, text, Zoom, or however your company communicates. If you usually ask your coworkers about their weekends, keep that up. If you’d usually comment to them about a specific topic, reach out. These little interactions go a long way.

 

Berger also suggests setting aside time to talk to or catch up one-on-one with a coworker. When she’s working remotely she often “gets lunch” with colleagues and friends by setting a time to chat while they eat. (And you should definitely still take a lunch and step away from your work. These breaks are vital even if you’re not leaving your home.)

 

You can also schedule morning video call kickoffs with your whole team so you make space for that first-getting-into-work small talk, or carve out time for other check-ins throughout the day.

 

While you’re at it, don’t just check in with coworkers about this project or that TV show you both like—really check in, Berger suggests. Lots of us are feeling anxious and uncertain right now, and suddenly being isolated at home can amplify these feelings. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a coworker just to ask how they’re doing.

 

All this doesn’t just apply to the workday and people you work with. You may not be able to meet up with friends for dinner after work, but you can organize a group of people to discuss a book or TV show or just to catch up over Google Hangouts. You don’t even need to plan that much: My best friend and I live in different parts of the country but stream TV shows simultaneously so we can text about them in real time. And Facetime your mom, will you? When the world is freaking out, it’s more important than ever that we reach out, connect, and take care of one another.

 

 

 


Author: 

Regina Borsellino was born and raised in New York before moving to the Washington DC area to get a BA in English Lit from the University of Maryland and an MFA in Fiction from American University. 

Are you getting enough Vitamin D ?

Posted on April 17, 2020 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (567)

Vitamin D Deficiency

Also called: Hypovitaminosis D, Low Vitamin D


What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency means that you are not getting enough vitamin D to stay healthy.

Why do I need vitamin D and how do I get it?

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium is one of the main building blocks of bone. Vitamin D also has a role in your nervous, muscle, and immune systems.

You can get vitamin D in three ways: through your skin, from your diet, and from supplements. Your body forms vitamin D naturally after exposure to sunlight. But too much sun exposure can lead to skin aging and skin cancer, so many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources.

How much vitamin D do I need?

The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. The recommended amounts, in international units (IU), are

• Birth to 12 months: 400 IU

• Children 1-13 years: 600 IU

• Teens 14-18 years: 600 IU

• Adults 19-70 years: 600 IU

• Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU

• Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU

People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency may need more. Check with your health care provider about how much you need.

What causes vitamin D deficiency?

You can become deficient in vitamin D for different reasons:

• You don't get enough vitamin D in your diet

• You don't absorb enough vitamin D from food (a malabsorption problem)

• You don't get enough exposure to sunlight.

• Your liver or kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form in the body.

• You take medicines that interfere with your body's ability to convert or absorb vitamin D

 

 

 

Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency?

Some people are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency:

• Breastfed infants, because human milk is a poor source of vitamin D. If you are breastfeeding, give your infant a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D every day.

• Older adults, because your skin doesn't make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight as efficiently as when you were young, and your kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.

• People with dark skin, which has less ability to produce vitamin D from the sun.

• People with disorders such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease who don't handle fat properly, because vitamin D needs fat to be absorbed.

• People who have obesity, because their body fat binds to some vitamin D and prevents it from getting into the blood.

• People who have had gastric bypass surgery

• People with osteoporosis

• People with chronic kidney or liver disease.

• People with hyperparathyroidism (too much of a hormone that controls the body's calcium level)

• People with sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, or other granulomatous disease (disease with granulomas, collections of cells caused by chronic inflammation)

• People with some lymphomas, a type of cancer.

• People who take medicines that affect vitamin D metabolism, such as cholestyramine (a cholesterol drug), anti-seizure drugs, glucocorticoids, antifungal drugs, and HIV/AIDS medicines.

Talk with your health care provider if you are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. There is a blood test which can measure how much vitamin D is in your body.

What problems does vitamin D deficiency cause?

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones).

Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend. African American infants and children are at higher risk of getting rickets. In adults, severe vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia. Osteomalacia causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness.

Researchers are studying vitamin D for its possible connections to several medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. They need to do more research before they can understand the effects of vitamin D on these conditions.

 

 

How can I get more vitamin D?

There are a few foods that naturally have some vitamin D:

• Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel

• Beef liver

• Cheese

• Mushrooms

• Egg yolks

You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods. You can check the food labels to find out whether a food has vitamin D. Foods that often have added vitamin D include

• Milk

• Breakfast cereals

• Orange juice

• Other dairy products, such as yogurt

• Soy drinks

Vitamin D is in many multivitamins. There are also vitamin D supplements, both in pills and a liquid for babies.

If you have vitamin D deficiency, the treatment is with supplements. Check with your health care provider about how much you need to take, how often you need to take it, and how long you need to take it.

Can too much vitamin D be harmful?

Getting too much vitamin D (known as vitamin D toxicity) can be harmful. Signs of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. Excess vitamin D can also damage the kidneys. Too much vitamin D also raises the level of calcium in your blood. High levels of blood calcium (hypercalcemia) can cause confusion, disorientation, and problems with heart rhythm.

Most cases of vitamin D toxicity happen when someone overuses vitamin D supplements. Excessive sun exposure doesn't cause vitamin D poisoning because the body limits the amount of this vitamin it produces.

 

 

5 Easy Ways to Lift the Spirit

Posted on April 16, 2020 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 


 

Things are forever changing and sometimes we wish not to change with them.  Now we are in times that are uncharted and unknowing.  Anxiety levels are sky high, tempers are as well.  Division here and there and no end in sight seems apparent.  

What to do?

Luckily for me there’s always been that curiosity of what’s out there in the world when it comes to finding peace. I’ve tried many techniques over the years and will continue to do so, all in the hope I can make things better for my body, mind and spirit. And it has.

I’m aware that what may work for me may not work for someone else, so the message is to keep trying until you find something that will suit your needs.

So what do I do when I’ve reached a cross-road and need some direction or could do with some healing or focus?

Below I’ve listed 5 basic points that have helped to lift my spirit and with practice will also help yours:

1. Meditation! Meditation is one of the greatest self healing tools available and costs nothing except a little of your time! There are many meditation techniques out there, find one that suits you and begin.

By putting some meditation music on and spending time in quiet contemplation it can soothe your soul and reconnect you with the highest aspect of yourself.

2. Aromatherapy and Essential Oils.

Rebalance and rejuvenate your spirit through blending a selection of essential oils together in an aromatherapy oil burner. I’ve found the following blend works extremely well when there’s a need for nurturing, support and healing:

Approximately an hour before retiring to bed place a few drops of the following in an https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Aromatherapy-Diffuser-Essential-Oil/dp/B07JD2GDKN/ref=zg_bs_16250381_9?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=N1ERR4EJ1VX2XH2NGMH7" target="_blank">aromatherapy oil burner with some water (for safety’s sake, extinguish the flame before lights are turned off for the night):

4 drops Jasmine

4 drops Rose

4 drops Neroli

3 drops Lavender

3 drops Bergamot


The smell divine! I use this one every now and again and not only sleep like a baby but anxiety and stress disappears, and feels like the weight of the world has lifted from my shoulders by the following morning! (If you have a small bedroom you might like to half the amount of drops)

3. Breathe! Stand with feet a shoulder-length apart. Take 3 slow and deep breaths using the diaphragm muscles. Breathe in through the nose, and breathe out through slightly parted lips. As you do these imagine you’re inhaling your personal power, filling every cell in your body, from your diaphragm up to the top of your head.

Be your personal power and notice how much taller, straighter and stronger you become. Repeat the steps above.

4. Be in the Present Moment. Take a few deep breaths and focus totally on this moment, right now.

If you’re reading a book or magazine, or even this article, totally focus on the words and take in their meaning. There is only you and this article now in the present moment.

If you’re in the workplace, focus totally on the task at hand, and only this task, and what you must do in order to complete it. Nothing else matters except you and the task at hand.

5. Set an intention. When I’m on the lookout for something new and useful for me, I set my intention on what it is I’m after.

For example, I may want to find a book that will give me answers in regards to directing me to another healing modality or skill. I then meditate on this intention, give it a timeframe then open my heart to it. Lo and behold I will have a book in my hand in no time at all! I love the power of intention – I also use intention for getting a parking space when I go shopping!


When using the 5 points above, my spirit lifts and life once again becomes more peaceful and joyful.

What do you do to bring peace to your life these days?



Chicken with a twist of zest

Posted on April 15, 2020 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Lemon Roasted Chicken with Potatoes


Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium lemon, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest 

or 1/4 tablespoon of concentrated lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon pepper

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 ounces each)

**or can substitute 4 skinless breasts 

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 pound fingerling potatoes or small red potatoes, halved lengthwise

8 cherry tomatoes

Minced fresh parsley, optional


Buy Ingredients!  Click here

 


Directions

Preheat oven to 450°. Grease a 10-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer in skillet.

Combine 1 teaspoon oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; rub over chicken. Place over lemon.

In a large bowl, combine rosemary and the remaining oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add potatoes and tomatoes; toss to coat. Arrange over chicken. Bake, uncovered, 25-35 minutes or until chicken has a dark golden color and potatoes are tender. If desired, sprinkle with minced parsley before serving.

Nutrition Facts

2 chicken thighs or breasts with 4 ounces potatoes and 2 tomatoes: 446 calories, 20g fat (5g saturated fat), 151mg cholesterol, 429mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 3g fiber), 45g protein.


Well, how did it turn out? leave comments if you want to tell us about your experience.


DIY No Sew Mask

Posted on April 15, 2020 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

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Customer Service is Now Customer Care

Posted on April 15, 2020 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)


This article explains how customer service has changed into

customer care. The successful restaurants always knew this.

 

 

As I waited for an answer to my VCR inquiry from a stereo company, the recording stated a “customer care” representative would be available shortly. At that moment, I realized it’s finally catching on everywhere. With aging baby boomers, world events and additional pressures in today’s society; it is “customer care” that has evolved in our economy. We have moved from a manufacturing economy to a service economy and are currently leaning towards a “servicecare” economy. As we live in a high tech-high button touch environment, many personal contacts have been decreased making each customer interaction more important than ever to corporate imagery. For example, if you call for computer tech support, the representative often makes it a point to address you by first name. If it’s the bank credit card company, they may ask “How are you doing today?” This makes the customer feel less like a number and more like a human being.

 

The successful restauranteurs always took service one step further towards “care” because they understood restaurant customer service literally involves the immediate health of the patron-- more so than any other industry (except for healthcare industry itself). A recent survey asked diners why they went out to eat and the main response was “to feel good.” (After all, the word “restaurant” has French origins meaning “to restore”;). As a waiter for many years, I felt my job was to restore humanity, especially to diners arriving from a stressed out day.

 

In my past dining room work experiences, I remember certain actions lifting service to this higher level of “care.” One time a customer requested margarine that wasn’t available in the restaurant. The owner walked across the street to the grocery purchased the margarine and brought it tableside. The patron was delighted. There was a regular customer (diabetic) who always got immediate attention with some kind of bread or crackers to keep from feeling feint before her food arrived. If there was a baby present at a table, our staff ensured their food would come out as soon as possible to pacify. These kinds of actions create a lasting positive image for any company or establishment. The owner cared about his guests and it permeated thru the dining room and staff -- even after he left to open other restaurants for the company.

 

 

Customer Service involves major 3 points:

 

1) Care and Concern for the Customer

2) Spontaneity and Flexibility of frontline workers which enhances the ability for on-the-spot problem-solving.

3) Recovery- making things right with the customer when the process has gone astray.

 

These 3 points should always be highlighted in any customer service training program. If they are kept in mind, then quality service will occur.

 

Creating a New Standard of Excellence-Six Things You Can Do

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Below are six steps that you can take to continue to raise your own standards of excellence. These steps will make it easier than ever to stand out, be noticed, and have greater levels of success and satisfaction.

 

 

Recognizing that the time had come to replace our hot water heater, my wife called our plumber to schedule an appointment. She placed the call at about 11 a.m. When the agent asked, “Would you be available between one and three?” Lori asked, “Which day?” The agent replied “Today of course.”

 

Hearing a strange noise coming from our furnace, another call was placed. Again, the appointment was made and the problem was solved the same day. (Are you surprised that the furnace and the plumbing company have the same ownership?)

 

Earlier this week my wife had a problem with her knee and after seeing our family doctor she was referred to a knee specialist - a specialist considered one of the best in Indianapolis. When she called for an appointment, I feared the worst. Instead, she had an appointment within 24 hours.

 

My guess is that as you read each of these short stories. You are surprised at the service we received. The fact is, this level of service should be the norm, but sadly isn't. Our experience has lowered the expectations of most of us.

 

The Good News

 

The good news in these examples is that it is easier than ever to stand out. When you are good, people will notice. When you are excellent, they will rave.

 

This goes for us personally, professionally, or as an organization.

 

Below are six steps that you can take to continue to raise your own standards of excellence. These steps will make it easier than ever to stand out, be noticed, and have greater levels of success and satisfaction.

 

What You Can Do

 

1. Get a current check on performance. Talk to those you served, whether your family, coworkers or Customers. Find out from them, how well you are doing in meeting their expectations. Listen to their feedback. Don't justify your current performance or blame others. Simply listen.

 

2. Determine the standard they want. Again, ask your Customers or those you serve for their input. Listen to their needs, wants and hopes.

 

3. Determine the standard you want. Remember that their expectations may not be very high based on their experience. Take their feedback and ideas into account, but remember that it is your responsibility to set the level of excellence you want to reach. Set the bar is high as you wish.

 

4. Under promise and over deliver. Taking the first three steps will heighten awareness and likely raise expectations immediately. As you work to grow your standards remember that you can reach your goal is small steps. Make promises based on your current capacity, not your fondest wish. Make the promise, then deliver more, then raise the level of your promise a bit the next time. Steady and slow wins the race – and remember it won’t take long to leave those you are racing with far behind. This approach will help you raise your standards, and the trust others have I you too.

 

5. Ask “what's not excellent?” This question will help you continue to find ways to improve your standards and delivery. Ask this question of yourself, of your teammates, and of other interested parties.

 

6. Measure performance. You've set new standards for yourself. The only way to reach them and maintain them is to measure your performance against those standards. Depending on the standards you are setting this may be very simple or quite complex. Don't make the measurement more difficult than necessary, but remember to measure.

 

It is clear that these steps have obvious application for serving Customers better. While I encourage you to consider their applications to customer service, I also hope you will consider using them in other areas on your life.

 

It's time to raise the bar. It's time to set new standards. Standards won’t raise themselves; we must raise them consciously and consistently. The steps above will help you take that conscious action.

What are you going to do to raise the bar?


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