See around corners with your Service DNA

We believe it’s always better to improve a process than simply follow it. But, many times, we see one of two things: First, organizations try to automate a process before optimizing it. Unfortunately, automating a mess simply makes it messier, faster. The second scenario, which is harder to spot, is when the process itself may be optimally designed, but it is unnatural for the organization to follow the process. There are too many obstacles that set them up for failure.

Over the years, as we worked with leaders to get a sense of their organizational capabilities, we really struggled to find this blind spot. We focused on the usual suspects—people, process, and technology—as we assessed the state of their business and their overall capabilities. But we found that these three elements weren’t enough to give us a sense of who they were and what they were capable of achieving as an organization.

Read moreSee around corners with your Service DNA

Have you hugged your local consultant today?

There’s a dirty little secret in the world of independent consultants and startups: It’s feast or famine, even in the best of times.

The reason this is such a well-kept secret is that when people hear the term “consultant” or “startup,” they think of well-funded organizations like Deloitte, McKinsey or startup unicorns that dominate popular imagination. They don’t think of their marketing copywriter or the consultant with deep expertise who quickly solves specific pain points. But in 2020, it’s just those businesses—those “local” consultants —who are feeling the pain of pandemic shutdown. And may need a hug.

Over the summer, Comatch polled 1000 independent consultants to see how COVID had impacted business. While we may have guessed that travel and leisure consultants are expected to take a 51% hit this year, the numbers are painful for many others. The research estimated that marketing consultants would experience a 37% decrease in earnings; high tech and IT would drop 39%; and strategy consultants’ earnings would decrease by 44%. Since many expenses are fixed, these percentages translate to even more pain than the numbers show.

Read moreHave you hugged your local consultant today?

Seek to understand before you seek to solve…

It’s the time of year when organizations review what they’ve accomplished, evaluating achievements against goals set in January. Often, this navel-gazing will result in revised projected budgets, staffing changes, or executive bonuses. Even when things seem to be going relatively well, it’s easy to (mistakenly) assume there is a good alignment between what the leaders project and what employees experience in the trenches.

2020 has gummed up the gears of business even more than usual

Read moreSeek to understand before you seek to solve…

What’s Your Time-to-Smile Number?

Customer success and support execs often are the bearers of bad news for an organization. When things go wrong, they are the proverbial “one throat to choke.” In an enterprise, this is particularly galling because many of the issues are not within the control of the customer service/support person. Buggy products, incorrectly calibrated expectations during the sales cycle and disruptions anywhere in the delivery process can cause frustration for customers. It’s no wonder that “customer satisfaction” is not a measure they like, particularly if too much of one’s bonus is tied to this measure.

To help the organizational silos better understand that everyone exists to care for the customer, there is a new metric that requires your attention. We call it “Time-to-Smile.”

It’s rooted in the idea that “we’re all in this together.”

Read moreWhat’s Your Time-to-Smile Number?

Want to be more customer focused? Stop focusing so much on customers.

Is it possible for someone to be too customer-focused? 

Why, yes, it is.

I’m reminded of a company we worked with a few years ago. As a highly respected global leader of specialty equipment that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the total annual contract value of the sale reaching much higher than that, its customers expected immediate responses, focused attention, and superior service. The manufacturer’s team of experts spent a lot of time and money ensuring the customers got exactly what they wanted and needed. 

Read moreWant to be more customer focused? Stop focusing so much on customers.

They Can’t All Be Winners: 4 Tips for Avoiding Chosen One Syndrome

In 1998, the Harvard Business Review published an article entitled, “The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome,” which described a scenario where employees perceived as weak performers “lived down” to their detractors’ lowest expectations. The syndrome was compared to the “Pygmalion Effect,” by which someone achieves greatness because others believe they are capable of doing so.

Read moreThey Can’t All Be Winners: 4 Tips for Avoiding Chosen One Syndrome

Free resources from Roundtables with Phil — Developing Leadership Skills

Service leaders often are the pillar that others lean on when things descend into chaos.

But what happens when everything collapses around us, and we too feel the crushing weight of a pandemic that upends all our plans and stresses our systems, our people, and ourselves to the limit?

We can muddle through, or we can build on the foundation that marks our profession—the willingness to help each other—to know that all of us are better than any one of us.

Introducing Roundtables with Phil

That’s why we invited 28 service leaders — colleagues, customers, industry leaders, and thought gurus to orchestrate a series of roundtable conversations to explore ways to help each other and share tips, “gotchas,” and new best practices as we navigate our way to surer footing.

Read moreFree resources from Roundtables with Phil — Developing Leadership Skills

6 simple questions firefighting chiefs ask—and you should, too

As leaders, we have grand plans: those that will help our organizations, our customers and dare we admit it—our own careers. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to translate strategy into practical projects for our operational managers to implement. So, we end up with statements like: Here’s what we need to do by X date, …

Read more6 simple questions firefighting chiefs ask—and you should, too

Sharing is Winning: the guts of a successful knowledge-sharing recognition program

I’m a big fan of collaborative games, games where you need to work together to achieve a goal. I play a couple on my iPhone and the best of them combine individual rewards and community involvement. If I contribute 10 archers to the next battle, I get an individual medal and my team captures the Black Knight’s castle. I love that I am being recognized and that the team benefits.I haven’t always been a fan of recognition programs for knowledge-sharing practices. I believe that sharing knowledge requires a change to behaviors. That change is only sustainable in the long-term if team members understand how sharing knowledge benefits them, their customers and the organization.

Read moreSharing is Winning: the guts of a successful knowledge-sharing recognition program