Start With Turning on the Faucet

I have all sorts of blog ideas stuck in my head and some I’ve even put in draft form, but I just haven’t written a full one in a while. I have time blocked out every evening to write, but every evening I find something else to do and move the calendar slot to the next night. I love writing but for some reason, I am fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to writing.

I just got an email from IMPACT and it was a list of quotes to get someone past the writers block. This one in particular, got me motivated enough to writing something. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour, Author.

Everything I write doesn’t have to be perfect, ground breaking or even interesting to everyone. I have to accept that and move on. As I write this, I realized that the same thing applies to my relationships to my partners, coworkers, friend and family. You don’t have to have a reason to talk to someone, just talk. Start by saying “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, how was your weekend?” and the water will flow.

We get so caught up in our daily to do list that sometimes we forget to be human. I have to talk to this person about this, and that person about that. How about talking to someone just because you want to, not because you need to? Crazy concept, but when you go to someone for the heck of it and not because you need something, you might actually build a two-way relationship and get a lot more out of the conversation than you ever thought you would. Stop thinking about what you need from someone and start thinking about him or her. People aren’t action items, so make sure not to always treat them that way.

Turn the faucet on and the water will flow, relationships will build and in the end you’ll get all the water you need.

Check out the IMPACT blog here which will give you some quotes to get you writing…it worked for me.

Close the Loop with Customers

Have you ever filled out a survey and wondered what happened to your thoughts and opinions once you hit the send button or dropped the survey into the wooden box? More than likely the company did one of two things. 1) they didn’t even read your survey and it ended in the spam folder or the garbage next to the wrapper from lunch or 2) the survey was read and the company made changes based on your feedback and those of other customers, but the changes are unknown to most customers because the results of the survey weren’t publicized.

If there was one thing I learned at last year’s Net Promoter certification class, it was that finding out what your customers think is very important, but it’s absolutely critical that action is then taken. Closing the loop with customers makes all the difference. By closing the loop, I mean getting in touch with customers after they have filled out a survey and thank them for giving you a 10 or asking them what could have been different during their experience. Sounds simple, but few do it.

A few weeks ago I went crazy and decided to join the world of BlackBerry. It has been years since I had one and those were happy years – the ones without the little red flashing light following me where ever I went. When I checked my email later that night I had a short survey from Verizon asking me how my experience was. I don’t remember how many questions the survey was but I do remember it was very short and at the end I had to score my experience on a scale of 0-10. I submitted the online survey and that was it.

Less than a week after I got my BlackBerry, I had a voicemail from Lee. Lee is the manager at my local Verizon store. His voicemail thanked me for working with Paul, the sales associate, and said that he hoped that I was enjoying my pink BlackBerry Curve. He thanked me for filling out the survey and giving my experience a 10. If I had any questions or concerns, I should feel free to call him and then he left his phone number.

Lee did two things that actually shocked me. He called. Yes, it sounds crazy, but after filling out numerous surveys in my 30+ years of life, it’s a very rare occasion to actually have the company follow up. The second thing that was shocking was that I was a person I wasn’t just a customer or some revenue for his strip mall store. He knew the name of my sales rep – whom I know for a fact I didn’t write in my survey – which phone I had and what I had ranked my experience. He was able to personalize his call to me. Rather than just saying “Thanks for filling out the survey” he made the call about me and my experience. I know that when I give my opinion, Verizon will listen.

When you ask for a customer’s opinion, close the loop. Let them know you listened. We all want our opinions to be heard and to know that we’ve been heard.

Must go, the red light is flashing.