Work-life balance as a Human Resource HR Tools is a term used for the idea that an individual needs time for both work and other aspects of life (personal interests, family and leisure activities).
Our schedules are getting busier than ever before, which often causes our work or our personal lives to suffer. The compounding stress of Human Resource HR Tools from never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness.
The Role of the Purchasing Manager
The best work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different lives and different priorities. Work-life balance doesn’t mean an equal balance. There is no perfect balance you should be striving for. At the core of work-life balance is meaningful daily Achievement and Enjoyment.
When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationship with management and tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which in turn increases company productivity and reduces conflicts.
Companies that encourage work-life balance have become very attractive to workers. These companies also tend to enjoy higher employee retention rates and more loyalty. Promoting balance is beneficial to both employees and companies.
The absolute most important aspect of customer retention is culture. Culture is the way things are thought about, talked about, and done. If TRUST is the basis for any long-term relationship, then a culture of trust is essential to customer retention. Two great examples are Kimpton - a boutique hotel chain, and Cisco Systems.
Kimpton has been named the number one place to work in 9 of the 17 cities where it operates. Market Metrix Hospitality Index or MMHI, has awarded top scores to Kimpton over the past few years - their scored have exceeded not only their direct competitors - but also brands such as Ritz Carlton, St Regis, and Four Seasons. Kimpton has achieved this because of their strong customer-centric culture of really knowing their customers, anticipating customers' needs with great precision, and empowering employees to meet customer expectations.
Another good example of customer-centric culture is Cisco Systems. They are proactive about solutions for every stage of the customer's lifecycle, and on their basic product web pages you can readily find contact information for customer service and tech support ... whereas many companies require customers to go through many clicks to get their contact information. Cisco has made a concerted effort to maximize their customer self-service features, so that their agents can focus on more high-value assistance, from the customers' perspective.
Walking the Talk
How many companies walk the talk by assigning an executive sponsor to customer retention? At Symantec, the Vice President of Customer Experience posts the results of their latest feedback from customers, as well as what they're doing to address that feedback. This can be one of the most powerful ways to keep your customers talking to you. Show that you really read and digest their feedback, and show that you have followed their advice in making improvements.
By closing the loop with customers, you can re-set their perceptions, so they don't feel compelled to carry around negative baggage of past experiences. They can re-set their perceptions to better meet your current realities of improved policies, business processes, and customer experiences.
Symantec takes this a step further with a feedback form on their website - enabling anyone anytime to either vent their frustrations or express appreciation for a job well done.
Two-way conversation on Twitter is best illustrated by Comcast - Frank Eliason's is director of digital care at Comcast and his profile includes his personal website and blog - as he sees customer frustrations expressed, he reaches out to them to find solutions, and in the process, many disillusioned customers have migrated to fans not only of Comcast, but to a friendship with Frank.
Going Beyond the Surface
Over-focus on customer acquisition teaches customers to switch brands. For example, the brand switching rate, called customer churn, is 40% for the mobile phone industry, compared to a 7% customer churn rate for the insurance and financial services industries. Some good advice is to quit training your customers to switch - get off the churn bandwagon.
Let's take a look at a mobile phone company that has pursued a customer retention strategy whereas its peers in the industry were focused primarily on customer acquisition. The mobile phone company Orange is owned by France Telecom, and it's a great example of departing from industry norms with a unique experiment on customer service as a brand differentiator - somewhat similar to the Saturn brand of General Motors.
Orange has pursued a strategy of customer-centricity by investing heavily in their agents' knowledge, customer communication and responsiveness. Customer service agents take a 1-month course before interacting with customers, and for their first several weeks interfacing with customers, the work environment has a high ratio of supervisors.
This is accompanied by ongoing formal quality assurance with an emphasis on precision monitoring through speech analytics. The speech analytics tool has enabled Orange to identify at-risk customers, and these customers are reached out to within 24 hours, to turn around their sentiment about the brand, and migrate them from at-risk status toward satisfied status.
80% of the customers identified as at-risk through the speech analytics were not picked up as at-risk through the agents nor other methods. The results are 20% improvement in 1st call resolution, 15% reduction in repeat calls, and 20% increase in satisfaction with customer service.
Trust is the Foundation
The lesson here is that customer retention may be best supported by operational integrity. After all, when you think about your personal relationships as well as your business relationships, you tend to stick with the folks that are really good at showing they sincerely care about you, and doing what they say they're going to do.
It boils down to trust. When you dig down to the reasons why people leave a brand for a competitor's solution, it's not so much about the competitors' offers and brand affinity -- but, rather, the reasons people switch brands is much more about product, service and value disappointments. Companies make huge investments in communicating their value proposition. Logic says a corresponding investment - at least in energy and scrutiny - should be made in making sure their value proposition is lived up to. TRUST is the best way to retain customers.
There are many ways employers can promote work-life balance in office, some of which are: company outings, offering remote working and flexible hours, providing good health coverage, encouraging employee education.
Hypothalamus - Role in Motivation and Behaviour
Empowering employees like Human Resource HR Tools to take control over their work and home lives can have a profound impact on their job satisfaction and performance, enabling companies to achieve success. Achieving work-life balance is a daily challenge. It can be tough to make time for family, friends, community participation, spirituality, personal growth, self-care, and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace.
How should the practice of business continuity evolve to manage the threats and opportunities faced by organizations today and in the future?
Business resilience is the ability an organization has to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding people. The CulturalManagement provides experts to partner with your organization and develop a comprehensive emergency preparedness and disaster management program.
The previous two parts of this series explored how important it is for sales people to understand what is driving their customer to buy and to understand what the customer's expectations are. In this article we are going to look at how to proceed once we have the understanding we need of our customer.
In the first article in this series, I stated that most sales people have more than one product or service line at their disposal to meet clients needs. Marketing departments keep coming up with more and more variations even of the same product for different uses and to serve various markets. Some of the features may be the same, maybe even the benefits will be similar, but how these meet our customer's expectations will vary greatly.
In the last article I noted that if we do not understand our clients expectations we cannot meet them. Our product/service will create buyers remorse in the customer and thus we will have a dissatisfied and probably very vocal customer. So if we understand what need our client is trying to satisfy and how they expect our product/service to satisfy the need and we have determined that in fact our available products/services can meet that need and meet or exceed the clients expectations, now what?
Let me give a very simple example of all of this. I am a customer of a roadside beverage stand and I want to order a drink. The sales person has a couple of options: 1) They can simply provide me with their most popular beverage and hope for the best, 2) they can find out the size of the beverage that I want and maybe a preference (Coke vs Pepsi), 3) They can find out more about my situation, explain my options to me and help me to make the best decsion based upon my needs and expectations.
Okay you are thinking I am making a mountain out of a mole hill here, it is a drink for Pete's sake, you are thirsty take what he gives you and be happy, children in other countries don't have anything to drink! Stay with me here, if I am competing in some type of sporting event, or I am a diabetic or I believe that when I am hot, a hot drink will cool me better than a cold drink, or what if all the stand has is alcoholic beverages and I am opposed to alcohol, or allergic to corn syrup or I just plain won't drink anything without carbonation. What if I am extremely offended at wasefulness and I know that I can not drink more than 16 oz and the clerk gives me a 32 oz drink, or I am on a diet where I have to measure my in take?
These things all have to do with my need and my expectation. If I order an ice cold carbonated beverage and expect it to warm me when I am cold, I will be sorely displeased. My expectation has not been met. Worse yet, If I am coerced or persuaded (manipulated/sold) an ice cold beverage, how satisfied am I going to be?
Customer satisfaction hinges on our ability to meet their needs and expectations, this cannot be done if we do not understand those needs and expectations or what they are. Secondly, a buyer is much less likely to be dissatisfied with a product/service that they feel they chose because it was the best possilbe alternative, even if it does not completely meet their needs and expectations. The most important part of consultative selling is in the presentation. A sales person cannot be persuading or manipulating the customer to buy, but must instead be giving them the information they need to make their own decision.
In one of the previous articles I made a statement to the effect that an objection is merely the customer telling us that they do not yet trust us and we have not yet developed the needed rapport. In this part of the process this is a very important concept. If we take a position of trying to defend ourselves or our product/service in answering objections we are furthering a confrontational position against the customer and eroding instead of building rapport. Conversely if we take the this opportunity to confirm our understanding of the what the client has told us their needs and expectations are, we are showing our sincere interest in meeting their needs and expectations. We are no long confronting them, but advocating them. We don't overcome objections, we understand them, don't merely empathize or sympathize, but understand.
If we do in fact understand the customer's needs and expectations, the solution will be clear. We can then explain the options we have to meet the clients needs and expectations and THEY can make a decision. They are not sold anything! They make a decision to buy. If the decision is solely the client's, they cannot be dissatisfied with our product/service, only with their own decision to buy it. If sales people are able to convey their understanding of the client's needs and expectations to the client and the client assents that they are corrrect, and the client is given the information that they deem satisfactory to make a decision with out coercion or prompting (with out being sold) then the decision is theirs alone, and they know it. There will be no resentment towards the sales person, they have been nothing but helpful, and no resentment towards the product/service, I knew going in what the options were, I just chose poorly.
In short, once we understand the customer's needs and expectations we must present to them all the options that are potential solutions. If they don't buy now, they will, either because your industry has improved a product that can now meet their needs/ expectations better, or because they have a new or differnent need/expectation that your product can fill, because they want it to. We have taken the time to build adequate rapport, in fact a relationship, we are now a trusted advisor and people want to do business with trusted advisors. People like to buy, they don't like to be sold to. People like to make decisions, they don't like to pick one and hope for the best. Understand your clients needs and expectations and help them to find the best solution. Don't try to force your solution as the best and for crying out loud----Let the Customer Buy!
When a Human Resource HR Tools spends the majority of its days on work-related activities and feel as if they are neglecting other important components of their lives, stress and unhappiness result. Thus, you must learn to draw a clear line between your personal and work time and set clear expectations with your colleagues.