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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Simple Truths of Service

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My current account (accounting software) gave us a mug; a stress reliever (clay) and a book entitled “The Simple Truths of Service”. This book was written by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz. It’s all about customer service.

This book has two main parts: the story of Johnny the bagger (written by Barbara Glanz) and The Simple Truths of Great Service, by Ken Blanchard.

Johnny is a simple bagger from a supermarket in the US. He also has Down syndrome. Barbara Glanz recalls how Johnny was influence by her motivational talk to delight customers in simple ways. Johnny accepted the idea that even though he’s a bagger, he can contribute to the overall profit of the supermarket but delighting his customers. How? Johnny is putting a print-out of “thoughts for the day” in the paper bag that he used.

Since Johnny started doing this, the manager of the store noticed that the lane to Johnny is twice as long as the other’s lanes. The manager later found out that customers are willing to stay a little longer in Johnny’s lane so that they could have his “thoughts for the day”. Customers were delighted by this simple act of Johnny that the manager begun noticing that a lot of customers are shopping more often. In other words, they have increased their customer’s loyalty by this simple act. Johnny became an inspiration for his co-workers, that if Johnny can come up with such an idea to delight customers, certainly, others can do that as well.

The morale of the story is that, we need to be unique in addressing our customer’s needs. We should not only satisfy what they want, but add a little personal touch in it. It should start from everyone in the company. In this age where quality and competitive price of products are just the requirements for business establishments today, certainly, delighting our customers would make a difference.

Ken Blanchard provided us with some tips on how to delight our customers in relation to the story of Johnny the bagger. These tips define what a great service is and these are:

  1. Great service inspires stories – Johnny the bagger’s story is a good example.
  2. Great service uses outside-the-box thinking – You’ll hear this phrase a lot in the call center industry. Always find ways to resolve the issue.
  3. Great service is a choice – We always have a choice whether to give what the customer wants or to exceed that expectation. We should always choose the right one.
  4. Great service starts with a clear vision – To be the best in terms of customer service is the common vision for most companies.
  5. Great service requires that everyone catch the vision – The vision always goes down to this: delight our customers.
  6. Great service surprises people – It would be great if customer’s issue is not only resolve but the way we resolve it, would make us a “stand-out” from the rest of the tech support guys that the customer remembers as by name. Let’s surprise our customers in a positive way. We want to be remembered as the guy who resolves the issue, not the guy who made the customer irate.
  7. Great service begins with anyone – Yup, even if we’re technical support, we should always provide great service. It’s not enough that we resolve our customer’s issue but we should do it in such a way that customer would say “Wow”.
  8. Great service goes the extra mile – This one is another favorite phrase in the customer service department. We often joke about this phrase and refer to it as “extra service”.
  9. Great service brings customers back – Getting customer’s loyalty is the aim of most companies nowadays. You could also see this on most BPO’s mission and vision.
  10. Great service comes from the heart – This may sound really cheesy, but it’s true. It’s not enough that we do our job but we should enjoy it as well.

“The Simple Truths of Service” is indeed a remarkable gift to us who works in the call center industry. I thank my current account for giving such a wonderful gift.

Tahô and Kuchinta

Every morning, around 9:00 AM, our magtataho (the person who sells tahô) passes our house. It’s becoming a habit of mine lately to eat tahô, ever since my schedule was changed to 11:00 PM to 8:00 AM (I’m usually at home by 9:00 AM, in time for the tahô).

Tahô is a street food that’s usually sold in the morning. Tahô is considered a snack and it looks like gelatin. It’s made from processed soybeans combined with arnibal (melted brown sugar and vanilla) and tapioca pearls (locally known as sago).

Kuchinta on the other hand is another delicious rice product. It’s a steamed cake made from rice flour, water and sugar. Its color is similar to brown sugar. Kuchinta is topped with freshly grated coconut.

During my younger days, the magtataho usually sells only tahô. There is a different person that sells the kuchinta and puto (another rice product). Lately, the magtatahô is also the magpuputo (or magku-kuchinta). Probably in the province, the magtatahô and the magpuputo are two separate entities. However, here in our little barangay in Pasig City, it’s the same person.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Stress Reliever

Before, it used to be called stress ball. However, since it now came in several forms and shapes, the new term for stress ball right now is stress reliever.

Stress ball is quite common in the call center industry. It serves two things: as a stress reliever and as an exercise material for the hands and fingers. Most of the time, the stress balls are given away to agents who performs in some metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT), average handle time (AHT), or for sales made. I never received a stress ball in my 4 years’ experience as a call center agent, until recently.

I’ve been with Alorica, Sykes Asia, Convergys, and Teleperformance but I never received a stress ball from those companies. Nor have I seen them gave away a stress ball as prize. The items I received from these call centers are the Data Saver’s flashlight (from Sony-Alorica), the Sykes lanyard, and the AT&T lanyard from Convergys. I never received a book or a mug from these centers.

Recently, my current account (accounting software) in my current call center (somewhere in Taguig) provided us with a book, a mug, and a stress ball (in the form of clay). I was really touched! Not every account gives such items. In fact, in my current call center, only this accounting software (account) provided us with such freebies. Not to mention that they also provided us with the usual lanyard. Other accounts that I handle in my current company only provided lanyards.

Well, I can always buy these items from a mall, but it’s always great when it is given to us agents as gifts. Sometimes, we use these items to gauge how good an account is.

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I’m very intrigued by the material used in this stress clay. It’s like a clay, a bubblegum or a liquid-plastic. It’s not sticky! If you create a ball out of it and you throw it against the wall or floor, it bounces (unlike clay). It’s a very nice corporate or promotional gift.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Children’s Playground, Rizal Park

Last Sunday, I stumbled upon a children’s playground right beside the marker of RIZAL PARK. It has dinosaurs! I never seen this park before. So I checked it out and paid P10.00 entrance fee. It was cool. A lot of children are playing inside. I checked the marker to know more about this project. The marker at the newly-renovated Children’s Playground in Rizal Park reads:

“The makeover of Rizal Park Children Playground is motivated by our aspiration to give the best to the Filipino children. The Department of Tourism and the National Parks Development committee commend one and all to make our children a priority. Together we can assure them of their rights to benefit from play and grow in surroundings of love and joy at the Rizal Park.

We thank all the volunteer students from the Association of Visual communicators of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts that painted the dinosaurs and other animal murals, the Arts Association of the Philippines, all volunteers, sponsors and everyone that made this project achievable.

Done on December 1, 2010 Manila, Philippines

(Signed)

Juliet Horfilla Villegas

Executive Director

(Signed)

Alberto Aldaba Lim

Secretary, Department of Tourism”

That’s the reason why the park is new to my eyes – it was just inaugurated last year and I haven’t been to Rizal Park for the past 4-5 years.

I do hope that they could maintain the park. That’s where our problem is, in the maintenance. I hope the “ningas-kugon” attitude of most Filipinos would not let this park be just another park – neglected and lacks maintenance.

Enjoy the pictures!

Children's Playground Children's Playground 2 Children's Playground 3 Children's Playground 4 Children's Playground 5 Children's Playground 6 Children's Playground 7 Children's Playground 8 Children's Playground 9 Children's Playground 10 Children's Playground 11 Children's Playground 12 Children's Playground 13 Children's Playground 14 Children's Playground 15 Children's Playground 16 Children's Playground 17 Children's Playground 18 Children's Playground 19 Children's Playground 20 Children's Playground 21 Children's Playground 22 Children's Playground 23 Children's Playground 24 Children's Playground 25 Children's Playground 26 Children's Playground 27 Children's Playground 28 Children's Playground 29 Children's Playground 30 Children's Playground 31 Children's Playground 32

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