Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable

I have a magic pill to sell you. It will help you make more money, be happier, look thinner, and have better relationships. It’s a revolutionary new pharmaceutical product called Late-No-More. Just one dose every day will allow you to show up on time, greatly enhancing your life and the lives of those around you.
All joking aside, being late is unacceptable. While that sounds harsh, it’s the truth and something that should be said more often. I don’t care if you’re attending a dinner party, a conference call, or a coffee meeting - your punctuality says a lot about you.
Being late bothers me so much that just thinking about it makes me queasy. My being late, which does occasionally happen, usually causes me to break out into a nervous sweat. The later I am, the more it looks like I’ve sprung a leak. Catch me more than 15 minutes late and it looks like I went swimming.
On this issue, I find myself a member of a tiny minority. It seems like most people consider a meeting time or deadline to be merely a mild advisory of something that might happen. I’ve been called uptight and unreasonable, or variations prefaced with expletives. In a world that feels perpetually late, raising the issue of punctuality isn’t a way to win popularity contests and I’m ok with that.
There’s a reason we set meeting times and deadlines. It allows for a coordination of efforts, minimizes time/effort waste, and helps set expectations. Think of how much would get done if everyone just “chilled out” and “went with the flow?” It would be the definition of inefficiency. It’s probably not that hard to imagine, considering just last week I had 13 (yes, I counted) different people blow meeting times, or miss deadlines. It feels like a raging epidemic, seemingly smoothed over by a barrage of “my bads,” “sorry, mans,” and “you know how it goes.” The desired response is “it’s all good,” but the reality is that it’s not okay. Here’s what it is.
As I said earlier, I’m occasionally late. Sometimes a true emergency happens, or an outlier event transpires. When it happens, I try to give a very detailed account of why I was late, apologize profusely, make sure the other person knows that I take it very seriously, and assure them it won’t happen again.
  • Disrespectful: Being on time is about respect. It signals that you value and appreciate the other person. If you don’t respect the meeting’s participants, why are you meeting with them in the first place?
  • Inconsiderate: Unintentionally being late demonstrates an overall lack of consideration for the lives of others. You just don’t care.
  • Big-Timing: Intentionally being late is about power. It’s showing the other person, or people that you’re a “big deal” and have the upper-hand in the relationship. It’s also called being a dick.
  • Incredible: No, not in the good way. When you miss meeting times or deadlines, your credibility takes the trajectory of a lead balloon. If you can’t be counted on to be on time, how could you possibly have credibility around far tougher tasks?
  • Unprofitable: Let’s consider a scenario where five people are holding a meeting at 2 p.m. Your sauntering in ten minutes late just wasted 40 minutes of other peoples’ time. Let’s say the organization bills $200/hour. Are you paying the $133 bill? Someone certainly is.
  • Disorganized: If you can’t keep your calendar, what other parts of your life are teetering on the edge of complete disaster? Being late signals at best that you’re barely hanging on and probably not someone I want to associate with.
  • Overly-Busy: Everyone likes to equate busyness with importance, but the truly successful know that’s BS. Having a perpetually hectic schedule just signals that you can’t prioritize, or say “no,” neither of which is an endearing trait.
  • Flaky: Apparently some people just “flake out,” which seems to mean that they arbitrarily decided not to do the thing they committed to at the very last minute. Seriously? That’s ridiculous.
  • Megalomaniacal: While most grow out of this by the age of eight, some genuinely believe they are the center of the universe. It’s not attractive. Note, this is also called Donald Trump Syndrome. Do you want to be compared to Donald Trump?
  • Paying attention to punctuality is not about being “judgy,” or stressed. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It makes room for the caring, considerate, thoughtful people I want in my life, whether that’s friends or colleagues. Think of how relaxing your life would be if everyone just did what they said they’d do, when they said they’d do it? A good place to start is with yourself and a great motto is something I was taught as a child:
    “5 minutes early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable.” 

    Monday, November 6, 2017

    10 Ways to Deal with Negative Customer Reviews

    Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
    Consumers often rely on the opinions of others when making purchase decisions. According to Zendesk, a customer service software platform, 88 percent have been influenced by an online customer service review when deciding what to buy.
    That is why getting positive online reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List is vital, particularly as pertains to new customer acquisition.
    From a consumer standpoint, negative reviews can adversely impact your business and can drive down your listing on consumer review sites, making it harder to find.
    While no one wants to get negative reviews, they sometimes happen. Here are ten ways to deal with them should they occur.

    1. Respond Promptly

    Promptly responding to negative reviews shows the customer that you care and value their opinion. It may also be the catalyst that results in a person who had a bad experience with your business giving you a second chance.
    Such was the case with Craig Jooste, owner of a Seattle-based painting company, WOW 1 Day Painting.
    Jooste received an unfavorable review on Yelp due to problems that resulted from a Living Social campaign. He responded to the reviewer with an apology and even offered to reimburse the person for the amount paid to Living Social for the voucher.
    A Yelp reviewer changed her review based on the business owner's reponse.
    A Yelp user changed her review based on the business owner’s response.

    As a result, the person revised her review saying, “If a Director of a company can demonstrate that type of responsibility, I’m sure they’d always go out [of] their way to make [it] right with any customers. I’m very happy with the outcome of our resolution and will work with WOW in the future.”

    2. Take the Issue Offline

    Depending on the problem, rather than respond to an adverse review by leaving a public comment, it may be better to reply privately via email or phone. For example, Yelp gives business page owners the opportunity to do so via email. If you resolve the matter to the customer’s satisfaction, leave a brief comment in the public timeline.

    3. Be Polite

    A negative review, particularly one that expresses a strong opinion, such as in the example below, may stimulate emotions that could lead to a sterner response than necessary.
    Strongly worded review from a customer.
    Strongly worded review from a customer.
    Take time to collect your thoughts and respond by saying something like, “Thank you for your valuable feedback. I would cherish the opportunity to speak with you about your experience. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.”
    If, after talking with the person, you find there is merit to his comments, take proactive steps to remedy the situation. When warranted, provide restitution in the form of a coupon or discount.

    4. Request That Defamatory Reviews Be Removed

    Most consumer rating and reviews sites will not allow you to remove reviews. In the case of one that is defamatory or vilifying, request that the site take it down. Typically, you must claim your business listing before making the request.

    5. Monitor your Online Presence

    In order to respond to reviews, you first need to know what customers are saying and where they are saying it.
    Online reputation monitoring tools like Social MentionReputology, or Review Trackers can help. (Social Mention is free to use while the others are affordably-priced to fit small business budgets.)
    Set up Google Alerts for your business name or use a site like TalkWalker, both of which send email alerts. Social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social also have built-in monitoring capabilities.

    6. Understand How Rating and Review Sites Work

    Each consumer rating and review site has a particular way of filtering and ranking reviews.
    Yelp uses an algorithm to recommend reviews its thinks will be the most helpful to the Yelp community based on three factors: quality, reliability, and the reviewer’s activity on the site.
    Tripadvisor, a travel site that provides reviews of travel-related content, ranks businesses based on star ratings.
    Chris Loomis, the owner of American Photo Safari, a sightseeing tour company in New Orleans, said that getting a four-star rating on TripAdvisor (as opposed to a five-star rating) can result in lower rankings.
    “Four-star ratings hurt more than not writing a review at all,” said Loomis. “One four-star review drove my ranking down from fourth to seventh. In a competitive market like New Orleans, that was a harsh penalty.”
    Fortunately for Loomis, most reviews are accompanied by five-star ratings. As a result, his business now ranks fourth out of a list of 455 things to do in the city.
    American Photo Safari ranks fourth out of 455 things to do.
    American Photo Safari ranks fourth out of 455 things to do in New Orleans.
    The best way to get positive reviews, said Loomis, is by providing an excellent standard of service. “Don’t just say that you provide good service, actually do it,” he said.

    7. Take Negative Reviews Seriously

    In most cases, people who leave negative reviews aren’t out to defame you. They merely want to express their opinion about the experience. Take such reviews on their merits, as they may reveal an area of your business that could benefit from improvement.

    8. Encourage Customer Reviews

    To offset the impact of a negative review, encourage customers to leave reviews. However, don’t attempt to influence them by asking that they leave only positive reviews. Yelp ardently discourages such practices.
    Put signs, table toppers, or window stickers in your store or place of business for review sites that you want to promote. Add a note to invoices or receipts asking customers to leave a review. Place badges linking to review sites on your website. These are subtle ways to encourage reviews that may spur the customer to respond.

    9. See the Good in a Bad Review

    Negative reviews can benefit your business. If every review is positive and abounds with four- and five-star ratings, potential customers could become suspicious, feeling that the reviews are “manufactured” rather than being left by real customers. As paradoxical as it sounds, the fact that negative reviews appear can contribute to building trust, rather than diminishing it.

    10. Share Reviews with Your Employees

    Make sure everyone in your company is aware of reviews you’ve received, both positive and negative. Not only will that help to ensure you prevent similar problems in the future, it builds a customer-centric mindset among employees.

    Sunday, November 5, 2017

    Pemikiran Negatif

    Berpikir negatif tidak hanya tertuju ke lingkungan luar, tetapi juga dapat mengenai diri sendiri. Reaksi kita terhadap kejadian apa pun sebenarnya jauh lebih rumit daripada yang terlihat. Memang penginderaan kita mencatat peristiwa tersebut, tetapi kemudian kitalah yang melakukannya sendiri. Masing-masing dari kita akan menafsirkan apa yang terjadi dengan cara kita sendiri. Padahal, seperti kita ketahui, berpikiran positif jauh lebih memberikan manfaat bagi kehidupan kita.

    Pemikiran negatif ini acap kali disebabkan oleh berbagai keyakinan negatif yang sangat memengaruhi pilihan kita dalam berperilaku. Pilihan ini dipengaruhi oleh suasana hati saat ini, sejarah hidup, dan minat kita, maupun berbagai hal lain yang bersaing untuk mendapatkan perhatian kita pada saat tertentu.

    Linda Blair, seorang psikolog klinis, dalam bukunya, Straight Talking (2008), menjelaskan adanya 12 keyakinan negatif yang sering terjadi pada kita. Mengingat terbatasnya ruang menulis, saya memilih tiga buah saja untuk kita pelajari bersama serta bagaimana mengubahnya agar menjadi lebih positif.

    Masalahnya bukan pada saya, melainkan ada di luar sana. 

    Keyakinan seperti ini dikenal sebagai atribusi eksternal atau menyalahkan lingkungan/orang lain karena ketidakbahagiaan Anda sendiri. Misalnya, “Kalau saja dosen mengajar lebih jelas, pasti saya akan mendapat nilai A.” “Jika tadi tidak hujan, pasti saya bisa datang ke rapat penting tepat waktu.” Pemikiran atau sikap seperti ini sama sekali tidak beralasan. Menyalahkan orang lain untuk masalah Anda sendiri tidak hanya membuat tampak seolah-olah tidak ada jalan keluar, tetapi juga akan mengurangi rasa percaya diri Anda.

    Cara Berpikir yang Lebih Positif

    Anda seharusnya tidak berharap untuk mengubah orang lain. Sudut pandang mereka akan berbeda dengan Anda, dan bagaimanapun, mereka tidak akan melihat kesulitan hidup dengan cara yang sama seperti Anda. Setiap perubahan yang Anda buat harus dimulai dari dalam diri, dengan pandangan Anda terhadap kemampuan Anda sendiri, dan interpretasi Anda terhadap apa yang terjadi di sekitar Anda. Ingat bahwa mengambil tanggung jawab tidak sama dengan merasa bersalah. Rasa bersalah menghabiskan energi karena Anda merasa tidak enak dengan masa lalu Anda dan masa lalu tidak dapat diubah. Lebih baik menggunakan energi itu untuk berbuat segala sesuatu agar terjadi sekarang ini.

    Rasa bersalah adalah emosi yang sia-sia. Mengapa menghabiskan waktu dengan merasa tidak enak tentang sesuatu yang sudah terjadi? Kita tidak bisa kembali ke masa lalu dan mengubahnya. Jika kesalahan telah dilakukan, yang penting adalah menerimanya dan menunjukkan tanggung jawab kita. Namun, tidak ada yang bisa diperoleh dengan menghukum diri sendiri. Sebaiknya pikirkan apa yang dapat kita lakukan untuk memperbaiki keadaan sekarang dan memastikan agar hasilnya lebih baik jika situasi yang sama muncul kembali.

    Pemikiran Hitam-Putih

    Kecemasan akan memolarisasi pikiran. Apabila kita terus berada dalam situasi stres dan cemas, kesimpulan kita akan sering berada dalam area “ini atau itu”, “cara baik atau buruk”, “semua atau tidak sama sekali”. Kondisi ini mencerminkan adanya kebutuhan otak untuk menyederhanakan segala sesuatu jika tengah merasakan adanya bahaya. Dalam situasi berbahaya, tidak ada waktu untuk berdebat panjang lebar atau berdiskusi secara matang. Ancaman terhadap tuntutan rasa aman merupakan reaksi langsung. Anda bertanya kepada diri sendiri: “Dapatkah saya melarikan diri atau apakah saya harus tetap tinggal dan berjuang? Saya harus memutuskannya sekarang!” Namun, seperti yang telah kita pelajari, ancaman yang menjaga kecemasan adalah ancaman potensial, bukan ancaman nyata. Diperlukan waktu untuk membuktikan seberapa besar kemungkinan ancaman tersebut. Anda perlu memikirkan dengan hati-hati agar menemukan sejumlah solusi sehingga dapat memilih yang terbaik.

    Cara Berpikir yang Lebih Positif

    Selalu ada lebih dari dua kemungkinan. Ada lebih banyak warna selain hitam dan putih serta gradasinya. Berpikir secara absolut, yaitu seolah-olah hanya ada dua solusi yang mungkin untuk setiap dilema yang terjadi, sangatlah membatasi. Cara yang baik untuk menghentikan kebiasaan ini adalah dengan melakukan permainan “Dan apa lagi?”. Setiap mengakhiri hari, tuliskan dua kejadian saat Anda merasa kecewa atau marah. Tanyakan kepada diri Anda apa yang membuat Anda merasakan hal ini dan tuliskan jawaban Anda. Lalu tanyakan kepada diri sendiri, “Baik, itu adalah suatu kemungkinan. Tetapi, apa lagi yang bisa membuat saya merasa seperti ini?” Terus ajukan pertanyaan ini sampai Anda tidak dapat menemukan kemungkinan lain. Kembangkan khayalan Anda sebanyak mungkin. Kenyataannya, semakin liar spekulasi Anda, semakin akan merangsang dan memperluas pikiran Anda pada kemungkinan yang lebih jauh dan semakin kreatif nantinya.

    Tetapi, Saya Benar-benar “Harus”

    Jika Anda didorong oleh suatu “keharusan” dalam melakukan sesuatu, maka ada suatu bahaya bahwa Anda akan merasa kesal. Resistensi Anda akan menghalangi dan membuat tugas terasa lebih seperti kerja keras daripada kesenangan. Hal ini tidak akan menguntungkan Anda, dan juga orang lain, jadi justru merupakan pemborosan usaha. “Harus” menyiratkan tugas, atau suatu reaksi terhadap tuntutan orang lain, bukan keinginan yang muncul dari hati Anda sendiri. Berhentilah mencoba untuk menyenangkan orangtua, atasan, atau siapa pun karena memiliki kewajiban.

    Cara Berpikir yang Lebih Positif

    “Seharusnya” tidak berarti harus melakukannya. Apabila Anda mengatakan bahwa Anda “seharusnya” melakukan sesuatu, kemungkinan besar Anda akan membicarakan suatu kewajiban dalam menetapkan sejumlah keyakinan, atau suatu kebutuhan untuk menyenangkan orang lain, selain Anda sendiri. Anda jarang melakukan apa pun yang “seharusnya” dilakukan dengan kegembiraan dan antusiasme. Jika di sisi lain Anda senang melakukan sesuatu, atau Anda ingin melakukannya, Anda pasti akan menikmati pengalaman itu. Ini akan lebih terasa seperti pilihan Anda sendiri dan pengalaman itu akan berkontribusi pada rasa kesejahteraan diri Anda secara umum.

    Cara terbaik untuk mengatasi “keharusan” dalam hidup Anda adalah memulai dengan bertanya kepada diri sendiri apa cita-cita Anda atau orang seperti apa yang akan Anda bantu? Apakah ketenteraman semacam itu benar-benar perlu? Jika tidak, rumuskan ulang hal yang mungkin hanya merupakan keinginan dan bebaskan diri dari kewajiban itu.

    Semoga Anda tidak termasuk dalam ketiga ciri di atas sehingga lebih dapat mengembangkan pemikiran yang positif.


    Keeping the customers you have isn't easy—that's why honing your client management skills is important, writes this business expert.

    OCTOBER 30, 2017 
    When it comes to clients, it doesn't matter if you have the most agreeable or the most difficult person in the world, your team should make them happy. In order to do so, they'll want to have these client management skills, which can be applied to many customer interactions.

    1. Release regular updates on your progress to your customers.

    Client management skills include making your customers feel good. One way you can offer your customers confidence is to keep them updated. Consider sending weekly briefs on their projects and what you've been working on. This can help your customers better understand how you're using your time and any challenges you might be facing.
    By creating an atmosphere of transparency, you could eliminate any doubt they have in you and strengthen your relationship.

    2. Give your customers reason to celebrate throughout the process.

    Nothing is better than satisfied customers. With the right client management skills, you could help them feel victorious.
    The key is to keep them in the loop on the small successes. When something goes well in their project, offer specific details of the accomplishment. If the marketing campaign you're leading for them has made 10,000 impressions, give them this information to take home. It could really help boost their morale and satisfaction with you.

    3. Remember: Patience, patience, patience.

    It's likely that you will have at least one client who really pushes your buttons. They may ask you to explain and re-explain aspects of the project until you want to snap, or they may find other ways to make your work more difficult.
    But one of the most important client management skills you can have in these moments is patience. One way to do this is pretend that the customer is a new team member. You will have to teach them the ins and outs of the company and answer their questions. Once they have a more complete understanding of your company's operations, they may be more effective in collaborating with you.

    4. Avoid treating your customers like they're old news.

    The relationship you have with your clients can be very similar to a romantic relationship (hopefully not too similar). There is a honeymoon phase, filled with excitement as you think about how to go above and beyond in making them happy. But soon enough, you fall into routine and deadlines hit. The initial enthusiasm fades.
    It is essential that you don't let this happen. When you become so comfortable that you stop trying to impress your clients, this can provide the perfect opportunity for competitors to steal them away.
    This is when your client management skills kick in. A great skill you can develop is treating every client like a new client. Regularly take a step back and reassess how you can best surpass their expectations and design an exceptional customer experience. This can help breed customer loyalty and hopefully avoid any breakups.

    5. Know your clients' niches.

    A great way to earn your clients' trust and respect is to know their niches. Learn about their respective industries and stay up to date on internal news. Keeping your finger on the pulse is one of the most valuable client management skills.
    If you can do this, your clients can save themselves the effort of constantly having to catch you up. Even better, your customers may become comfortable seeking you out for advice or help.

    6. Practice the old adage, "Honesty is the best policy."

    In business and in life, your word is your worth. A client management skill your entire team should have is honesty. If an unexpected setback arises that prevents you from reaching a deadline, it helps to be transparent with your clients. If you make a mistake, let them know and explain how you'll fix it.
    By giving them reason to trust and respect you, your client relationship could actually become stronger than if you'd hit the deadline.
    Keeping your customers happy is hardly easy. But with these client management skills, your team could increase your business's customer satisfaction. When your clients feel understood, in the loop and accomplished, they may be more likely to maintain loyalty to your company for a long time.

    A Bad Review Is Forever: How to Counter Online Complaints