Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
Newsletter, Summer 2006


Welcome to Clear Thoughts from Uncommon Clarity

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In This Issue
  • Introductory Thoughts
  • Service Thoughts - Poised to Thrill?
  • Process Thoughts - Beads on a String
  • People Thoughts - Energy Sinks and Energizers
  • Parting Thoughts - 'Good' as a Differentiator
  • Your Thoughts

  • Service Thoughts - Poised to Thrill?

    Customers have high expectations these days. They are busy and bothered. While quick to lose patience, they are also eager to be loyal for those exact same reasons! It is easier NOT to go elsewhere. But don't push your luck!

    How can you thrill them with your service? Focus on these:

    1. EASE OF DOING BUSINESS - When a customer contacts you, whether an inquiry, question or complaint, do they receive a valuable response quickly, preferably in the same call? Is every interaction smooth and helpful? If not, they may look elsewhere. Don't assume you make it easy to do business. Shop your own shop. Talk to your customers. Take steps to thrill them with value and responsiveness.
    2. CLEAR, ACCURATE EXPECTATIONS - Do you tell your customers exactly what to expect and then deliver accordingly? It is far better to meet their needs and exceed their expectations, than to set unrealistic expectations and fall short.
    3. QUICK, CARING RESOLUTION - When something goes wrong and a customer is disappointed, the employee on the spot needs to be sincere and caring AND able to resolve the issue to the customer's satisfaction. Anticipate problems, identify reasonable resolutions and then authorize front line employees to act accordingly.

    Let your employees know these are among their most important responsibilities. Talk to them about possible improvements. You absolutely need their commitment and ideas to succeed.

    Process Thoughts - Beads on a String

    Ever heard the advice "touch each piece of paper once?" Nice idea, but not so easily done! Why? Because touching once is an end and not a means.

    The difficulty stems from trying to create order one disjointed task at a time. Most pieces of paper represent one step in a sequence of activities. Your difficulty in dispatching that paper likely stems from the fact you are holding a piece of paper in the middle of an undisciplined and ill-defined sequence. The solution to your dilemma lies in fixing the sequence, particularly finding its beginning, and not in trying to bring order to the single disjointed step, which is almost like trying to rearrange beads on a string without touching the ends.

    Find the sequence by answering these questions:

    • Why is this paper in my hands?
    • What sequence of activities is this a part of?
    • Where does the sequence begin?

    Once you step back and look at the entire sequence from the beginning, you will likely see opportunities to redefine, rearrange and remove unnecessary steps.

    People Thoughts - Energy Sinks and Energizers

    Divide a piece of paper in two. Label one side "Energy Sinks" and the other "Energizers." List things that you faced today or this week that clearly belong in one column or the other.

    The sinks sap energy and often point to activities that would benefit from clarity, better organization, stronger skills or resource adjustments. The latter may include having someone else do a task instead of you!

    The energizers are clues to areas where you are, or could be, providing the most value. These tasks are well matched to your talents.

    If your job responsibilities clearly demand more time spent on draining tasks than on energizing tasks, you are in the wrong job, at least as it is currently structured.

    Parting Thoughts - 'Good' as a Differentiator

    Differentiation is so critical that "good" often seems insufficient. However, think about what you value as a customer and then look at some of the glitz and frippery that is confused with value these days. I think this advice may help you remember to keep it simple and focus on real value:

    "Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough."

    Arthur Freed

    Your Thoughts

    If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about your job, what would it be? We'd love to read your response. Thanks!

    Best regards,
    Ann Latham

    Copyright 2006 Uncommon Clarity, Inc.

    Introductory Thoughts
    Ann Latham

    Convocation, graduation - two speeches, same message: "Embrace the journey." It's not about "getting there" or "being done." Things change, the bar is raised, something new comes along. If you love the journey - the learning, the challenges - you will thrive.

    I forgot this message. I planted a little wildflower meadow where our grass was struggling. I had high expectations. I didn't realize I was choosing a new journey - years of nurturing, tugging at previously reluctant grass, pulling weeds - or is this what we planted?

    Love the journey! Oh, and you might want to pick them wisely too!

    Does your organization need help reducing waste, pain or customer disappointment?

    * Wasted time, money, energy?
    * The pain of confusion and inefficiency?
    * Missed opportunities to win customer loyalty?

    We bring clarity and cohesiveness to people, purpose and process.

    Please contact us for help in achieving your business objectives.

    Visit our website to learn more: www.uncommonclarity.com

    - Ann Latham

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