Posts tagged ‘communicating effectively’

April 18, 2017

Gifts of Leadership

I recently tweeted a link to an article on leadership by Jeff Haden at the Inc.com website. He makes points well worth remembering, so I thought I’d mention it again.

Good reading … in the meantime, I think I’ll finish my taxes. It’s Tax Day!

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June 20, 2014

Life’s Good, Once Again

A couple of weeks ago (see my last post), I was struggling mightily trying to communicate with @LGUS, LG USA. As you might have read, the owners of the tag line “Life’s Good” were making my life so very NOT good. Caught between a communication conflict between LG’s customer support arm and a third-party authorized service center, my frustration was reaching astronomical heights, because my 1-year old LG refrigerator had been dead for almost 2 weeks and there was no clear end in sight.

Well, I’m happier to report that @LGUS did finally come through, after I was able to speak to the right people. They resolved the situation to my satisfaction, allowing me to go out and buy a new refrigerator to replace the LG that died. On a Friday after lunch my wife and I went out to shop, and by 4pm on Saturday a new refrigerator was humming away, cooling itself down. The next day I happily pulled a frosty cold beverage out, and fired up the BBQ to celebrate.

Was the new one an LG, you ask? I’ll give you one guess. But I do appreciate the quick resolution by the folks at LG, once I was able to get connected to the right people. I think I’ll just continue to stick with LG for my consumer electronics, and leave it at that.

I hope life’s good for all of you!

June 3, 2014

Life’s Good? We’ll Have to See…

I’m undergoing a customer experience with LG Electronics, which you might know has as their advertising slogan “Life’s Good”. At the moment, I can definitely say life is NOT good (as it relates to LG), but the final word has not yet been heard.

This surrounds an LG refrigerator I purchased last year. Further disclosure, I have bought other LG products like digital TVs and smartphones, and have been happy with those devices. Until last year, however, I had never thought of trying LG for refrigeration. But the product we bought had the features we wanted without the features we didn’t want, and it fit into the space we were working with.

Almost 13 months from the purchase date, the LG fridge died just before the Memorial Day weekend. The warranty was for 12 months, so you can imagine my first reaction when it happened. Fortunately, LG Customer Service was good enough to extend my warranty for an additional 30 days to cover the repair. And that’s when the ride got bumpy.

Because of the holiday weekend, we couldn’t get anyone in until 3 days later, when the repair guy from the “LG authorized service center” said the compressor was bad. They would have to order it, and it’ll take 3 or 4 days to come in, he said, but they’d try to put a rush on it. We groaned; it was looking like we would be 10 days without a fridge. But, what can you do. Little did we know that 10 days would have been great.

A week later, I called the service center, a local 3rd party company, to check the status of our part. The parts lady told me that it was backordered, and would not be available for shipment until June 17. My reaction to that was much more than a groan, and will not be repeated here. With that schedule, we’d be out of a fridge for almost one month!

But she suggested I call LG directly to try to expedite the part, and that’s when the fun really started.

Yesterday, I collectively spent almost 2 hours on the phone talking to several different LG customer service reps, talking to the parts lady at the local service company, and being on hold for interminable periods of time. The first time, I found myself in the middle of an argument between the LG rep and the parts lady at the service company. The parts lady said she was told by LG the part is backordered and won’t ship until June 17. The LG rep said she was told by LG that the part is in stock and ready to ship.

Both were convinced they were right. Where did that leave me? Extremely frustrated, and still without the prospect of restoring my refrigeration.

When I asked for an LG supervisor, I was given an extension number to ask for help. I tried later in the afternoon, and first had to repeat part of the story (despite LG having notes in my case file), because “I need to tell them why I’m transferring you”. I was transferred, was on hold for 20 minutes listening to the same annoying message, then hung up to try again. Tried again, and when they transferred me, got cut off. Tried again, asked the agent to try getting the extension before transferring me, and she came back and said because no one was answering, she’d “have to let me go”.

What does that mean, she’s firing me as a customer?

Gave it another try, and after a shorter wait, finally got someone in the group I was looking for. This last person, a supervisor, was much nicer and much more responsive, but even she accidentally disconnected me too, leaving me to wonder if this was some kind of conspiracy. (Actually, it just frustrated me all the more.)

Fortunately the supervisor called me back, and we’ve proceeded from there. They’re trying to decide what to do to fix my situation, so I’ll just have to see what they say.

Why am I writing about this? Here’s the main point … throughout all this, I just wanted “to be the customer”. And as an LG customer, I just wanted to know someone cared, to be helped with my problem, and to have my refrigeration restored.

I did not want, or sign up, to learn how LG’s distribution channels communicate, which number their service centers are supposed to call for parts, or what they’re supposed to do before they transfer my call (or cut me off). Nor did I want to listen to the service center tell me that the LG rep “doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” Nor did I sign up to call back repeatedly after being disconnected or left on hold for the black hole. And I certainly did not want almost 2 hours of my day taken up navigating that phone journey. I have enough of my own work to do.

So in your businesses, when you troubleshoot your customers’ problems or issues, just remember that all they want to do is be your customer. They want to know that your products and services bring them satisfaction and even joy, but if they do run into a problem, you’ll be there to help them. And that you won’t bother them will all the details that don’t concern them, and don’t get them any closer to a solution.

As for my situation with LG, I hope there’s a satisfactory ending. At the height of my frustration, I exclaimed to one poor LG rep, “You know what, right now you guys are not LG. You’re LNG — Life’s NOT Good!”

I just want to be the customer … and maybe be able to have a frosty cold beverage waiting for me in the fridge at last.

April 24, 2014

No Guessing

The other day I called a company that is the support group for an online system I have to use as part of a client project. I was referred to a specific person in one department, and when I asked for that person, found that she was on vacation for the week. The woman who answered the phone, however, wanted to be helpful.

“Perhaps I can help you,” she offered. So I started to outline the question that I had, related to what inputs the system was expecting. I had already used the system for a while; I just had a specific question about one type of operation.

The woman on the phone, though she was trying to help, started stumbling through an answer, and ended up telling me something very elementary that wasn’t even the point of my question. As politely as I could, I observed that perhaps this is something on which I needed to speak directly with the other contact who was on vacation. This person’s reply to that:

“Oh, probably. I haven’t been trained on this system yet, anyway.”

Well, then why didn’t she say so from the get-go? Why take a bunch of guesses, make herself look like she didn’t know anything, and waste my time?

No guessing. If you don’t know something you’re asked, just say so, and refer the questioner to someone else, or get back to them when you do know. No one has a problem with that.

December 21, 2013

Keeping Your Cool

You know how work can be sometimes, whether it’s your own business or whether you work for someone else. Once in awhile you just have it up to here. And because you figure it doesn’t happen often, you’re entitled to blow off steam in some loud or nasty way to try to make a point. Or maybe you didn’t even have a point to make.

I have to admit, early in my career while I was still learning, I lost my cool once or twice in a professional setting. Hey, I was young. Subconsciously, I probably thought I’d create more impact by losing my cool. By the second time I did it, I started to realize that the reverse was probably more true. And that’s why I remember those instances after all these years, because I didn’t want to do that again.

Don’t do it. Don’t lose your cool. Even if someone loses their cool with you first. If you lose your cool, you put yourself on a level from which you have to raise yourself afterward. People who lose their cool, contrary to their beliefs, do not get respect. They do get attention, at least temporarily, but they don’t get respect. That’s why you sometimes hear people say, after another person blows up suddenly, that they “lost a lot of respect” for that person.

Be cool! And have a great holiday season…

September 24, 2013

Making the Technology Habit Work for You

Sometimes it seems we’re wedded to our technology toys. Before you know it, it takes away from the productive things you could be doing about your business or your career. However, unlike what some might preach, we can’t just leave our toys either, because there are useful purposes for them.

A recent article on the Fast Company website entitled 4 Ways to Cure Your Technological Distraction Addiction gives 4 tips on how to make technology our friend (enhance productivity) instead of our enemy (create distractions).

So here’s my question for you … do you think we can get people to stop tweeting pictures of their dinner entrees, any time soon?

September 5, 2013

Objection, Your Honor!

In courtroom dramas, we see opposing attorneys object to things, and the judge settles it with a “Sustained” or “Overruled”. In life, it’s not such a convenient situation when someone objects to what we’re saying or proposing, whether it’s in a business or a non-business setting.

This article on the American Management Association website offers tips on how to deal with objections. The author offers 4 steps to keep in mind: clarify, acknowledge, respond, and confirm.

How do you deal with objections?

November 12, 2012

On Hiring “40-Somethings”

A LinkedIn post on Sunday night by a business owner in Belgium created a firestorm of reaction by Monday morning. In her post Why I hesitate to hire forty-somethings, Inge Geerdens put her point across on this delicate subject. As I read it, I could actually see her post being interpreted in one of two ways, either being discriminatory and almost biased, yet also being cautious on how she invests her salary dollars. Or, perhaps, a combination of both.

You read it, and see what you think Geerdens was trying to say. The next day, after she realized the reaction she created, she posted again to explain herself: “I hire on ability, and nothing else.” From the reactions to the more recent post, it’s not clear to me that she was successful in making her point any clearer to them.

With today’s social media technologies, yet another example of how people really must be extra careful of how they express their points of view.