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Showing posts from January, 2010

Managing Technical Teams

Managing technical staff is becoming more of a challenge daily.  Even more so, when your staff are MORE technical than you are - which to some extent is expected ... you are a manager and responsible for multiple area's of the company, they are specialists and able to focus on their area to the exclusion of everything else.

In most cases technical staff are those who prefer to perform their work with little or no supervision and they often view Managment "oversight" as a hinderance to their - getting the job done.  They also quite often forget that at the other end of the phone line, there is a customer (or customers) that has been impacted and regardless of the fact that they "think" they can resolve the problem, there are timelines and SLAs in place to ensure that issues get escalated.   Now, while "techs" are members of the team that managers depend upon heavily to resolve the problem, it is the managers responsibility to understand the "big p…

The Importance of Training

How do you treat your new starters?  Do they get thrown in at the deep end - after all, they were hired for the skills you need, they should be able to just "pick it up" - right??  How did that go for you?  Were they your high performers?  No, starting to wonder why?

Hard to believe as it might be, companies did this!  They left their new staff alone to "find their feet" and pick things up on their own.  However, fortunately most companies now provide some sort of introductory training or orientation for most of their new employees. The better companies have a dedicated training department that helps to integrate all new employees and following this some sort of mentoring from another more senior employee in a similar role or position.

Now, the initial training - if done correctly - is actually a staged approach.  Generally HR would be responsible for showing the employee around the company, giving a little bit of detail with regards to the kitchen and all the detail…

In the News - Haiti Earthquake

Firstly apologies that this post has nothing to do with Customer Service, Helpdesks or Operations.  Sometimes there is a need to pay attention to what is really important in the world and right now that is the situation in Haiti.  Now for those of my readers out there who think that this post is off topic - I am very sorry ... when I say "really important" its key to remember the reason we do what we do.  Its for our families and to enjoy them.  Work should be a means to an end and not the end in itself.
With thousands of people feared dead or lost, this is unfortunately not the best way for a New Year to start and it brings back echoes of the Tsunami from 2004/05.  In that event, over 200,000 people were killed in Asia and the Far East.  One can only hope that the Haitian earthquake does not have a similar death toll.
Its scary how quickly tragedies of this nature can occur, with little or no warning, and considering how advanced we are as a species and people its even more o…

Work Ethic and Today

A famous quote from Thomas Edison reads - Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.Thomas Edison
Now how often have you been the one to procrastinate or put something off till later?  How often have you not studied for that big test or perhaps not got onto that train because the weather was a little bit bad or you felt a little bit under the weather?
The unfortunate truth is that with the prevalence of modern conveniences that we now have available to us, people have gotten lazy.  It is easy to forget that a requirement for success is dedication and hard work.  This doesn't mean that you stop using the tools available to you ... what it does mean though is that you need to learn how to use them correctly.
Work smarter - not harder ... use your email client to track issues that you need to stay on top off - most clients have a "flag" option and any good email client will actually thread conversations together so that you do n…

The Job Search

OK, unfortunately its that time of year again and you need to get your name out there and start looking for another job.  Now, this might be for any of a variety of reasons and we're really not going to worry about that here.  What we are going to discuss however is some good tools that you can and should be using to ensure that you are promoting yourself correctly and that you are looking in the right places for your new role.
First Question - what do you do now and are you happy?   Sorry I know it seems a little bit redundant, but you need to ask this one as so many people just go from job to job without doing what they enjoy.  Considering you are spending 8+ hours a day there and over 40 hours a week - it really makes sense for you to seriously think this one through.
If you are not happy with your current career - perhaps it is time for a change?  Think about schooling options and time away from the workforce in relation to your bills.  Assuming that you can afford to do it, get …

Found on the Net

Things that make you go hmmm.

Would really suggest you spend some time and read the little story below.  I doubt that its true, however there are definitely elements of it that you should consider for your own life.

An unemployed man goes to apply for a job with Microsoft as a janitor. 

The manager there arranges for him to take an aptitude test (sweeping floors and cleaning).

After the test, the manager says, "You will be employed at minimum wage, $5.15 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address, so that I can send you a form to complete and tell you where to report for work on your first day."

Taken aback, the man protests that he has neither a computer nor an e-mail address.

To this the MS manager replies, "Well, then, that means that you virtually don't exist and can therefore hardly expect to be employed. Stunned, the man leaves.

Not knowing where to turn and having only $10 in his wallet, he decides to buy a 25lb flat of tomatoes at the supermarket. Within …

Reading Material II

Business Book - The 4 Hour Workweek

1. Cautions and Comparisons—How to Burn $1,000,000 a NightWho are the New Rich? They are people who make their money (quite a lot of money) by doing the minimum amount necessary to obtain the maximum effect. They do not work for others—others work for them. Their concern for money is not so much to have a great deal of it, but to have enough to achieve their objectives—objectives that are clearly defined. A blind pursuit of money is not their goal. Being financially rich and having the ability to live like a millionaire are fundamentally two different things.

Creating choices is the objective of the New Rich. This book reveals how the New Rich create choices with the least effort and cost. It is very possible to make a lot of money and NOT work 50 to 70 hours a week for the next 20 years in order to make it.

Read the full review here.

You can buy the book by clicking the links below.

Fiction Book - Rally Cry (A Novel of the Lost Regiment)

The First nov…

What is the hardest thing about running a call center? was recently asked this question in one of the forums that I am active on and its actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer.  Here's what I said to the Questionaire ... if you have a similar question, take a read through the points below but pay special attention to the extra info section.
What is the hardest thing about running a call center?
Well I guess this answer varies depending on if you're running a Customer Service Call Center or if you're running a Help Desk/Support Call Center. However, in either case probably your first challenge would be determining the appropriate KPI's that need to be measured.

You need to know what services are important to your customers and ensure that your teams are in the right place with the right knowledge to provide those answers to your customers to minimize any service disruptions or service impacts.

Then you need to be hiring and sourcing the righ…

What do you do when your Company is constantly having Outages?

Its been a while for me, but there was a period of my life where I was working for a company that was in a constant state of Outage.  They had a mix of services, and over the course of 2 years I was flown across the Country and around the World apologizing for the (lack) of services that my company provided.  While I love travelling and accumulating Air Miles, this was not my ideal of a trip as you can imagine.

So what did I do right and wrong?  Well I got very good at apologizing and grovelling and it helped me write my policy on dealing with Irate Customers.  While not exactly ideal I definitely learned a lot from this experience and I definitely made a positive impact to my companies bottom line.  How?  Well, simply put, the Customers stayed! As you can well imagine, when a business and its service is being impacted by a 3rd party the natural inclination of anyone is to pull the service and move to another vendor.  When SLAs are constantly being missed and month on month, services a…