Friday, May 21, 2010

How can the ATM impact your business?

You may or may not have heard that an important inventor died recently. While this passing did not make news around the world, this inventor’s innovation made a world-wide impact and transformed the entire banking industry. The inventor was John Shepherd-Barron from Scotland, and his invention was the automated teller machine (ATM). During the 1960’s, Shepherd-Barron created the ATM because he was frustrated that he could not cash a check when his bank was closed. Today, there are more than 1.7 million ATM’s worldwide, according to the ATM Industry Association.

Think back to the pre-ATM world. In order to get cash, people had to walk into banks and wait in line – not out of choice, but out of necessity. There were no machines at supermarkets, airports, sporting events, or movie theater lobbies. In order to cash checks, make deposits, and change currency denominations, face-to-face interactions were necessary inside a bank.

But, today, thanks to Shepherd-Barron, the ATM has transformed the entire banking experience. Simple tasks, such as, deposits, withdrawals, and even postage stamp purchases, can all be completed in a matter of seconds at external bank ATM’s, stand-alone ATM’s scattered at a myriad of locations from gas stations to shopping malls to airports, etc., or while seated in your car at drive-thru ATM’s.

There is no doubt that many in the banking industry were not as exuberant about the invention of the ATM as customers were. But today, there are still customers in banks, and there are still “live” tellers. While some may have predicted the death of banking, the ATM has become an important aspect of the overall banking experience.

Now, consider your company and your industry. How can you create a product or service with the potential to transform your industry? Despite naysayers, there are always improvements that have yet to be developed, and customers are always eager to embrace improvements. So, at your next brainstorming session, think about the ATM, and maybe, your company will introduce this century’s greatest invention.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Top 10 Resources for Teamwork and Organizational Behavior

Teamwork – everyone talks about, but how many people genuinely embrace it? How many times has a supervisor said “there is no I in teamwork” but you would have preferred to work on a project on your own? You don’t have to answer. The simple truth is that the creation of effective teams is one of the hardest jobs a leader has. And, more often than not, leaders are unsuccessful in this area, which is the reason that many management/C-level executives change companies so often. Here are some resources to assist with team-building at all levels within a business (small, mid-sized, or large) in any segment (B2B, B2C, or non-profit), which will also improve organizational behavior and corporate culture.

X-Teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate and Succeed
By Deborah Ancona and Henrik Bresman
c. 2007

Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers and Facilitators
By Patrick Lencioni
c. 2005

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants
By John C. Maxwell
c. 2002

Teamwork 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know
By John C. Maxwell
c. 2008

How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers and Project Teams
By Charles J. Pellerin
c. 2009

Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results
By Geoffrey M. Bellman and Kathleen D. Ryan
c. 2009

Results Without Authority: Controlling a Project When the Team Doesn’t Report to You – A Project Manager’s Guide
By Tom Kendrick, PMP
c. 2006

Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships
By James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet
c. 2005

Organizational Behavior
By John R. Schermerhorn, Jr., Dr. James G. Hunt, and Dr. Richard N. Osborn
c. 2008

Organizational Behavior: A Strategic Approach
By Michael A. Hitt, C. Chet Miller, and Adrienne Colella
c. 2005

Lastly, in the words of H.E. Luccock: “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.”

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Customer Service Geniuses – How Do They Do It, and Can You?

When someone talks about customer service, do you roll your eyes? Or, do you happily recall an experience with a company that transcended all of your expectations? Did you have a delicious meal where waiters constantly refilled your beverage glasses without interrupting your conversation? Did you ever lease or buy a car as a result of a helpful salesman? Or, by contrast, did you ever stay at home for ten hours waiting for a TV repair person who never showed up? The truth is, many companies state in their collateral and on their websites that they provide “quality customer service,” but sadly, many fall short because they don’t understand how valuable this competitive advantage is and how it creates loyal customers for the long-term.

Here are some great books to help your company develop excellent customer service – so that you can add quality customer service to your list of competitive advantages.

The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience That Turns Satisfied Customers into Customer Evangelists
By Shep Hyken
c. 2009

The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience, Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
By Joseph A. Michelli
c. 2008

Lexus: the Relentless Pursuit
By Chester Dawson
c. 2004

How Dell Does It – Using Speed and Innovation to Achieve Extraordinary Results
By Steven Holzner
c. 2005

The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture and Coolness
By Steven Levy
c. 2007

Blue Streak: Inside jetBlue, the Upstart that Rocked an Industry
By Barbara S. Peterson
c. 2006

The Southwest Airlines Way – Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance
By Jody Hoffer Gittell
c. 2005

The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary
By Joseph A. Michelli
c. 2006

The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook for Implementing Great Service in Your Organization
By Robert Spector
c. 2005

The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney
By J. Jeff Kober
c. 2009

Ben & Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop: How Two Real Guys Built a Business with a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor
By Fred Lager
c. 1995

And, for some amusing final thoughts:

What to Say to a Porcupine – 20 Humorous Tales That Get to the Heart of Great Customer Service
By Richard S. Gallagher
c. 2008