National Insurance – a service without excellence

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Its been a while since I’ve written about ‘customer service’ but today its my topic of choice.

Good customer service from many monopolistic agencies in my country is borderline bad. Our government agencies provide necessary services, and sometimes  government contracted services are given to established organizations. In many countries national health care plans are mandatory. You are charged a heath surcharge and /or National Insurance rate, whether you use the services or not.

For many folks the benefits offered are necessary when they become ill, disabled, injured, and retire. Many die before ever making a claim or receiving an ‘entitled benefit.’ Then there are some who advise, “the money will come whenever they are ready to process. You cannot depend on it. It is at the whims and fancy of the people working there.”

I recall chatting with a retiree who was injured on the job and she advised, “the process is, submit claim, and wait. Anytime before a year is a miracle.” she waited two years before her first payment and another year for the continuation to be processed. At fifty-seven she has a few years to go before retirement  and is happy her husband is gainfully employed. If she were single, she would be on the streets.

There is another example shared by a man who worked for a government agency. He fell from a weakened barrier while walking to his office. He submitted his claim and 2 years later he called to enquire if it was processed, ( he was checking every month during that time). He was advised by the clerk that the money was sent to his bank 2 months previously. He asked for a letter indicating the value and period of payment processed, and never received any information in writing. He is awaiting his continuation to be processed.

As I spoke with the gentleman, a wave of sadness washed over me. He looked dejected, and  had tears in his eyes. He then said, “listen, when you submit a claim you are at the mercy of the people working there. They think its a favor being done when they process a claim. Managers are always changing and as files are added they cover yours, they are quick to advise there are many people in front of you. There is no reason to improve if its bad from the top. I accept that they do not like to serve the people they are paid to serve.”  In 2015 this 49 year old man shared his story with me. I l loaned him my blanket while he waited at the doctor’s office. He deserved some kindness if only for a moment.

Why do they suffer in silence? There are many reasons, the main one being a fear of being victimized. A claim can take as long as the clerks and management determine. Files can go missing, and claims are then lost. The statutory time for appeals can also run out. Appeals are also not suggested if a claim is ongoing, because every possible action to frustrate the customer is exercised. This is an added burden on the unfortunate customer.

Throughout the years I’ve heard many stories, and I have experienced this ‘non-service.’ From my observations I think it is a deep cultural problem facing this society.  Having read several reports submitted to parliament over the years it is clear that the issue of providing a good National Insurance ‘Customer Service’ may be a challenge for many years to come.

One of the things I’ve come to realize is that ‘trumpism is not restricted to the USA’, its right here. If you claim you are doing a great job, then you are because you say so. It does not matter if the facts state otherwise. When himself tells himself he is good, he is in his mind. When himself investigates complaints against himself he will always be right. That is a universal culture of a lack of accountability, because those in power believe the public are not entitled to the service expected.

Defeat is never good to accept. Choose your battles wisely. However when it comes to  public expectation for a decent service, I’d give the NIBTT a 2 out of 10, and that’s on a good day. My best advice to anyone having to submit any claims is to pray. If you have never prayed, now is the time to do so. Pray for patience, pray for a pain-free life, but most of all pray for the people who lead. (Maybe try to record all conversations also.) Theirs is a job limited by attitude, poor work ethic and maybe little hope that they can change a service so bad, they simply go with the flow.

On a positive note, it is good to understand the dynamics of the service presented, so expectations can be adjusted to meet reality. An Advocacy Agency is needed for public support and research to help with ensure real change and improvement is possible. Maybe there is hope after all!

Something to think about

Can something this bad improve? Who starts the change process? Do they need to ‘care’ about Customer Satisfaction?

Its much more than image. Its about real customer satisfaction!

Thank you for reading and engaging .

Find me: Twitter https://twitter.com/DLE41 or

email:dwordslayer@gmail.com
Credits: Images — pixabay.com

 

 

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A Job Well Done

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An Everest

I looked up and my heart was filled with pride and at the same time I was in awe. Here I stood beneath the silver ceiling, cool and comfortable, looking at my project. The first big one undertaken some years ago has stood the test of time. There was a lot of movement in the warehouse. The forklifts and people were busy moving in and out. The place was filled with activity and action, and I felt that sense of accomplishment one can only feel when they have climbed an Everest.

Happy customers

What are you prepared to do to ensure your customers are happy, not just for the short term, but for a long time?

As I gazed at the ceiling, someone touched my shoulder. From the moment I entered to the present the workers were coming up and asking when will the other parts of the warehouse be insulated and ventilated. Without words they seemed to understand it was not as simple as it appeared, and were grateful for the relief they experienced daily within the area. Once again I shook hands and held a general conversation, expressing appreciation for their feedback and confidence in the solution.

Ventilation needed – The heat from the past

In 2008, I met with a customer who was referred to me by another. He started the process, and we both lobbied strategically to get a sample part of his warehouse completed. The objective was to win a small battle for the customers and staff, and then expand further. My first hat on that project was that of salesperson. I listened, researched, and did a study on the location and the bureaucracy of our government systems. We worked as a team, the client was quite serious with this project, and its success depended on getting everyone to buy into the solution. One year later, we were still lobbying and my client was replaced suddenly. Politics can be the killer of many sales deals. Undeterred, I continued and two years later, we got the job, and completed the project. There were problems, challenges along the way, but I felt it was important to finish successfully. During the negotiation period every time I visited my body was drenched in sweat from the heat. I could not imagine how staff and customers survived this business environment, but I dreamt that one day, it would be different.

Looking up, I felt the cool breeze from the fan flooding downwards, on this very hot day. Another smile escaped and noted everyone looked cool and comfortable. I am happy and proud. The sample has worked well, and hopefully one day, they will complete based on this example.

Can one feel passionate about a job? Can one feel happy seeing happy customers who belong to another?

On leaving the compound, there were many handshakes, and greetings. The last thing I heard, “when will you get them to fix the rest?

I have made quite a few mistakes as an entrepreneur, a saleswoman, project manager, ventilation consultant, trainer, commercial manager, and leader. I have learnt that the value of your mistakes is in you failure analysis assessment. When you get it wrong, you need to pause just long enough to see what was wrong, and how to make it better, next time. If you cannot acknowledge your errors, you cannot fix and grow.

Customer service is important. Understanding the dynamics of customer satisfaction requires mapping the present situation and mapping alternative solutions based on your industry. Brainstorm cause and effect, and its impact on ALL employees. It is very important to keep internal customers comfortable so they can meet and exceed external customer needs.

Somehow, we got this right, and I learnt a lot from that project, and providing a solution which works.

What has been your best customer solution experience?  Work can be an undiscovered passion if you have not found it yet!

 

Thank you for reading and engaging on this post.

You can also share with me on Facebook and Twitter. I like hearing from you!

DWordslayer 

© Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Engagement – Recurring Decimals & Skateboarding!

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Skateboarding logic

“I am afraid of falling, but I will always take a chance!”(Eversley,2015)

Skateboarders, I think are some crazy interesting people. These guys do not play it safe. Why would you want to skate down stairs or a railing? Let’s take the stairs – its constant small drops, and jerks while on a piece of board or plastic on wheels.

The image says it all. That’s not my son, its another young hero, but Andrew swears its perfection!

These guys know how to fall, and they are actually thinking about what they did wrong while falling. At least my first son Andrew expressed this as we discussed his passion for that extreme sport.

Andrew is also a Liverpool soccer fan  ( we call it football), and he gets a lot of ribbing for supporting a team which does not seem to like to win much – my opinion! He loves the team, and their team spirit, making sure we know their club song “You’ll never walk alone”. He is loyal, and will support that team win, lose or draw!

Recurring decimals  

You need readers of your words like recurring decimals. Readers who can be relied on to regularly check in. How can this be done without engagement? The answer is it can’t. No one will regularly repeat the same action if, there is uncertainty or inconsistency in value. There must be a reason for a reader to choose to read your words consistently, and reciprocation should be consistent also!

The recurring decimal appears when its values are repeated at regular periodic intervals, and only if the portion repeated is not zero. There is no value in coming back, at zero. The value of a recurring decimal is to keep the remainder going.Consistency establishes a reason to keep checking for new activity. 

As consumers we love shopping for things. Whether it’s a pair of shoes or the latest Mercedes Benz, we tend to keep going back, to wherever we got good service and a great product. If you like the service at the coffee shop around the corner, that’s your first choice for coffee. The financial adviser who keeps helping you save and grow your money, you will keep him close because you treasure his service. Recurring decimals are happening, periodically in your life with these great relationships.

When zero happens, infinity stops. The recurring decimal can keep going to infinity, as with a loyal customer.

Skateboarder engagement

Andrew was my personal assistant for five years. On one of our trips he met some folks from Blueprint Skateboards, and Paul Shier a great skateboarder who was partnering with them at the time. Paul gave him a ticket to a premiere they were having for skateboarding. Paul is a regular guy with a huge reputation, and a big heart!  Andrew was getting high on engagement with this network of skateboarders, all strangers with one common interest!

Andrew’s passion helps him create his own opportunities. I see him repeat different actions, as he tries to make his hobby his career. He opened his online store for skateboard supplies locally and keeps trying to make it work. Never giving up, despite the challenges. ( My dreams for an attorney dashed -by a skateboard!)

Recurring decimals & skateboarders

While you may be publishing weekly or daily it is important to engage consistently with your followers / network. Let your interest be about others and their work, while distributing your work. Establish your presence. Read an article, like an article, comment and share. There is much which can be learnt from others,and you will be able to understand their preferences. Your audience has opinions and views they are willing to share. Building a fan base starts here!

Engagement requires willingness to go beyond your comfort zone, to see what the possibilities can be. 

The recurring decimal understands the need to check in with his customer – the numbers, so he can be prepared for the next visit. If he does not keep in touch, when that zero approaches it will be too late.

Blogging requires us to engage periodically with our customers – we are the recurring decimals!

Salespeople must periodically check in as recurring decimals or they will get to the point of zero very fast.

Tips

Engagement can be as rich and as fruitful as you choose to make it.

  • Don’t be afraid to start a conversation
  • Be passionate and loyal
  • Keep in contact consistently like a recurring decimal, to build relationships
  • Get to know your network, your market of readers & writers
  • Share your challenges and successes, everyone likes a shared story
  • Most of all whatever you decide to do, be fearless like the skateboarder – he knows he will fall, but keeps trying for a strong landing!

Jump

The premiere was great Andrew recalls. As he practices his skateboarding, he jumps and the friction created, by his speed and the angle of his feet, causes the board to fly with him – landing strong or falling flat. He gets up, and goes again, his engagement with his audience his goal to his success!

This is the 2nd part of my engagements posts. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did preparing it for you. I relate most things back to my life, and my kids say with exasperation, ” that’s experience taking” when I share!

Can’t get on the skateboard with him yet, maybe someday!

Engage with me and our readers and writers by, liking, commenting and sharing. When we share, it increases the value of the engagement, and helps us & others!

You can also share with me on Facebook and Twitter. I like hearing from you!
DWordslayer

( The amazing picture above is of Paul Rodriguez from Google search – Surf + Skate Rangoe Magazine, rangoe.com 

Artwork: Artistree -andrew.innocent@hotmail.com

© Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Engagement: You Got Game!

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Family Business Travel

My second son Aaron, traveled with me to London for a business meeting a couple years ago. We were travelling with Virgin Atlantic ( best airline!) via Barbados, and I used the opportunity to meet with a major business customer. Aaron, had never been to Barbados, and was quite pleased to meet with the customer, and see  a bit of the island. The sea surrounds everything and he enjoyed lunch over looking the beautiful ocean with our client. It was in his opinion a great place for a business meeting with excellent food!

Aaron, is a Manchester United Soccer fan ( we call it football)  and can also be considered a gamer. He is in a ‘stuffy traditional career’- accountant, and an entrepreneur, as is my elder son. The genesis of this post is actually based on a conversation he was sharing with his brother. I was eavesdropping and enjoyed the experience, though I did jump in at the end!

Gaming requires engagement!

“You are, either a part of a team or on your own, but there is constant engagement.” Aaron’s voice changes when he speaks to his online gaming friends. He tries to slow down his words and adopt sometimes an accent which can be understood based on the country of the player’s origin. In the excitement, there must be control, otherwise the other person will not understand what is being communicated.

Gaming he advised, “helps to train your mind to think strategy, communication and engagement. It helps with focus and consistency.” As he spoke I listened intently. It was always my assumption, he was wasting time on the computer. Stereotyping these online games negatively can be a parental misstep, I now admit.

He also advised, “gaming helps to understand human behavior,” relating an incident when he was part of a team and there was a war. The strongest team kept winning, and another team wanted to join forces with his team to eliminate them in a battle. The team tried to bully his team, advising if they did not accept the invitation to join, they would eliminate them when they got stronger.

Bullying tactics do not work in engagement – Aaron advised his team not to accept the invitation, as their survival would be in jeopardy if that rival team won.  As he explained to his team-mates, “negotiation requires a basis of trust and respect, not coercion and disrespect.” Wise words from this gamer/accountant!

Engagement requires interaction!

Can a ‘like’ or a ‘follow’ be considered interaction? Sharing online indicates that there can possibly be an exchange taking place resulting in a tangible movement towards a benefit for both parties.

If I offer a product for sale, someone can buy it and not use it or remember they have it. Another customer can use the product purchased and advise of satisfying experience by sharing of opinions.

  •  The product is received and exchanged by both persons- like
  • Giving a referral, or recommendation- share

In both cases, a sale is completed, but one increases  in value.

Understanding, why people behave as they do requires listening, observation, and interaction. This is my conclusion based on  my own experiences.

For many people, time is a factor in their level of engagement, and accepting their presence for showing up has a lot of merit. Maybe reading, was cathartic, much needed at the end of a long day, and they simply needed to be with you. Their gratitude for you , you may never know.

  • No words, just your presence- views

The race is against ourselves not the clock. When we make a conscious move to slow down, we can enjoy relationships and communication. This is relevant in our online presence and general  daily living.

  • There is  joy which comes from sharing words and engaging in conversation – comments.

The Soccer Game

Soccer (football) is a contact sport. It is also an engaging sport, which joins strangers seated or standing in a bond of mutual engagement – whatever team they support!

Aaron went to his first Manchester United game in Manchester City, UK  on our business trip. His love for the team inspired a season pass seating, in a great location at the stadium from our customer. He made friends with strangers seated around him, and in the trains on his way back to the hotel. They engaged, and he lived his most memorable experience, through engagement!

This is the first of a series on Engagement and Communication from my experiences and discussions. Collectively I’ve amassed over 30 years  experience in the business of people, sales, marketing, business development and entrepreneurship . I’m hoping my experiences shared will give some practical examples of how much we have in our own back yard. Keep your seat-belt on, as this journey will make you feel something!

Engage with me if you enjoyed this post, and share your feedback with your colleagues and friends. If you disagree with anything I’ve shared, please share and lets have some great discussions!

© Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

R.O.A.R – Capacity to Choose

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“There are no quick fixes in life…if the substance of achieving is learned”(Eversley,2016)

Winning

There are many ways to lose, fail, and give up. There is one way to succeed and win. Decide and choose which path you will take and get a move on it. The challenge is in keeping the mind and body in sync with fulfilling purpose and self-gratification. When a team wins and you’re a part of the team, you win. When you embark on a project alone and you succeed in accomplishing what you set out to do, you win.

There is no ‘I’in team as we learnt in team building exercises. However, there is an ‘I’ in  ‘WIN’ and either in a group or on your own, you must bring that ‘I’ to the table. Doing your part involves getting your adrenaline to rush. It is that inner determination to achieve, which can get the blood pumping and the excitement to pull through.

Through the years I have discovered every-time I get that ‘rush’ I will roar. Winning, in my opinion, means getting into a race with others or myself to compete and complete an action. Thus I need to run, without stopping. The precision of my steps, the hurdles, and the surrounding conditions, only become fuel as I persist towards the finish.

Running on adrenaline rush (ROAR) can only be activated by me, the person. I control what turns that button on. Its a preset trigger, which is activated by emotion – adrenaline.

Without my ‘roar’, I’m still committed, but less determined to win, and simply committed to finish the race.

R.O.A.R

Many years ago, I was given a position in a firm to sell film. The film was not a well known brand locally, and there was a predominance of Kodak in our market. In those days I was all ‘unbridled’ brazen and bold in sales. There was no polish, no subtle actions or emotions but raw passion to jump in and succeed. The director who hired me had this new business unit as his project, and spoke with encouraging humor laced with sarcasm and directness. After, lauding my own praises and abilities, he called me out with my first task. A list of approximately twenty customers they wanted to do business with. This was my customer base to build on. I can still recall that feeling of anticipation as he surrendered his list. He advised, most had not purchased anything significant and a few nothing at all. Then, his punchline was to challenge my ability to execute favorably within a few months. As he spoke, I heard the challenge, and was cocky enough to make a positive remark filled with bravado! My trepidation changed as he flipped my trigger. The adrenaline rushed as I left his office, determined to gain the accounts, and the more valuable praise.

Within three months that list of twenty, became forty customers, and the valuable praise was received. Through the years spent under his leadership, I discovered he understood people, and he understood me. Management is also about releasing capacity to optimize performance. ROAR.

Capacity to Choose

During extreme moments of pressure on the body you can experience an adrenaline rush. When this kicks in, whatever you are doing becomes sensitive to the emotions coming forward. For  many athletes, the rush is built up in the desire, passion and excitement to win the game. When looking at a football match it is easy to see the team which seizes the opportunities with zeal and zest – maximizing on the moment, differentiating themselves. Likewise, the team which feels intimidated or overly confident can drop the ball and lose the opportunities – if their emotional rush is not positively fueled.

The underdog can win when losing is not an option. Winning completes the task. This is where persistence will equal success. The person who hears the noises saying he can’t is the same person who can hear the voices saying, he can. Who and what you will listen to is determined by you.

Running on adrenaline rush (ROAR) is activated by you and your capacity to endure. Get moving, and cross the hurdles, till you win.

This is the third part of a series on Capacity.The first part is  Capacity and the second is Capacity 2: A deeper meaning-Endurance

 

IMG_20160327_155543Thank you for reading and engaging as you roar on your journey!
You can also share with me on Facebook and Twitter. I like hearing from you!
DWordslayer
Artwork: Artistree -andrew.innocent@hotmail.com
© Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Business of Fixing…

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Getting a Light-bulb moment

There are few times I cannot write. This is one of those times.

Words should offer some level of hope. This is my philosophy. This is my way. There are so many negatives and crisis in the air around, adding to it will not differentiate you. Walking in misery will not change your circumstances – it will make the journey harder, and you will miss the momentum of life, and a good fix!

The Personal to fix

For many months one of my doctors has been going through my healing process with me. He has seen me during body spasms of severe pain and has found alternative means of reducing the pain with less medication – heated blanket and a ‘tens unit’. I like the way this doctor thinks. He has referred me to other specialists and continues to believe that one day this journey will end positively. I am severely sensitive to temperature since the accident. I use a winter jacket in a tropical country when I need to enter an air-conditioned room. On evenings if I must go out I use a winter jacket. Some nights when the temperature drops I will use a jacket and a thick blanket to keep my body warm. Warmth is important.

Finally, we understand why. The body speaks when no one wants to listen. It tells us when something is wrong. It is designed to work in harmony. Each vein, ligament, muscle, blood-vessel, bone, cord, nerve, organ work with each other, directly or indirectly. If there is a problem in one area, it will affect the other in some way. My right arm no longer functions at one hundred percent, but my left arm cannot now carry an additional thirty percent burden. The strain on the left side will eventually cause a strain on the shoulder structure. It will weaken if I am not careful. The body must work in harmony, and thus repair is necessary.

The Business to fix

The business environment can be compared to the human body. The operations of the company and its performance depend on all departments working together in harmony for success. Each section is formed with people, policies and practices which are connected to the other departments and should result in an efficient operation. In many organizations business operations can be a complex execution, based on inefficiencies not corrected; and there is a ‘strain’ on the well working sections- picking up slack, to ensure they can produce their own output.

If the accounting department is inefficient, then sales and customer service may have some additional work in establishing confidence in service and the company. If warehousing does not have a system which records accurately the damages and removes such from stock, there is a problem. Reimbursement or write-offs not processed can result in the company experiencing losses on an ongoing basis. If human resources are unable to attract capable human capital to fill vacancies, then someone has to ‘double up’ for an extended period, compromising efficiency in more than one area. If the building maintenance department does not fix leaks, electrical outlets, and change defective furniture then staff is uncomfortable and functioning at optimum will be compromised. The list goes on, and thus ongoing review of each area and the overall inter-connections of operation is needed when ‘the minor things’ are left undone for an extended period.

Business operations need much more than a glossy surface to inspire trust by staff and customers. It’s what’s inside which will show who you really are and what you can do.  For me, investing in good health is important. I’m happy to know what needs fixing, so I can move on with my next business project.

The next time something does not run smoothly at work – have a closer look at where it originates!

Red Blogger picThank you for reading and engaging. Let’s share our thoughts on the business of fixing…

You can also share with me on Facebook and Twitter. I like hearing from you!

DWordslayer

 

Artwork: Artistree -andrew.innocent@hotmail.com

© Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Let’s Talk … Focus

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Keep focused on your objective. Distractions and noise will always be present. Develop a sense of purpose in accomplishing the little things and the bigger ones will become easier!
Focusing is drawn from inner strength and a cool head.
Keep focused to achieve your goals!
© Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.