How to Become Indispensable at Work 38

How to Become Indispensable at Work

This post was written and supplied on behalf of Souters, www.microsoft-office-courses.co.uk business and office skills training.

In today’s workforce and job market it’s vital to job security that you make yourself as indispensable as you possibly can at what you do.

Many countries currently have an unsteady economy and unemployment rates are higher than they were 10 years ago. So learning to ‘manage up’ is key in securing your position at your place of work.

What is managing up all about?

Managing up is mostly about going above and beyond what your job description says you should be doing.

Thinking outside the box and actively working to make things easier for those in positions above yours, are important strategies.

A good employee fulfills their job description; a great employee anticipates needs before they become a cause for concern.

It sounds like hard work and it is. But one feature common to indispensable employees is the willingness to do the tough work their co-workers won’t.

Get to know your manager.

For a lot of people dealing with management is mostly about staying out of their way. If you want to be successful in managing up, you need to get to know who you’re working for, figure out what their managing style is all about, and then play up your skills to accommodate and facilitate their needs.

Talking to and getting to know your boss doesn’t have to be a scary thing.

Realize that you are both working toward the same cause and then perhaps you’ll be able to be more comfortable talking to them.

Ask the right questions, know the right answers.

Many employees feel that they aren’t allowed to ask questions of their superiors. They want to punch in, do their assigned tasks, punch out and go home.

If you want to be valued at work, then keep your eyes and ears open. Ask the right questions when the opportunities present themselves.

Maybe you overheard two managers discussing how to correct a potential issue before it actually becomes one. Jump in and ask if you can be of assistance. Make it clear that it would be a pleasure to help out the team.

Or, do some extra legwork and do the research to come up with a plan of action to present them with. You now have a possible answer to a question that wasn’t even asked yet.

Look to increase your skills.

Be eager to learn and ask your boss about training opportunities.

You and your employer will derive many benefits from training related to your job. Inquire whether your company would sponsor you to increase your knowledge of the industry you work in or the role you perform.

If your employer doesn’t want to sponsor you in such an endeavor, consider paying for it yourself. By increasing your skills, you will have greater earning potential and be more employable should you choose or need to move on.

Above all else though, remember to keep a positive attitude and be a team player when needed.

Make sure that the responsibilities in your actual role are always met and don’t let the quality of your work suffer. It’s important to stand out but not to be looked upon as a weak link.

Focus on the task at hand before moving on to managing up and before you know it you will become a valuable asset to both your manager and your company.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 11

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

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Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.