Archive for August, 2014

 

Make Great Service a Way of Life

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

These days a lot of time is spent focusing on delivering outstanding service to our customers. But why do we only direct it to our customers? It seems that we are so wrapped up in providing the ultimate customer experience that general courtesy sometimes falls by the wayside.

Have you ever noticed how a salesperson’s attitude changes when they realise the person they’re talking to isn't a customer of theirs? I have been on the receiving end of such an attitude, it’s not pleasant being dismissed as not important and having no value.

Operating in such a way, ie being nice to customers but having no time for those who are considered as non-customers brings the organisation’s integrity to question. It only takes one bad egg to ruin the cake!

Showing respect and being courteous to everyone regardless of who they are builds great relationships. It brings a mutual respect, which is wonderful to receive and of course in the long term will be brilliant for business.

People that have the ability to provide great service often have excellent people skills. By building some new habits in to your everyday life, your people skills can be improved and therefore you will naturally enhance your service skills.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Smile. Look in the mirror – notice how your face changes when you smile. Wear a smile when you talk to people even if you are talking on the telephone, a smile can be heard in your voice. You’ll find people will respond to you in a friendly way.

2. Knowing what to say. Keep an eye on your vocabulary. Avoid the use of negative phrases. Apply consideration, diplomacy and tact to your conversations. Of course you cannot help everyone but there are positive ways to say that.

3. Give thanks. Be mindful of saying thank you and show appreciation.

4. Put others first, shift your focus on what you can give others rather than thinking about what you can take from them.

5. Be empathetic. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, share their feelings and then find a way to help them.

Have fun!

A Student's Point of View

Friday, August 8th, 2014

This week I have had the wonderful opportunity to experience working at Telcare Ltd, which was organised through my school and the MEBP (Medway Education Business Partnerships) program. As I was on my way to my first day at work I had no idea what was in store for me and naturally I was quite nervous but when I arrived, that all changed.

I was greeted on my first day by my supervisor, Lisa Settle who was very polite and introduced me to everyone around the office, which comprised of a total of 12 people, unfortunately not everyone was there due to holidays. However everyone I did get to meet turned out to be very welcoming, polite and enjoyable to talk to, making it much easier for me to get on with my tasks and not be nervous if I had a question.

The first tasks I had included making a twitter schedule for future tweets and researching articles for it. This made me feel more empowered as I was trusted with the responsibility to work on my own. I was also given the opportunity to learn about the fault logging system and how to enter new logs using the company's database as well as being given an idea of how remote programming is done and was shown how they diagnose system problems.

As I progressed further through the week I was able to get to grips with their ‘Sage’ software which is used for their accounting, being kindly guided by Bekki along the way. On my second day I was introduced to a simple IP phone and was given the chance to update the software and program the extension numbers for around 7 of them, this sounds simple but each phone took 15 minutes!

I also got to learn about the various marketing techniques used by Telcare such as social media, sponsorships & awards and exhibitions. I then learned how important CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) was for a business and how it could be used to build links with the community.

Everyone continued to be friendly as I became more integrated and friendlier with the staff, more laughter, funny stories and interesting topics were discussed. Learning how everything worked was fascinating and a lot more complicated than I had thought. On day three I spent the most part of the morning with Lisa who helped me organise and prepare a plan for my C.V. As the afternoon progressed I spent the latter half of the day helping David with log entries and site plans for a couple companies they had visited. I also managed to squeeze in some help with another colleague, Jamie, setting up a little more advanced IP phone which was both interesting and enjoyable.

On the penultimate day, I had a really nice time. Thursday was my birthday and being the really kind people they are, I was given some mini cupcakes and a card signed by everyone in the office which really helped make my day. For the most part of the day I was busy writing up and going through my C.V. with Lisa who was very helpful in cutting it down, phrasing it right and just generally checking for mistakes and grammatical issues. I found this extremely useful as having someone available to do these things with you helps you see where you went wrong.

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Telcare. The people and the atmosphere were really comforting and everybody there was perfectly willing to help with any issues I was having and had no problems answering questions, no matter how trivial they may have been. I was given the opportunity to develop my team working skills, communications skills as well as being able to strengthen my own ability to work independently. I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone at Telcare, especially Lisa for giving me the opportunity to work here and I highly recommend for any student looking for work experience to come here, I gladly would for another week or even longer!

Work Related Learning - Why Get Involved?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Getting involved in work related learning programmes can be time consuming but when you consider that we are handing over our business knowledge to the next generation then surely that’s time well spent.

Over the years we have participated in schemes providing mock interviews and CV assistance, enterprise weeks & competitions, mentoring, careers fairs and work experience placements. The involvement not only equips the students for a smooth transition into the workplace but provides many benefits for small businesses.

Here are 4 good reasons to get involved.

• Building Links with the Community
Becoming involved with the community keeps you up to date with local issues and gives you an opportunity to have your say. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people. By offering reliable and consistent support to organisations that rely upon volunteers, places your company in a trusted position. Demonstrating that Corporate Social Responsibility is at the heart of your business is great for your reputation and sends a positive message to staff.

• Recruitment
Meeting and mentoring students on a regular basis provides an insight of the abilities emerging from schools, colleges and universities. Having access to the raw talent often highlights key skills that are a perfect match for your organisation and makes for easy recruitment. Work experience is undoubtedly an advantage in the recruitment process. Preparing the next generation with ideas of what an employer is looking for is beneficial to both employer and employee.

• Training
When a mentor is training a student, he is also learning. Taking part in work related learning schemes can help with your personal development and that of your employees. Staff members are often keen to take part and are motivated by the thought of passing on their knowledge. Work related learning provides on the job training in real situations for the trainer and trainee and a major benefit is that it’s free!

• Marketing
Involvement within the community provides a source of news worthy content which is useful for your newsletters, blogs and social media strategies. In fact, if we’re lucky our current work experience student may just present us with a blog at the end of the week. Watch this space!