October 2015
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Joseph's Blog

The best metrics for getting started with employee engagement {Guest Post}

During the last decade or so, human resource management has been essentially flipped on its head. What was once a decidedly employer-centered market has become one driven by the needs and concerns of the employee. Despite still relatively high competition for jobs in a recovering global economy, more and more companies that require a skilled workforce find themselves competing for the people they need to get the job done. As the human capital gurus over at Deloitte so succinctly put it in the company’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report, “Employees are now like customers; companies have to consider them volunteers, not just workers.”

There are a number of factors that have led to this turn of the tides. The sense is that things really began to shift when certain companies (ahem, Google) started turning their unprecedented data collection and analysis capacities inward to gather real, verifiable information on how certain quality of living benefits affected employee productivity and retention. The results told them that happy (even pampered) employees, far from getting spoiled by the good life, worked harder and stuck around longer. Recruiting and training costs went down significantly and productivity went up (and up and up) as their HR departments shifted their focus away from enforcing company policy and toward fostering employee engagement and job satisfaction. The bottom line? They end up spending far less on all those perks than they had been on turnover, plus they’re getting higher quality talent.

Now, of course, everyone knows the score, and more and more companies are looking to get on board. They really have no choice. An increasingly diverse job market means that talented and skilled workers have more options, and sites like, LinkedIn, and even Facebook give them easy access to a whole bank of available positions right along with information from current and former employees on everything from how difficult the interview process is to how well they’ll be taken care of when they retire. Everything is on display for companies these days, and they can choose to either try to put lipstick on a pig (it would be negligent to ignore the oft-quoted statistics released earlier this year in the Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report indicating that less than a third of workers in the United States and only 13% worldwide consider themselves to be engaged in their work, with almost 18% finding themselves “actively disengaged”) or to turn that pig into something else. Something like delicious, enticing bacon. Fortunately, though, this bacon doesn’t require a slaughter.

What it does require is a way to accurately assess how your company measures up in the less tangible areas of company culture, employee happiness, and the much-sought-after employee engagement.

To meet this new challenge, the businesses world has lately been taking another look at some of the time-honored methods companies large and small have long been using to measure and assess the state of their workforce. An infographic published right here on the Findmyshift blog just a couple of months back illustrates recent findings around one of these – the annual review. It has been found severely wanting. A distinct majority of managers and an overwhelming majority of employees find this antiquated process not only ineffective, but acutely unpleasant.

Interestingly, many of the same qualities that make annual reviews so unpopular are shared by another long-standing HR practice, the annual survey.

Like annual reviews, annual surveys are issued with the same questions across a company, blind to the vast differences between the experience – and expectations – of a sales rep at the counter and an accountant at HQ. The information is, by necessity, requested in only the vaguest of terms and the data collected is, as a result, equally vague. Consequently, an annual employee survey provides, at best, a somewhat blurry snapshot of a point in time, almost always interpreted out of context and rarely acted upon before it has become irrelevant. And this assuming that employees are providing thoughtful and truthful responses throughout and not losing interest by question 10, which anecdotal evidence suggests they do. One can turn again to the experts at Deloitte to sum up the state of affairs: “At a time when corporate cultures are being continuously debated, shaped, and redefined on social networks, the once-a-year survey is perilously obsolete.”

If annual surveys don’t work, how do I measure employee engagement?

A good question. And who better to answer than the experts?

Stephen Huerta is the Co-Founder and CEO of Workify, a company created specifically to help organizations solve this problem. His advice? Ask the right questions and ask them more often. Then analyze the data and act on the findings.

That simple, huh? Well, sort of, but not exactly. He breaks it down:

Ask the right questions

The traditional annual survey has something like 40-50 questions, divided into several categories pertaining to things like communication with management, transparency, general job satisfaction, etc. Interestingly, only a small subset of these questions actually elicit a thoughtful response on the part of those being surveyed. The rest tend to get an across the board equivalent of “fine” (7-9), yielding literally zero useful feedback. Take that survey down to only a few questions that actually feel relevant to employees, and you are much more likely to get a truthful, or at least thoughtful, response. Of course, when you only have a few questions, you really want to be sure you ask the right ones. What is becoming apparent is that today’s employees, the ones that are taking over the job market right now (the infamous generation known as “millennials” will make up more than half of the nation’s workforce in the very near future), not only expect to be happy at work, but they expect their company and their managers to create an environment conducive to professional, and in many cases personal, growth. They want to feel like they are participating in something meaningful and part of something grander than just a job.

These are the factors that are going to keep them coming to work at your company and keep them productive once they’re there. Consequently, the questions relevant to maintaining a skilled and productive workforce are the ones that gauge employee engagement, and not just the traditional “job satisfaction”. Engagement is about how connected an employee is to the culture, mission and values of your organization and the degree to which they are enabled and inspired to participate in furthering them. The questions you need to ask, then, will look like: “Do you feel you have ample opportunity to further the mission of this company?” and “Do you feel your skills and capabilities are being fully utilized in your current position?” After all, today’s employees gauge their satisfaction on the degree to which they are moved to engage.

Now, there is nothing like experience to help you determine what kinds of questions you want to ask. Consultant services like Workify and, on a gigantic (and pricey) scale, Gallup and BCG, start their work with helping companies identify, based on data like attrition rates (of both employees and customers) and on a few initial questions issued to employees, what questions are going to get you the actionable data you need. Gallup has narrowed their survey down to 12 standard questions, Workify usually starts with even fewer.

As you have probably surmised, there is a prerequisite to being able to ask these questions. Your company has to have a culture model. Your leadership has to know what that model is and be able to infuse it into the entirety of the workforce. Your workforce, then, has to be inspired by that culture and helped to engage in furthering it. Asking the right questions can help you identify which of these factors might be missing when it becomes clear that something is.

Check in more often

The approach that many companies are taking is to start with one form or another of the pulse survey. These are surveys with no more than 10 questions, but often with just 1 or 2, that every employee is asked to answer on a monthly, or sometimes biweekly, basis. They’re quick, they’re precise, and most importantly, they allow you to get an ongoing rather than a static picture of how your employees are feeling about their employment. That’s right, we said “feeling”. BUT, Huerta points out, you can’t just ask “Do you feel you have ample opportunity to further the mission of this company?” every couple of weeks and expect to glean any useful, actionable data. His company, for example, utilizes cycles to help their clients hone in on the areas that are really in need of improvement. So, the cycle might start with a general question like, “Are you satisfied with opportunities for professional growth at this company?” and, depending on the responses, move in the next round of surveys to “Do you receive the support you need from your managers?” or “Do you find channels of communication within the company to be open and functional?” The second and third rounds of questions, then, help to identify exactly where the pain points might be.


One great and increasingly popular place to start when it comes to measuring engagement is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a score originally devised by Harvard Business Review in 2003 to indicate customer engagement, but easily adapted to measure that of one’s employees. It starts by asking every employee “How likely are you to recommend this company as a place to work?” or some variation thereof. The possible responses, then, are place on a scale from 0-10, 0 suggesting that they would warn people away and 10 that they would tell everyone they know to apply immediately. Answers of 0-6 indicate detractors, 7 and 8 passives, and 9 and 10 promoters (though some include 8 in this last group as well). Once the responses have been gathered, you ENPS can be calculate thusly:

ENPS = (# of promoters – # of detractors) / total # of respondents

The best possible score, of course, is +100, the worst -100. A positive number means you have more promoters than detractors, which is good. Generally, a score greater 50 indicates that you’re doing a pretty good job with company culture. According to Huerta, though, most companies start out in the negative.

This is one of the metrics the Workify uses to help its customers, it is one of two key metrics employed by Solstice, which consistently rates as a great place to work on sites like, and by more and more large and small companies working to create the kind of company culture that will flourish in the new corporate world.

A variation of this method is employed by Wrike, named the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the best places to work in the Bay Area – a region with no small amount of stiff competition.

A variation of this method is employed by Wrike, which was recently named by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the best places to work in the Bay Area – no small feat, given the stiff competition in the region.

“One of our company objectives,” the company’s founder, Andrew Filev, explains, “is ‘Be the best place to work’.” A simple enough metric. But how to measure it? “Because culture is difficult to quantify,” he goes on, “I put a lot of thought into how to measure this. In the end I decided to keep it simple and ask people directly, in a yes or no question: Is Wrike the best company you’ve ever worked at? So my measurable key result is written like this: ‘X% of team should believe that Wrike is the best company they ever worked at.’ This is part of our OKR process (How to Use OKRs for Quarterly and Annual Planning ), so it gets good visibility and solid support through the company.”

How do they gather the answers to this very simple question? Yup. Employee surveys. “For surveys,” Filev says, “we generally try to put strong emphasis on qualitative feedback, not just the numbers, so they are more insightful and actionable.”

How do they find out? Yup. Employee surveys. “For surveys,” Filev says, “we generally try to put strong emphasis on qualitative feedback, not just the numbers, so they are more insightful and actionable.”

Check in via media that employees are eager (or at least willing) to use

Yeah, this means smartphones. However you slice it, today’s employees, and especially tomorrow’s employees, like to do things – as many things as possible – through apps on their phones. Fortunately, these short surveys are perfectly suited for mobile delivery. OK, “fortunately” may not be the right word here. After all, fortune has very little to do with the elegant harmony that exists between mobile platforms and employee engagement metrics. These are technologies that have evolved together. Use them together. If your company doesn’t have the resources to develop an app of its own, find a service that can gather the data on your behalf. It’s become very clear that the modern workforce is much more inclined to answer a couple of questions that pop up as a notification on their phone than to sit down and spend 15-30 minutes answering 100 questions that all sound the same.

Use the data

Now to the real crux of the matter. If you want to see any ROI on your employee engagement program, you’re going to have to use the data you collect. But again, these shorter more frequent surveys help with that as well. The more concise data they gather is much easier to wrangle and analyze. This means that instead of processing employee feedback for six months before you can even begin to consider what problems exist and what steps you might take to rectify them, you can look at it as soon as the cycle ends and take action while it is still relevant to the employees. Not only does this address weaknesses in your company’s culture, it makes it clear to employees that you are committed to creating an environment in which they want to work and are responsive to their needs.

Collect other data

Now, you cannot, Huerta warns, rely only on employee surveys to keep you informed of how your company culture supports employee engagement and productivity. One of the other phenomena he has observed in working with clients, many of whom employ an increasingly “millennial” workforce, is that these folks love giving feedback. This is evidenced by the proliferation of feedback sites like Yelp!, TripAdvisor, and Urbanspoon, and their ilk. Part of any modern employee engagement program, then, should be a lateral avenue for providing feedback, preferably anonymous feedback. Huerta notes that 99% of the feedback submitted to clients through his company’s platform is submitted anonymously when anonymity is an option. Employees, as it turns out, would often rather leave their job than stage a confrontation with management. An anonymous feedback channel provides an alternative.

Additionally, while knowing what your employees think is certainly an essential part of creating an attractive and productive company culture, it is important to collect less subjective data as well. An article in the Harvard Business Review on the subject, for example, suggests monitoring how much time employees spend working outside of normal business hours as an indicator of discretionary effort. J. Schwan, the CEO of Solstice, mentioned above as one of those companies that has met with great success in its efforts to engage employees, also recommends monitoring external metrics. In an article he wrote for LinkedIn, he indicates that they use their rating to keep an eye on how things are going internally. It’s currently 4.6 out of 5 and 90% of those who have reviewed the company on the site would recommend it to a friend, so it seems like strategy seems to be going well.

Get Started Right Now

“Take look at your numbers,” says Huerta. “How are your retention numbers trending what does customer churn look like?” These metrics, which you’re no doubt already gathering, will likely tell you a lot about the state of your employee engagement. “They tend to trend together.”

Take a look at your cultural DNA. Does your leadership know what this is? Do you? What is your company’s vision, what is your mission, what is your purpose?

Then, Huerta says, ask yourself these questions: 1) On a scale of 1-10 how important is culture to your business? (We hope you know the answer to this by now). 2) How important are people to culture and business? (Again, please tell us you know the answer). 3) How often do you look at your financial data? 4) How often are you looking at your engagement data?

If the answer to the last question doesn’t measure up to your answer to the third, it’s probably time to start asking questions of more than just yourself.

This article and infographic originally appeared at findmyshift. It has been reposted with permission.

Listening to the Unstated Need

Customer service is about transactions that fulfill a stated consumer need!  Customer experience delivery, however, is more than fulfilling a transactional need.  Loyalty-building experiences often involve caring for a customer by doing something unexpected.

I can think of no better example of the distinction between service and experience excellence than an example from Capital One.  Kalen Raynor called Capital One for service and began talking to Jocelyn a Capital One business banker.  The customer, Kalen, needed a replacement debit card.

During the telephone transaction arranging for the replacement card, Kalen’s daughter, Kaya, began crying about a charm falling off her Yankee charm bracelet.  Without missing a beat, Jocelyn engaged Kalen in a discussion about Kaya.  At that moment, Jocelyn and Kalen entered a human experience not just a card replacement transaction.

Jocelyn, took the personal connection one step-further.  Kalen received her replacement card promptly (solid service) accompanied by a personal note from Jocelyn with a charm bracelet kit for Kaya.

Kalen shared the story on her blog (free brand advocacy and promotion of Capitol One).  Kalen notes “this was the nicest gesture a stranger has done for me in a really long time. …You put a bright smile on my daughters face today.”

In my world, customer service is about satisfaction….customer experience is about advocacy and smiles!

Automated Call Answering Cuts Costs But Also Cuts Customers {Guest Post}

The size of a customer service department is, of course, directly related to the size of the business it is serving. A small company with only a limited number of customers will not have the same demands as a large one serving millions of people.

For the latter, it can become a costly operation to build and manage a customer service team to deal with thousands of customer calls every single day. Many, in fact, choose to cut corners by installing things like automated call answering instead. This is when customers will initially speak to a robot who encourages you to press numbers to determine the nature of your enquiry and provide you with an answer, or at least redirection to the correct department best equipped to deal with your request.

However, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that cutting corners and cutting costs is likely to also cut into your customer satisfaction in a big way. New research by alldayPA has found that over half of the people polled (55 per cent) would consider moving their custom elsewhere if a business treats their enquiries, complaints or troubleshooting requests with a robot rather than an actual human being. Even more – just over 70 per cent – said they would not choose a company if a human didn’t answer when they were shopping around.

From the one thousand people that were polled for the study, most people said that the automated answering service was at its most irritating when it was being used by professional services such as accountants and solicitors – companies where it is imperative that customers speak to human beings to discuss complex and often lengthy issues. The second most frustrating industry for customers to have to deal with automated machines is the travel businesses (travel agents, airlines, hotels, etc.)

So what should companies be doing? It’s simple, really: get rid of those automated systems and make sure you have actual people on hand to answer your customers queries. Even if they aren’t able to answer the queries immediately, just having a human voice instills a lot of confidence in the customer – 62 per cent of people say they would be happy to get transferred, receive a call-back later on or a reply by e-mail as long as they know their question is in the hands of a real person.

A board executive from alldayPA, David Joseph, explained why not using automated services might be more costly on paper but is far more financially beneficial as a long term solution. He said: “Automated call answering is often used by businesses in an attempt to save money, however such practices can often end up costing money in lost customers and sales.”

Take a look at this infographic for some more stats from AlldayPA.

This article and infographic originally appeared at Customer Service Guru. It has been reposted with permission.

The Cost of Serving Well

It was such a thought-provoking question.  In an interview this week, I was asked, “how much does it cost a business owner to deliver memorable service?”  Earlier in the day, I had read about a police officer in Connecticut, Michael Castillo, who was on a call to break-up a fight at a Target store.  After responding to the call, he noticed two boys in front of the store, one of which was standing near a broken bicycle.  Without hesitation, Officer Castillo swiftly fixed the boy’s bike.  That moment, now gone viral thanks to a passerby capturing it on their smartphone, reflects truly memorable service delivered at minimal cost to the taxpayers of Shelton, Connecticut.

My mother once said, “it doesn’t take any more effort to be nice than it does to be mean.”  Like many of those “momisms”, I am not sure if the words are completely true.  For some angry customers it does in fact take more effort.  But the essence of the sentiment holds strong.  It certainly doesn’t need to cost more to be nice.  I would argue that memorable service occurs when we treat our teams with dignity and respect and when we encourage them to do same. Outstanding service cultures rely on positive storytelling.  Why not share the store of Officer Castillo and ask your team what naturally occurring opportunities they have to take similar actions on behalf of those they serve?

Watch the video: The Cost of Serving Well

How great are you?

Ernie Andrus made his coast-to-coast run across the United States when he was only 90 and he is well on his way to doing it again at age 92!

In 2013 Ernie, a World War II Navy veteran, set out to break a record for the oldest man to run across America.   The prior record holder was a youthful 73 and Ernie, some 17 years older, shattered the record easily.

Now at 92, Ernie is out to get his own record.  With more than 1,500 miles behind him and averaging 6.4 mile a day for the three days a week he runs, Ernie often hears the chant “U.S.A. U.S.A” from children at schools along his route.

Ok, so what does any of this have to do with you or me?  And how does it fit in to a leadership/customer experience blog?  In short, Ernie has vision, passion, and unrelenting hunger for mastery.  He has what many business leaders lack!

I have often said that the biggest risk to success is not competition but complacency.  The fire, the hunger, the need to break one’s own record, fades for many leaders.  As their entrepreneurial spirit dampens and they fear losing what they have created many business owners practice defensive leadership.

So in the spirit of setting what Jim Collins would call a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)…What is your “run across America?”

I started this blog by asking “how are you great?”  Let me finish by asking how will you be even  “greater” tomorrow?

“It’s not what you know but…”

According to the old adage that sentence stem ends with “who you know.”

On stage and in writing lately I have concluded that the old adage doesn’t tell the whole story.  As such I have modified it to say:

“It’s not what you know OR who you know.  It’s what you know ABOUT who you know.”

In essence, I am saying you can have a lot of acquaintances but if you don’t truly get to know people you can’t serve them.

One person I know well, Howard Partridge the CEO of Phenomenal Products, weighed in on my modified phrase and supercharged it.  Howard shares his take:

“It’s not what you know OR who you know. It’s what you know ABOUT who you know, and what they know about you (positioning).”

We could even add Jim Cathcart’s insight to our phrase.

Jim says “it’s who’s glad they know you”.

If that isn’t enough to think about, an internet marketer highlights the importance of perception with this tidbit:

it’s who THINKS they know you”.

Howard and I agree, if you take this one step further in the age of commoditized products and service…

“it’s not not only who knows you, but who LOVES you!”

Put all together, try this on for size:

It’s not what you know or who you know.

It is:

What you know about who you know.

What they know about you.

Who thinks they know you.

Most importantly it is who loves you.

Do I dare ask if you want to make any additions or modifications?

Seeing through the Eyes of Your Customer

Having just finished my new book about Mercedes-Benz and given that I recently spent time with Mercedes-Benz dealers at their annual conference in Las Vegas, I took the liberty of modifying a popular children’s logic puzzle by inserting a Mercedes-Benz E class.  Can you solve this puzzle in 20 seconds?  What parking lot number is under the Mercedes-Benz?

Of course the answer is: ________________

If for some reason that answer isn’t obvious, you must not have turned the puzzle upside down.  Had you done that, the correct answer becomes abundantly clear.

The puzzle, like so many of its kind, requires a simple shift of perspective.  The same type of flip that makes the number 87 pop is esential to achieve sustained success in today’s customer-driven world.  Too often we look at our businesses from our side of the counter and not through the eyes of our customer.  It is through strategies like the “Customer Walk” at Starbucks (baristas take turns during each shift to walk from the parking lot looking at the experience from the customer’s vantage point) that businesses help their people develop a core competency around seeing customer pain points and creating solutions to produce customer delight.  What are you doing to flip perspective and see your business from your customer’s point of view?

Leader of your own Career {Guest Post by Amy Klimek}

The average person will spend over 99,000 hours at work in the course of their lifetime. Knowing that a sizeable portion of your waking life will be spent on the job, it’s important to find something that you enjoy. It’s time to take control of your job and get the results that you want to lead a happy and productive life.

Take stock of your past

They say you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Take some time to reflect on your career up until now, and evaluate your successes and your failures. Think about when you were happiest and most productive in your career, and when you felt uninspired and bored. If you can remember the circumstances around your career journey’s ups and downs, you can use that knowledge to guide your decisions about your future.

Envision your future

Figure out what you want your future to look like. Do you want to dedicate yourself to one organization and steadily rise up the corporate ladder? Are you interested in seeking out new opportunities in a different field? Do you want to earn enough money to enable you to retire early and travel the world? Or do you want to raise a family and have time to spend with them, watching them grow? By understanding how you want your future to shape up, you can make smarter decisions about what type of job will set you up for success.

Avoid negative self-talk

Sometimes, you are your own worst enemy. Negative self-talk can keep you from engaging in exciting opportunities and new chances to grow. We all fall victim to self-doubt from time to time, and it can be hard to silence our inner critic. Don’t limit your list of potential new jobs because you are nervous that you can’t hack it. Instead, remind yourself of your skills and talents. Think back to another time when you successfully completed a project that made you a nervous wreck in the beginning. Also, don’t get discouraged if your job search starts off slow. It can be easy to begin doubting your skills when the frustration of your job search sets in. Call up a supportive friend or former colleague who can adjust your attitude by reminding and reassuring you of your talent. Exude confidence by acknowledging your skills and abilities, and employers will recognize them as well.

Work your contacts

In today’s career market, it’s often more about who you know than what you know. Be sure that the key component of your job search is connecting with your network of friends and former colleagues. They are often the best resources to learn about new jobs and openings that fit your skill set. Don’t be afraid to let your friends know that you are looking for a job; you’d be surprised how helpful they can be in offering solid leads. You can also utilize social media wisely to expand your network through sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Be open to new ideas

Don’t pigeonhole your job search into limited areas or interests. Be open to ideas that you hadn’t thought of before. The unknown doesn’t have to be scary; more often it’s exciting and inspiring. Just because your career has followed a certain path in the past, that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up for your future. Similarly, just because you’ve always lived in a certain part of the country, that doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever. Think about whether you’d be willing to relocate for the right job. If you are open to a change of scenery, you open yourself up to a much wider job market than you ever expected.

Follow these tips for taking control of your job, and you can end up in a position where you truly thrive. Because if you’re going to spend 99,000 hours at work, you might as well enjoy them.


Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at, eBay and US Interactive.

For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Coffee – Sue!

Nothing is stranger than the truth!  In case you missed it, a police officer in North Carolina is suing Starbucks for a spilled cup of FREE coffee.

Let me not make light of the fact that the officer purportedly burned himself when the lid popped off his free cup of Starbucks.  The officer claims that the coffee spill was so stressful that he had a flare-up of Crohn’s disease that ultimately contributed to surgical removal of a portion of his intestine.  His wife is also suing for the loss of intimacy with her husband.

My comments are not about the merits of the case but address why businesses do anything nice for customers when those actions can result in cases like the Starbucks spill.

For me the reason is simple!  Most customers appreciate kindnesses.  Yes, a customer could sue a hotel because the customer choked on the chocolate placed on their pillow but I say,  “give them the chocolate.”

If we treat every customer like they are out to cheat or harm us, we reduce our capacity to have maximum positive impact on the throngs of customers who would welcome the respect and kindness we extend.

Whether you are a business owner who treats employees like incipient thieves or a leader who encourages your people to assume the worst in customers,  I suspect you will attract the outcomes you predict.

I have found it both more gratifying and more productive to assume the best in people and manage those rare exceptions where people let me down than to assume the worst.

For now, I am headed to Starbucks to buy a cup of coffee in support of the way the company has delighted me through the years…

BE PERFECT or BE EXCELLENT: The Art of Getting Real

Sometimes we teach because we have something to share and other times we teach because we have something to learn.  This is one of those cases where I am exploring an issue for myself as much as I am addressing it for you.

How do we balance all the demands necessary to serve the needs of our customers?

For me, this challenge manifests in finding the time to keep a regular dialogue going through blogs.  You, the reader of this blog, represent a part of my service audience, as do my consulting clients, my speaking event customers, my team members, my book readers, and my publisher.  As I have been locked down on deadline writing my upcoming book about the amazing customer experience transformation taking place at Mercedes-Benz USA, I have had little bandwidth to regularly deliver blogs. I have considered having someone else write blogs for me but that always seems like a less than authentic solution.  Of course, the absence of blogs isn’t necessarily a viable alternative.

I imagine you have similar challenges.  How do you triage which customers get which services, given that there are always limits to the viable resources you can bring to your experience delivery?  Is it better to compromise product quality or authenticity in order to bring some product to market or do you step back from product presentation if it isn’t fully resonant with your brand?

If there is a lesson to learn and teach in this writing, it has to be the massive pressure we all face to execute flawlessly in an omni-channel world.  We often get pulled into the belief that we HAVE TO BE on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, have live chat, deliver engaging telephone support, master face-to-face service excellence, be thin, read the classics, know what’s trending…. You get the point…

In my case, I have opted to write blogs when I can (recently, about once a month) until my new book deadline passes in May.  I also will wait on reading the classics and will give myself a break on knowing what’s trending.  I once co-authored an article titled “The Risk of Excellence” in which my colleagues and I offered a core theme which suggested  that in order to be excellent you have to say no to things that will make you mediocre.

Saying NO to things that will make you mediocre — hmm, that’s a lesson I may not be qualified to teach but it is one I know is worthy of learning.  What are your thoughts?