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Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Dec
17

Photo above courtesy of www.ceotoceo.com

Every year about this time, the news “treats us” to the top corporate reputation failures, and 2017 is certainly no exception. I think it’s safe to say that the “buck stopped” on the CEO’s desk at Wells Fargo, United Airlines and Equifax, to name just a few leadership fails this year.

While bad news continues to sell, not all is gloom and doom. When I launched Trust Across America-Trust Around the World almost ten years ago, one of our objectives was to redirect attention to the “good.” Great corporate leaders are plentiful, but their stories often get buried amongst all the bad news.

The list below is not about philanthropy or CSR, but rather a long-term holistic embrace of trustworthy leadership and the resulting impact on ALL stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Ten Great CEO “Trust” Stories for 2017

(not in any rank order)

#1 David Reiling, CEO at Sunrise Banks talks about community enrichment, innovation and its impact on underserved consumers in banking.

#2 Basecamp CEO Jason Fried limits both meetings and work hours to ensure his employees lead well-balanced lives.

#3 Amy Hanson, CEO of Hanson Consulting encourages both teamwork and corporate transparency.

#4 Rose Marcario runs Patagonia and for her, conscious leadership has resulted in the quadrupling of profits.

#5 Fifty-year old Earth Friendly Products CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks pays her employees a minimum of $17.00 per hour.

#6 In an industry fraught with reputation disasters, Gary Kelly at Southwest Airlines not only puts customers first but insists on making flying enjoyable.

#7 Love, trust and commitment to excellence are how Mark Stefanski, CEO (for 30 years) of Third Federal Savings and Loan describes his values, while eighty percent of his associates are women.

#8 Mark Benioff at Salesforce is trying to close the gender and racial pay gap.

#9 Cathy Engelbert, Deloitte’s CEO has a 94% employee approval rating and still manages to balance work and family. (After all, family is certainly a stakeholder in the life of a CEO.)

#10 Chip Bergh, who took the helm at Levi Strauss in 2011, has created a long-term focused culture where employees feel safe to experiment… and it’s worked.

(And BTW: Chip and I share the same (Lafayette College alma mater.)

Whether male or female (count them on this list) trustworthy CEOs know that philanthropy and CSR only go so far in building high trust companies. Trustworthy CEOs practice what we call VIP Leadership (Values, Integrity & Promises kept). The CEOs mentioned on our 2017 list don’t just “talk” about stakeholder trust, they walk it. Community enrichment, focus on employees, conscious leadership, treatment of customers, protecting the environment. These are what make a great CEO.

Let’s celebrate these trustworthy leaders and the companies they run. Let’s work together to continue to build organizational trust in 2018.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

 

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Aug
12

A customer service representative at a major health insurance company recently told me that HIPAA prevented him from disclosing whether an application submitted for one of my children had been received by the company. I sensed he had misinterpreted HIPAA whose purpose is to safeguard medical information, but as he insisted, he was just “following the rules.” I thanked him for his time, hung up, and called back to the same department. The second customer service rep gave me the information I needed without hesitation.

Whether an employee or a customer, I’ll bet you’ve heard these statements (excuses) or used them yourself more than once.

  • I need to get approval to do (or say) that.
  • I need to clear this through compliance.
  • I need permission before you can quote me.
  • I can’t help you without approval.
  • I’m just following the rules.
  • I apologize for your frustration.

Perhaps it’s time for business leaders to take a few minutes to understand the relationship between trust and approval.

Merriam-Webster provides the following definitions of approval:

Definition #1: The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

Definition #2:  Permission to do something: acceptance of an idea, action, plan, etc.

Focusing now on Definition #2, how many employees are constrained by “permission” in your organization? Have you considered how this impacts:

  • Speed of innovation
  • Decision-making
  • Employee engagement
  • Cost

Every time an employee needs approval to say or do something, the “approval” process impedes the outcome. In fact, the process may be so daunting, that employees choose to take the “easy” road, never creating anything new or suggesting a novel idea;  or as in the story above, checking with someone else when they clearly do not understand the company’s daunting “rules.”

As a business leader, have you considered how your customers are impacted by the “approval process” in your organization, or how the company’s actions:

  • Waste customer AND employee time
  • Create hard feelings
  • Lower customer retention
  • Damage reputation and elevate risk
  • Raise costs

As a business leader, what if your focus shifted from “approval” or rule enforcement to elevating stakeholder trust?

The most progressive and successful CEOs and their Boards have redirected their attention to crafting long-term vision and values statements and/or Codes of Conduct, not driven by legal and compliance, but by their two most important stakeholders, their employees and their customers. (The “credo” etched into the wall at corporate headquarters does not even begin to satisfy this requirement.) The entire staff, beginning with the Board and CEO, must vow to live their values every day, and ensure that employees understand that any “values violation” will result in immediate termination. Just imagine the innovation, speed of decision-making and empowerment that would result from this cultural transformation, not to mention the ultimate cost savings and impact on profitability.

During the editing process of our book Trust Inc. I reviewed the websites of many large public companies with the goal of including an Appendix brimming over with examples of well-crafted vision statements. This became a difficult and disappointing task as the handful identified could not be included in the book without “approval” from the respective company’s legal department, which would have meant a lengthy delay of the book’s publication. Instead, I created a “work around” by eliminating the company name. What a lost opportunity for all!

If organizations spent more time building values instead of layers of legal teams and compliance departments, the word “approval” would start to look more like Merriam-Webster’s first definition:

The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

And “approval” would be replaced with trust.

The most progressive business leaders have joined our Trust Alliance to ensure that they never miss an opportunity to learn about elevating organizational trust.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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