Lessons Learned from Doing Stand-Up Comedy

In August, I decided I wanted to add more humor to my content-rich presentations. I can be funny among friends, but I was having trouble finding humor for my keynotes and trainings.

I researched nearby stand-up comedy classes starting around Oct. 1. However, my friend Jeanne Robertson encouraged me to enter a video for her annual comedy competition — with a Sept. 9 deadline. Not being a professional humorist, I had only one five-year-old video of my doing a funny bit in front of about 30 friends. I had no illusions of ever winning, but thought, “What the heck.”

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Innovation to Help Engineers Get Closer to Customers

As a consumer, you may commonly hear yourself express your frustration with software, a website or an app. “What were they thinking?” you may ask when something doesn’t work as you think it should.

Some companies involve customers during the design phase, holding focus groups, talking to end users, or watching how customers use a product during beta testing. But few (in my experience), make a concerted effort to increase the designers’ understanding of current customers’ issues. SurveyMonkey has taken this approach as part of their customer-centric philosophy.

In a recent discussion, Jill Sonderby, SurveyMonkey’s Senior Program Manager, Talent Development, shared two programs that help engineers — as well as anyone in the company — have a greater connection to their customers’ experience.

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New project case studies available

We’ve just updated our project success samples/case studies to include some recent engagements. See if any of these might offer some new ideas for your challenges. Leadership/Management Increase senior managers’ leadership skills Develop management and leadership skills in technical leads/supervisors Enhance management/leadership skills through year-long Management Academy Encourage industry executives to share best practices Sales/Customer Experience … Read more

Do you know how you stack up against the competition?

www.SevillebyPepe.comOn a recent visit to Seville, my group of 4 friends engaged Pepe Muñoz (www.SevillebyPepe.com) to show us around on bikes and take us on a tapas tour. Pepe exceeded our expectations — we loved his humor, his insights, his perspective of life and his great English — so we hired him to take us to Alhambra, the famous castle 3 hours away. Then we asked him to take us to the airport the next day.

At our next stop, Lisbon, we also hired a private local guide, Joanne, based on the recommendation of our hotel. While Joanne was friendly and spoke good English, she wasn’t much of a guide. In retrospect, she was a local driver with a tiny bit of knowledge on the sites she took us to.

I outlined for Pepe how his services stacked up to Joanne’s so he’d know what stood out. I do this for clients, shopping their services as well as the competition, to know where they shine and how they could improve. Have you done this lately? If not, maybe you’re like Joanne, not knowing you’re missing out on referrals and repeat customers. If so, I’m happy to help you.

I thought you would like to see the comparison of Pepe and Joanne in the hopes there might be something you can extract to apply to your own business.

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Do you want to improve customer sat scores?

A manager of a large company contacted me because they wanted help increasing their customer satisfaction scores. Their bonuses were based on the customer sat scores and they’d missed getting one the year just ended. They wanted a longer-term solution than a short seminar. I suggested the Managers Discussion Guide Program, since it’s a monthly … Read more

Are you making it difficult to do business with you?

IMG_0926Rarely do businesses look at their processes with a fresh pair of eyes — a new customer’s eyes.

For example, I’m sure this city’s leaders and the downtown merchant association thought the answer to scarce parking was a 3-story garage. The merchants probably saw an increase in business for awhile, especially among locals.

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Manager unclear on concept of “customer experience”

I was engaged to help a team increase their customer responsiveness when I heard this tale which happened soon after I took the assignment. The manager of the customer first contact area decided to close that area for 2 hours to have a 1-hour meeting with staff to discuss ways to improve service. During one meeting another staffer knocked at the conference room door. “Hey, there are a lot of customers waiting for service. Can a few of you come out and help?”

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