Distracted from the mission


Companies try their best to serve clients. We all approach the workplace differently. Sometimes those perceptions can get in the way of serving our customers. I believe this happens unknowingly, but it can be brought to light. Here are three syndromes I’ve noticed organizations suffering from that impacted customer service.

1. Shiny new technology syndrome

This is where groups get so fixated on trying to incorporate the newest application, program, or technology trend that it gets in the way. Live broadcasting apps like Periscope are supposed to be the next big thing, right? But does it really fit into the marketing plan? Are your core customers using it? I’ve seen many discussions for and against new platforms. It really comes down to being honest with yourself about how a new technology will benefit your customer or your team that serves the customer. Several years ago I launched a campaign to connect job seekers to services at a career center where I volunteered. I tried to utilize Twitter to spread the word. I thought I was being proactive and modern. Come to find out I was sharing information on a platform that the center’s core market wasn’t using. Lesson learned!

2. Technology adverse syndrome

This occurs when an organization is so adverse to learning or investing in new technology it winds up hindering growth, or creating a situation that needs fixing. Yes, technology is expensive to buy (or lease) and it takes hours of training to get the workforce up to speed. But there comes a point where investing the capital will save your team hours and enable them to add more to the bottom line. An example would be investing in better security for IT systems to help avoid a breach or hack. The United States is one of the last countries to adopt the EMV chip security system on credit cards. We also have the highest rate of data theft. Because many industries did not want to upgrade sooner there have been high profile data thefts which turned out to be very costly for those involved. Investing in technology is part of the cost of doing business.

3. Superhero syndrome (in the workplace)

Do you know someone who seems to volunteer for every project? Everything from creating new Excel tools to grilling the burgers at the company cookout, this person seems to be involved in EVERYTHING! Getting involved and doing new projects can certainly expose you to fresh skills and mentors. But it is easy to stretch yourself to thin. Are tasks and projects getting backed up or bottlenecked? Does the workplace superhero feel the need to take on too much or just really struggle with saying, ‘no’? Know your limits and set boundaries. If saying ‘no’ is hard then figure out why you struggle with turning down work (often a personal thing). Next, find people that are effective at managing multiple priorities and see if they can coach you .

These are three very common distractions that I’ve seen in the workplace that disrupt flow and make it difficult to meet customer needs. A good company serves their customers well and ideally finds ways to remove these barriers. Are there perceptions that need to change in your business? Tell your story in the comments below.

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