Thursday, 21 June 2018

Is Productivity Predicated by Work Environments?

In 1986, Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple, the child he had birthed. But, undeterred, he acquired a small computer manufacturer named Pixar. In 2000, the growth of the company prompted Jobs to move to a new space. Initially it was decided that there would be 3 separate buildings with separate offices for the key people. But Jobs decided to go with one single building with one huge open space and an atrium in the center.

“The philosophy behind this design is that it’s good to put the most important function at the heart of the building. Well, what’s our most important function? It’s the interaction of our employees. That’s why Steve put a big empty space there. He wanted to create an open area for people to always be talking to each other.” – Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar.

Jobs felt that this environment will be a catalyst for different cultures to work together and collaborate.

Brad Bird, the director of “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” said, “The atrium initially might seem like a waste of space. But Steve realised that when people run into each other when they make eye contact, things happen.”

Some of the key learning that can be derived from the wisdom of Jobs:
  •       Team Building Training – There is tremendous power in teams but it is important to provide conducive environments
  •      LeadershipTraining – It is the responsibility of the leader to ponder, plan and provide the needs of their people
  •         OutboundTraining – Nature is a force to reckon with and when used appropriately, it can enhance productivity significantly

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Effectiveness of Blended Learning - A Case Study

We had a request from a leading consulting company to provide the training needed to enhance the communication skills of their senior management. The potential participants dealt with significant number of overseas customers and their communication skills often interferred with their ability to connect with the customers and close the deal.

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." — Oliver Wendell Holmes

We designed blended learning solutions that spanned a six-month period. This contained 4 different methods;
1.      Evaluation: Evaluations are conducted twice – pre-evaluation at the start of the program and post-evaluation at the closure of the program. This is done sitting face-to-face with the participants. This enables the trainer to have a greater connect and also the trainer to pay attention to the smaller details, like body language.
2.      Group Training Sessions: Group training sessions are conducted twice – once at the start of the program and then at the end of the program. After completion of the pre-evaluation, all participants are brought together for a two-day instructor led group training program in which all the important concepts of communication were presented. The agenda of the entire program (six months) is discussed and the expectations are set.
At the end of the entire program and before the post-evaluation, another group session is conducted where the concepts are reiterated, success stories are shared and their on-going development plans are discussed.
3.      Online Coaching Sessions: Every two weeks the participants have online coaching sessions with the coach. These are individual sessions with a duration of one hour per person. This gives the ability for the coach to give feedback that is specific to each person and provide exercises that address the idiosyncratic issues faced by each participant.
4.      Social Learning: All participants from a group on a social media platform where they exchange experiences of applying the learning in real-time situations, thus enabling them to learn from each other and establish a connect beyond the realm of the formal training and coaching sessions.

The results have been profound! We now conduct this format of blended learning for numerous corporates and for various topics. Clearly this result could not have been achieved if we had only used only one of face-to-face or online sessions.  The impact of blended learning can be significant if we use the approach that is conducive for each topic.

MMM Training Solutions conducts communication skills training, corporate training, soft skills training, cross cultural training and leadership training programs for corporates in India and abroad.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Customer Service – The Dog’s Way

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

Click here to see how KLM, the Dutch Airline, has executed the above quote with elegance by using dogs to return to customers their belongings, like a mobile phone or purse, that they inadvertently left on the flight.

As soon as the passengers deplane, the airline staff check for items left behind. If  they find any items, a trained dog is deployed and he races to the plane. The staff allows the dog to smell the item and then puts it in his holster. He then is seen racing down the terminal following the smell. He goes directly to the passenger and hands the item over, sometimes even before the passenger notices it is missing. The passengers are pleased to get their belongings but they are euphoric about their carrier and they crouch down to demonstrate their gratitude. What an amazing way to connect to their customers!

Creativity has prevailed!

KLM has captured the essense of customer loyalty by demonstrating these three elements of customer service:
1.      Customer Delight: When customer’s recall this experience, they will have a warm feeling in their hearts. This is the feeling that will be evoked when they think of  KLM. This feeling is priceless and will always bring a smile to their face. These emotions are triggered even when this video is watched. Isn’t that what all organisations strive to create in their customers?
2.      Timeliness: No matter how great the flying experience was, if the customer is made to wait a long time to get back one of their belongings, this is what they will remember. By having a dog that uses its sense of smell to locate a customer, it can speed up things and reduce the waiting time.
3.      Brand Recall: The passengers might forget that they had left their mobile phone or keys on KLM but they will always remember how it was returned! This is a story that they will often repeat to others.

In customer service training, we as trainers should always strive to design and conduct our programs in a way that participants can deliver great customer service in a timely fashion, impact brand recall and create customer delight.

MMM Training Solutions conducts soft skills training, executive coaching and leadership training programs for corporates in India and abroad. Our training programs are customised based on the objectives, experience of the target audience and the type of industry. We have been in business since 2005 and some of our clients include Daimler, Standard Chartered Bank, Microsoft, Novartis, Cipla, Deloitte, Caterpillar and many more. Please visit our website to know more about our programs and our trainers.