Men's Articles

It Is Nothing Personal But…

Never turn a confrontation into a personal whinge; and avoid manipulative tricks - you may get your way, but only at the price of your professional credibility. An honest statement of feeling, a quiet repetition of your key points and eye contact as a means of getting thorough is the best approach. Remember that you're trying to influence someone's opinion, not please them!

Never Get Personal

Don't say "You're hopeless at deciding what you want" or "You never think of anyone but yourself." No one ever forgives a full-frontal personal attack. Don't argue or wrangle or get drawn into tit-for-tat. In confrontation, as in so much else, softly-softly is always best.

Keep It Positive

Avoid saying "This won't work." Say "This might work better if&" Keep it cooperative too so instead of "You wouldn't do this, do I couldn't do that", what about saying: "We could try this, and see if that works"?

Always Have Work In Mind

Stress your conviction that you should be pulling together for the good of the company. Look to the future, no the past. "Perhaps the way forward is this?" Always end on a positive note such as "I'm glad we had the chance to talk, it will make things a lot easier in future." Be polite. Say "Thank you for you help."

Handled successfully. A confrontation is not just about getting your own way or standing up for yourself, still less about hammering the opposition into the ground. Learning how to confront gives you control over your work situation and, by extension, over yourself.

Mystery Shopping Is Good For Your Business

To improve service standards more effectively, organisations should hire mystery shoppers to evaluate their business from a customer's perspective Unless an organisation proactively makes an effort to understand what goes through the minds of their customers, they will find that they have lost touch with what is important to their customers. Two of the more common ways of "listening to the voice of the customer" are through mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys.

This article shall focus on mystery shopping and the benefits of engaging external mystery shoppers, who are not under the payroll of the organisation - as opposed to in-house staff taking on the same role - to assess the organisation's level of service. In a typical exercise, a mystery shopper is sent into the organisation pretending to be a real customer.

The mystery shopper's role is to test the staff and assess the level of service delivered. Many organisations have an in-house mystery-shopping programme. Although it makes sense financially shoppers conducting mystery shopping only when they are free. For many organisations, mystery shoppers tend to be employees who are "volunteered" by the organisation, which means they may or may not be attuned to what is considered good service.

Furthermore, since these individuals may not be formally trained and, possibly, do no have set guidelines, the findings obtained may vary from one mystery shopper to the other. Even when a framework is put in place with a core group of individuals, there may still be problems. For instance, the same people are likely to conduct mystery-shopping exercises repeatedly. The type of questions asked, the tone of voice, or the familiar faces can give the game away, rendering the mystery-shopping exercise useless. 

The methodology employed by an organisation for mystery shopping tells a lot about its philosophy and commitment towards service excellence. If mystery shopping is viewed as a by-the-way effort, employees will be indifferent when they learn about the mystery shopping results. Instead, it should be positioned as a means for helping staff improve their level of service, recognising star performers and, ultimately, helping to propel the organisation to greater heights.


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