Wednesday, December 30, 2009

When communicating...

INFORM me with useful knowledge infused with wisdom.

ENTERTAIN me to help me pay attention.

PERSUADE me to think or feel something different, because why else should I listen.

INSPIRE me to DO something different!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Can you be replaced by a logic tree?

If you can, it's time to do something different.

Recently, I made a call to a customer service center and was put in contact with a woman in Mumbai, India. She was friendly and helpful as she made her way through a scripted logic tree designed to help me with my product problem. As a former computer service technician, I was intrigued.

Her script had her repeating two phrases over and over.

Each time I described my problem or responded to her questions she said, "I understand."

Her next words were always, "Let me ask you this:..." and then ask me the next question in the logic tree.

This led to an efficient and oddly personable customer service experience. Even though her responses were rote, canned, I really did feel understood. After all, she told me many times that she understood what I said and followed up with a question that demonstrated she DID, in fact, understand.

This woman in Mumbai gave a human touch (and human intuition if needed) to a process that could have been (and probably one day will be) done entirely by a computer. Well, except for that human intuition part. I hope. The woman in Mumbai could have decided at any point that the logic tree wasn't working and tried something else. She was a human safety valve.

Now if you have a job that COULD be handled by a logic tree but is instead handled less efficiently, here is a six step suggestion for you:

1. Design such a tree.
2. Set up an LLC.
3. Contract with a group in Mumbai, India.
4. Sell your new service to your current employer. (Thereby firing yourself and, regrettably, your co-workers.)
5. If your employer won't buy, sell your service to their competitor.
6. Rinse and repeat.

Actually, do steps 2 through 5 first then contract someone in Mumbai to do step 1. Do it fast, before someone in Mumbai or China, or in the cubicle next to you does it first.

Your new job as CEO of Phone Customer Service, LLC should be one that can't, for the moment, be replaced by a logic tree.

OK. I'm joking... sort of.

My point is to do something that isn't routine. Something you love. Something human. Something complex enough to keep you interested. And interesting. Do this something as a career or a sideline or your retirement project.

As Daniel Pink points out in his book, A Whole New Mind, anything that is routine can be outsourced or automated.

Avoid routines. Do Something Different!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Be like Ellen Rohr!

Ellen Rohr did the accounting for her husband's plumbing business. She admits she almost sunk the family business, even though she had a degree in Business Administration.

She found a mentor who taught her how to read and use financial reports. Ellen learned a lot and she and her husband turned the company around. It seems she learned more practical lessons in the school of hard knocks than in college.

After they sold the family business Ellen decided to share all she had learned. As she says, "After all, if a smart, highly educated person like me didn’t know how to read a balance sheet, I figured business illiteracy must be rampant."

Ellen discovered she was right.

Ever since then, Ellen Rohr has been doing her part in keeping our economy strong by teaching entrepreneurs, well, how to make and keep money. Go to her web site and sign up to download her e-book "Where Did the Money Go?"

Ellen is a great source of information and inspiration. Her goal: Worldwide business literacy! She wants you to make more money and have more fun. Couldn't have said it better myself, Ellen. Do something different!