Workplace Wisdom

02 Jun 2015

Three Ways to Deal with Employee Downtime

Sometimes a small question is actually about a bigger issue. This was the case when a faithful reader’s recent question got me thinking in two different directions: What could she do about an employee who goes on Facebook during the workday? My reader is a senior executive in a business that’s small enough for her to notice such “bad behavior” herself. I asked her if she ever went on Facebook when she was having lunch, and, learning that she did, […]

17 Mar 2015

How Customer Service Can Neglect Customer Care

When it comes to customer experience, the height of efficiency can take you to a low of satisfaction. Here are two recent personal observations: the first from a small, local eatery during the recent, challenging winter season, and the second from a large restaurant chain that’s new in town. Efficiency Isn’t Everything A nasty winter brings a lot of mess into a storefront. Retailers have to cope with dirty, melted snow getting tracked in, over and over again. Keeping things […]

10 Feb 2015

This Is How Service Efficiency Wins Out Over Customer Comfort

Efficiency and comfort can sometimes be at odds. This divergence is often exacerbated by new technology, particularly in the service industry. Combine the drive for efficiency with technology and customers’ feelings about service providers — and vice versa — and comfort and satisfaction can be lost altogether. The Payment Plan I recently experienced the potential while staying at a lovely hotel in Vancouver. A satisfying lunch at the restaurant in the hotel was followed by a somewhat challenging payment process […]

20 May 2014

There’s a Right Way to Empower Employees Effectively

We often talk about empowerment when we want to indicate that we trust our people to make their own decisions, handle their own work, and do what’s best for the organization. But much too frequently, empowerment is a hollow promise. And remarkably often, it appears not to work at all: bad decisions get made; no decisions get made; micromanagers still micromanage. Consider two examples of the problems that can accompany empowerment in all kinds of organizations, be they large or […]


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