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114 Key Principles for Success

Principle 7 - Do the Opposite

"Great Customer Service can be learned by identifying bad customer service and doing the opposite" Al Berg
"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." Jerry Seinfeld
Many Key Principles for Success can be learned, by looking for bad service, things that make you angry, rude people, and doing the opposite. Here are a few ideas I came up with by doing the opposite.

First, it's important to know who your customers are. A customer is anyone who uses your skills or knowledge to help them. It could be a boss, direct report, user, coworker, or a real paying customer.

One day, I had a problem with my computer. I reported it to tech support. The guy tried the same function on his machine and said, "It works on my machine." This response angered me and made me think to never say this to a user (ie customer). It will just piss them off as it did to me. This is the key. If something a supplier does makes you angry, don't ever do that to one of your customers. Doing the opposite is never saying those words.

I use many computer systems and some of them are so frustrating to use I could poke my eyes out with bike spokes and it would be more enjoyable. Identify and reduce their frustration of using your system by noticing what drove you crazy and doing the opposite. Some things to fix:
  • Software too slow
  • Can't do something you expect
  • Can't find a function that's hidden in three layers of menus
  • Can't find a function that you must hover to see it
  • Can't tell that something's a button until you hover
  • Having too much documentation and training to go through just to start using the product
  • Doesn't allow you to ________
  • Has bad or vague error messages
  • Force you to click too many buttons? Are you sure?
  • Are you on hold without an indication of how long it will be?
  • Does the customer service rep ask "What's the problem?" and you just typed in the problem to them
  • Do they ask for any information you just gave them?

I also hate sending an email to someone and don't get a reply. Did they get the email? Are they busy? Should I follow up? Reply to emails ASAP. Tell the sender you received the email. Tell customers when you'll get to their request if you can't reply right away:
  • I'm working on it now
  • I'll work on it tomorrow
  • I'm busy on project X, I'll work on it if all goes right in two hours

Estimate when you'll be done.
"I'll get it to you in about an hour."
If something comes up, let the customer know as soon as possible.
"Something came up from _____, I'll have to put this off until tomorrow."
If you're not sure, tell them when you can give an estimate. If you don't know you can say that,
"at this point, there are too many variables to give an accurate estimate."
You could also give a range
"one hour to two weeks."
Just to be on the safe side when it comes to estimating always include
"If nothing unexpected comes up."
after you give the estimate. This is important because even though it's assumed, the customer can't say,
"You said you'd have it in two hours."

Use screen sharing software to help diagnose problems on others computers. In a work environment, this could be Microsoft Communicator, Skype, or other software.

Record the session and send it to the client (Cam Studio) after getting permission. Post the session so that others can learn from it. can be used to view their computer. Be very careful when giving a person remote access to your computer. Instead, give them read-only access and you do what they say.

Be on the alert for these bad interactions that will by doing the opposite give you great success.

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