The workplace is the main area in our lives where we don't get to choose who we spend the best part of our adult lives with.
Anyone who's ever been employed by a large organisation will have experienced the best and worst of human beings.
Conflicts and clashes are an inevitable consequence of a competitive environment, individual ambition and strong personalities. It's because of this, that no matter how slick a company's slogan is, or how glossy their staff handbook, their 'personality' - and ultimately their brand and projected reputation - only comes to life through the behaviour of employees.
It's absolutely fine if the predominant group (especially bosses) is giving, faithful or honest, but apocalyptically awful if aggressive, ego-driven or controlling.
Check out where you or your colleagues fit in, in the slideshow below from J. Schuh.
This post is not quite 'Part 2' of my previous post on customer service, but more of a 'wake up call' to address the modern-day challenges of running a business efficiently and keeping abreast of the rapid changes in what customers expect when it comes to responding to their needs.
In today's post, I'm making a return to a favourite topic of mine: customer service.
Short of outright criminality, there are few things that can taint an organisation's reputation as much as rude, uninformed or downright untruthful staff.
I'm tracking an interesting case of customer service that I may share with you soon. It's being played out in real time, so things are still developing.
In the interests of full disclosure, this is on behalf of someone I know, so I apologize to readers in advance for the rare diversion to self-indulgence.
In the meantime, check out the presentation below from PissedConsumer.com
As I've written before, there's no more effective learning than the collective wisdom of people who are at the top of the game talking about what they do.
Today's Slideshare presentation from Datahero on presentation brings together seasoned individuals all with useful (and reputation boosting) advice on communicating with impact.
Social Media can be a weapon of mass distraction...
...and occasionally mass destruction.
Welcome to the social media fail.
Individuals get caught out all the time, but it's companies and institutions that will grab the headlines when they get things wrong.
Unless it has a zero social media use policy (which, these days, is a no-no and brings its own challenges), no organization can totally escape a potential 'fail'.
Stating the blindingly obvious, as human beings, we all make mistakes (yes, even you, perfectionists!)
It's all too easy to post something embarrassing, compromising, untrue or unpleasant online.
Even the police are not exempt.
Whether it's unthinking or unwitting or unconscious, the backlash can be harsh and lead to serious consequences to careers and reputations.
So, what to do, what to do, what to do?
Well, some of the best learning is by example (even bad ones), so take a look at the presentation below from Why Not!
(By the way, my own A-Z of Reputation Management will be coming soon)
Our reputations ultimately rest on what others think about us, and that is heavily influenced partly by what we do and how we do it and what we say and how we say it.
As the cliché goes, "action speaks louder than words", but actions count for little when you're in a face-to-face situation (unless you're having a really weird day...)
When people meet us for the first time, I'd guess that we're mainly judged - rightly or wrongly - on the strength or weakness of how we communicate verbally.
Forget what you've read about the controversial 7%-38%-55% rule; how you say what you say matters.
Read this excellent presentation from James Hurford on how to speak, persuade and communicate more effectively.
The best way to understand how to get the best from social media is to get inside the heads of the people who know how to do it...and do it well.
Socially Sorted asked 19 'visual social media experts' to reveal their secrets and they were very obliging.
Their lessons apply as much to organisations as they do to individuals.
Once upon a time - centuries ago in internet time - the main sources of information were national broadcasters, commercial news organisations and independent news agencies....oh, and government departments.
State propaganda, whether sent out directly or mediated via numerous third parties, was planned, scheduled and 'controlled'.
Ah, the good old days!
Then came the internet...
...and social media.
Now, persuasive, powerful and often poisonous propaganda can come from virtually anyone, anywhere in the world.
These days, the flow, buzz and scope of (dis)information is on an industrial scale.
As my American cousins would say: "it's scary as hell'!
Here's the BBC's take on it:
Banks have received a severe bashing on social media and in the real world in the past few years for all manner of wrongdoing - deservedly so, say millions of savers, investors and regulators.
Given the sheer scale of some of the activities they've admitted to - and for which they have paid billions in fines and restitution - the reputation of the industry as a whole will probably take decades to recover.
I and perhaps the majority of readers of this blog could probably come up with dozens of instances where banks have let us down.
But, what can't be ignored is that not every banker is a fat cat, nor every bank a faceless and uncaring institution.
I'm glad to say that I've seen the friendly face of banking on numerous - well, heard it on the phone, given the move to telephone banking.
A clear example of how banks can connect with customers in a powerful way comes from TD Canada Trust Bank which renamed its ATM machines Automated 'Thanking' Machines.
A brilliant idea, simply, but powerfully executed.
A masterclass in good reputation management.
I thought I'd start off the week with their heartwarming video to hopefully restore your faith in the power of financial institutions to show a human side....if only for the length of time it takes to watch the video.
Maybe other banks around the world could do something similar?
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.