Spring into action!

It’s nearly the end of March 2014 and the clocks spring forward an hour this weekend. It’s time for longer and brighter days as the season progresses. However, depending on where you are in the world, it may not be Springtime even though it is March. Just now it’s Springtime in UK and Autumn in Australia. “Spring” refers to the season as well as to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal and re-growth.

However “spring” is also a verb. It’s a DOING word – an ACTION word!

It means to rise, leap, move or act suddenly and swiftly as if something has been constrained and has now been released.

If you want to see wonderful things happening in your life you need to take action and the best way to do that is to “spring” into action. Get up and do something about it!

spring into action

Don’t put off til tomorrow what you can do today because before you know it others around you will have sprung & you’ll still be where you are now.

So, why have you not just shot up out of your chair and started DOING things? Often we hold ourselves back through fear or laziness (because we gave up facing fear!).

• What constraints do you have on your life and who is putting them there?
• How do these problems or constraints impact your overall quality of life?
• Which of your dreams are falling by the wayside?
• What would happen if you took no action?
• What would be the cost to you or those around you?

Addressing these issues should help you take those first little steps to prepare yourself to leap forward with faith! Faith in yourself that you can rise up to meet the challenges; faith you can act swiftly with a belief in what you are doing and where you are going.
Take action – don’t let fear or excuses hold you back.
When you start looking after YOU and start taking action to make your dreams come true, you’ll soon notice that Spring really is a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, re-growth and rejoicing!
So break away from those constraints and spring into action today!



Living a wonderful life

Why can’t I have a wonderful life? Of course, you can! It just depends on how you FEEL about your life and what you DO to HAVE a wonderful life!

That’s it! You don’t need to read any more; you’ve found the answer! However, just in case you have hit a little stumbling block and aren’t really sure, let me tell you a secret.

Taking action is part of the formulae of living a fulfilling life – BE – DO – HAVE

Grab a massive sheet of paper and a pack of coloured pens. If you have a spare roll of wallpaper, even better! You can make your sheet of paper at least 2 metres long! Now choose the brightest coloured pens and write down all those positive feelings you want to have and as you write them focus on the energy they provide. Make those words absolutely MAHOOSIVE!! We don’t want little, scrunched-up words that are hiding away in the bottom corner! If you haven’t been feeling these positive thoughts for a while they HAVE to jump out at you. Big & bold!!

Here are some that may grab your attention but it’s up to YOU. Write down as many words as you want: happy, confident, daring, strong, brave, interested, interesting, alive, kind, content, thrilled, wonderful, thankful, joyful, loving, loved, comfortable, secure, passionate, optimistic, enthusiastic, free, dynamic & thankful.

Don’t forget about the way in which you write those words. They have to be BIG & BOLD!

Go ahead! Create the wonderful life you want & deserve!

Go ahead! Create the wonderful life you want & deserve!

Many people find that once they start their list that they know many more. Why not fill the whole page? When finished, step back from your masterpiece and circle three words that are the most important to you – draw a picture, symbol or write a few words that says what you will do to make you feel that way.

Make a promise to yourself today! Lead your life the way that you want to. Sure, there may be influencing factors that take you in one direction or another but the next time you find yourself choosing what direction to take, firstly consider how you want to feel.

Let’s think through an example: Emily lives in a small flat with her two flatmates. She has completed her list and she draws some flowers next to the word “wonderful”. She doesn’t have a garden, one of her roommates has a severe pollen allergy and after failed attempts to grow watercress – the first batch went yellow & the second only grew by about 3 cm – she has given up gardening for good. However Emily connects flowers with feeling wonderful- the bright colours & lovely smells. So what can Emily do?

It’s often quite easy to come up with solutions for others or to help someone out so take a step back and imagine you are giving advice to someone else. Take your three words and write down a few words or draw an image connected to what you will do.

Lastly, fold up your paper and write down today’s date on it AND what date it will be in a month’s time.

Go back to your list in a month’s time and let me know how you’ve got on. Have you put the wheels in motion to carry out your promise?

Those Eureka Moments!

By Nicola Eaton Sawford, Managing Director at Customer Whisperers

Those Eureka Moments!

Those Eureka Moments!

We Whisper a lot about Eureka moments here. Ask any of us for our favourite part of any project and it’ll be one of those special moments.

I recently stumbled across an intriguing article by Sharon Begley on the neurological behaviour of the brain around Eureka moments and I thought I’d share it with you.

She started out with some link word puzzles.

Think of a single word that will join to each of these words and make different words – back, clip and wall…..who came up with ‘paper’?

How about – whistle, black and farthing….. did I hear ‘penny’?

And did you think about it, get stuck and have no idea, think about it a little differently and then ‘pop’, the answer jumped forward in your head? Apparently you are using insight and not methodical thought and scientists have little idea how your brain does it.

If the truth be known, this is often how it works in Customer Experience. When we get our market research results, we are presented with a mass of customer feedback and data. Whilst very interesting, it takes time and interrogation, twisting and probing and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc before patterns start to form and links emerge. Once they start, they tend to come in a flurry and we create pictures, diagrams and sequences that make logical sense to clients and make it so much easier for everyone in the organisation to attune to customers. We love our Eureka moments!

According to Sharon, each moment of genius is preceded by a mental impasse (I’m stuck, I’ve got no idea) and then a restructuring of the problem (lets think about it differently) and that leads to a deeper understanding.

And when the ‘answer’ is visible, it seems as plain as the nose on your face. And in Customer Experience that can be tough for clients – no-one wants to be presented with an idea that seems blindingly obvious. So we tell our clients that is ‘the benefit of objectivity’ and they feel better. Then we suggest they tell the boss it was their idea….and then they feel a lot better.

Some studies suggest that thinking too hard about one thing makes solving the problem more difficult, those who can allow their thoughts to run free appear to have more success. Apparently in this ‘free thinking state’ the delta and gamma waves in our brain decrease and theta waves increase just before the Eureka moment. Ok! This is when we escape conventional thinking, make new connections between unconnected concepts and let the pieces of the jigsaw float together. Creative problem solving requires you to relax and let go.

Contact Nicola

Email: nsawford@customerwhisperers.com

Phone: 07740 894646

Would your business cope in a crisis?

We are aware of how important it is to know our customers to attract and retain new business. We ask ourselves what our unique selling point is so that we stand out as being different to others.

Research and data tracking of buying habits of consumers are used even more by large companies and corporations to ensure a smooth customer experience and that they are higher in the ranking. Common research methods used by these professionals include experiments, phone surveys, focus groups, direct observation, questionnaires, social media interactions and loyalty schemes.

Consumer psychology studies shows how our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and perceptions influence how people buy and relate to goods and services. Think about what you do when you first enter a shop or store? How many steps do you have to take before touching the first item? How far do you have to go to get the item you were looking for and so pass a lot more products along the way? Milk is put at the back of the store for a reason! Look at how effective IKEA stores are on guiding their customers on a journey around their store. Customers are able to stop off for a bite to eat and pick up smaller “essentials” near the till that will fit in well with the bigger items purchased at the start of the shopping trip.

Professionals in this field look at the decision-making process, social persuasion and motivation to help understand why shoppers buy some things and not others. However what happens when a satisfied customer, who has happily purchased a good or service, experiences a crisis?

What goes through their mind? How do they react? More importantly, how can a business react in this state of panic? People look for answers, guarantees and reassurance. Financial compensation can sometimes be on the agenda too depending on circumstances and how the situation is handled.

In recent times in the UK we have had food safety scares – horsemeat scandal – and flooding.

As with all situations where consumers are flung into disarray and confusion there is stress and apportioned blame. The main thing is to keep calm so that there is not an immediate escalation of panic and distress. Crises are messy and often unfold at a pace that needs a careful and considered response. The best thing is to have a plan of action so that all staff know how to cope in a crisis situation and can react swiftly and smartly.

Would your business cope in a crisis situation?

Don’t lose your head in a crisis!

Acknowledgement and communication are essential. You cannot afford to bury your head in the sand and hope it will all simply go away. For instance, if a customer’s flight is cancelled it is expected that the airline should have a plan in place. This is a situation that most people would expect a company to foresee and deal with effectively. In a world where the media search the internet and social media for news you can bet that the only opinions given will be that of disgruntled customers and the general public will be filling in the gaps by most likely tweeting unkind material about the business . A lack of information fuels anxiety so there are indeed a number of steps to take and fundamentals to keep in mind.

1. Have a plan!

2. Acknowledge what’s happened. If you are online, as most companies are nowadays, an immediate response is expected. The demand for a response is 15 minutes in Twitter and about an hour on Facebook. You should be monitoring everything and responding quickly, even if it is just to say “We are aware something has happened and we are looking into it.” During the horsemeat scandal Tesco were quick to publish an apology to customers while Findus took longer to go public with its findings. Sure enough the public did complain (and rightly so) but people were quick then to make fun of the situation too – videos of people in horse costumes galloping around Tesco aisles. By acknowledging the problem quickly Tesco were able to give information and keep people in the know about what was happening.

3. Get your team together so that an announcement can be made and instructions can be given out as soon as possible. This way you can run the business as usual with the right people carrying out the right tasks to deal with the crisis. If you are a larger company it is best to have conversation with the lawyers before a crisis hits!

4. Explain the situation as thoroughly as possible, being upfront and honest with your employees as possible. If there is a problem, explain what it is and what is being done to rectify it.

5. Apologise. Getting the tone of your apology is important.

6. Take a break and refresh your team. It is important for you and your team to not take the comments personally or to be goaded in a way that leads to you or your team making mistakes.

7. Be prepared to face this issue again if a similar crisis happens. Depending on the extent of the crisis there can be further ripples or repercussions.

8. Regroup, reflect and reassess your plan of action in a crisis. Learn from mistakes and rectify areas, so your response is efficient and effective, should it happen again.

9. Keep smiling. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you have already carried out step 1 then you can move forward safe in the knowledge that you and your team have done your best. Keep spirits high as everyone will need a boost after getting through the tough times.

10. How can I mange my mind set to manage emotions? Another blog coming another time!