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By Jeff Toister | Monday, March 02, 2015

5 Ways to Build Customer Service Skills — While You’re the Customer

build your customer service skills when you're the customer

You are probably a customer on a daily basis.

It might be a coffee shop run, a trip to the grocery store, or a visit to the deli where you get lunch. Perhaps you call a 1-800 number or send a company an email.

Each experience you have as a customer is an opportunity to build your own customer service skills.

Working on your skills while you’re a customer can translate to better performance when you serve customers as an employee. That’s because many customer-service skills are based on fundamental principles of positive human interaction.

Here are five exercises you can try when you’re on the customer side of things:

By Jane Barratt | Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Want to Make Money During Tax Season? Pay Yourself First

Pay Yourself First during tax season

It’s tax time. TV and radio commercials may be making you feel lousy about the prospect of doing your taxes and the fact that you’ve already abandoned your New Year’s resolution to get your financial house in order.

So here’s a different way to think about that annual headache that is your tax return—a way that will change your approach, increase your resolve, and potentially make you money that you may currently be leaving on the table:

Pay yourself first.

By Todd Dewett | Friday, January 23, 2015

How to Deal with a Difficult Boss: Managing Conflict at Work

Find out how to deal with a difficult boss

One of the most difficult parts of any career is working for someone you don’t like.

Your boss might have impossible standards, play favorites, or be relentlessly negative. In some cases, bosses can be flat-out discriminatory or abusive.

Most people feel they have little to no power to remedy these situations. But they’re wrong. I’m going to give you some tips on how to deal with a difficult boss.

By Jeff Toister | Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Customer Service Tips: Offer the Worst-Case Scenario

Follow these customer service tips for happy customers

Employees have an opportunity to influence customer expectations with each interaction.

Many instinctively paint an overly rosy picture of the best-case scenario. They quote the fastest lead times, promise responsive service, or offer to sway their boss on a special request. It makes customers feel good in the moment—but they’re later disappointed when their high hopes go unfulfilled.

It seems counter-intuitive, but a better strategy is to give customers the worst-case scenario. It may wind up delighting them. Follow these customer service tips and see for yourself:

By Bob McGannon | Monday, January 19, 2015

4 Tips for Managing Team Debates

2015_01_19_TeamDebate

When you work on a team, it’s inevitable that debates will surface.

Here are a few tips for managing these “passionate” discussions—to ensure they remain positive:

By Todd Dewett | Thursday, January 15, 2015

The 4 Skills You Need to Be a Better Manager This Year

want to be a better manager?

You’ve heard the saying: People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. In other words, it’s unwise to criticize others when you, too, are flawed. Many consider this sound advice, but the adage creates a conundrum for people in positions of leadership.

On one hand, holding others accountable is one of the core duties of leadership. It often involves delivering difficult feedback or making difficult decisions such as letting people go. On the other hand, holding people accountable makes everyone want to examine you and your work more critically. The higher you climb the ladder, the more this is true.

To survive life in the glass house—and in fact to be a better manager than you are now—you must develop a few skills that weren’t as critical early in your career. I’m going to tell you what they are and how to get them.

By Bob McGannon | Saturday, January 10, 2015

5 Tips for Managing Remote Employees

managing remote employees requires frequent check-ins

Earlier this week, we offered tips for setting up a workspace at home, and establishing routines as a remote worker. This article focuses on off-site team members from another perspective: Managing remote employees.

Managing people who work at home, in other office locations, or even in other countries is a reality many leaders face these days. It comes with some challenges, certainly—but when location isn’t a factor, you also have the opportunity to tap into the greatest mix of available skills to pull off your project objectives.

To help you be an effective manager with a far-flung team, here are five tips critical to your success.

By Jolie Miller | Tuesday, January 06, 2015

So You Want to Work From Home: Establishing Routines

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If you’re one of the millions of people who hope to work from home in 2015, we’ve got some tips for you.

Last week, we showed you how to set up your home workspace for maximum efficiency. Today in the second article of our Work From Home series, we’ll help you figure out how to structure your day.

Establishing routines will make all the difference between crazy days in which you get little done and productive days in which you accomplish a lot with few interruptions. Even a company that’s skeptical of work-from-homers has to appreciate productive workdays!

These are the three questions you should ask yourself when setting up your workday routines:

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