hints, tips, and resources for service
and support professionals, given in the spirit of
- Mentoring Can Be Life Changing, and it Might Not
Be the Life Expected
Government Customer Support
Conference and Expo (GCS 2006)
from this week's featured GCS 2006 Speaker
from our featured event partner
Customer Service Group
Dear Friends and
Letting an employee go is
hard. When they leave on their own accord
sometimes it can
be even harder. Eight months ago a very special
person came into our lives at High Tech High Touch Solutions.
Annie had to be one of the most enthusiastic people I've
known. She had ambition flowing from her like a
rushing river after a storm. She was unstoppable.
Annie was nineteen and hungry, ready to learn anything,
and do whatever it took to succeed. Then
unexpectedly, she met someone and fell in love. She is
leaving for Japan now with her new husband.
During these past eight
months, Annie gave me the opportunity to be her mentor. The greatest gift any leader can be
given is to have a protégé that wants to learn all that
you have to teach. It's amazing when you redirect
an effort, offer constructive criticism, or correct a behavior,
and you are asked, "how can I do
it better next time?" without a defensive posturing in
their body. Annie is Gen Y, The Millennial
Generation, and part of the generation that is professed to
change corporate America as we know it today. She
represents our future generation.
Letting Annie go was like
watching a child grow-up and leave for college.
You put loads of work into them and prepare them for their next
stage in life, but you're not ready to let them go emotionally or professionally. This young woman became
a very important part of my life. There is still more
work to be done, mentoring and teaching her new skills
to prepare her for the next part of her career. After forming this close bond with Annie, I am having a
very hard time letting her go. I wanted to be one
of the people who continued contributing to her
I hope you get even one
time in your life to have such a rewarding and
unforgettable experience with someone you mentor.
Annie told me I have changed her life forever - she
doesn't realize, she changed mine too.
Mentor a young person,
our future, known by many names: the Millennials, Gen
Y, the Now Generation, and the Great Generation.
They are counting on us to lead them into future
success. With all their energy, enthusiasm, and
willingness to learn, we owe this to them. You'll
never forget nor will they, for the rest of your lives.
"Annie, our 'Rising
Star,' thank you for the time we had together. You
touched many lives and we will miss you. We will
remain your virtual inspiration no matter where you are
in this great big world. Good-bye Annie and good luck.
We'll be watching you grow as you become a future leader."
"What would you
attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" (unknown)
"Become a mentor, then
let them go and watch them soar." (Ivy)
High Tech High Touch Solutions
What does the IRS, the
National Reconnaissance Office, FAA, and U.S. Census
Bureau, and Utah.gov have in Common?
They are all presenting
case studies, sharing proven ideas to use in your own
work groups, at the
5th Annual Government
Customer Support (GCS) Conference and Expo 2006!
June 14-15, 2006
Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, VA
If you work in the public sector, please join us at the
Government Customer Support Conference
in Arlington, VA June 14-15, 2006. Our
speakers have prepared very advanced and educational
sessions to share with you.
will get pertinent information, proven techniques,
including resources that will apply to your
If you work in the Help Desk field, you are likely
moving to a Service Desk model using ITIL combined
with improved use of technologies, and building a
culture that will embrace the changes. We have
you covered with ITIL Essential certification and
sessions to help you move it on to the next level.
Those of you in the Contact Center and Service
Portals must handle increased contact volumes,
addressing consumer's increased needs and provide
information in real-time from hundreds of different
resources. 311, 7/24, self-service, VoIP,
mobilization, knowledge provided for easy access,
automation to reduce contact management,
consolidation, and outsourcing are some of the many
solution options you will learn at GCS.
Over 70% of our speakers will be providing a
handout template, white paper, or resource document
that will provide you a resource or tool
relative to their specific topic.
GCS 2006 will offer you insights into the future of
service and support - "no more of the same old
thing." Education, relationship building,
networking, and exposure to solutions will help
you move to the next stage for advancing your Help
Desks and Contact Centers.
We focus our conferences on leadership and
management objectives. We bring the tools to
you to establish advanced Help Desks, Contact
Centers, and Service Portals in your organizations.
We've got it here for you in an intimate setting
where everyone is available to hold pertinent
discussions. No standing in lines and no long
walks to get to sessions. Everything is close
and intimate. We have created the best environment
for in-depth learning experiences possible and
premium networking opportunities.
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT ENDS MAY 1st -
SAVE $200 NOW.
Our focus has always been, and always
will be on you and
your professional and personal needs.
Speakers, Vendors, Board Members, Volunteers
accepting requests for event partners, speaker proposals, and board member applications
8th Annual Help Desk
Professionals Conference and Expo.
TIPS FROM THIS WEEK’S FEATURED
GCS 2006 SPEAKER: (top)
McGarahan and Associates,
Don’t miss Pete’s Pre-Conference
Seminar at GCS 2006 - Creating Valued Services.
Pete McGarahan is an accomplished, widely recognized
expert in delivering service and support value to a
wide variety of clients for more than 20 years. He
blends his extensive knowledge of support industry
trends and directions, proven best practices, and
business alignment strategies to serve as both a
thought leader and mentor for the support community.
He has spoken at all 4 GCS conferences and scores a
perfect 10 every year for his delivery and content
White Paper Excerpt: A Strategic
Guide to Self-Service for the IT Help Desk Inch by Inch,
Step by Step: Building a solution with cement, not
It is never easy to wake up one
morning and decide to implement a self-service solution.
The complexity, demands, and mile-a-minute business
changes already make the life of an IT leader stressful
and taxed. It’s likely that over the past few
years, you have consolidated help desks into a
single-point-of-contact service desk; continued to
handle the entire customer base’s problems, requests,
and training needs; and begun to support an ever-growing
portfolio of Business Critical applications.
The challenge is clear: Continue
to increase contact volume and problem complexity which
results in increasing demand against “stay-the-course”
service desk staffing levels or
develop and implement a self-service strategy to manage
demand, deflecting non-value-add requests, issues, and
training to self-service while freeing up the phone
queue to respond to and resolve issues of greater
urgency and impact.
If you choose the self-service
option, how do you build your solution with cement
rather than quicksand? Inch by inch, step by step.
1. Build a business case
The business case process, the single most compelling
influence on senior management, ensures that your plan
is thoroughly researched, and the business needs and
value of your investment is well justified. The process
forces you to ask the right questions:
- How will customers benefit
- How will this enable them
to work more efficiently and effectively?
- How will self-service
benefit the business in the short term and long
- What are the value drivers
that make up the cost/benefit analysis and financial
2. Create a vision and strategy
There are many compelling reasons why successful
companies create a vision and strategy for initiatives
such as self-service, but one rises above all. If you
don’t define what success looks like, how will you get
there, and how will you recognize it?
Envision the end-result first.
What does it look like? Does it have both
functional and emotional appeal? Is it clear and
compelling? Does it define the service desk’s
value-added business impact?
An aligned strategy, comprised of
business goals, success metrics and performance
incentives, brings the vision to life. The
strategy fleshes out and strengthens your pitch, gathering support and momentum for your plan.
Ensure that your pitch passes the senior executive sniff
test - brief, direct, and articulates the three most
persuasive reasons why self-service is a business
imperative. Ask yourself the right questions to build
- Does your self-service
strategy clearly articulate which activities, roles,
and responsibilities are necessary to achieve
- Does it set proper
expectations in the short- and long-term regarding
requirements (resources, processes, tools, training,
- How will you change
behavior? How do you get people to visit, use
it, and come back time and again?
- What will be the measure
in the world of business, your vision and strategy
remain the undisputed anchor point for any necessary
change or action. Don’t make it good, make it great.
It will guide you through all phases of your
3. Create a change management
The change management plan provides the necessary
framework and sequence for identified tasks and
communications to occur. Your plan should include
operational and business metrics, training (customers
and service desk professionals alike), and your
marketing communications strategy. It should also
include activities such as ongoing maintenance, support,
and knowledge management.
Above all, do not try to change
everything at once. If you have the luxury of time, buy
it! Set the right pace to introduce this cultural
change. Your change management plan should:
- Recognize where you are.
- Prepare for fear of, and
resistance to, change.
- Anticipate criticism and
- Drive change down to the
- Get to the heart of the
- Recognize that you cannot
- Celebrate measured
4. Engage your customers
The best way to increase your success rate in the
short-term of the rollout of self-service is to involve
your customers in the functionality requirements and
design stages. Bringing them into the process
creates a sense of ownership - now they have skin in the
game and become your best partners and advocates. Engage
them in all phases.
5. Walk the walk, talk the talk
Business leaders must become influencers, demonstrating
the benefits of self-service by consistently and
publicly role-modeling the right behaviors. Leaders need
to show people how to leverage self-service to get what
they need and better contribute to the organization’s
bottom-line: “Let me show you how I use self-service to
get my job done better and faster.”
6. Communicate creatively,
Identify the key messages you want stakeholders to
communicate. These core messages should be
delivered from and to all levels of the organization.
The messages should:
- Address the reasons for
- Describe how the change
will positively impact their day-to-day productivity
- Guide them in using the
- Direct them to training
and support resources
- Champion the front line
- Address barriers,
objections, and outliers
- Create a two-way
- Capture customer feedback
Remember, you can never
over-communicate around an initiative that involves
driving cultural change. Leverage all existing
communication channels, be creative in developing new
vehicles and ways to deliver them, be consistent in your
messaging, and never stop communicating. However, under
no circumstance should you over-promise or over-commit.
7. Create a training plan
Make training the lynchpin of your plan. Remember the
airline example? They failed at first because they
ignored customer training.
Allocate the proper resources and
budget necessary for training. Get traction by
identifying training needs, targets, and opportunities.
First train leaders, influencers, customer advocates,
front-line professionals, and the local experts.
Create a train-the-trainer approach to cascade training
to everyone in the company. During rollout, make
sure to use customer feedback and self-service tracking
logs to continually improve training and communications.
8. Identify performance metrics
If you are changing the rules of the game for the
players, make sure you change the metrics by which their
performance is measured. It’s common sense and
good business practice to align job descriptions, key
performance indicators, and incentives of service desk
professionals who must sell the self-service solution to
customers. Recognition is the best enabler and
motivator! Use incentives, contests, rewards, and
celebrations for customers who regularly use the
self-service solution, and for team members who drive
acceptance of self-service. Make your recognition
plan flexible - both methodical and opportunistic in the
way you celebrate customer and team-member wins. Create
performance metrics and embed them in your training and
My promise to
you because I am so sure you will find your investment well
spent at our event is this:
Give us just two days and we'll
deliver to you comprehensive,
educational information in key areas of service and support, with
an emphasis on leadership and service delivery best practices
for help desks,
contact centers and service portals.
If you are not 100% satisfied after experiencing the full two day
program, we will
refund the money you paid us for the conference fee. It's
risk free so why not give it a try. You have nothing to
lose and everything to win. You have my word!
-- Ivy Meadors, CEO, High Tech
High Touch Solutions
Government customer support conference and
Program details: Posted at
Sponsors: Interested sponsors can email us
There are a limited number of these exclusive sponsorship
Be part of the experience:
If you want to be part of the GCS 2006 team, email us at
email@example.com right away.
FROM OUR FEATURED SPONSOR
provides a wide range of management and training
materials designed to improve service levels,
productivity and performance in the customer contact
center. Visit us online for information on our
books, print newsletters, Customer Service Week
support materials, benchmarking studies, and free
email newsletter, Service Starters.
You’ll find us at
or phone (212) 228-0246 for additional information.
Below are a few of the
resources you can find at the Customer Service Group
website. Visit them now for complete articles!
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