Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

China’s New Face(book)

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

 

Today’s post was written by Christine McConnell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Facebook and social media have had quite a checkered past in China. After being widely available for several years, Facebook was blocked following a series of riots that took place in northwest China in 2009. The government suspected that the activists were using Facebook as part of their communications network, (and they probably were). Apparently the Chinese government is still highly sensitive to any internet application that might be used to organize China’s masses beyond the reaches of their authority. As such, they also blocked access to YouTube after soldiers were filmed beating Tibetan monks, and to Twitter. In 2010 the ubiquitous search engine Google was also pushed outside the Great FireWall for refusing to allow the Chinese government to censor its search results. All this is of particular interest to me now because my brother boarded an Airbus A330 last Friday morning to begin a new chapter in China. He’ll be teaching US and World History at Beijing No. 4 High School International; and although I couldn’t be happier for him, I cannot imagine being unable to communicate with him regularly. He is one of my best friends. To that end, I am now exploring alternate ways for us to connect.

WeChat to the rescue! Since its inception four years ago, WeChat has become the dominant instant messaging service in China with nearly 700 million monthly active users to date. WeChat enables users to call, text, and send pictures. However unlike Facebook Messenger it’s not simply a messaging platform. Once inside the main WeChat app, you can check current events, manage and pay bills, book a reservation at a favorite restaurant, hail a taxi, or even schedule a doctor’s appointment. In fact, WeChat contains several million third party apps. From retail stores to brands to celebrities to start ups, almost any group or association can have their own account – each account acting like its own web page – turning WeChat into a kind of mobile web browser. If WeChat is as simple to use as it looks, my brother and I will be sharing stories again in no time. I can’t wait for his next update!

Would you like to learn how SafeSourcing could help your company communicate more effectively? Interested in a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact SafeSourcing. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

 

Do Your Thing Well

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

 

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing

Ralph Waldo Emerson has a point. While nothing in life is ever so cut and dry, this author can definitely relate. There certainly is satisfaction in a job well done. Personally, I know that every time our team does a thing well, our customers reap the reward which means they did well too.

So, how do you measure whether or not you’ve done a thing well? Perhaps, you measure the savings from a successfully negotiated decrease in the cost of a contract. Maybe you prefer the reward of hitting your goals.

We can all use a little help along the way to do a thing well. Our customers appreciate that they can leverage our e-Procurement solutions to improve the outcomes of their negotiations and or that they can rely on our Customer Services teams as a partner to help deliver against their goals. We know the importance of getting a job done right and have the experience to step in at any point in the Source-to-Pay process.

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing and is a devoted champion of saving money. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you do your thing well. For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing representative. 

 

We look forward to your comments.

 

Global Food Risks

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Michael Figueroa, Project Manager at SafeSourcing

Last  year  California farmers are predicted to lose $3 billion due to persistent drought[1].  Avian Flu has cost nearly $3.3 billion nationwide in the US[2], while the resultant egg shortage continues to wreak havoc with the market by doubling egg prices[3]. Yields in North Korea are feared to come in as low as 50% below normal due to drought, which could pose huge humanitarian needs and market risks[4]. The average amount of arable land needed to support an American standard of living is approximately 10 acres per capita[5], though as of 2012 there were only between 0.49-0.6 acres of arable land on earth per capita[6]. The UN has stated that food production must double by 2050 in order to meet demand[7] due to rising population as well as rising global affluence. As the world population continues to increase the number of hungry mouths on the globe, it becomes ever more vital to have a strategy for dealing with disruption in food production markets.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges to this problem is understanding what all of the potential risks are. As unpredictable weather patterns emerge, we are warned to expect the unexpected by the scientific community due to global warming, and political disruptions are equally unpredictable. Though there are recommended steps for discovering the unknown variables, and managing what is known.

Identify the risks: Does your organization have a risk mitigation department? One that focuses on proactive measures to ensure continued production in a crisis, not just financial hedging?

Coordinated risk management: Form alliances with national and international producers and brokers establishing protocols for responding to shortages that protect the most vulnerable populations from food shortages.

Identify the weaknesses in your supply chains: An example would be diversification of farm location can mitigate drought risk confined by geographical location.

Move to non-biofuel energy production: Using energy sources such as nuclear, solar, and wind allow farming capacity to be used for food instead of bio-fuels, which some studies have shown to be a net-energy loss product[8].

Early warning: Have mechanisms in place for capturing information regarding shortages and market disruptions.

Supplier resilience standards: If you are a purchaser, adopt requirements of your suppliers for managing risk that incentivizes food production resilience.

In the face of dealing with all of the food commodity disruptions in the market, and increasing pressure to shave already thin margins, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a major disruption doesn’t just mean loss of revenue, but can also mean loss of life within the markets of the most vulnerable consumers. For example, US food aid to foreign countries comes from US commodity surplus, but aid has decreased by 64% in the last decade due to reduced surplus[9]. This and many other examples are why it’s so extremely important for those of us working in the food procurement and production industries to build resilience into their long term strategies.

For additional insight on this topic I highly recommend the report by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience[10].

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

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[1] “Drought May Cost California’s Farmers Almost $3 … – NPR.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/03/411802252/drought-may-cost-californias-farmers-almost-3-billion-in-2015>

[2] “Bird Flu Cost the US $3.3 Billion and Worse Could Be Coming.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/15/bird-flu-2/>

[3] “Egg prices in the US nearly double after outbreak of avian flu.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/16/egg-prices-in-the-us-nearly-double-after-outbreak-of-avian-flu>

[4] “North Korea fears famine as drought halves food production …” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/19/north-korea-fears-famine-as-drought-halves-food-production-says-un>

[5] “The State of World Population 2011 – UNFPA.” 2011. 19 Aug. 2015 <http://foweb.unfpa.org/SWP2011/reports/EN-SWOP2011-FINAL.pdf>

[6] “Arable land (hectares) | Data | Table – The World Bank.” 2010. 19 Aug. 2015 <http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.ARBL.HA>

[7] “Food Production Must Double by 2050 to Meet Demand …” 2014. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.un.org/press/en/2009/gaef3242.doc.htm>

[8] “Economic Cost of Biodiesel and Corn Ethanol per Net BTU …” 19 Aug. 2015 <http://www.ag.auburn.edu/biopolicy/documents/Economic%20Cost%20of%20Biodiesel%20and%20Corn%20Ethanol%20per%20Net%20BTU%20of%20Energy%20Produced.pdf>

[9] “Food Aid Reform: Food For Peace By the Numbers … – usaid.” 2013. 19 Aug. 2015 <https://www.usaid.gov/foodaidreform/ffp-by-the-numbers>

[10] “Extreme weather and resilience of the global food system.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/pdfs/extreme-weather-resilience-of-global-food-system.pdf>

Five Components of Emotional Intelligence and Your Business

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Customer Service & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

In my first blog, “What is Emotional Intelligence? Why It Should Matter in Any Business?”, I identified what emotional intelligence (EQ) is and how it applies to any business. In my second blog, “Emotional Intelligence in Action”, I explain the What, How, and Why the competencies of EQ work.  In this third blog, I will give a quick explanation of the five components of emotional intelligence, and in the next series of blogs, I will present a more thorough breakdown of each and how they apply to businesses and procurement.

I must explain that the five components listed below were developed by Daniel Goleman, a science journalist who brought “emotional intelligence” on the bestseller list as an author of a number of books including “Emotional Intelligence”, “Working with Emotional Intelligence”, “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships”, “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence” and most recently “A Force for Good” The Dalai Lama Vision of Our World”.1

These are the five components of EQ and their most basic definitions. Also, I have identified the hallmarks of each; a hallmark is a sure sign.

1). Self-awareness. The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.2

a.) Hallmarks of self-awareness include self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humor. Self-awareness depends on one’s ability to monitor one’s own emotion state and to correctly identify and name one’s emotions.1

2). Self-regulation. The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting.1

a.) Hallmarks include trustworthiness and integrity; comfort with ambiguity; and openness to change.1

3). Internal motivation. A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status -which are external rewards, – such as an inner vision of what is important in life, a joy in doing something, curiosity in learning, a flow that comes with being immersed in an activity. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence. 1,2

a.) Hallmarks include a strong drive to achieve, optimism even in the face of failure, and organizational commitment.1

4). Empathy. The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.1

a.) Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers.1

5). Social skills. Identifying social cues to establish common ground manage relationships and build networks.2

a.) Hallmarks of social skills include effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, and expertise building and leading teams. Additional traits are Communication: Listening and responding appropriately, Influence and Leadership: The ability to guide and inspire others, and Conflict Management: The ability to diffuse difficult situations using persuasion and negotiation.1,2

By developing our Emotional Intelligence in these areas and the five EQ domains we can become more productive and successful at what we do, and help others to be more productive and successful too. The process and outcomes of Emotional Intelligence development also contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organizations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony.3

Please stay tuned for the next blog on how self-awareness can help you and your business.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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References:

  1. https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/swijtink/teaching/philosophy_101/paper1/goleman.htm
  2. http://inspirebusinesssolutions.com/blog/5-main-components-of-emotional-intelligence
  3. http://www.businessballs.com/eq.htm

Motivation for a Month

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

 

Struggling with motivation at work happens, so how can you inspire others in your company?

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.

Regardless which industry you work, an employee’s drive can falter at times. This is a prime opportunity to lead workers toward higher aspirations and meaningful work experiences. With proper inspiration, workers tend to have higher job satisfaction and better performance. One great way to encourage the best from employees is to genuinely motivate them.

Motivational quotes, stories, and memes are a great way to encourage your team and are more than prevalent across the web, but how many actually speak to you? Below are encouraging quotes for each day of the month that may help not only with your motivation, but also to motivate those around you.

  1. Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. – John Wayne
  2. A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. – Henry Ford
  3. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. – Napoleon Hill
  4. Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill
  5. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs
  6. People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success. – Norman Vincent Peale
  7. Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. – Henry Ford
  8. I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas A. Edison
  9. Have a very good reason for everything you do. – Laurence Olivier
  10. One finds limits by pushing them. – Herbert Simon
  11. Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers
  12. The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do. – Roy L. Smith
  13. Hire character. Train skill. – Peter Schutz
  14. For maximum attention, nothing beats a good mistake. – Unknown
  15. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. – Dr. Seuss
  16. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin
  17. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison
  18. People are best convinced by things they themselves discover. – Ben Franklin
  19. If it really was a no–brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no–brained, harebrained, and otherwise dubiously brained individuals quitting their day jobs and hanging out their own shingles. Nobody would be left to round out the workforce and execute the business plan. – Bill Rancic
  20. Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch. – Tim Berners-Lee
  21. When you feel like quitting, think about why you started. – Unknown
  22. Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine. – Jack Ma
  23. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. – Bill Gates
  24. We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in. – Arianna Huffington
  25. Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. – Henry David Thoreau
  26. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. – David Brinkley
  27. What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise. – Oscar Wilde
  28. All progress takes place outside the comfort zone. – Michael John Bobak
  29. Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending. – Carl Bard
  30. Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down. – Charles F. Kettering
  31. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn

The quotes above may speak to different people differently, so we would like to hear some of your favorite motivational quotes or stories. If you have any motivational trouble in your purchasing and procurement departments, or are interested in our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today

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http://epreneur.tv/motivational-business-quotes/

http://www.servendesign.com/motivational-business-quotes/

http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/75-inspiring-motivational-quotes-about-success.html

 

What’s your BHAG?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

 

 

Today’s post is by Michael Figueroa, Project Manager at SafeSourcing

A BHAG (pronounced bee-hag) is a statement regarding your company’s strategy that may be too extreme for an external audience, but inspiring and directional for those conducting everyday business. The term was originally coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last[1], as a tool for achieving long term strategic goals. Used properly, a BHAG can be a powerful way to communicate the ambition of the company, and align the efforts of a team. But what make up the components of this statement?

A BHAG must be:

  • Inspiring: Emotionally compelling, motivational to the team
  • Attainable: Difficult enough to be audacious, but not so impossible that no one will attempt it. “Out of reach but not out of sight” as the old maxim goes.
  • Company appropriate: Aligns with your mission and core competencies
  • Long term: 10-30 years, or unless your organization exists to solve a certain problem within a certain timeframe.

Some examples of publicized BHAGs:

  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure: A world without breast cancer.
  • Amazon: Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
  • Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home
  • John F. Kennedy: Land a man on the moon by the end of this decade and return him safely

Collins and Porras also recommended that a company develop its BHAG while in its infancy rather than wait for it to reach a mature size in order to help the company stay focused in its crucial developing years. Your organization needs to be adaptive of course; however its core reason for existing should not. Throughout the life of your organization, many targets of opportunity will arise, but identifying your BHAG in your professional or personal life will help you keep on course.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

[1] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Built_to_Last:_Successful_Habits_of_Visionary_Companies>

What is “Scope”?

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

 

Today’s post is from Michael Figueroa Manager of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

The practice of defining scope is a narrowing of focus, taking certain concepts and pulling them to the forefront, all the while forcing everything else to take a back seat. Creating your scope, by definition, means excluding those things that do not fit within the core competences of your project, mission, goals, or whatever context you are operating within.  If you could take a picture of your scope, you might see it represented by a tunnel vision focus on a certain object. Take away that tunnel and you see the periphery, and if your scope was developed well, you’ll look at the peripheral objects and say to yourself “Ya, these things are irrelevant to my project, let’s narrow our focus”.

When your procurement projects don’t accurately understand what’s relevant to the initiative, you risk diluting its full value potential.  If you’re attempting to source “Ground Beef”, but your focus is so wide that you are asking questions more indicative of a scope of “Beef Products”, you will get information irrelevant to your project, while also confusing your potential suppliers. What you exclude in the scope of your project is just as important as what you include, because having too wide a view will just muddy the waters and make it harder to see your real savings opportunities.

Media reference: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Tunnel_vision_sc.png/240px-Tunnel_vision_sc.png

No is not a four letter word, and in many cases saying yes for too many inputs is not a value-add. Your inclusions/exclusions must speak to your core competencies and context of goals/projects. What you say NO to in terms of your informational inputs is just as important as what you say YES to. The concept of “economies of scope” is not best served in procurement projects. You want your information to be exclusive to what is relevant to your procurement project, which by definition means some things need to be excluded.

This is why we at SafeSourcing work with both you and the vendor community to understand the industry your project operates within through our well-developed RFI/RFP processes. We clearly define our clients goals, and get in-depth feedback from the vendors so that we can ask the relevant questions. Allow us to fuse your needs with our skill to focus on what drives value for your procurement projects.

 

Ten Buzzwords You Wish You’d Thought Of

Friday, March 4th, 2016

 

 Today’s post is by Christine McConnell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Merriam-Webster defines a buzzword as: an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase, often of little meaning, used chiefly to impress laymen. The Dictionary of American Slang tells us that the term may have been coined in the 1940s by students at the Harvard Business School to mean: a word used to describe the key to any course or situation. In the abbreviated vernacular of the day, buzz might simply have been a shortening of the word business[1].

Over time, buzzwords have become a construct all their own. They are distinctively different from jargon. Where jargon is simply a technical vocabulary associated with a particular field or profession, buzzwords are designed to impress, or to freshen up what is often stagnant information. We use a bit of jargon here at SafeSourcing: e-Procurement, Procure-to-Pay, RFx, RFQ, and RFP for example, to describe our process. Buzzwords, on the other hand, tend to have their own specific agenda. Industries and institutions continue to invent their own thought-provoking, and sometimes amusing, terms to this day.

On this cold and dreary afternoon, here are ten of the silliest:

  •  blamestorming: when a high profile project fails and the major players put their heads together to find a scapegoat outside of their ranks
  • clockroaches: employees who spend most of their day watching the clock instead of actually working
  • inbox zero: Zen-like state of being, caused by the discovery that your email inbox is completely empty
  • irritainment: entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying, yet still somehow compelling; for example The Bachelor or The People vs OJ Simpsonprairie dogging: the practice of popping one’s head up out of the cubicle to see what else is happening on the cube farm
  • jacking: commandeering or hijacking content, from current events to the latest meme, to use for you own (usually marketing) purposes; for example newsjacking or memejacking
  • plutoed: to be unceremoniously demoted without due cause or explanation
  • seagull: coworker (typically a supervisor) who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves
  • treeware: paper-based printed material, as contrasted with media that store or convey information electronically; typically transmitted via snail mail
  • wantrapreneur: someone who dreams about starting their own business but just can’t seem to get motivated

Whether dreamt up in academia, coined by clever consultants, actualized on Wall Street, or conceived by our most cynical peers, buzzwords can be quite illustrative of the way we see ourselves in today’s workplace.

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready to assist you!

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[1] The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.

Avoiding “change blindness”

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Project Manager at SafeSourcing

Let’s test how well you can focus on detailed activities. Copy and paste into your address bar, or click the following link: https://youtu.be/Ahg6qcgoay4[1]

How did you do? There are several versions of this type of video, but of course the point of them all is to illustrate our ability to miss the obvious when we are more focused on specific tasks. Perhaps you can relate to more common errors of oversight:

Have you ever been made aware after the fact, that you completely missed a detail about a project you were working on, which should have been totally obvious? Have you ever read over a document five times, only to discover a major error on the sixth read through? Stared at the same computer screen for months before noticing an assortment of buttons that could have made life easier?

Our minds have a bandwidth limitation, often described as being approximately 1.6 conversations at a time (including the one going on in your head)[2]. Focusing on one complex task, requires us to tune out certain others in order to fully process that task. One of the first researchers to call attention to this phenomenon was Dr. Marc Green, who once said “Inattentional blindness is not a mental aberration; it is the norm. Conscious perception is the abnormality”.[3] So there are benefits to our ability to tune everything else out and focus on one task, and there are benefits to being aware of a wide scope of inputs as well. Working Memory[4], the type of intelligence associated with your short-term bandwidth, is uncertain as to if it is static or malleable. So how can we make the most of both sides of our concentration capabilities?

Situationally prioritize your focus – There’s a reason why they say the best way to remember names is to not focus on what you are saying when being introduced to someone new. Knowing what you know now about what you do or don’t notice and remember based on how you’re thinking, you can apply the right strategy for each situation. When you are working on detailed, technical, or financial activities, you probably need to tune everything else out and laser focus. When you are evaluating a new project, finalizing work, or observing a new environment, you probably need to tune yourself out, and take in your surroundings.

Practice “open observing” – Look at all content twice: The first time looking for whatever you were specifically trying to focus on to accomplish the task, the second time not looking for anything in particular, letting the full scope of your capabilities be your frame of reference instead of the specific thing you are being asked for.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

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[1] This link leads to content and views not controlled, approved or condoned by SafeSourcing Inc. User views at their own risk.

[2] “Avoiding common RFP mistakes: SafeSourcing Blog.” 2015. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://blog.safesourcing.com/2015/07/30/avoiding-common-rfp-mistakes/>

[3] “Visual Expert Human Factors: Inattentional Blindness …” 2002. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/inattentionalblindness.html>

[4] “Working memory definition – MedicineNet – Health and …” 2005. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7143>

What My Dogs Teach Me about Customer Service

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Christine McConnell Account Manager at SafeSourcing

I have spent the bulk of my career in Client Services, Account Management, and Sales. As a result, many of my working hours are devoted to communicating directly with customers. Many of my non-working hours, on the other hand, are spent interfacing with my three dogs: Zeus, Mabel, and Blaze. These relationships have more in common than you might think.

  • For starters, my dogs have clearly defined roles. Zeus (a one hundred and twenty pound adult male Bernese Mountain Dog) patrols the grounds. Blaze (a six-month old puppy-boy with a checkered pedigree) is our resident court jester. And Mabel (an eleven-year old Golden Retriever) is the put upon elder stateswoman. My customers also appreciate clearly defined roles that ensure that they are dealing with the most appropriate representative of our company at all times.
  • My dogs have vastly different styles of communication. Mabel has a repertoire of snorts, groans and heavy sighs. Zeus prefers nose nudges and soulful stares. And Blaze, literally whines and sings like fan belt that is about to snap. My customers use different methods to communicate with me as well. Some call, while others send email. Some complain, while others cajole. All welcome as clear communication as possible and have an uncanny ability to sniff out immediately when something is “off” and I am not being genuine.
  • My dogs are unendingly patient with me. They are ready and willing to spend as much time as is needed to master a task, whether I am training them to fetch a tennis ball or they are training me to fetch them Milkbones out of the treat cupboard. With their limited understanding of linear time, my dogs enter every new interaction with a clean slate. My customers also deserve my patience and ability to address every new situation without assumptions or expectations based on what might have occurred in the past.
  • My dogs, and customers alike, hope to be treated with consistency and fairness. They expect that I’ll do what I say; whether that is honoring a refund policy or to taking them to the park after work. They hope to be treated fairly and equitably across the board and will complain to their peers if they feel that’s not the case. Just try to sneak one of my dogs a Fig Newton without the other two rushing into the kitchen to collect their fair share!
  • Finally, my dogs are motivated by satisfaction and loyalty. When I am happy, they are happy and vice versa. My customers deserve the same from me. My dogs are 100% loyal from the tip of their noses to the end of their tails and I strive to deliver the same to my customers.

When done correctly, both dog ownership and customer service can be mutually gratifying two-way relationships. My career serving customers has been professionally and personally satisfying. I have gained much more than I have given. And of course, my dogs provide a constant stream of unconditional love, and I have the thumbs required to open the treat box and work the can opener!

For more information on how the team at SafeSourcing can help your company, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.