Why Uber is Inept, Indifferent and Infuriating Customers

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

angry young woman rejecting man with flowers

In the last eight days I’ve had four trips cancelled with Uber even though my app told me a driver was on their way. This left me stranded and scrambling to get to my destination.

I spoke with an Uber driver last week about my cancelled trips. She said when she first started driving for Uber she would work six hours and earn $200.00. Now she works ten to twelve hours to make $200.00. Why is a 60% increase in time required to make the same amount of money?

It’s supply and demand.

The number of drivers signed up to drive for Uber has mushroomed and has created an oversupply of drivers. This oversupply coupled with stagnant demand in my city leads to more drivers sharing a smaller pool of demand. This has drivers increasingly more aware of whether trips are profitable, and in turn, they’re screening for income potential. Hence, my cancelled trips.

What has added insult to injury is the magnitude of the inept and indifferent customer service from Uber. It has been atrocious. When I asked a direct and straightforward question I got a response assuring me that my credit card was not charge. When I reminded Uber that I didn’t ask about credit card charges I was told, get ready, “Available drivers are expected to accept trip requests. Your feedback is helpful as we work to improve the efficiency of our system.”

What? That’s a low level service functionary being dismissive.

As a raving Uber fan for years the customer service portion of this situation is the most damaging. I was torqued by having my trips cancelled, but the inability to handle these three simple customer service tasks was the death knell for my relationship with Uber:

1. Understand the customers frustration

2. Acknowledge the situation and apologize

3. Address the customers frustrations satisfactorily

Uber did none of the above. Let me be clear. I’m not frustrated because I demand excellence wherever I go, nor do I see myself as a member of the business traveling aristocracy. I’m frustrated because a service I really valued for making my life easier, used frequently, referred friends to and wanted to like, was inept, indifferent and infuriating.

What does this have to do with you and your business? This situation prompted me to ask this question: How many of your customers are being treated in ways that leave them feeling that you are inept, indifferent and infuriating? Frankly, how many businesses really know if their customers are actively looking for an alternative to doing business with them? That’s an important question. Can you explicitly tell me what type of experience your customer is having with you?

Here’s the $1,000,000 question you have to answer…does your customer see doing business with you as valuable, profitable or satisfying? Executives and entrepreneurs must know the answer to this question. If you don’t know the answer to this question, you will be left having your business cancelled as opposed to nearly having a ride with Uber cancelled.

Go Ahead, Make My Day

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone


In the movie Sudden Impact, Clint Eastwood has a memorable line that has taken a prominent place in the history books of memorable movie lines. After shooting four robbers of a restaurant there is one robber left standing. In the hopes of getting out alive, he takes a hostage and thinks this act will leave Clint Eastwood afraid and willing to back down.

That doesn’t happen. The Clint Eastwood character, Harry Callahan says to the robber, “Go ahead. Make my day”. He dares him to take a shot. The robber decides it is not his day and drops his gun.

We don’t have to carry a gun to make a person’s day. For example, last week I interviewed six leaders who are involved in a strategy project I’m designing. After one interview the leader said to me, “wow, I have never been listened to and understood as clearly as I have by you. You not only heard what I said, but you were able to repeat it back more clearly than I could imagine. You’ve made my day.”

As leaders, making a person’s day is without question a game changer not only for the leader but also for their team. How can you make a person’s day? Here are three strategies:

1. Listen to understand versus to respond.
The majority of the time people are not listening to understand someone but rather listening to respond. Listening to respond involves waiting for a gap in the conversation to insert statements about our experiences or perspectives. Listening to understand involves asking questions with a genuine curiosity and a sincere interest in the other persons perspective. Responding leads to separation and division while understanding leads to connection and a willingness to cooperate.

2. Use their words not mine.
Creating a sense of understanding comes when we use the specific words people use to describe their experience. I’m not suggesting parroting someone, but rather with sincerity using the specific words people use. When I use my words people feel interpreted and not heard.

For example, if someone said it was really challenging when they didn’t secure the funding necessary to complete a project they worked on for twelve months, the operative word is challenging. If in responding to the person you use the word frustrating you have moved into interpreting the person and not accurately reflecting the person’s experience.

3. Confirm my understanding.
The gift of being heard is powerful, but I don’t always get it right. To make sure my understanding is full and that the other person leaves the conversation feeling positive, I repeatedly ask if I have understood them accurately with the phrase, “this is what I heard you say. Did I get that right or is there something I’m missing?”

Monday Morning Mindset Challenge:
Which of these three strategies is hardest for you? Commit to improving your skill with that strategy this week by identifying one person who would benefit most from you making their day. Take the strategy and practice using it each day for five days. At the end of this week you’ll not only have made the day of those around you, but you’ll have substantially moved the needle of your leadership effectiveness.

The One And Only Job Leaders Have

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

Leaders have only one job.

But first a little context. The number one belief leaders have about what their job entails is managing the numbers. They have a myriad number of metrics for their job, but it is primarily about making the numbers work.

That’s true, but here’s a subtle yet transformational shift in thinking. What leaders are really responsible for is creating a “flourishing” bottom line and not simply managing their numbers. The choice of words I’m using is powerful. The expectation most organizations have for their leaders is not to simply maintain the status quo financially, but to lead a transformation financially.

How do you lead a financial transformation for your organization or business?

I suggest first and foremost that the best way to do so is to have a flourishing customer experience. A customer experience that is so rewarding, enriching and engaging for the customer that they continually refer new customers to you, pay higher prices because of the value you provide and see you as indispensable in their life. If you create that kind of flourishing customer experience you are well on your way to a flourishing bottom line.

How do you create a flourishing customer experience? You do that through flourishing employees. Imagine having employees that are so enthralled (yes, enthralled) with their work that they extend that toward your customer. It’s simple, when you have employees that are flourishing professionally they share best practices willingly, they create new ways of doing their work and are hellbent on continually improving the work they do. This mindset, when directed toward customer flourishing, positions you to have a flourishing bottom line.

What is your one and only job? To enable employee flourishing! That’s it. If that’s your focus each day your performance will be transformed from floundering to flourishing.

How do you enable employee flourishing? I have three suggestions:

1. Get to know what each of your direct reports is passionate about. You have to know what they love about their work and what they aspire to professionally. What is their one big dream, goal, hope, or aspiration for their work that has grabbed hold of them and won’t let go?

2. Get clear about what their talents and skills are and how they can deploy them in meaningful ways. When you marry what they are passionate about with their talents and skills you can start the conversation about how they can infuse their passion and talents in ways that enable customer flourishing.

3. Clarify how passion and talent create value for the customer. What specifically is each employee doing that makes the customer experience rewarding, valuable and highly differentiated? Employees can be passionate and talented, but if their talent and passion are not directed to providing high value to your customers the likelihood of customer flourishing is significantly reduced.

When you implement these three suggestions you’ll create a professional development plan for employees that will not only transform them professionally, but will transform your bottom line.

I hope you have a flourishing week. If you have any questions, go to the blog and let me know.

Some of these ideas will be more clearly articulated in my new book, 7 Principles of Transformational Leadership. Make sure you check that out in June.

Throw Your Metrics Out The Window

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

In the ‘what is the one question you want to have answered’ sequence of posts I’m writing, I received this question from an association executive. What are the best metrics for me to have to measure our success?

Great question. Here was my answer.

Throw all of your metrics out the window.

What? Are you insane? All of my metrics?

Yes, all of them. Unless they can accurately and reliably deliver on three promises.

Promise #1. Your metrics measure results not tasks. 
Far too often sales organizations measure the tasks of their sales people and not the results of their sales people. For example, did the sales person make a predetermined number of phone calls or send a prescribed number of approach letters. In many organizations there are sales people who never look successful based on their daily tasks but who repeatedly sell larger amounts than their coworkers. This begs the question, do you want a sales person who is successful managing their metrics or selling a lot of your products and services? I’ll take the latter.

Promise #2. Your metrics measure what drives your success.
There is one fatal flaw with the vast majority of assessments I see clients use. Leaders and managers have to do backflips and play complicated games of Twister in order to interpret the data generated from an assessment. What’s absent is a direct alignment with organizational strategy, values, culture, talent, mindset and leadership.  This produces delayed decision making and reduced enthusiasm for accelerated results.

Promise #3. Your metrics measure an obsessive focus on the customer.
You no doubt organized your department or business in one of several strategic ways. Maybe it’s the markets you serve (USAA), the products you offer (BMW), your technology (Tesla), your financial returns (JP Morgan) or one of five others. But, in the most successful organizations I work with the one structure that generates the greatest returns is that of customer obsession. Notice I didn’t say customer success, I said customer obsession. In every nook and cranny of your business there is an unrelenting obsessive focus on the customer and making their lives better, easier, more productive…in ways they didn’t even know they wanted or needed.

Monday Morning Mindset Challenge:
I challenge you to jettison any assessment or metric that is not aligned with these three promises. Which metric are you currently using that is being violated by one of these three promises?

Living a Purposeful Life Versus an Accidental Life

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

This is a picture of courage and tenacity. This is a picture of one person doing everything they can to overcome adversity and live a more purposeful life.

Here’s what I mean.

Although I advocate for being purposeful in as many areas of your life as possible, there are events and times when you will not and cannot be fully prepared. On December 13, 2016, my family experienced a disaster that no one wanted nor were we prepared for.

My brother-in-law, Joey Sharron, was swimming in Mexico when two waves hit him from behind and pushed him headfirst into a sand bar. His neck was broken on impact and were it not for a woman standing on the beach 25 yards away and yelling for her husband to help him, he likely would have drowned and been pronounced dead at the scene.

He received 15 minutes of CPR without being resuscitated. As the lifeguards were stopping CPR, a physician from an adjacent hotel, who had watched the accident, ran for a defibrillator and arrived on the scene and started CPR again. His arrival and intervention lasted 10 additional minutes and, after administering four shocks, he revived Joey.

Emergency surgery was performed in Mexico and three days later Joey was transported to Mass General in Boston where he was diagnosed as a quadriplegic. He is alive, has no brain damage, and has an amazing mindset. He is, in many ways, preparing himself and his family to accept his prognosis merely as a starting point, not his finishing point.

Five months into Joey’s injury I’m am fully prepared to grasp the enormity of his injury and the impact this will have on each family member. There are aspects of caring for and living with an accident of this magnitude that is still beyond comprehension and leaves us crying, frustrated and ill prepared to deal with the severity of his condition.

But in the face of this accident, Joey specifically, and my family in general, have learned something new each and every day about what’s possible—possible for recovery, possible for Joey’s work, and possible for what we can do to make the healing process healthier.

Watching Joey handle this adversity in inspiring and courageous ways tells me that Joey can teach me a lot about how to approach life, adversity and leadership.

Joey has said that he’s never going to give up and that he knows exactly what’s going to be thrown at him physically and emotionally. He knows this is a massive test for his health and quality of life, but also for his wife, family, and business too.

He’s not naive in any way, but he believes that how he thinks about his injury and by the choices he makes with regard to his mindset and his rehabilitation, he can overcome the situation and lead a productive and healthy life. Joey’s attitude is transforming what I believed was possible about spinal cord injury and is preparing me to be amazed at what he accomplishes.

Monday Morning Mindset Questions:

  1. Are there areas of your professional or personal life where you’ve become tentative or given up?
  1. In what area of your life do you want to envision new possibilities?
  1. What aspect of your interactions with employees and or customers needs rehabilitation?

My Mastering Your Mindset Special Report provides 27 strategies for overcoming adversity and living a more purposeful life. You can find it here.

3 Lessons I Learned From Lino Tagliapietra

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

 

The Three Lessons I Learned From World Renowned Glass Artist Lino Tagliapietra

On the first Thursday of the month in Seattle the doors of the downtown art world are thrown open and galleries all across the downtown corridor welcome art aficionados as well as novices like me to enter and view their work.

Last night I attended the first Thursday festivities with friends that are not only well-educated art lovers, but patrons of several glass blowing schools. We started with a private tour of the world renowned glass artist Lino Tagliapietra’s new showroom and then headed to the Traver Gallery where I met Jim Mongrain and Preston Singletary. Here’s what I learned about art last night.

Guides open your eyes. My guides last night not only provided me with access to an exhibit I would not have seen without them, they made the evening more enjoyable because of their infectious enthusiasm. Having a guide is common sense while traveling to a country we don’t know. The same holds true for an environment we don’t know. Guides open doors, open eyes and make our trips more rewarding and fun.

Follow your eyes. My eyes were drawn to a particular type of glass while other types fell flat for me. I thought at first this was rooted in a lack of appreciation, but was reminded that in the highly subjective and oftentimes pricey world of art, beauty remains in the eyes of the beholder. From one forty year art collector I was told that when I bring art into my home it first has to be brought in through my eyes and then into my heart. If your eyes don’t land on art that speaks to you and opens your heart you shouldn’t own it.

Asking questions is essential. At first I felt intimidated about asking some of my questions. They weren’t very well informed questions as I am a novice in this world and I didn’t want to come across as a redneck who had just fallen off a hay truck. But I can’t learn or grow in my appreciation unless I ask questions. I was reminded that the only dumb question is the unasked question.

My experience last night confirmed for me that having some original art is important to me and surrounding myself with art that inspires me, uplifts me and is the expression of an artists talent, skill and love is something I want to have in my life.

I was reminded by guides, art and artists last night that leadership is so much less  a mechanical paint by numbers affair and considerably more an art form. Leaders are a guide that make the unfamiliar exciting and invigorating, they open our eyes to new possibilities and they can be the catalyst for asking questions that illuminate and inspire.

What would happen if this week you shifted your thinking and viewed your leadership as a work of art? What if you were a purveyor of beauty, artistry and engagement? My experience tells me that not only would your leadership become richer and more rewarding for you personally, it would become richer and more rewarding for your bottom line.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

Pablo Picasso

Are You Drowning In A Sea of Sameness?

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

Macy’s is closing 100 stores this quarter and their CEO says their problem is that they are “drowning in a sea of sameness.” For Macy’s there is nothing distinctive and valuable about shopping with them. Other retailers offer the same merchandise from the same equally disinterested sales personnel and don’t enthuse customers about their shopping experience.

Are you distinctive and differentiated in the eyes of your customers? Here’s how you’ll know. You are if you can answer a resounding yes to the following questions:

  1. Are you hearing a compelling yes from customers about your ability to make their lives better?
  1. Do customers see you as instrumental to making their lives more successful, profitable, enjoyable or easier?
  1. Do your customers refer their family, friends or colleagues to you with enthusiasm?
  1. Are you offering the same merchandise as your competitors?
  1. What makes you distinctive, memorable, enjoyable to work with, compelling and for goodness sake, valuable to your customer?

If you are not distinctive, differentiated and valuable you are going to drown in a sea of sameness just like Macy’s. If you don’t take time to answer the questions above there’s only one thing left to say. Grab a life preserver!

The Six Hour Strategy Session

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

In last weeks Monday Morning Mindset I asked what the number one question you wanted to have answered was. The first question I received came from Peter Marks. He asked:

“I want to know if I have the right organizational strategy. It’s a very competitive market for us now and I want to know if I’m headed in the right direction.”

Peter, there is one key concept about organizational strategy I want to share before I specifically answer your question. Here it is: customers don’t care about your corporate strategy. They only care about one thing and that’s whether your products or services make their life easier or better.

In turn, the best organizational strategy is to answer the question, how will we improve the customer position? This type of strategy; which can be completed in six hours maximum, is simple and powerful.

But here are some specifics. You’ll know you have the right strategy when the following five results are present.

  1. Your customers love your work. You hear repeatedly that you are making your customers life better, more successful, more rewarding or easier. This is not a one off type of comment, but rather a continual refrain from your ideal customers. Either in customer interviews or project completion meetings, clients rave about your work.
  1. Your employees live your strategy. You hear from each employee a clear, confident, compelling recitation of the corporate strategy in 60 seconds or less. When employees can do this they aren’t intellectualizing the strategy. They are living the strategy and that is a game changer for most organizations.
  1. Your sales pipeline is full of unsolicited referrals. Without question, referrals and recommendations to peers, colleagues, friends or family members is the greatest compliment you will ever receive and it is a clear indication that what you are doing is valuable and worthy of being referred. Your customers will only refer others to you if they believe that by doing so the person they refer to you will benefit from the introduction.
  1. Your P&L is flourishing. Not only are you receiving a full measure of unsolicited referrals, your current clients and prospects are willing to pay you for high value. They’re not bottom feeders looking for a deal. They’re savvy partners that recognize value and are willing to pay you for the quality of your work. This leads you to have a flourishing P&L.
  1. You’re attracting top tier talent. Not only are you receiving a continual flow of unsolicited referrals to new customers, you are also receiving a continual flow of top tier talent that want to work for you. The work you do and the value you provide has created the reputation of superlative work and an excellent place to work.

The bottom line is that an effective strategy works for the benefit of your customer, your employee and your bottom line. Which of the five results do you want to create this week?

What’s Your #1 Most Pressing Question?

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

 

I spoke with several CEOs and entrepreneurs last week and asked what I thought was a good question, but that in hindsight turned out to be a fabulous question.

I asked, “what is the one question you have about your work, business or personal life that has yet to be answered successfully for you?” I heard the following:

  1. How do we remain committed to our values in a marketplace that is increasingly misaligned with our values?
  1. How do I reduce my sense of being overwhelmed with my t0-do list?
  1. How do I grow my business with no money to invest?
  1. How do I get my board to be less scattered, more focused and actually read my email updates?
  1. What do I do if I can’t establish clear expectations with my employees?
  1. What do I need to do to feel more successful and satisfied?
  1. How can I tame my work life in order to enjoy my personal life more?
  1. Is my partner a dumb stupid jerk or is it me?

If you are like me, you may be fascinated by the unanswered questions people have. The unanswered question a person has represents the area of concern, hope, frustration and or desire, that when addressed successfully makes life easier and more rewarding.

Over the coming weeks I’m going to answer the most common burning questions you have. I will provide you with tactical and actionable answers to these questions.

So, let me ask you.

“What is the one question you have about your work, business or personal life that has yet to be answered successfully for you?

You can hit reply to this email or you can go to my blog and respond there. But,  however you choose to respond, be prepared to have your question answered.

What do you have to lose?

Growth Requires Being Comfortable With Feeling Uncomfortable

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

We all have a comfort zone, a place where things are known, safe, and predictable. However, remaining in our comfort can become the greatest inhibitor to accelerated performance. Without the discomfort of learning something new and growing beyond our current capabilities, we will not experience the greatest rewards possible.

I recently spoke with a client who said that the last three months of our working together were the most uncomfortable three months of his professional life. We specifically discussed the level of skill his leadership team had for being a magnet for top tier talent, executing on strategic initiatives faster and more reliably, and fostering the mindset of customer excellence throughout the organization.

These conversations led him to realize that he had the wrong people in the right roles, and in turn that his hopes for higher performance would be stalled if he didn’t make significant changes. This meant asking several employees to leave.

This CEO accepted that his dreams of elevated performance were dependent upon his willingness to make uncomfortable decisions and asked for ideas as to how he could become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. I suggested the following three strategies.

  1. Link your discomfort with your purpose

The most important growth catalyst is to focus on the idea, hope, dream or aspiration you have for your work or personal life. What is the one idea you will not tolerate leaving unfinished or undone? Hold this firmly in your mind when it comes to moving outside your comfort zone because without it change becomes intellectual and not emotional. Feelings propel you to change faster than facts.

  1. Associate discomfort with growth

This strategy is a mental jujitsu maneuver. Whenever you feel discomfort it is a reminder that you are poised for growth or undergoing growth. Poised for growth in the sense that you’re confirming the old way of working is no longer working, or that you are undergoing change and growing. Both send the message that change is underway.

  1. Fail forward faster

Discomfort doesn’t have to last indefinitely. Remind yourself that pain and discomfort last as long as it takes to achieve the result you want. The faster you make mistakes, learn from them and regroup the faster you’ll eliminate the discomfort.

Which of these three strategies will serve you best this week?

If you’d like to learn how to fail forward faster, drop me a line at hugh@clarisconsulting.net and we can discuss how my work can reduce your time to success.