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By Steven Kelly of Shamrock Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Steven is an IBDEA Board Member
ICT teamwork and the pursuit of even more info Shamrock Group also incented ICTs to conduct outgoing calls, during down times, to get account information.
The incentive was set up as a team challenge: Contact accounts to get a decision maker’s email address, then to ask permission to send paperless statements and invoices to the decision maker via email (or fax, as an alternative).
Shamrock Group established a team goal per work week. On any given week, if the goal is achieved, each ICT is rewarded a bonus. The dollars spent in the bonus check are dollars saved in postage costs and paper waste derived from mailing statements and invoices.
Speaking of bonuses: The process has allowed the company to start sending email alerts and product information to the newly created distribution list.
A return to the basics: Manners and respect
Shamrock Group also implemented some mannerly basics.
Attire. Instilling the principle that “Customer is King,” and that one would not dress like a slob to meet Prince Charles, Shamrock Group has implemented the following, believing that customers would subtly observe these details:
Shirt tails tucked in
A “re-tuck” mid-day
Clean hats, worn straight
Protective footwear for all employees who work in the field.
The company also invested in such apparel as T-Shirts and sweatshirts, which can be worn without ironing, so that employees have a consistent image.
Manners and language. Shamrock Group encourages proper, professional language and actions. It doesn’t cost a dime, yet it’s priceless for company image. Such “big bang/small investment” details include:
“Yes” vs. “yeah” / “No” vs. “nope”
Use of “sir” and “ma’am”
Opening doors for others
Starting a dialogue with “Good morning/afternoon…”
Seeking out an account’s manager on duty to shake a hand and ask if everything’s in order
Zero tolerance for employees’ rudeness to anyone, including another employee
Zero tolerance for tardiness or being out of uniform
Perhaps the hardest of all: Encouraging the use of, “I’m sorry; we’ll try harder”
Orderliness. The company instilled a sense of respect for employees’ surroundings, using this checklist:
If someone happens to peek inside a company delivery truck, is the cabin orderly and void of garbage?
Are office desks tidy? Garbage cans empty?
Are the outside areas surrounding the company building tidy and void of debris?
Is all graffiti removed 24 hours after having been defaced?
Is the weed-free environment respected?
The Shamrock Group conducts role playing with various employee:customer/prospect scenarios. All it requires is time and people who are eager to participate and learn. Awkward at first? Perhaps, but what every participant discovers quickly: What you learn from the practice will make the “real deal” more professional, more efficient — and oftentimes, easier.
It’s easy to see such ideas presented as common sense; it’s another thing to truly implement them – consistently, day after day after day.
What the Shamrock Group discovered: The investment is personal: It’s in the passion and staying power it takes to maintain such practices. Hard work? Absolutely … yet consider the alternative.