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Writing is part of almost everyone’s work day. It’s a task that is harder for some and easier for others, but everyone can improve their business writing skills. Proficient writing takes practice and as with any skill “practice makes perfect.”  The best communications stand out because they are clear, concise and effective. “You can have all the great ideas in the world and if you can’t communicate, nobody will hear them,” says Kara Blackburn, a senior lecturer in managerial communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management. A good part of most everyone’s business writing is done by email. Let’s explore

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Irate, rude, unhappy and sometimes abrasive customers can drain you emotionally. Do any of these challenging customer interactions sound familiar?    “The information you sent me is wrong! What’s the matter with you people? Can’t you read?” “My bill isn’t RIGHT! And this is NOT the first time, either! You all NEVER get anything right!” “I WANT MY MONEY BACK, AND I WANT IT NOW! I AM SICK AND TIRED OF ALL YOUR MISTAKES, AND I’M TELLING EVERYBODY I KNOW HOW YOU ALL REALLY ARE!” If you’re handling complaint calls or talking to customers who are hot under the collar,

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Wasting time online is one of the primary ways workers can drain productivity from your team. Some employees kill time mindlessly surfing the Web throughout the work day. Others do their personal business online rather than taking care of your business. Access to social media has increased the temptation to check out at work and check in to what’s happening with friends and family away from the office. Technology, and particularly access to the Internet, can boost productivity if used appropriately but certainly hurts if used as a distraction from work rather than a tool for it. Chris (manager approaching

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Effective teamwork is critically important for excelling in a highly competitive marketplace. Dysfunctional teams are bad for business. Not getting along with a team member at work is unpleasant for everyone and harms productivity. An ongoing personality clash may be unspoken but obvious, and the disagreements that result can cause other team members to take sides and sort themselves into cliques. The results can be troublesome for your organization. With the proper skills, it’s entirely possible to turn this kind of thing around. Addressing it earlier is best, before things escalate. Let’s look at some important things to do—and not

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The Customer is always right” is an instructive saying that directs those dealing with the public to make customer satisfaction one of their highest priorities. This can be difficult when a customer has an issue with your organization and truly believes they are in the right. They may be making demands that are impossible for you to meet. So, what’s the best way to handle these situations? A key point to keep in mind is that the customer is always right, in their own mind, although not necessarily in reality. It’s critical not to disagree with the customer because that

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Today’s post is first in a two-part series with Nancy Friedman, speaker, author, customer service expert and president of “the Telephone Doctor,” from St. Louis, Mo. As her own PR representative she’s appeared on CNN, Fox News, the Today Show, Regis and Oprah, along with a number of print publications including the  and various local/regional shows. Nancy is candid about the how, when and where of the ways she pitched herself to these shows. In today’s post she talks about how she secured these placements (you could too) and gives details on why the appearances on Regis and Oprah produced less ammunition

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The goal of every customer interaction is to have a positive outcome, keep the customer’s business, and have them tell others about their great experience. As a customer facing team member, you’re the front line in that regard. You can have a positive effect on the frame of mind of each customer and the eventual success of the transaction. Influence is part of leadership ability, and leadership skills are stepping stones in any career path. Smart companies encourage career development, and smart employees jump on a chance to learn. Customer service professionals who master the art of influence are going

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Rude behavior is the enemy of good customer service. It hurts interactions with both external customers and internal customers: your co-workers. Research tells us that almost half of the people surveyed have walked out of a business or otherwise stopped a purchase that was in progress all because of rude customer service. Billions of dollars are sent to the competition that way. And then there’s the poor image that rudeness can create for your entire organization. Lost sales means lost profits and lost profits means lost jobs. Further, rudeness between employees has been known to escalate into violence, so the

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Conflict in the workplace is inevitable….and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. If people care about their work, they’re going to get emotional on the job from time to time. As a leader and a mentor, you need to develop skills to deal with these common, interpersonal conflicts among members of your team to keep the work and relationships on track. Although uncomfortable to witness, even at times distressing, these situations offer the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Stepping up to handle a conflict and doing it with skill can build understanding and trust and can pave the way

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Teamwork is defined as the combined actions of a group of people, especially when they are effective and efficient. Companies thriving in today’s economy all share one thing in common: excellent employees. The people within a company comprise its biggest and most valuable asset. Teamwork has become a crucial part of today’s business environment, but the process of individuals working collaboratively as a group towards a shared goal doesn’t just happen. Individuals bring a myriad of personal traits to the effort, and while some are helpful, some are not. The saying, “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch,” is

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