Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Technology Department Creates “Raving Fans”

I would suggest that all tech support staff read the book Fish! (or better yet watch the video).

Fish! is a short read about Pike’s Fish Market in Seattle, and how they became “world famous.” The book is based on how an executive used the Fish! philosophies to turn their department around. The video actually interviews people from Pike’s fish market. I play the video for my tech staff each fall to get them back into the customer service mode.

They base their success on four things:

Make their day! (The customers, that is. Our customers are the teachers and staff we support.)

Choose your attitude! (Come to work expecting to have a good day, and love your work)

Be there! (Listen to your customers, don’t put them down or half listen while you are thinking of something else.)

Make their day! We ask all our staff to enjoy what they do, to have fun, to listen to the teacher, and to leave them with a new website, a new or updated app, a new tip, a note on what was done to their computer, etc. to “make their day.”

I try to get new equipment for my staff to “play with” since we need to decide if we want to introduce new items district wide, and also know how to use it if we are going to support it. The “toys” help make their job fun. We also take time to share stories and jokes with each other, and neat things we do with digital cameras and videos with our own kids and families as well as things like digital music (iTunes and iPod) and TiVo. But we are always learning!

Another book that I picked up this summer and am ordering a copy for each of my staff is “Raving Fans!” by Ken Blanchard. This book says that having “satisfied customers” is not enough, because they may be satisfied with poor service that they are used to getting. You must create “raving fans” that brag about the service you provided after you are gone.

In one example a cab driver picked up a customer at his hotel. The driver was dressed very neatly, opened the door for the customer, offered him his choice of coffee or decaf that he had in thermos bottles, water or a variety of sodas that he had in a cooler, a current newspaper and several current magazines to read, his choice of radio stations or CDs to listen to, and an offer to be quiet or to talk about any subject other than politics or religion (to avoid arguments). This cab driver no longer sat in cabbie lines, but took reservations because he had created “raving fans.”

Several other books that pertain to a technology department are “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D., “Whale Done!” by Ken Blanchard, "The Fred Factor" and QBQ (The Question Behind the Question." "Who Moved My Cheese?" talks about change and how different people react to change. "Whale Done!" is about improving staff performance by recognizing what they do well and minimizing criticism. "QBQ" deals with asking "what can I do to help solve your problem" rather than "that's not my department." "The Fred Factor" is about how you can do extraordinary things beyond your job description.

As I hire for our tech team (we have 16 full time staff in our district of 7,500 students) I look for people skills and an interest in technology rather than existing technology skills.

Have fun! (This is easy to do if you enjoy working with technology and constant change.)

Fish! Philosophy

Raving Fans!

The Question Behind the Question

The Fred Factor

Whale Done!

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