Passion…Ya Gotta Have It!


Every successful person in life, no matter what they do, have one quality in common…they’re passionate about they believe in & how they go about it.

Passion drives you to levels you’ve always wanted to achieve, but, perhaps, didn’t believe you could.

Passion pushes you to do things…even when no one is looking.

Passion doesn’t allow you to settle. It won’t allow for status quo or “that’s OK”.

Passion means that you always want to be the very best at what you do. Better than what you may have expected from yourself. Better than anyone else.

Passion means that you care 24×7. That you ALWAYS stand up for what you believe in, regardless of what anyone else may believe or think.

Passion can mean that you may be the lone wolf out there, the only one waving the flag while others merely are “doing their job”.

Passion will, and must, consume you. Entirely.

Yes, I get the work/life balance. I really do. But passion will always be asking for a little more, just another 5 minutes.

It will not allow you to settle, compromise for anything but the very best…both out of yourself as well as from others.

I served as the Service Director for the U.S. Citibanking Center for several years, in addition to putting out a whole bunch of fires along the way.

And while I knew a whole lot about banking & Citi & customer service & client satisfaction & leading people & other “important things”, I was never satisfied about how much I knew or how well I knew it.

If I couldn’t get that knowledge into everyone else’s head, then everything was for naught.

We once had a joint calibration session with about 40 Directors & managers down here in San Antonio. That’s where everyone listens to the same call (live or recorded) & then independently, rate or grade the call based upon current guidelines for the business.

Often times, you’ll find that people’s interpretation of what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s passable, what’s unacceptable will vary GREATLY!

Just like with music & art (or the type of car you like), this ain’t an exact science.

People have different expectations of & for their people. At times, they’ll be “too protective” for fear of “demotivating someone” or “making someone look bad”…including themselves.

“Looking good” is bullshit, plain & simple. Way too many people, managers (not leaders), organizations, businesses are absorbed with the “importance” of looking good.

Try this method instead…

Let’s do good, act good, believe in good so that, as a result, we’ll then look good!

“Hollow good”, appearing good without any real substance, is nonsense.

You don’t think that your customers can see & feel that nonsense?

I’ve been places where the overall employee “very satisfied” rating was in the low 60s.

We climbed a couple of points one year & they started patting each other on the back for a job well done.

Pure nonsense.

64% very satisfied means 36% were NOT very satisfied.

If that doesn’t keep you up late at night, then you simply don’t care…enough.

Same for customer satisfaction.

And internally-measured call/work quality.

While it’s always right to be pleased with improvement & strides taken in getting better results, you must not ever be totally satisfied.

Maintaining status quo just means you’re falling behind.

Improving just a little equates to basically standing still.

Hey, figures lie & liars figure, so don’t get all caught up in the hoopla…unless & until you’re truly happy with your organization’s results!

That’s what being passionate will do for you.

Oh, forgot all about that call monitoring calibration session…

We’d often do these sessions with a few service representatives, a manager or two, and s couple of people from our Sitewide Quality Monitoring group.

And, a lot of times, me.

It was amazing how often the perceptions of how the call went differed greatly.

This one particular time, we held this big session with, like I said, ~40 members of our management team.

We listened to a call from the wife (a joint signer on the Checking account with her husband) where it was pretty obvious that her husband inadvertently paid the phone company twice (via on-line banking bill payment), but failed to pay Visa.

The wife had received an early Collections call from the Visa card issuer about being delinquent. And the 2 payments to the phone company were for different amounts (made 1 day apart) so it was pretty obvious what had occurred. One of the payment amounts matched the amount still owed to Visa.

The service rep on the call wasn’t helpful at all! Told the wife that she couldn’t (wouldn’t?) discuss the details with her as it was her husband who performed the transactions on-line.

She advised the wife to have her husband call Citi when he got home from work.

The wife was incredibly frustrated with the situation & the inability (unwillingness?) of the rep to help her…DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE WIFE IS A FULLY-AUTHORIZED SIGNER ON THE ACCOUNT! She was on the verge on tears by the end of the call!

Hell, she could withdraw all the funds or even close the account if she wanted without her husband’s knowledge or permission!

But the rep wouldn’t help her as “she didn’t do the bill payments herself”!

We went around the room to grade the call.

EVERYONE (but me) rated the call as “good” or “very good”.

I abstained from voting until everyone else finished (with their nonsense).

Then I let them have it!

“This was one of the worst calls I’ve ever heard!

“Did anyone hear the wife almost cry toward the end? How could we possibly have a good or even, a very good call when the customer is that frustrated & almost crying? Since when does the customer’s experience in the call not play a role in grading a call?

“And you know that as a joint signer, she has full rights to ANYTHING & EVERYTHING ON THE ACCOUNT! That includes ATM cash withdrawals that her husband may have done, checks he may have written, stop payment orders he may have placed and, yes, bill payments he authorized on-line!

“I don’t give a crap what your stupid procedures say about speaking with the customer who actually performed the transactions himself so as to avoid possible confusion. But the powers & rights of a joint signer supersede all that!

“And why instruct the wife to tell her husband to call when he came home from work? Why not establish a 3-way call (with both the wife AND the husband) right then & there to resolve the issue if the rep believed that she needed to speak directly with the husband?

“If you were the husband, is that the type of service you would’ve wanted your wife to receive in order to correct an obvious error? I mean, who pays 2 different amounts to the same company but just happens to omit paying another bill without it being a mistake?

“What were all of you thinking???”

There was complete silence.

I then proceeded to preach for ~15 minutes on what real customer Service is all about. Reinforcing the belief that in addition to mastering all the different & appropriate policies, procedures & rules that are in place, you must NEVER leave the customer…and your OBSESSION to ensure that you’ve met & EXCEEDED the customer’s needs & expectations…out of the equation.

That’s what being passionate means.

We handled over 10
million calls a month…8MM via IVR/Interactive Voice Response & 2MM manned.

Passion means you worry about EVERY single call that we get…and that you’ve prepared your people to properly handle each one.

And that you regularly check to see how that execution went.

And that EVERYONE is on the same exact page as to what’s expected in order to meet & exceed our customers’ needs & expectations.

Don’t just act like a role model…BE ONE!

Thanks for your time.

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