ASK Maureen – Coaches Corner – Fix Push Back

Coaches Corner – Maureen Tzouris PCA Coach Speaks Volumes

Branding Issues and offer-3Agents Push Back!

Dear Maureen, Our company recently went through a corporate restructuring and have installed new compliance requirements. We are now requiring all the agents to brand the company at the end of their calls and this is receiving some push back from the agents. Do you have any suggestions?  ~We-love-our-brand

Thank you so much for your question! This scenario is actually quite common and is experienced by many managers and coaches. First, I would suggest setting some clear expectations so that all agents understand what is being asked of them. Secondly, I would suggest holding small breakout training sessions to include some suggestions on what and how exactly the agent can say to close every call with the branding, perhaps to include role playing. And, lastly– I would recommend sharing this information from the ‘three party promise’ perspective–this is where the company, the customer, and the agent all WIN!

I would explain that:

1) the company would like to brand the close because they are confident that their customers have all been completely satisfied during the call and want to extend and build upon the good faith practices.

2) The customer or member will feel confident that the agent cares about all of their concerns and questions and was handled professionally! (We’re in this together!)

3). The agent can take pride in themselves because they will sound much more professional, well trained and proud of their workplace. As with all new changes it takes a little time to make the adjustments so I recommend regular coaching to support the agents.


Tips on Networking for Coaches

Would you rather read a romance novel or make love?

Romance novel or REAL LOVE EXPERIENCE? –     From the MIND of MCKEE

I agree with everyone who says: We as training instructors have to open up to these amazing new ways to teach and train agents who are on the phones with REAL people.

My ideas would be these.

1. Do all of the definition work in advance. Make sure every lesson has a pre-training Web Based Training (WBT) part that will engage the learner in “knowing” what they do not know. Finding out what you do not k now that you do not know is such a good thing!

2. Pre-Training is a must and can be done easily with WBT. The Instructor Led Training (ILT) portion can be faster, more interactive and completed in less time when the trainees understand the meanings of things in advance of the class room experience.

3. Homework and short tests help but will not give the learner “experience.” This is KEY…THIS is ESSENTIAL, THIS IS ABSOLUTE. I TAKE A STAND ON THIS! (caps on purpose)

Math can be learned on paper. Instructions on how to do something like put the groceries in the bag can be demonstrated and visualized and understood. BUT, when the words say one thing and the tone says something else, that takes skill in a whole new way. Say, “He didn’t murder his wife!” five times and each time put the accent on a different word and see how the entire meaning changes.

My biggest FEAR is we won’t use people on the phones at all someday. (SAD huh?) I can see the writing on the wall…can’t you?” ROBOTS everywhere. They are there now but not one hundred percent. YET.

Right now we need people desperately because we need to learn to talk to one another, (Are your children talking to you?) engage one another in conversation, talk with a customer and not AT THEM. This can be learned intellectually but “Communication Skills” require people to WAIT-FOR-IT…. to Communicate, Converse, Relate And Engage…with each other. This requires Skill in the following areas.

  • Listening to the other person, not interpreting but hearing the other person and discovering the emotional needs of that person with a willingness to help.
  • Acknowledging what you hear without judgment in your tone of voice and with sincere acceptance of the other person having a point of view that may or may not agree with yours.
  • Making some type of comment that is not threatening, smug or arrogant, not too long or pushy , that lets the other person know that you heard and understood them and that you have a comment on it, support for it or simply a concern for the person and ‘their’ issue.
  • And in order to continue this intercourse, ending your side of the conversation with a question that does not make the other person feel wrong or stupid while engaging them by talking in a way that makes them feel smart and right at the same time.

In order to do this, you may have to transform your way of handling others. You need to work with people and hear their tone, their emotional needs, the feelings that are being expressed, if you don’t do that, you may be able to pass the Quiz but can you actually converse with another human being???

To me, it’s like baseball…if you read about it, does that make you HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK?

Like riding a bike. If you read a book about it, took a web based training about it…Can you ride a bike?

When you read a recipe do you actually taste the food? or Customer Service Sally

It’s like love, do you want to read a romance novel or “love somebody?”

Let’s love our Customers enough to talk to them. Let’s love our Trainees enough to give them what they need to know and then communicate to them with INTENTION.

It’s simple, it isn’t easy.

Create your training program in three parts.

1. Lessons, DATA, Definitions and Information

2. Classroom: Refresh the information and teach Communication with INTENTION to have your trainees “experience” the lesson. Role-Play and Practice listening, acknowledging the other person, speaking and commenting about IT and asking questions that move the conversation along.

3. Quiz and test and interact on E-Learning in small bits and pieces so learning can be incremental.

It can be done but remember Judy’s advice…Don’t CAVE on Communication, Sales, Customer Service or Retention…Take a STAND!

Call me and let’s talk about it.

~Judy McKee

Coaching and Complacency – YUK!

Dear Judy,

I am a Contact Center Quality Coach. I am bewildered and do not really know what to do about these agents who seem to be complacent. They meet their numbers, they do the least they can do and still maintain their job. They don’t seem to care if they do better. How can I motivate them? How can I inspire them? I don’t even understand their attitude.   I always want to improve and do better and they seem not to be on the same page…. What do I do?


Bewildered and Uninspired

Dear B U,

OH! Boy! Now this is a great question because it pushes every button I have. I am a ‘go-getter’ and I have never understood people who were not that same type. It has been my practice to avoid them and try as I may they keep on showing up.   This, of course means they will keep showing up because (you know this I have said it many times….) “anything you resist will persist” and I RESIST them. So, here they come again.

Well, well ,well, Is there nothing new in the Universe? Here is my sage advice and I only say that because I am old and I keep trying to figure out what makes these people tick and since I have failed miserably, I have this word for you. In the words of Vinnie, “fagetaboutit.” Or In metaphysical terms…”Let THEM Be”. Now I know that’s not enough so here is my serious take on the whole issue….ready?

  1. Calling them “complacent” is a judgment call. You decided they were that way. Oh, I know it looks like they were complacent and THEN you decided to call them that but try this on for size…you decided they were complacent and then you gathered the evidence to prove you were right. It’s called projection creates perception. BUT that’s….too hard to handle. I know.
  2. SO, Instead – Remember in the L-A-M-A Training and in The Positive Coach Approach we said….GIVE UP your judgments and FIND the emotional need of the OTHER person??? Well, this is it! Here is your chance to see if you have any power in the Universe. YES! You DO!
  3. Stop judging them and naming them ‘complacent’ because that makes you seem better than they are and they can only do one thing with this….RESIST YOU. If they are meeting their numbers and doing what it takes to PASS. Leave them alone. If you can still create a ‘safe’ environment for them to be exactly the way they are, wait for it……they won’t have to stay in the same place.
  1. Here is what will happen if you DO NOTHING:
    1. they will stay the same and you will be at peace about it.
    2. they will do something wrong or fail just to get your attention
    3. because they no longer have to resist your judgment call they may start to “man-up” This is all good news.
  2. The BAD NEWS you don’t get to be RIGHT anymore but you will be happier at your job.

If you insist others change to make you happy…you won’t have fun at your job.

If you open up to thinking you only have one job and that is to make them better at their job and you do it with love instead of fear or judgment…. they will thrive. …or NOT. It will up to them. (Adult Principle in Positive Coach Approach)

It is the height of arrogance to think we have to change other people.

Instead…change ourselves. That is really the only person we CAN change. Rules by J. Glass.

  1. Show Up On Time
  2. Be Prepared
  3. Do What You Said You Would Do
  4. Do All This With A Great Attitude.

Leave the REST up to the Universe….that always says YES.

Judy McKee

GOOGLINESS and All That Jazz

For years I have had a small but persistent itch to get even with all the ‘techies’ who make my life a problem. I know it’s generational thing. Still, I have a problem with the same things.

  • Accountants near the call center want the ‘agents’ to be QUIET. I want them to be loud and full of energy, vitality and pzazz!
  • The GEEKS of the world are out to get me… They usually do because they have brains and apps and I only have guts and all that jazz.

Last night I saw a movie that made me feel so good. I ended up liking the ‘geeks’ and loving the fact that that the star of the movie was a ‘salesman’ who saved the day in the end. I love to be right! Sometimes the most positive people in the world just don’t fit in. They seem to be out of touch with GOOGLINESS. But they are really never “out of touch with rhythm and blues.” (Billy Joel wrote that line)

Watch the film and see how you can learn this lesson if you needed it like I did. The ‘geeks’ are here to stay and boy oh boy do I need them! I now will give up my resistance to them and keep in mind…I have “googliness” it’s a feeling of team spirit and believing in myself and others. The Movie is “Internship!”

I give it 5***** because of the great message. It is funny and now I want to get even more in touch with GOOGLE, GOOGLINESS, and having FUN at work. I always did have that last part.



Good News Bad News – Finance World Here We Come

Well, isn’t it about time? We are finally taking the The Positive Coach Approach back  into the finance world.  We once trained Discover Card and took their Retention Business up by 50 points in a month using L-A-M-A.  We once helped American Express COLLECT money from their at-risk people without making their customer “feel” wrong or stupid.  (They kept their accounts, too.)  It works and now we are taking The Positive Coach Approach all over the world.  Thank you world for waking up to THE POSITIVE WAY of DOING THINGS and how good it works.

The Positive Coach  Approach is like an inevitable right of the people! Who said that ? Lincoln? Anyway, we know and we know we know…it’s time to make the Customer feel right and smart to do business with you.  STOP Using those BAD, BAD OPENERS.

Yesterday, I received a a cold call from Debra (no last name) from some company (no company name) initials…who asked me:

1. How are you?  ( I don’t know her, I didn’t recognize the company Initials..It wasn’t IBM)   2. They were going to have an executive from their company near my office on Monday..would I be available at 11? (SHE ASSUMED I would REALLY WANT TO MEET WITH A STRANGER AT MY DOOR ON MONDAY AT ELEVEN?)

Cold Callers are STILL USING THIS OLD PLOY???  WHAT???      How is this happening?  How are the companies of the world still teaching this? Where have all the NEW SMARTER THINKERS GONE?   WAKE UP Businesses that call to other businesses!  STOP THIS  find the PAIN mentality!  THIS phony “How are you?”

How about this instead?  Please help the business by asking for permission after offering something for the prospect.   (Respect and Permission Work Better.)

How about this?  “Good Morning, May I please speak to Judy McKee, (YES) Ms. McKee, you don’t know me but my company MONEY, is one that saves small businesses who need to make their collections higher, a great deal of money.  Do you have a minute to talk about this and find out if you have any need for our services?”   Now YOU ARE TALKING.

Assuming I would let a stranger just come over at 11 on Monday, someone I never heard of and I do not  know anything about,  and I do not know what he/she wants/ like I have nothing to do/ like I would be stupid to miss him since he’s in the neighborhood. WHAT??. THINK ABOUT IT!  Its About Time to give up negative and assumptive attitudes because…people are wise to it and THEY don’t like it.



“Love-Me-Trust-Me” in the first 20 seconds.

Hi Everybody, I know I have not written for a long, long time. I cannot help it.  I am so opinionated, I am afraid to write.  Lately, I have been watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory.  Sheldon is a genius who does not understand sarcasm, sex, or emotions.  He writes letters to the T.V. Networks and has no understanding of why they don’t pay attention to him because he is so smart and of course literally “right.”  He is so amusing.

You know our training says Never Make the Customer “Feel Wrong or Stupid.” We say this for ONE REASON ONLY…to make sure that when the Customer Calls, the Customer has a “safe” environment in which to communicate.  No other reason at all.  It’s not a trick; we are not trying to “find the pain.”  We would like the Customer to tell us their pain or problem or issue without us having to intrude on their “safety.”

Here is my question today. Why do companies’ think they can “trick” “cajole” or “manipulate” the customer into anything?  If they do succeed in this, ‘shame on them.’  The price will be huge because you may get a one-time sale but not a life time customer.  When the relationship is built on trust, you can bet the customers will come back.  They will never come back if you are the least bit “Un-trust-able.”

See what I mean?  I am opinionated and sometimes I feel like Sheldon because I am right. It doesn’t work to be right if you have to make others wrong in the process so instead of being right, let’s make the customers “feel” right and smart to call us.  Try that for a whole day and you will be LAMATIZING your customers.  They will love you for it.

Here is how to create “Love-Me-Trust-Me” in the first 20 seconds.

Instead of asking for DATA in the first 20 seconds of the call, how about saying something like:  Hello, this is _____ your name with _____ (Company Name) How may I help you today?”

  • Customer says: I would like to have help or find out some information about ______?
  • “You called the right place.  I can definitely help you with that.  May I have your name please?”
  • Okay, Mr. Jones, How can I help you? Or WHAT made you call us today? Or What prompted you to call us today?  Or Exactly, what happened? Tell me everything and leave nothing out. . .(it’s a statement like a question)
  • If it’s RETENTION and the Customer says: “I want to cancel”  here is what to say:
    • I am so Sorry to hear that, Mary. You have been with us for a long time or You have been with us for such a short time. (whatever is true)
    • May I ask what caused you to make that decision?” The greatest question in the world because it acknowledges the decision of the customer while trying to find out the cause of the decision.  This question does not attack the customer but respects the customer.  When the customer answers, the agent knows what to fix.

Sheldon Cooper and I have very little in common except the desire to be “right.” I have to test every theory I have and I can say without a doubt that if you do not make your Customer “feel” RIGHT and SMART to TALK to YOU…you are taking too many risks.  Sheldon has no other friends except the ones who are geniuses like him and put up with him so they will have some friends, too.  Your company could do it RIGHT and STILL be RIGHT.  Make your customer “Safe” to talk to you. Then, watch those numbers go up, up, up.



Leaning Out – Leaning In….Who knew?

Leaning OUT!

Who knew that when I had heart palpitations the other was really the idea of “leaning-out?” I told my very literary sister, (university grad and Teacher of Literature for 30 years) that I didn’t want to participate in all these ‘Social Media” things. She immediately identified me as a “lean-out person.” This got me to thinking and I checked it out. I think my sis is right!

Here is a quote from Money Magazine by:Elaine Pofeldt

“Maybe you’re eager for a job that allows you to make a greater contribution to the world. Or if you’ve been working 50 to 60 hours a week for decades, you might just want to slow down to free up more time for your family, hobbies, and other pursuits. Indeed, in a recent survey, only one in four MONEY readers said their top career priority was to land a promotion or raise; nearly half wanted more flexibility or more meaning.”

I think I am “leaning-out.” This doesn’t mean I won’t work till I drop because I actually have a job that is very, very fulfilling but I am in my 70’s and still lead this company. My goal now is to completely pass-on the legacy to the younger Sally Cordova (my daughter and brilliant writer of The Positive Coach Approach) and allow her the job of taking us to a new place. She already has done this for 9 years but now she is going to get the “con.”

Here is what happened. I started sweating and getting slight heart palpitations when discussing Social Media with our newest and youngest, exciting trainer who came aboard the first of July. She set us up on Tumblr, Instagram and other sites to be more “socially network savvy.” She told me about the many opportunities I would have to contribute daily or weekly to these sites with blogs, Motivational Quotes and Pictures for the Social Facebook, LinkedIn and others to view and check out. I began to feel ice cold sweat roll down my knees and, “feel” inadequate and not supportive of our newest and best trainer. “What’s wrong with me?”

Since I am still the head of this company, I am going to turn over the “Social Network” stuff to our wonderful Kacie Parker. I am going to ask Sally Cordova (daughter and partner) to take full responsibility for the The Positive Coach Facebook Link and do what I do best….create curriculum, market the business with “telephone calls” but most of all “Train The Trainers.” I call it T-3. I may finish the books I have started but not completed as well.

What a relief!!! I actually love “Leaning Out!” Thanks Jan for the idea. Thanks Kacie for taking us into this wonderful new adventure in the life of McKee Consulting and Thank you Sally for being young energetic and choosing our new trainer, Kacie Parker. she is going to make a huge contribution to our company. Welcome to the world of “Making a Difference, Kacie.”

In conclusion, last night I was watching ‘Necessary Roughness” and John Stamos (a delightful addition to the show!) said as an exit line : “Isn’t Life a Page Turner?” I can hardly wait to see what’s next while leaning….out. ~Judy

SOCAP Take-aways! SYMPOSIUM Learning Works!

SOCAP ROCKS! And I don’t mean just music.

OOH…and AAH! Is the word of the day, the week the month, the year! (Can I copyright it first?)
How long does it take to get the brain going? All you need is the visualization of a certain genius named, Jer THORP. He opened our eyes to a new way, not kidding, a NEW WAY of visualizing stats and ideas. The visuals were gorgeous, entertaining and some of them even made sense to me. I am so right brained, I never understand stats and stuff but he presented it in 3D. “Help me RHONDA♫…I am a suit.” His hair, t-shirt and jeans should have signaled the age of the “geek. It did! And I am in love with the idea of GEEKS on CALL.

Michael Tchong
, of UBERTRENDS, did it for me. You know what I mean. He told us of the FUTURE… You know that old JOKE, “I have seen the future…..GO BACK!” He made sense of so many things about the “millennials.” HEY! Kids, I might live to 100. My fear is if he is right, I will outlive my IRA. Sorry, Rich, Steve and Sally, you kids will have to make it on your own, there will only be money for me. I am going to save my money. As Mary Kay said years ago…”When you are over 50, HONEY, you need CASH!” I used to say, when I felt tired, “Keep going, I can sleep when I get old.” but I never knew I was talking about waiting for a rest until I am a hundred. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I am feeling very good about BIG DATA….nobody knows what it is either. It has many meanings. I am going to stick to working with PEOPLE. I think this BIG DATA thing is never going away but I also think the Call Centers of the world can use the information to find out what their company needs in training. That is when they will call me and Sally! See? It all works out alright. Like they said in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: “Everything always works out in the end. If something doesn’t work out, Trust me, It is not yet the end.”

Leslie O’Flahavan
gave us some wonderful tips about presenting using stories. I sent Sally and she loved it. I am an old dog but I can learn new tricks. Oh YES I CAN! Sally will tell me everything and I will “get it.”

SOCAP Symposium means Workshops and they were real. I found out from the Leadership that “Learnings” is a noun. I was able to work hand and pen, with the best people I have ever met. They were involved, engaged and they made me and Sally feel right at home. We had RED badges to identify us as NEWBIES. I liked the warm welcomes so much, I may wear red forever. (shush, don’t’ tell.) I have so much to say about this wonderful organization SOCAP. I will write more tomorrow. Changing the game changes the way we work. By GABE ZICHERMANN changed me forever. No wonder my certificate of accomplishment isn’t enough. More tomorrow and maybe you can give me some ideas on GAMIFYING (that’s a real word, I think) the LAMA and the Positive Coach Approach. Margaritaville was very COOL, we danced the night away. ~Judy

Easy Call Center Coaching 1-2-3

Check out this short video.  This is the year of the INTENTION Coach!!!