“Motivate Me!”


What can you do to motivate and inspire yourself?

When I need motivation, where do I turn?  Who motivates the motivator?  Do I send myself balloons?

No balloons please…

Instead, I call a friend.  I have about five people in my life who never forget who I am, and what I am about.  They will always let me be petty, feel sorry for myself, and even listen to me grumble about life and whatever is bothering me.  They let me do this for about five minutes, then they say…”Hold the phone while I get a crying towel.”  Then, they have my attention.  I begin to see that I must sound like a real complainer.  They remind me of the people I have trained, the difference I have made to them and others.  They always let me know that my work is where my joy is.  This is my lesson to you: Find the joy and give up the pettiness!  At least, only let the pettiness linger for a short time.  It’s ok to get it out, vent for a little, but then breathe it all away, and focus on the good, the joy, the greatness!  These people love me and will always be there for me and not let me give in too long to the dark side.  The rule is always the same, let me vent just enough to be able to get over it.  Never let me vent to the point of whining.  This method always works!  The only hard part, is finding those five precious friends who will never let you down.

Ice cream works, too! Pralines and cream…yummy!

There is a list on my desktop called “Appreciations!”  There are a number of them.  I’ll share some with you here:
I appreciate my jobs.  I appreciate my view.  I appreciate the work I get to do.  I appreciate my excellent health.  I appreciate the sky.  I appreciate my tennis friends and my health to play with them.  I appreciate the trucks outside my window.  (I don’t know why they impress me so, but that one is RoadTech.  And they must be helping someone.  There is a moving van…see?)  I appreciate them all being there.  It’s a variation on “Count your Blessings.”  It works every time!  It’s also very inspiring.  @>—-  😉

My challenge to you today…Go make your own list of Appreciations.  Write it on a Post-it, and hang it by your computer, put it on your dry erase board, use the notes app on your phone, whatever works for you.  And when you get “stuck in the yuck” take a second to remember these Appreciations.  You’ll be glad you did!

~Judy

Who Has a Conscience Anyway?


Jiminy Cricket, THAT’S WHO! Just let your conscience be your guide!

Is there such a thing as INTENTIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS? INTUITION?

Those who use their INTUITION and LIVE by INTENTION can see they have power!

With the tech world growing and the privacy leaving us, (or maybe it already left) we may have not considered that our MIND is bigger than all the technical “programs” in the world so far. What the bots are trying to do is to duplicate the way we think. The bots are trying to give us “Artificial Intelligence,” and it’s working, so far. Just remember, the machine will NEVER replace feelings. Your feelings are never artificial, and they are uniquely your own.

You know when your gut seems to say NO? Whenever you feel like you are out of sorts…or something just doesn’t feel right. You are right! When will you trust that gut? When will you give in to the small voice in the back of your head that is saying…

“Don’t do this…it’s not the civil thing,” “It’s not the kind thing.” All it is – is a scheme you have worked out. 

I always use justification to check myself. I noticed once that almost everything I did was some scheme to “get something.” I had a plan, a goal, a means to an end; and then one day, it occurred to me that all those thoughts had another one behind them all, a justification. This answer is “why” you did. There is a great song in The Musical CHICAGO called “He had it coming.” It is a great song and very funny.  It’s like that! The justification for murder.

This was enlightening to me. Maybe you don’t have this “justifiable thought.” It reminds me of the Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio who sang, “Let your conscience be your guide.” I bought my last three houses on INTUITION. Of course, I tell others that I thought it through, but I didn’t. I am afraid if the others know how much I rely on my intuition and my gut…they would say I wasn’t thoughtful enough. I wasn’t logical enough, or doing it right. Who says? 

Why this all came up, is because I decided at the beginning of last year that 2017 would be “The Year of Intentional Consciousness.” This means that I would pay attention to how conscious I am. I would pay attention to the thoughts I had, and be vigilant about the negative ones, and give myself a little pat on the back when I noticed I was positive, kind, helpful, and thoughtful. I really loved it when I could be neutral, stop the judgments, the constant evaluations of everything and just listen – BE OPEN.

Here is what I learned:

·      My mind is so fast to the negative and I must be Consciousness of that negative before I can be positive. It’s so fast. It’s shocking. I’m like a machine.

·      I can’t just jump into positive when I am stuck in the negative and it’s justifiable. YIKES!

·      When I am negative, I always have a justification for it and I can usually make a case for it.

·      When I am positive about what’s going on in the world, others are quick to be RIGHT about their way being truth.  Are you on the left? Are you on the right? WHAT? No wonder we can’t get together. We have, justifiably, taken sides.

·      If I watch TV with an expectation of being upset, I am conscious of how right I am, and I start to blame the newscaster, the government, or the others who appear to have caused this mood.

·      I noticed I say, “I can’t,” more often than I ever knew I did. That’s not for me.

·      I teach Positive Coaching and I still have that voice that says something negative, and often limiting. The STARS aren’t limited. Ideas aren’t limited.

I guess, I got what I wanted. I got more Conscious – Intentionally. I love that because like Sister Mary Clarence said in Sister Act II. “If you want to be somebody, and if you want to go somewhere, you’ve got to pay attention.” This year 2018, I am going to do it again. This is the Year of Intentional Consciousness. I loved learning about myself and my thinking last year. Let’s see what this year will bring? Join me and let me know how this works for you. 

LAMA LESSONS:

1.      Whenever I notice I have an unkind thought…just notice it and make it just a little bit nicer.

2.      Don’t try to FIX the world. It really isn’t broken. It’s learning.

3.      Whatever you want…GIVE IT. Love, Time, Money, Energy? Give it, and see what happens.

4.     Watch TV less and play the piano more.  

5.      Notice negative or limiting thoughts faster. Then say, “I can think bigger and smarter.”

6.     Act yourself into right thinking. This works better and is much quicker than thinking yourself into right acting. This is agonizing and takes so long. Who has the time?

7.      Love yourself more because you cannot give away what you do not have.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Thoughts, Happy Trails, Happy BIG Dreamers, and Keep it up Innovators and Imagineers!

Judy McKee

Mystical? Magical? Vicious? 


Are you caught in a Vicious Cycle that damages your self-esteem or the self-esteem of your Agents? The cycle can look like this.

This is a Vicious Cycle of Negativity

I hear something wrong on a call, I get Quality to Agree it is bad.  I send out a graded form that tells the Agent what is wrong with the way she handled an issue or a person.  I set up a feedback session disguised as a “coaching” session.  In the meeting, I make sure the Agent sees the error of her ways.  I tell her how to do it right, or how we did it in my day.  I tell the Agent to fix this for their next evaluation. I hope they are repentant and willing to take the constructive criticism well and mend their ways. I watch and listen for improvement and wonder why I don’t hear or see much improvement. I am frustrated. (BTW so is the Agent and now lacking self-esteem)

This is a Vicious Cycle of Positivity

I hear the Agent make an error on a call. He said something that doesn’t please the Customer.  I ‘think’ that Agent needs more confidence and maybe a lesson on Handling the Upset Customers. I am the COACH and I am responsible to help the Agent improve. AND, to give him acknowledgment and show my “confidence in him.”  I set up a time to meet with the Agent for a coaching session. We listen to the recorded call.  I mention that I thought the customer was not happy with the way she was handled or the matter handled.  I ask the Agent if he felt the same.  Aha! We agree.  Okay, Perfect.  Now I ask the Agent, “What can you do in the future to make a situation like this a better experience for the customer?”  I tell the Agent, “I know you can come up with some good ideas and use them in the future.” (Building the Self-Esteem of the Agent) I tell the Agent he is doing a great job and I would like him to come up with some ideas for a way to handle this, and we can agree on it.

Why should you as the manager, supervisor, or coach build the self-esteem with Positive Coaching? If you build self-esteem instead of correcting, you’ll have a Vicious Cycle of Positivity:

  • Higher Agent Retention
  • Agent Pride in themselves and the company
  • Better Performance and
  • A Much Better Customer Experience

It doesn’t take a Miracle, and it isn’t Magic or even Mystical, but it is Vicious!  The fact that we don’t quite understand how to build our own self-esteem and that of our Agents.    What’s the Quickest way to Build the Self-Esteem of your Agents?  Okay WAIT FOR IT. . .

Tell your Agents how wonderful they are!  Find something good about a call.  Give them not only a compliment, but a specific opinion or a measure of something good they did.   People are so micro-managed and they have the computer listening in on their every word.  Imagine what it would be like to hear nothing but good stuff all day long.  Can you imagine that?  Is it mystical to say that…what you think is what you get?  What you think – GOES! Is it Magical when you take time to find something wonderful about your Agent, and then tell them? Is it a Miracle when they SMILE at you and feel proud of their work? If you spend at least one day every week, acknowledging your AGENTS, Miracles will Happen! The best part…the Vicious Cycle of Negativity will be completely obliterated! TA! DA!

*Share your stories with us.  We love to hear how our tips and coaching helps you and your company!

Rules for Making the Customer (and others) “Feel” Loved not just in February but all year round


  1. Remember that Communication is a function of INTENTION – In other words…what do you really want to accomplish on any phone call; inbound or outbound?  Think what your words mean, and say what you mean.
  2. Control the Path of the Call – Never control the person you are talking to, but always control or guide the call to the next place that will demonstrate to your customers that they are more important to you than anything else.
  3. When you want to ask a question – Ask it in a way that shows love, attention, interest, or understanding.  Never ask a question that you need to know for YOU…but ask questions that you need to know to help THEM.  This will never fail you.
  4. Love your Managers as well as your Customers

o   Everybody knows this but often they forget to say it.  Say “Thank you.”  One of my clients gave a bonus to his entire contact center and took them on a trip, paid their way, and paid for their day off while on the trip and out of 100 agents…only 2 wrote a “Thank You” note.

o   Being Grateful is a way of getting rich.  Pam Grout wrote a book called “Thank and Grow Rich.”  This is a play off on the famous book “Think and Grow Rich.”  If you take the time every day to “Count Your Good Actions and the Good Actions of Others” you won’t have time to complain, moan, or groan about things.  The world will react so positively it will seem like magic…Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.

  • “Think NOT what your country can do for you…but think what can you do for your country.” JFK

o   An old saying that bears repeating.  Ask yourself these questions: How can I support my Customer?  How can I support my Manager?  How Can I support my Associate?  How can I support my company?  Then…Watch what happens!  Yes, you can write me and tell me all about it.

  • Example: I was preparing to pay for the movie tickets for myself and a friend of mine because she was down at heel, low on funds, and a little depressed.  When she found out we could get in on this special day for only $5 each…she bought the tickets.  I let her do it because she proclaimed it made her feel so good to give to me.  Now that’s how it works.  She feels good because I didn’t buy the tickets.  Her self-esteem went up and mine did too.  We need to allow others to give to us some times. Right?
  • That’s Judy’s take on things this month.

Don’t Fight Your customers on the Way Out – Part 2


Empowering Your Customers by Asking the Right Question!

Judy and her team continued to work with the agents to help determine the cause of the customers’ rejection. Agents quickly had the answer (as they often do) when they told her that the customers were irritated at being asked why they wanted to cancel. Some customers even said, “It’s none of your business, just cancel.” It is a standard opening question in most call centers, and yet, it undoubtedly puts the customer on the defensive. “Why do you want to close your account?” or “What didn’t you like about the product?” may seem like decent opening questions but really causes the consumer to ‘put up their dukes.’ It was clear that the company had asked the wrong question. But how do we fix it? How do we find out why the customer wants to cancel without asking, “Why”?

The answer is to simply ask them about what caused their consideration, their choice, or what made them choose to opt out. We recommend an opening question like “May I ask what led you to your decision today?” This question gives serious importance to the customer’s right to choose. It empowers the consumer and opens a dialogue that will often reveal clues on the underlying reason for the cancellation. The approach does not just throw money or an offer at the customer. Instead, it acknowledges their choice to choose us.

Judy recently had a wonderful opportunity to work with a company that sold a continuity plan for cosmetics. After listening to a few calls, Judy got the sense that the customers felt that they had been tricked into buying some slick membership plan. It was strange; the cosmetics were AAA quality and sold at a very affordable price. So, why were there so many cancellations? After digging into the challenge, Judy realized that the real reason for the cancellations was too much product. No one could actually use all the wonderful lotions and creams in one month, so the customer was overwhelmed. Judy in conjunction with the call center management set out to re-word their scripting. Representatives were taught to simply ask, “What caused you to make that decision?” Customers responded well and were eager to tell the representatives that they had too much product. As a result reps started moving the customers to a smaller plan (instead of cancelling) and ultimately saved the company millions of dollars. Even if the customer still said, “No thanks,” they went away from the interaction saying, “Someday we will come back, we really love the product.” What a win…the company won, the customer won, as did the representative who no longer had to ‘fight the customer.’

Leaving a lasting impression…

As more and more industries gravitate to a centralized call center strategy, the need for Customer Care to serve as a differentiator is growing. We can continue to operate in a ‘business as usual’ manner or we can surprise our customers with a new approach. An approach that empowers our customer, one that lets them decide. Yes, we can give them options, give them all the features and benefits, try to find a plan or product that works for them, but, ultimately, if they want to go, let’s wish them all the best and not fight them on the way out.

At the end of the day, retention is not about the $24.99 product, or the 1-year membership that we are trying to protect, it’s about how the customer thinks about us as an organization as they are walking away. Let’s not deliver a knockout punch when a customer calls to cancel. Let’s hope we can all be saved by the bell. When that phone rings, let’s give our customers a chance to be the winners and unlike a boxing match, no one gets counted out, everybody wins!

My hope for every customer that touches my call center is that they walk away saying, “Well, their service was not for me, but when I called to cancel, they sure treated me well.”

What do your customers say when they are walking away?

Don’t Fight Your customers on the Way Out – Part 1


Round 1 – Ready to Fight?

Calling to cancel your membership or return a product? Put your boxing gloves on, it’s time to fight. It can be stressful these days when calling an 800-number to end your subscription or to return a product. As a call center savvy consumer, I know the representative/retention specialist on the other end of the phone is about to do his or her best to convince me to keep the service or product. Here comes the script, here come the offers, and that typical bad question, “Why do you want to cancel your service?” Ultimately, it is my decision, and yet, I am about to face someone over the phone who will attempt to talk me out of it.

Having built and trained world-class call centers over the years, and as customers, Judy and I have both encountered countless examples of how companies actually fight their customers as they are trying to close or cancel an account or return a product. Far too often scripts are written that unintentionally make our customer feel ‘wrong and stupid’, putting them on the defensive and more eager than ever to cancel. It is a challenging task to train your retention representatives to think in a new way, one that makes customers ‘right and smart.’

When did it become wrong for customers to change their minds? When did it become a fight with the consumer when they simply want to say, “No thanks”? Our representatives are really between a rock and a hard place. On the surface, it appears that there are two conflicting goals, two masters to serve; retain as many customers (and money) as possible, while helping customers cancel their account. Huh? How do I do both? Which one is more important?

Our answer is simple, but not always easy to understand or implement. We first need to recognize that this phone call, this interaction is most likely the last time that particular customer will talk to your organization. The choice is ours, do we make the customer’s last experience with our company standout as a struggle or do we help them along their way? What we need to do is make the customer feel right about calling in, right to choose our company in the first place, and, if we can’t find what caused their decision to cancel, say goodbye with a great spirit of caring.

It’s All About The Money….or is it?

Retention programs are often launched with a flawed goal at the center of their charter and the wrong plan for retaining customers. The ‘show me the money’ approach, or one that thinks we can merely throw money at the customer, does not work. The Beatles said it best, “Money can’t buy me love,” and this is true in the call center as well. Call center leaders often wonder why their retention programs are not hitting their ‘save’ goals or why they are not protecting enough revenue for the company. Have we ever considered that maybe the reason is something that money could not fix?

Several years ago, Judy trained a large credit card company in retention. Customers were calling in large numbers to cancel their cards and the retention plan had representatives immediately offering $20 incentives and when that didn’t work they offered $50 or NO annual fee. Management was dumfounded when customers continued to say, “No thanks.” Company executives could not understand the problem and spent countless hours trying to understand why customers were refusing their offer. What was wrong?

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?

Signed,

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

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.