Business Filming Method

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Writing your success script – Tip #5

Tip #5: Writing your success script – Defining Customer Service code and values

Let start with looking at the following scene from the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994):
Man: [aggressively] What do you want?
Ace Ventura: HDS, sir, and how are you this afternoon? All righty, then. I have a package for you.
Man: Sounds broken.
Ace Ventura: Most likely, sir. I'll bet it was something nice, though.

It's a type of customer service scene. What can we find at this scene?
1. Rude and impatient customer
2. A customer service person who seems in the beginning to behave nice, polite and service oriented
3. A customer service person who seems in the end, as... not very clever, tactless and... about to get punched in his face ...

Organizations face more and more cases like the above and find real need to define service values and Service Code – which are consistent and clear - and based on the specific organization real life cases. The goal is to prevent such situations and design a uniform corporate policy regarding the service issue. Service Code and service values are gathered to form a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which serves as a central managerial and control tool of the corporate service issue. The goal of the SLA is to enable the management to assess more accurately the customers' expectations, so it includes definitions for:
• the company's services' portfolio,
• the various corporate divisions dealing with customer service
• the various service processes
These definitions are based on clear defined service values, which serve as the vision and the mission of the entire corporate customer service staffs, managers as well as employees.

One may say that SLA is an agreement between the service provider and the customer. The importance of the SLA is by providing a clear visualization of the principles, boundaries and expectations generated during the service process or interaction. This visualization enables the organization to meet its business objectives, analyze real situations, measure the results and learn from the conclusions. This method allows the company to comply with the highest service standards compared to its competitors and proved to be a cost effective solution.

For those of you who interested to read an excellent and thorough article about SLA, I recommend Amit Mehendale's, which I read recently:

After completion of forming the SLA, the company faces a bigger challenge - building a system-wide work plan to implement the principles and processes.
The corporate senior management will probably ask the following questions:
How to share this knowledge with the entire corporate customer service staff?
How to provide the managers with new tools to start implementing the work plan?
How to get feedback on the principles of the Service Code so it will be connected to daily ongoing corporate activities?
What can we learn from these feedbacks that will enable us to make changes and adjustments in the work plan during its implementation?

Let me show an example for dealing with these questions raised during a comprehensive project we carried out a year ago for the IT Division of a leading financial company.

Case Study

With the entry of a new head of the division and during a significant re-organization, the management decided as a first step to define a new and up to date SLA. The process also included writing a comprehensive work plan for the upcoming 3 years. The challenge defined was to carry a SLA launch conference at the end of this first step.

The most important targets were:
• To involve the entire Division staff (about 350 employees) in this process and get feedback from their personal interpretation of the service values in the Service Code.
• Exploit this creative process to provide managers with leading and team guiding skills
• Put the service issue in first priority for the entire company's staff with accompanying BUZZ.

Employees and managers took part in this process creating commercials for each service value, where the most popular value was the value of the personal attitude.
The idea was to give an interpretation through a short story with a clear message to the importance of values such as excellence, availability, cooperation, personal responsibility, initiative, caring, listening, transparency and professionalism.

The issues raised by managers as challenges to deal with were:
"We're going to stop talking and start doing"
"We're going to be available for our customers and colleagues at any time and place"
"We're going to stop telling stories to our customers and colleagues"
"We start to be positive and initiate"

The goal was not to generate just slogans but to implement in practice what they stood for.
The managers passed a preliminary workshop about screenwriting and groups guiding, and met with their employees for brainstorming sessions.
Each group produced a number of scripts for commercials, with reference to the story itself and casting of the participants for various production roles (screenwriters, directors, actors, art, technical crew, costume designers etc.).
After selecting 10 scripts, each group was photographed for its commercial.
All the films were broadcasted at a big Service Code launch conference of the company, accompanied with stories of representatives of the groups about the process they went through.

These testimonies, presented in different ways, carried the same message, I found in the following quote:
It is one of the greatest compensations of life that no one can help another without helping themselves

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's currently about a year after the launch project ended and the division staff are working intensively to implement the values presented as slogans in their own films:
The change of the service level starts with you!
Service with vision!
When all of us are united the service net is perfect!
No service – a big nightmare!
When it is important to you - it's more important to us!
Your success - Our Mission!
Our knowledge is always at your service!

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about Service training videos and CastEffect Filmmaking
I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Question For You: Every process has its major milestones – what are the next steps the management should take to ensure the ongoing improvement of the SLA work plan?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #6 - writing a screenplay about competing with changes of re-organization process

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Writing your success script - Tip #4

Tip #4: Writing your success script – What do they REALLY mean? The importance of subtext in sales and service situations

Don Corleone: I'm gonna make him an offer he won't refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party. (The Godfather, 1972)

Ask yourself: how many times each day you are selling something to someone? An idea, an initiative, a message, a product, a service?
In such a situation – would you admit that most of the time you were concentrated on what you had said and not of your customer's response?
And if you were concentrated listening to what your customer says - do you feel that you really understood what he was trying to convey to you in his words?

This "transmission" I talk about is transmitted in two channels simultaneously: The open channel (the text itself) and the hidden channel (non-verbal – the speaker's real intention). This hidden channel is called "subtext" in the cinematic jargon. Sometimes, there is a full similarity between the text and the subtext, but the real challenging situations are those which suggest a clear dissonance between these two.
Subtext, or the ability to "read between the lines", has a crucial role in communication between the seller and the customer during the sales' process or service's process. The success of both parties in this process (which brings to close a deal) is related to, among other things, the mutual ability to read the mutual subtext and its correct interpretation.

The world of subtext is a non-verbal world. It is communicated by facial movements, gestures, intonation. In a film script the subtext has a very important role in the characterization process and in building a dramatic conflict between the characters. This visual medium allows the actor to express the same sentence on two levels simultaneously - verbally, as written in the text, and in a non-verbal manner as subtext.
For example, the phrase "I love you." I want to introduce an alternative to direct this scene: the girl says this sentence while lowering her gaze, lowering her voice, holding her head, blushing and tearful – we as the audience experience her great excitement (situation shown in the case where the love of the couple is in danger or in a situation where the girl finally decides to reveal to her friend her hidden love.)
Second alternative can be: A girl says “I love you” as she stands motionless, her hands pressed tightly to her body, she is very pale, looking terrified and frightened. We as spectators feel that she is in great danger, she is very afraid of the character whom she told this sentence (her lover?) or afraid of some other people that are listening to them.
Note that as spectators we experience enormous difference, while listening to the exact same sentence. The screen writer will write subtext in the script to assure that the right message will pass to us, the spectators, most effectively.

Now let’s go back to the world of sales and service and find out how we can use subtext during sales training using the following case study:

Case Study
Sales or service phone call provides a particularly interesting challenge in understanding the subject of subtext. In such a type of communication with the client the visual sense becomes irrelevant, and thus one cannot interpret the subtext through mime or gestures.
In one of the call centers we trained sales and service representatives in "reading" subtext during the first 30 seconds of the dialogue. Along with the representatives we’ve classified three typical figures of clients: childish, adult and authoritative. All figures underwent a characterization of their features and repeated patterns of behavior.

After this phase, participants wrote conversation's scripts with each of the characters, when the emphasis was on three stages of the conversation: conversation opening, the dramatic turning point and the decision as a result of that turning point.

The practice aims to develop and train the participants' senses to identify the customer's subtext by his way of phrasing things, his tone, his breath and background noise, in order to avoid emergence of extreme conflicts during the dialogue - screams, tantrums, phone slams, threats, getting angry.

Participants wrote different scripts based on dialogues with these three types of customers. These scenarios demonstrated the suitable working methods resulting of the right identification of subtext. Then, once staged, filmed and edited, these scenarios have become internal corporate training videos.

The result - increased quality of service (the talks were shortened, the tone has become more service like, there weren't significant customer complaints), the high sales results were following and the motivation of service and sales representatives improved very significantly.

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about Sales training videos and Service training videos.
I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Question For You: In cases of multi-cultural corporate communication training – how can we implement subtext technique?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #5 - writing a screenplay about the meaning of service values – "service beyond imagination"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Writing your success script - Tip #3

The Third Tip: Writing your success script - a management tool for intuitive decision making

"You cannot live your life to please others. The choice must be yours". (White Queen to Alice from "Alice in Wonderland", 2010)

This morning, a team leader in financial company faced a difficulty in making a decision how to resolve a conflict created between the two veteran employees of his staff. Many managers face such situations on a daily basis. The manager has two ways to deal with this challenge:

One way is to ignore, deny, suppress, threaten...
Another way is to use own intuition: take the time to think, imagine, step into one's shoes, identify with, find associations from the past...

In my opinion intuition is a combination of many factors, two of them are using imagination and storytelling, based on Dr. Daniel Cappon approach described in his book "Intuition and Management".
Creating a story (from a narrative view and images' slideshow views) reminds me the work of a screenwriter. The fundamental difference between a screenwriter and novelist is the ability to describe only the situations that have a visual justification because the final product is something that has to be photographed. One will never find a sentence like "He was extremely moved at it" in a script. Instead he will find: "He was excited, tears were streaming down his face, and he was shaking all over, his daughter standing next to him supported him so he wouldn't collapse."
This method of writing in such a detailed way is in my eyes an excellent exercise technique for developing intuitive management.

The exercise addresses a situation of a conflict between two employees and is performed in two stages:
Background: you as a team leader should take a decision regarding a conflict that broke out between two employees in your team.

Step One: Try to imagine in great detail, as if you had to write a future scene, how you will handle this conflict: What things you will say, what tone and volume you will use, will you sit or stand at this moment, will you move your hands. On the other hand - each of the two employees are speaking to you in this situation - what will each of them say? What can you learn from their face expressions? How will they move their hands?

Step Two: Change roles and step into each of your employees' shoes. Write the script again from the point of view (POV - point of view) of each one of them.

What are the differences you have found between the two versions? And what can you learn from that? Do you "see" the right solution for you for this conflict? If so - write it as soon as you can!
If you try to analyze the exercise you will quickly get to the conclusion that what made you change the way you think is the second stage, the stage of the POV (Point of View).

The next case study will demonstrate you how it worked in practice.

Case Study
Recently I conducted an interesting conference for 60 executives of the national major call center. The purpose of the conference was to raise awareness and generate insights for the annual training process, based on patterns of change management and creating a new intuitive leadership approach.
The metaphorical theme of the conference was sports, the work was done by discussions in the plenum and six subjects were defined as success accelerators: Individual added value, breakthrough, corporate communication, effectiveness, management procedures and dealing with crisis.
The managers were divided into three groups according to three types of POV inspired from the sports world: coach, player and audience. Each group had to record three stages by each POV: Definition of the ideal leader by his functioning and characteristics, setting constraints that prevent him from performing these activities and finding solutions (tools and actions) in order to overcome these barriers.
Each phase during the teamwork was translated into a cinematic scene, was dramatized by the managers and presented the situation from these three POVs.

At the end of the conference, many insights were gathered into organized management code, and each of the managers was asked to choose single insight, and implement it in his group during the following month.

The conclusion:
The operative ability to find a solution and make a decision was achieved by creative thinking and looking at the situation from different perspectives. One of the managers told me: "The ability to leave my private circle, to look at the situation from a different perspective, telling myself the story from this perspective - this is a tool that will help me in many future challenging situations of decision-making".

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about CastEffect Management training videos and CastEffect Leadership training videos.

I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Question For You: In which cases do you recommend using POV techniques for training and learning processes?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #4 - writing a screenplay about subtext in sales and training situations - what do they REALLY mean