The Road to Recovery Will Be Paved With Good Intentions

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Economics 101 tells us that this recession, like any previous market downturn, will end and soon we will be working our way up the other side of the bell curve. I like to think of this market slowdown through the analogy of a forest fire. As devastating as a forest fire can look through the eyes of man—and those who stand too close to it—it is a natural part of a forest’s life cycle. Native Indians in North America or Aborigines in Australia would set fires to maintain growth and keep vegetation at its best. The economy follows a similar process and when it got a little too overgrown—with a strangle hold on future growth—it was inevitably pulled back. Like an unmanaged forest fire, it got away on us and unleashed its fury. However, I do see some positive outcomes from this unprecedented time as it is a great opportunity to separate the weak from the strong and allow organizations to really show customers that they deliver on their brand promise.

The organization’s front-line people and their true desire to represent it with an honest and skilled approach to customer service excellence. I sometimes think back to my mother saying that "being courteous to others and having good manners does not cost anything." If this is true, why have so many of us managed to carve out a career in an industry that is teaching common sense? Without question, working in the front-line is not easy and will never be, mainly due to challenges such as remaining engaged during repetitive tasks, problem solving, the yo-yo effect of positive and negative people, managing increased customer expectations and emotions with a heightened and ever-changing demand on communication skills. All this coupled with a sense of doom and gloom emanating from every paper and media station. It has never been more difficult to apply common sense so, if anything, I would like to take this opportunity to do just that.

By Dale Smith, Bridge Training and Events