Your R.A.T.E.ings and Your Success — Part 2

Today is my father’s 84th birthday.  Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Competence is one of the keys to career and life success that I discuss in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  Competent, successful people do four things well.  1) They create positive personal impact.  2) They get things done – they perform.  3) They communicate well – in conversation, writing and presentations.  4) They build and maintain strong relationships with the people in their lives.

As I pointed out in a blog post yesterday, relationship building skills are very similar to customer service skills.  Recently, I had the opportunity to read a very interesting book called In Pursuit of Something Better.  In this book, authors Dave Esler and Myra Kruger, discuss how US Cellular, a mid-sized company thrives in an industry dominated by heavyweight.  They describe how US Cellular’s CEO, Jack Rooney, has built the company on four key values: customer focus, respect, ethics and pride.

I was taken bysome of the ideas in In Pursuit of Something Better, especially how Jack Rooney has used those four key values to build a strong, thriving company.  I think that Jack Rooney’s ideas apply to creating a successful life and career too.  For example, you can build and maintain strong relationships with the people in your life by choosing to make respect, ethics and pride the cornerstone of your personal brand. 

On pages 159 and 160 of In Pursuit of Something Better, Dave Esler and Myra Kruger say…

“(US Cellular’s) model insists that superior results come from customer satisfaction, and that this satisfaction is the product of the customer’s total experience with the company.  This definition goes far beyond happiness with a particular product or service.  It encompasses all the interaction, every point of contact between company and customer.  It recognizes that the thrill of acquiring a hot new handset will quickly be eclipsed by a sales rep’s misleading promise or a customer service associate’s evasive response.  The underlying premise of this business model is that customers want, recognize and appreciate fair, honest and above board relationships in which they do no need to be constantly on the defensive to avoid being ripped off.”

In yesterday’s post, I described my R.A.T.E. (Responsiveness, Assurance, Tangibles and Empathy) model of relationship building.  I pointed out that what you get – the tangibles – account for only 25% of a relationship.  The other 75% — responsiveness, assurance and empathy – are what makes or breaks a relationship.

When you make respect, ethics and pride the cornerstone of your personal brand, you are demonstrating to the people in your life that: you are responsive to them and their needs; they can trust you (assurance); and you understand their needs and wants (empathy).

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are competent in four main areas: creating positive personal impact; getting things done – performing at a high level; communicating well – in conversation, writing and presentations; and building and maintaining strong relationships with the people in their lives.  Relationship building skills are similar to customer service skills.  If you focus on the other person, give him or her your respect, act ethically and in a manner that demonstrates personal pride, you will be able to build and maintain solid relationships with the important people in your life.

That’s my take on customer service skills and relationship building skills.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. Deanna McNeil says:

    I genuinely enjoyed this post because the principles outlined here serve one well in any setting, including even new technologies such as Twitter et al. Thanks for such continuously timely advice.

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