Showing posts with label client relationship management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label client relationship management. Show all posts

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Build an Internal Conflict Resolution System - Workplace Conflict

Build an Internal Conflict Resolution System - Workplace Conflict

The principles to create an effective conflict resolution system for your business or organization., Build an effective conflict resolution strategy for your business or organization!

Benefits of Conflict Resolution at Work

Here are some other benefits of conflict resolution, if conflict is effectively addressed in organizations. Also, see our blog about how conflict is good for business.
Also, be sure to see our blog on how conflict can be used to decrease business risk and promote growth within an organization

How to develop a conflict resolution system

So, what can you do to transform conflict into a good thing in your company or organization? Set up an internal conflict resolution system for your organization or business. Here are some tasks and/or principles to keep in mind when developing a system., Build an effective conflict resolution system for your business or organization!

Top 10 tips to build a conflict resolution system

  1. Customization. Customize the system based on organizational and ‘people’ needs.
  2. Self-responsibility. Everyone must take responsibility for their own behaviour and needs. If you have a problem, address it, do not avoid it, unless you believe you can let it go or it will help you resolve the issue in the long run. If something was said that bothered you, find out how to address it effectively. Read about having a constructive confrontation (or discussion) and how to take self-leadership and self-responsibility in conflict resolution.
  3. Leadership Support. Management, HR, and Unions must encourage and support conflict resolution training and encouragement managers and employees to manage conflict in a mutually respectful way. This includes the provision of resources, human, special and financial, in order to ensure that conflict resolution is easy to access for all within the organization. Without leadership support, conflict is likely to escalate and become destructive and hard to fix (how to fix a relationship)
  4. Build Team Cohesion and Trust. Ensure that you encourage all employees and managers to build personal relationships, and integrate this into a weekly agenda of activities. When things do become challenging, individuals will be more likely to have enough Trust to manage these challenges effectively. Trust will also be essential when planning, designing and delivering a program. See our blog on the Definition of Trust and Building Trust.
  5. Participation: Ask for the participation of all stakeholders prior to the development of a plan for the organization.
  6. Problem Solving. Encourage interdisciplinary and interdepartmental problem solving (levels of conflict). If employees and managers are given the opportunity to share concerns and brainstorm on how to resolve conflicts, the organization is more likely to gather critical data to prevent issues from hurting the organization overall. See our blog on the levels of conflict within an organization.
  7. Listening and Feedback Training. Encourage active listening and how to give and receive feedback. If employees and managers are able to effectively listen to one another, they will be empowered to self-resolve many of their issues, often without the help of management and HR. This means more time spent on critical issues. Never underestimate the power of active listening.
  8. Meta-communication. Make it part of your weekly routine to talk about how you communicate, how to improve interpersonal relationships, and how to address potential conflict situations (Top 10 Tips on How to Resolve Conflict).
  9. Self-resolve Conflicts. In addition to training on interpersonal communication, employees and managers must be given the skills to deal with conflict before it becomes an issue. It might entail other types of training or services, such as those related to stress reduction, whereby these might improve one’s ability to better address personal issues that might lead to conflict. It might also encourage activities such as meditation and yoga in the workplace, to help people feel centered and capable of addressing issues in a healthy way. This is also covered in our blog on self-responsibility, managing anger and our self-resolution tool.
  10. Change Agent. Find a mediator, conflict coach and project manager to design, build and implement your conflict resolution system. Be sure to find a mediator with years of experience in workplace conflict resolution to assist in this process. We’ve discussed some of the essential tasks and principles to keep in mind when setting up an internal conflict resolution system. However, they will be able to do a needs assessment to determine the needs of the organization, and recommend how these may be achieved. 

In summary, conflict can be used as a positive force of change in your company or organization if it is addressed effectively. Leave your recommendations and questions on the blog in the comments section below. Also, try using our web app to set up your own system. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Improving CX Customer Experience for Mediation Clients

Improving CX Customer Experience for Mediation Clients

Mediators and conflict resolution experts should use the power of CX to build and manage a successful mediation practice. - 
Improving CX Customer Experience for Mediation Clients

CX Solutions for Mediation Services Clients

We know that being a successful mediator requires a wealth of knowledge and experience in conflict resolution. For a job in mediation, we pursue academic studies and seek voluntary positions to start a successful practice. We are accustomed to learning from our clients and from our peers before, during and after the mediation process to improve our practice. We ask ourselves; what worked, what could work better, and what must be changed to improve the process.

Unfortunately, we often overlook the importance of looking at our mediation services practice as a business. Looking at our clients as customers can provide a great deal of insight that can increase the viability of our mediation services business.

How to improve the customer experience

Key to any successful business is treating the customer as the prime resource. If we don’t have customers, we don’t have a business, and if we don’t have a business, we can’t put food on the table. This blog is designed to help you as a conflict resolution expert develop new insights into running a successful alternative dispute resolution practice, especially one focused on providing mediation services. Questions include: how to improve the customer experience, ways to improve customer experience, improving customer satisfaction and implementing a customer experience improvement program.

1. Customer experience CX for mediators and conflict coaches

A mediator’s potential customers use technology as a primary form of communication, so start using technology in your practice, or risk missing out on future opportunities. Our blog on generational differences provides a great deal of insight into this area of improving your mediation services practice.  

2. How to improve the customer experience

In addition to using technology in new ways, you should look at every client interaction as a learning experience. This is key to CX customer experience. Constantly seek feedback through active listening, and record important data to review later. This is the key to know how to improve the customer experience, or CX. A focus on CX customer service means understanding your customers in new ways. For many mediators, this includes a customer satisfaction survey after each mediation services session, for others it might include discussions with clients during the session(s). A follow-up survey might provide an additional tool to better understand the impact of your services. If clients were unhappy with the CX you provided, a follow-up survey gives you another opportunity to address their concerns and create some positive word of mouth. We recommend using each of the aforementioned methods and any others you find useful. Before you even start your practice, do a focus group to better understand your client, so that their first experience is positive.

3. Ways to improve customer experience

After understanding your customer better and what they want in terms of an experience with you, then address the ways to improve their CX. Look at all of the data collected and conduct a SWOT Analysis, which is a means of analyzing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your business. Business consultants frequently use this tool when helping companies better meet their customer’s needs. Ask for the help of a neutral third party or facilitator to conduct the SWOT Analysis so that you have someone to challenge your thinking and provide more insights into the customer’s feedback.

4. Improving customer satisfaction

In addition to addressing weaknesses in your CX, think about what you can do to add value to your mediation services process. 

5. Implementing a customer experience improvement program

To improve the CX, we recommend developing a CX program with the help of a service design specialist, such as Mediate to Go’s Antonio Starnino. The Service Design network describes service design as the:
“…activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers”

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Modernizing your Practice. ODR Online Dispute Resolution

Modernizing your Practice. ODR Reflections

Modernizing your Practice. ODR Online Dispute Resolution

1.   What is ODR?

  • Definition: Use of technology to resolve disputes between parties
  • History: People have been providing coaching over the phone for years, as well as moderating discussions online (during the reign of chat rooms at the start of the internet). In 1995, Ebay commissioned UMass to conduct a pilot project between buyers and sellers – using email to resolve disputes, with great success.
  • Scope: Can be an array of technologies to facilitate communication and dispute resolution, including messaging, moderation, video conferencing, case management and more.
  • Types: Can be used in self-resolution,[i] consultations, coaching, facilitation, training, mediation, ombuds and workplace investigations, arbitration, etc.
  • Subject Matter: private consumer dispute resolution (Paypal and Modria), public dispute resolution (BC Consumer Protection) settling claims/automated negotiation (SmartSettle – many municipal disputes), Fair Outcomes), arbitration (eQuibbly), self-resolution tools (Mediate2go), etc.

2.   Why ODR?

  • Access to Justice: Improve access to justice through easier access to courts, affordable and quick assistance,[ii]
  • Immediate Results: Improve access to more immediate dispute resolution,
  • Improve Negotiation: Facilitate negotiation with tools using mathematical models,[iii] games theory, etc.,
  • Go Green: Reduce environmental footprint, whereby documentation is completely digitized, parties need not drive to meet practitioners, etc.,
  • Reduces Costs and Inefficiencies: parties spend less money on conference calls, transport and travel, their issues can be resolved more quickly, (but it might be very expensive when it could be for free in the court system),
  • Already happening: Most mediators today communicate over email with clients. However, they are not doing so with encrypted messaging. ODR can improve current processes of practitioners.
  • Consumers Demand: People want quick resolution. See our blog on Modernizing your practice

3.    Concerns with ODR? (Also see concerns related to the process below)

  • Change: Fear and discomfort of change and using technology. Change comes slowly the field of law. Many law firms waste vast amounts of paper; when technology could save money and reduce the environmental impact. The status quo is easier to maintain, even if it would be better. Some might fear the loss of business/work if disputes are being settled privately.
  • Resources: Investing in ODR might divert funds from other court needs?[iv] However, this assumes that the current system works well (ignoring the inconveniences and inefficiencies of court administration: rolling briefcases, documents cannot be filed online, judgment often not sent electronically),
  • Generation Gap: People might not be comfortable with technology.[v] Not exactly, even older generation is using technology.
  • Barriers to Access: People might not have access to technology? At the same time, it might provide more access to a greater amount of people.
  • Advocacy: Some ODR systems do not facilitate/ensure legal representation. But, participants may nonetheless consult lawyers…
  • Lack of Consultation? In BC, the bar was apparently not consulted,
  • Jurisdiction: Concern that settlement decisions might not be enforced.
  • Quality and Oversight: It might be better to encourage parties to seek ODR within same jurisdiction, so they may have easier access to complain to the relevant ADR association and eventually court,
  • Lack of Training? Mediators might not have sufficient training to ensure effective security protocols, etc.

4.   Current trends in ODR in Canada and elsewhere

  • Virtual Courtroom Environment: eCourtroom of the Australian Federal Court,
  • Small Claims ODR: Address disputes within court system that are not expensive to resolve, but cost the system a great deal,
  • Empowerment: Tools to empower private practitioners
  • ODR Tribunal: BC Government offers independent civil resolution for family and small businesses as created via the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act,[vi]
  • Self-Resolution: Self-resolution tools to improve client’s skills in conflict resolution,
  • E-Commerce ODR: Cross border e-commerce transactions – see UNCITRAL,
  • Internet Domain Name Disputes: - see ICANN
  • BC Consumer Protection – see BC ODR

5.   Security implications of doing DR on the Cloud

  • When using multiple platforms, one must determine if the site is encryption (now, AES is standard)
  • What’s next? Off the record (OTR) encryption, which uses a combination of AES and other functions to provide “perfect forward secrecy and malleable encryption”, in order to move towards keeping online conversations private, like in real life.

6.   Implications for ODR processes related to ethics, party satisfaction, etc.

  • Informed Consent: Informed consent to enter clients information into online database, newsletter, or use it electronically, as some clients might be more comfortable with you using paper, like therapists,
  • Quick Access: Some parties would be happier to get things over with, have quick access, which might lead to satisfaction.
  • Electronic Distance? Some suggest that electronic communication leads to “distance”, and that mediation works best when parties are physically with them.[vii]

  • It’s a very traditional view, that doesn’t recognize how online is a valid and daily form and medium of communication.
  • Online learning has been researched, and has been proven at times to make it easier to participate in activities, and improve “the quality and quantity of interaction.[viii]
  • Also, “the benefits of using technologies in an informed and pedagogically sound way can be felt across sectors”, especially taking into account “Learners needs, motivates, learning styles and prior experience” and more.[ix]

  • Less Control? Mediator has less control of the process?[x] Again, this might be an assumption. 

7.   Generational expectations related to technology and DR on the cloud


8.   Resources

Modernizing your Practice. ODR Online Dispute Resolution

[ii] Sizing up online dispute resolution, Canadian Bar Association,

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] The Pros And Cons Of Online Dispute Resolution: An Assessment Of Cyber-Mediation Websites,

[viii] Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning, Journal of Public Affairs Education,

[ix] Effective Practice with e-Learning , JISC Development Group, University of Bristol

[x] The Pros And Cons Of Online Dispute Resolution: An Assessment Of Cyber-Mediation Websites

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Modernizing your practice: mediating on a cloud, get found online and get more clients

Modernizing your practice: mediating on a cloud, get found online and get more clients

Mediate2go: Modernizing your practice: mediating on a cloud, get found online and get more clients
“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future” – McLuhan, The medium is the Message: An Inventory of Effects
Things are constantly changing in the world; this includes the world of conflict and conflict resolution. Young mediators have started to enter the field, some studying dispute resolution at undergraduate and graduate levels, some coming from backgrounds in social work, psychology, applied human sciences, communication and nursing (see How to Become a Mediator in 11 Steps). Some have interdisciplinary backgrounds, bridging mediation training with other fields, such as law. Many new mediators might not opt for a law degree, and may simply get some training in relevant areas of law through continuing education. 

The clients in mediation are also changing. GenX and GenY mediation clients have been raised with technology, and now use this in how they create and solve problems, how they interact with one another, how they act as consumers in the world and what they expect from professionals (such as mediators). (please see the UN Report). This is also the case for GenZ clients, who might be members of peer mediation processes or sit with parents within family mediation processes.
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Mediators from this generation are also different. GenX and GenY mediators are re-defining what is considered best practice in dispute resolution. They use technology to build and maintain their practice, to connect and retain clients, and ensure credibility through offering customer relationship excellence with cloud-basedcase management. They adapt their processes to meet client needs and expectations. There is no longer a monopoly on mediation practice, and now, lawyers do not have the only right to act as third party neutrals.

Mediators from GenX and GenY have a new way of working. No longer do they walk into the mediation room with a bulky briefcase of documents and promote themselves through the newspaper - they walk into the mediation room with their tablet or iPad, and promote themselves successfully through social media. See our blog on how to use our cloud based case manager.

Some mediators and their clients no longer use email (let alone the phone), some only communicate on FaceTime, Skype, Twitter and Facebook, etc. These mediators have already adapted to the marketplace and know that their current and future client base is already in the cloud. These cloud mediators know that consumers will not just pay high prices for mediation because someone has a law degree. They would rather opt for an affordable mediator with a great reputation and credibility - which isn’t based on the letters at the end of your name.

Mediate2go: Modernizing your practice: mediating on a cloud, get found online and get more clients

Key Mediation (practitioner and client) trends per Generation:
(See UN Report for key generational differences and similarities)

GenZ: 2000 to present

GenZ, which according to some is the “conflict generation” due to having been raised during various world conflicts, is also known as the generation of digital natives. They have been raised with technology, and know not a world without it (see Wiki). 

1.    Diversity is normal: This generation was raised in an extremely diverse environment. These generations expect others to respect diversity in all areas of service, even if they do not themselves do not belong to a particular group. This respect and comfort with diversity is likely to spread to technology.

GenY: Born between 1981-2000

Often portrayed as egocentric, GenY’ers were validated and empowered when they were raised, and expect safety and security. This generation is characterized as being natural at “networking, multiprocessing and [being] global-minded” (UN Report).
1.    Instant Service: GenY members want things right now, so online dispute resolution offers a quick solution. If you’re not there as a service provider when they want it, they will move on. If you are asked as a mediator to provide a document, they want it right away. They want their copy of the settlement agreement immediately, etc. Luckily, this is possible with
2.    Online Platforms: They are reliant on the internet, using everything from “Webinars, Instant Messaging, Blogs, Podcasts, Avatars, Youtube”, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, etc. These are the new normal in terms of reaching out and maintaining client relationships. Mediators must use these mediums. Some conflicts are created through these services, so an understanding of them through experience is a new form of credibility that will be expected.
3.    Online Learning: Learning can come in any format, including blogs, etc.
4.    Client Focused: Client and mediator focus orientation is Email, Instant messaging and Text, so clients expect this mode of communication.
5.    Expect comfort and Respect for Personal Life: Mediation from home is a great option for clients to feel comfortable. They expect personal life to be respected, so prefer to attend less formal meetings
6.    Relationship Focus: Mediation clients are motivated by relationships, sometimes of which are all social media based, which means that mediators should be skilled at making and maintaining online relationships. See our blog on the definition of trust and building trust.
7.    Empowerment: GenY clients especially are looking for empowerment, so self-mediation and learning about conflict resolution is what they want. They want to be empowered to resolve their own conflicts.
8.    Always Online: Mediators and clients use web and networks 24/7, so they expect quick replies and access to information at any time.
9.    Collaborative: This generation having blogged and played multi-player video games is all about collaboration. They expect this in receiving services, and collaborating with other mediators.

GenX – Born between 1965-1980
GenX’ers developed behaviours “of independence, resilience and adaptability” (UN Report)  This generation is more open to technology and some have embraced its benefits. Here are some key characteristics:
1.    Technology Motivates: Primarily on email and mobile 24/7 but new technology can be extremely motivating for them, so mediators should, at a minimum, be comfortable with email, and better, use secure messaging to protect a client’s privacy. 
2.    Web-based Training: Comfortable with web-based training, so they can already be reached in this way
3.    Design Savvy: Already sensitive to design and graphics, so a nice web interface is key. They are more likely to understand that clients also expect a nice interface, so they know that they must have a great web presence, similar to the design of Mediate2go.

BabyBoomer – Born between 1946-1964

Boomers “live to work”, and have a strict worth ethic, expecting others to have the same (UN Report).  This generation was also raised when the nuclear family was the norm, so new types of families and ways of living were not so common. As a result, they may be somewhat uncomfortable with client requests coming in at all hours of the day, and new arrangements of living together. Overall, here are some trends for this generation.
1.    Phone focused: Stuck on telephone for some, but many are embracing technology
2.    Not Raised on Tech: Assume that others see technology the way that they do, that it’s hard to navigate - they underestimate how technology is natural to some other generations, possibly being resistant to technology.
3.    Exploring the Online: Already using email and google, but still behind on Instant Messaging (IM)
4.    Web-based Training: Want multi-media learning and well-organized knowledge dissemination

Traditionalist – Born between 1925-1945
Known also as the Veteran Generation, Traditionalists are “hardworking, financially conservative, and cautious” (UN Report). As a result, they often look at client relations whereby:
1.    Face-to-face is best: stuck with face to face contact only, and are less likely to use E-mail/IM/Text due to their discomfort with change. Although many are now open to new technology.

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