Welcome to the three hundred and ninety-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with non-fiction business author Rosanne D’Ausilio. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Rosanne. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Rosanne: My name is Rosanne D’Ausilio. When I was in my late forties I went back to school and got my Masters’ and Doctorate Degrees (MBA, PhD in business administration with a specialty in conflict resolution), and changed careers. I had been for 10 years a corporate meeting planner creating trade shows all over the world and I loved it. Worked hard, partied hard, and the burnout rate was high. So I had the opportunity to quit and stopped smoking (1998) and became a smoking cessation instructor for a hospital in Danbury, CT, working with their corporate clients. Subsequently became a stress management consultant and then went back to school. My case study in partial fulfilment of my doctoral degree took place in a contact center at an all-electric utility company serving three states in New England. It was focused on their longest and hardest call—a complaint call—everyone’s longest and hardest call. It was called The Impact of Conflict Management Training on Customer Service Delivery with great results statistically significant for academia, such as shortening the call by 23 seconds which by the company’s calculations saved them $325,000 or 7 people. Customer satisfaction went up 9.7% in complaint calls and 7% overall. I more or less fell into speaking at a conference in LA at 4 pm, my worst time, but I was grateful for the opportunity. I presented my case study, not knowing at that time that conference goers love case studies.
Because of the overwhelming response to my presentation and presenting mode, I was asked by the conference people to write a book. I, of course, said OK. However, after I sent them my manuscript they told me no, it wasn’t technical enough. I said, from the beginning, I was not technical, my bias is on the people side. Unbeknownst to me I got caught in a hostile corporate takeover. Luckily I found out about this; otherwise I would have thought it was ‘me’.
Purdue University Press had been interested in my book, but I told them I already had a publisher. So when that wasn’t true anymore, I called them, and they published my first book which is called Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub, now in its 4th edition.
That started my career. I am an industrial psychologist by profession, a customer service expert, with a bias on the people side. I am known as the ‘champion for the human’ in a high tech world. I’m the one walking around saying “don’t forget the people, we’re who make the difference.”
I’ve since written 6 more books, 5 in the area of customer service, one called Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack Your Personal Deck (comes with a 32-card deck) of motivational and inspirational readings. All can be seen at www.human-technologies.com. I also have a very popular tips newsletter on How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch at http://www.HumanTechTips. uH
Also just recently we created T.H.E. (The Human Experience) Train-the-Trainer Self Study Course (http://www.drrosanne.com/TtheT.htm)
Morgen: I think public speaking is something that most authors dread so I’m sure we can learn a thing or three from you. In the introduction I called you a ‘non-fiction business author’…
Rosanne: I write for businesses who want to improve their customer relations, whether it is the end user, external customer, or their inside customers, their peers, direct reports, etc.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date?
Rosanne: My books are:
Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub, 4th edition
Customer Service and The Human Experience (also available in e-book format)
Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack Your Personal Deck (includes 32 card deck)
How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips
How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: ANOTHER 101 Insider Tips
The Expert’s Guide to Customer Service, Volume I – ebook and hardcover
The Expert’s Guide to Customer Service, Volume II – ebook
T.H.E. Train the Trainer Self Directed Course
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Rosanne: My first rejection was the publisher that had asked me to write the book in the first place.
Morgen: Ah yes.
Rosanne: Quite honestly I was devastated and thought it was all about me and my book. As it turned out I got caught in the crossfire of a hostile takeover, having nothing to do with me.
Morgen: Ouch. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Rosanne: I don’t have an agent. I think being in the right place at the right time with the right book is what is vital to an author’s success.
Morgen: Which is how most rejections come about – the right thing for the wrong person. Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Rosanne: Several of my books are available as ebooks, as well as on Kindle. Yes I was involved in the process; in fact, I created the ebook version myself, put it in pdf form and then gave it an ISBN # and listed with Amazon, etc.
I read ebooks when / if short; otherwise I save and quite honestly many times I forget I have them. I do read hard copy books though, do like to hold the book in my hand.
Morgen: I think most people do. I love my Kindle (not having a spine to crease is always a bonus) but can’t imagine a bookless house. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Rosanne: My marketing is three fold. #1, I post on my website and mail press releases to my database as well as online sites, #2, I write articles and post them and hopefully they go viral, and #3 I speak at conferences so each person in the audience is a potential client / buyer, and as important, I am on the conference website with all my information that goes out to many, many more people than come to hear me speak (and I do fill the room).
Morgen: Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Rosanne: I think the title is of primary importance – it’s what catches the eye or ear of someone immediately. I had the say in all my books as to title and was also open for suggestions.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Rosanne: What’s next for me, well the easy answer is another How to Kick Customer Service up A Notch – Volume III. However, the hard answer is I am in process of writing a book about my father. I began it about 10 years ago – vignettes of our conversations towards the end of his life. Because of all the iterations of computers, I lose the stories—about 20 of them.
I have just recently put my house up for sale and in cleaning out the office, I found the file with the hard copy of the 20+ stories and am (slowly but surely) inputting them into the computer. I have a working title “Snapshots of Dad” and I intend to self publish. It’s similar to the Sundays with Morrey but I think the stories are more bittersweet. Never having published something like this, I am a newbie in this arena. As the time gets closer, I will do my due diligence to see how and where to best go forward.
Morgen: It must make it easier having published other non-fiction but I bet this feels more personal. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Rosanne: Because of my tips newsletter, I write almost every day. When someone catches up with me I am forced to create a new tip. Do I suffer writer’s block? Oh yes. In those instances, I walk away and when I go to sleep at night I think about what I need, not knowing what it is many times, and quite often I wake in the morning with a topic or theme to write about.
Morgen: I’ve heard some top authors do the same – leave a sentence half-done and pick up where they left off in the morning, or go to bed with a plot dilemma and it’s all clear when they wake up… the brain is a wonderful thing. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Rosanne: I do a lot of editing. However, I like to get it down on paper first, quickly, and then go back and edit, let it sit a bit, and then edit again. What I noticed when I found my writing of 10 years ago is that I am much better today. I think part of the reason is that the editors I have used have taught me by way of example what is more powerful language.
Morgen: It’s all practice, isn’t it, like playing the piano. Do you have to do much research?
Rosanne: For my business books, I did a great deal of research. I enjoyed that part, left brain, easier than trying to be super creative.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Rosanne: I hope not.
Morgen: I’d like to think that everything I’ve written can go somewhere. I feel, after seven years writing / studying, that I can pull the early ones apart to make them shine. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Rosanne: My favourite aspect of writing, which I assume is everyone’s, is when you are in the flow, words come pouring out as if you are just the conduit for them. I find myself very much in the moment and time passes quickly and the words fill the pages. My least favourite is when it feels like I’m pushing the mountain, trying to squeeze out that last interaction or paragraph and it doesn’t want to come.
Morgen: Most interviewees have said the creation is their favourite (mine too by far) and marketing their least favourite but it sounds as if you have that licked. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Rosanne: Just keep writing. Don’t edit or correct, just let it flow out. You can always go back and edit but you can’t always go with the flow.
Morgen: If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Rosanne: I’d invite, Edgar G Robinson (because my father looked like him), Winston Churchill, and Maya Angelou and I’d make Jewish chicken soup/comfort food!
Morgen: Sounds great. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Rosanne: One of my favourites is “don’t stop before the miracle!” And I like “cautious optimism.”
Morgen: Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Rosanne: I write a column for Nearshore.com, I write articles now and again and post them at article directory sites, I present webinars on various topics for different clients, and I respond to queries on LinkedIn and / or when asked such as “Ask an Expert”.
Morgen: I didn’t know there was one… interesting. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Rosanne: I am an avid tennis player, usually play singles 4-5 times per week. It’s the only time I’m not multitasking. I’m also a tai chi practitioner, disciple level and I love it – it’s mind, body, spirit. And I love the ocean and islands. I like quiet places such that my mind quiets down.
Morgen: My ‘time-out’ is the cinema, the only time I sit and do ‘nothing’. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Rosanne: I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and I use it for business purposes only and to that extent I think the exposure is great. I belong to many groups that are germaine to my area of expertise (customer service / call center, training etc.) and I think it’s good to have my name out there.
Morgen: Me too – over a dozen writing groups and LinkedIn is why I’m booked up to December. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Rosanne: I think we writers need to have more flexibility as to what form to put the book in, hard copy, ebook, kindle, chunk it, etc.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your work?
Rosanne: My main site is www.human-technologies.com. You can subscribe to my complimentary popular tips newsletter on How to Kick Customer Service Up A Notch at www.HumanTechTips.com and you can always email me at Rosanne@human-technologies.com. If you google my name I’m on many, many sites.
Morgen: If you Google mine I cover a few pages but it’s mainly here. I’d like to be more proactive on other sites and need to put the word out more often. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Rosanne: Just to say I’ve enjoyed the process of this interview; it brings out things in me I forgot were there. And I’m re-motivated to get back to the book on my dad.
Morgen: Oh, you’re so welcome. Thank you for taking part and for being one of my (probably too few) non-fiction authors. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Rosanne: You ask great questions. How long did it take you to pare down to these poignant ones.
Morgen: :*) Thank you. I was very conscious when I first started (June last year) that I’d be asking the same questions each time and was worried about them being repetitive (I’ve only had one person say they are – perhaps regular readers could comment below?) so weeded out those which had become so and included others over time that I thought would be different (or I’d been asked / seen elsewhere). I think it’s pretty much there but will certainly tweak if with anything I think will improve it). Thank you again, Rosanne.
I then invited Rosanne to include an extract of her writing and this is excerpted from Customer Service and The Human Experience by Rosanne D’Ausilio, PhD, Champion for the Human Press, with permission…
The ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and see their point of view—not agree with them, not make them right and your company wrong—but hear what they are saying. After all, basic needs of all of us are to be heard and treated with dignity and respect. I think of a call as an ABC process. ‘A’ represents the customer presenting their question, request, complaint or problem .‘C’ is the ultimate resolution. Most times ‘B’ is either skipped or left out—because of metrics, calls in queue, or simply because you know the answer before the customer is even finished speaking. ‘B’ is w here the agent acknowledges what they hear—be it upset, anger, frustration, or fear. Or, a simple ‘thank you for taking the time to call and bring this to our attention.’ After all, if a customer calls in to complain, you have the opportunity/challenge to turn them around. If they don’t call, and only complain to other people, you have no opportunity. Does going through ‘B’ take longer? Not at all. It allows you to move the customer to a more productive interaction and close the call. I’ve heard many customers repeat their opening paragraph (A) over and over, while at the same time the agent is trying to get them to resolution (C). Red alert! Red alert! Acknowledge what is behind the words and you will move them quickly to ‘C.’ I believe you can’t go from A to C without going through B.
ROSANNE D’AUSILIO, Ph.D., an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, executive coach, customer service expert, and President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., specializes in human performance management, providing needs analyses, instructional design, and customized, live customer service skills trainings. Also offered is agent and facilitator university certification through Purdue University’s Center for Customer Driven Quality.
Known as ‘the champion for the human,’ she authors best sellers “Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub,” 4th ed, “Customer Service and the Human Experience,” “Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack Your Personal Deck, How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips, and hot off the press How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: ANOTHER 101 Insider Tips, The Expert’s Guide to Customer Service, Volume I and II, and a complimentary ‘tips’ newsletter on How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch! at http://www.HumanTechTips.com.
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