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Global Communications in Service

COURSE OUTLINE AND OBJECTIVES

The course introduces a number of practice-oriented skills required by typical communicative situations of a globally distributed environment. It focuses on the “secrets” of CSR (Customer Service Representative) behavior, e.g. practicing a shorthand response to various types of customer profiles , which builds a ‘shared space’ in the long run. Participants are expected to acquire the soft skills to interact appropriately with German and French speaking customers and their demands mostly on the phone, life chat or other web based channels in Global Operation Centers (in IBM, HP, Atos/Unify/Siemens, Ingram Micro, Racom NT etc.).

Lectures will be delivered as associatively guided discussions on typical communicative situations in Service and Global Delivery Centers, extracted from the experience of Dr. Ludmil Duridanov as a Lecturer at German Universities (Freiburg, Jena, Erfurt, Leipzig) and Consultant and Area Manager of the German Postbank RE Division Jena /former BHW Immobilien GmbH/ (2004-2009). During the lectures the disclosed professional secrets of effective communication will show how easy it is to connect to German and French speaking customers in English and to obtain a sustainable contact on the basis of short e-mails.

During practice-oriented consultations (online and face-to-face) the lecturer communicates with the course participants using:
* Email, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook (consulting students at any time)
* Moodle (as a virtual blackboard)
* Google Docs (consulting participants to elaborate and synchronize working sheets and case analyses).
* Dropbox and Google Drive (online platforms to share files < 2 GB).

PRELIMINARY REQUIREMENTS
Students have to bring along the following skills:

* Working English

* Elementary computer skills

COMPETENCIES
Successfully graduated students:
1) know how to:
Persuade partners and clients in typical situations;
Synchronize socially and psychologically sensitive channels using the power of body language within Omni-Channel communication,
Respond adequately in a globally distributed environment ;
Select and synchronize appropriate nonverbal channels with verbal messages as a sustainable image, especially during the first seconds of a conversation.
2) can:
Assume various roles which acquire a confident performance bringing solutions in difficult professional situations
Design a suitable working style with a customer in English within a German and French speaking environment
Create a well-balanced presence within close-to-real practical cases (interacting with Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France).

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT
(web based education, multimedia devices, slides, movies, CDs etc.)
Multimedia, blackboard.
Audio and video records, electronic and audio books.

TEACHING LANGUAGE
English

TOPICS
№ Title of lecture Teaching form Hours
1 Practical introduction of the communication priorities of a globally distributed environment; discussion on English Key Competences for German and French speaking clients (the role of outsourced Service Centers and Global Delivery Centers).

2 Practical application of Omni-channel communication in a global corporate environment – synchronization of Speech and Body Language communication channels enhancing Social Media.

3 Shorthand etiquette and the importance of setting a prompt Connect with customers and business partners exploring one’s concerns.

4 Responsive listening – a prompt reaction to nonverbal signals of customer behavior (paralinguistic factors: pitch, tone, emotional character, rhythm, lip design, space expansion, slow motion, intensity of communication).

5 Soft skills to initiate a shared space with customers empowering synchronization of information pace (Slow / Fast Message) and volume (High / Low Context) in short conversations

6 Discussion of relevant scenarios to create and preserve an image – interplay between verbal and nonverbal communication and its prompt impact on the customer (corporate ethics).

7 Application of an “IM-style” within customer service – visualization (shorthanded signs), adjusting tempo (fast / slow), synchronization (between synchronous and asynchronous etiquette) and immediate impact on a successful lead-out of a customer

8 Synchronization of different channels to bring the customer as soon as possible on his way out of one’s issues (required skills: interactive competence, the art to respond, positive statement standards – paraphrase)

9 Quick responsive skills to impress a customer or business partners „in the elevator“ (elevator pitch) and persuade them quickly.

10 The role of Social Media (Facebook, Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat etc.) – a relevant therapeutic solution interacting with aggressive client behavior to win him/her back.

11 The so-called Facebook technology – the new social and psychological sensitivity – the prompt art to respond and bring issues to reasonable solutions (Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, We Chat, Snapchat etc.).

12 Soft skills to synchronize private and professional life (alignment, connect vs. disconnect); the dynamic impact in a customer call / chat (directly: therapeutic; in the long term: socializing – a returning client).

13 Initial consultation of customers in a Service Center or with a new business partner – the art to resume (speaking with the customer; writing to the next level of customer service).

14 The emotional alphabet – a new syntax to communicate: pace and intensity of oral conversation (on the phone, videoconferencing, face-to-face interaction) and written discussion with customers (IM, SMS, email, life chat and other mobile channels)

15 Flashing signals of the „silent body language“ (micro-expressions, hot spots) – application of „info leaks“ (barometer of sensitive matters) in terms of customer communication – voice alignment within a customer phone call or life chat.

RECOMMENDED READINGS
 EKMAN, PAUL: Emotions revealed, Understanding Faces and Feelings, London 2003.
 HALL, EDWARD & MILDRED: Hidden Differences, Doing Business with the Japanese, New York 1987
 MILLAR, JAMES ed. Secrets of Body Language (A History Channel Documentary, 2008).
 GORDON, THOMAS: Leadership Effectiveness Training. New York 2001 (25th revised ed.).
 SOLLMANN, ULRICH: We are our own client, encounter the organization, Heidelberg 2010.
 THOMAS, HEIKO: Modeling of Customers’ Interactive Control of Service Processes, Zurich Research Laboratory 2001.

ANNEX: L E C T U R E R ‘ S / B I O D A T A:
Ludmil Duridanov is Program Consultant of a recently initiated Program “Digital Humanities” and Communication Strategist holding lectures on Key Competencies, Nonverbal Communication and Social Media at the New Bulgarian University. He graduated Bulgarian language and literature at St. Kliment Ohridski University Sofia (MA, 1988) and Linguistics and Philosophy at Albert Ludwig University Freiburg (Dr. phil. 2000). As a Research Fellow he has been lecturing at various Universities (Sofia, Freiburg, Jena, Erfurt, Leipzig and Sydney) on the topics of Linguistics, Online Communities, Digital Humanities, Southeast European (Byzantine and Ottoman) tradition. Starting with a critical study (Sofia 1990) on the psychological and sociological dynamics of face-to-face communication he extended his analysis with a strong focus on the visual basics of Middles Ages (Freiburg 2001). Since then he has been focused on key phenomena with societal impact, esp. in South-East Europe. His work on foreclosure procedures (2004-2009) as Consultant of the German BHW-I, later Postbank Immobilien in Jena (2006-2009 – Area Manager of the Real Estate Division) has given him the opportunity to approach Omni-channel communications with new eyes. Experiencing global economic trends and IT distributed environments he runs since 2011 project-based collaborative work with Computing Students of the Western Sydney University focused on the construction of an Open Source Center of participatory learning for Digital Natives and their associative environments.

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