As a Business Advisor, Coach, Mentor, Guru, etc… I subscribe to a number of resources to keep my skills sharp and mind geared to being a guiding resource for my clients and friends. Recently, I was reading one such resource, another positive minded business professional.
I was first turned onto this person a number of years ago while leading a large group of sales representatives from the financial resources industry. His email from Justsell provides sales quotes geared to inspire greatness, as well as some other great sales strategies. The publisher, Sam Parker has developed a company Give More Media. Sam and his company are responsible for some impressive brands that have become household names over the last several years, including the whole 212? phenomenon, smile and move, plus many more recognizable names. One of their newer brands Cross the Line, is one I’ll be using for an upcoming non-profit board retreat.
What do these titles have to do with Excellence? In one of his most recent blogs Mr. Parker wrote about Excellence. After a recent hotel stay he received a survey, I’m sure most of us have seen these and barely gave it a second thought. The survey at the bottom of the receipt asked,
“How was your stay?” it asked.
It continued with…
“If you cannot rate your visit as “EXCELLENT” please let us know,”
In the blog Sam goes on to provide a definition of Excellence, gives some thoughts as to how his stay was and what it would have taken for it to truly be excellent. Then, and this is what gives Sam and Give More their edge as a media company, Sam turned the question on his company and himself! Sam a self described Grump at times, has a strong need and desire to run a world class organization. I can tell you that it’s this type of self realization and actualization that have helped and will continue to help his organization succeed.
Now for the rest of us, what are you doing to provide excellence in the work place for all of your stakeholders. If you’d like some help creating a world class organization, contact Thom Torode and schedule an introductory excellence review.
Managing Director – Inspirance, LLC
Sunrise Business Advisors
What would happen if you picked up and went to the airport right now, flew off to a hot sunny resort for a few weeks, and left your cell phone, blackberry and laptop at home? How would your business fare? Would it keep operating without you?
Systemizing your business is about putting policies and procedures in place to make your business operations run smoother – and more importantly – without your constant involvement. It’s about not working in your business anymore, but focusing on your business and its growth and development.
A system is any process, policy, or procedure that consistently achieves the same result, regardless of who is completing the task.
Clear systems will free you from the day-to-day functioning of your organization. Your company will run more smoothly, turn a higher profit, and provide a higher level of service – regardless of your involvement.
Any task that is performed in your business more than once can be systemized. Ideally, the tasks that are completed on a cyclical basis – daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly – should be systemized so much so that anyone can perform them.
Systems can take many forms – from manuals and instruction sheets, to signs, banners, and audio or video recordings. They don’t have to be elaborate or extensive, just provide enough information in step-by-step form to guide the person performing the task.
To learn more about how having systems in place for your business check out the lessons from our Academy.
Business Results Academy Inspirance, LLC
The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this you must have your consistency perfected or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a huge increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Avoid doing too much at once or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!
While rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers and consistency is the key to how you deliver it.
The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly and you will fail.
Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.
I hope you’ve learned a lot about good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons try our FREE test drive www.businessresultsacademy.com and get access to some of the best resources and tools.
In upcoming posts we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.
In the last post we talked about how to figure out what your customers want out of a positive shopping experience. Today we’ll talk about the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. I’ve decided to split up this post so the next one will cover the 1% Rule.
Consistency is the key to any great customer service experience. If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience.
There are three ways to develop consistency:
Avoid offering too many customer service options.
We sometimes get so caught up in giving customers what they want we get away from our original vision. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition.
You need to fine tune the current systems you are using before you can add anything to the mix. There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system.
Put solid systems into place.
Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consist of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.
Good training is the key.
Once you have your system in place you need to train people to use it properly and efficiently. This helps your people deliver the results your customers are looking for. Training is essential for the system to work and for all your people to work together cohesively.
I hope this has given you a look into what you need to do in order to have a quality customer service system in place. If you need help, try our FREE test drive at www.businessresultsacademy.com and gain access to a wealth of resources, tools and coaching.
In the last post we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your customer service vision is.
Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to Raving Fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are and you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working class man in his 50’s.
There are four main areas you need to consider and plan when figuring out what your customers want:
- Listen to Your Customers
- Ask Your Customers Sincerely
- Offer More than Just a Product/Service
- Know When to Ignore Them
These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their buying experience.
Listen to Your Customers
You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if your customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is quick delivery.
Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers that don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.
Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response.
Ask Your Customers Sincerely
If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should!
Offer More than Just a Product/Service
Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service, they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good while solving a problem. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong.
Know When to Ignore Them
You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality you can’t give them everything and some people you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they will be best suited somewhere else.
These are the steps and secrets to figuring out what your customers want and how you can use them to work on your customer service vision and plan.
If you get stuck, try our FREE test drive www.businessresultsacademy.com and let us help you through the process.