Posts Tagged great service

Ready for answers to your business success?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Your business does what it does, you have built it up to be all it can be.

You realise there are only a few things you need to make happen to get positive results.

More sales, more customers and effective systems to deliver the results, right? But other ‘things’ seem to get in the way of this simple approach and you are left wondering what happened.

The simple answer is, there is more to your three pronged approach than meets the eye.

Here’s how it works…

  • Energy – Your team has a certain amount of energy to give to the job they do, things happen to boost or sap that energy, harrassment, poor pay, poor training, poor leadership can sap energy… Get the point, and get good at these things
  • Flow – When things are going great your people seem to get a lot done readily, it all seems to come together like a well thought out plan but more automatically and with greater ease, people will be happier, relaxed and able to get on with things
  • Systems – The policies, procedures, checklists, coaching and mentoring. If these are done well, people know they are working for an organisation that wants positive results. They feel supported and can get on with what they do best
  • Positive values – Things like respect, cooperation, service and quality all come into it. Check your organisations mission and vision, are there values clearly spelt out as part of that? There should be, to ensure all your team are focused on the right approach to each other and the customers.
  • Useful communication – Lot’s of communication takes place, but is it useful? Arguing with customers… not useful (well, rarely anyway). The same with the staff, how well do your team communicate with each other? Excellent leadership often starts with positive and useful communication – Talk, listen and make great notes to implement solid results. Coach and mentor your leadership team to coach and mentor their team members in fantastic ways to make the organisation work effectively

Now you are about to ask “What happens if I don’t have those things or they are out of alignment?” Simple, things slide… Sales, Customer numbers, energy is sapped and the results of all this can cause your business to fold in on itself.

What to do to solve the challenge? Call me to tailor a suitable approach for your organisation 🙂 Ok if that’s not possible take each pointer in this list and work on the details of it with all your people.

  • Learn to train your people to pursue all these points to build organisational excellence
  • Brainstorm with your team to find out how they can assist with these points
  • Listen to the feedback your team provides, then figure out how to implement the positive changes they point out along the way
  • Communicate the positive changes as you introduce them
  • Live with the notion of organsiational change, it happens, so make it happen in a useful way to get positive results NOT the opposite

It’s now up to  you to put this information into action, it may not be easy, it may take a while to achieve, it all starts with you.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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It’s all in the details

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

I have a few places I shop at for “musical items”, with about three places to choose from locally and a bunch just an hour up the road I am a bit spoilt for choice, not to mention the online stores. Today I was zipping by one of the three ;local ones and needed one simple item.

In a customer service sense I like to shop live, rather than onlilne, so I get to compare details, brands, friendliness, and sometimes even price, note how that comes in last…

This morning while looking and asking questions I was wonderfully surprised by the gent doing the serving. Firstly on the bench there was a beautifully hand crafted instrument, it looked like an eight stringed banjo, but I was soon mesmerised by the gent picking it up and saying “it’s a Ukelele… hand made in Australia, listen to this!” he played a few chords and it a lovely resonant warm tone that beckoned forth. Simply exquisite!

From that point he could have sold me a few items, I was captivated and it was there that the details all kicked in.

There was no “Can I help you?”, and thank goodness for that! There was no hurried “Yes what can I get you?” No no, it was a very dignified honest approach, I felt welcome from the ‘get go’ and for the first time in ages I felt like I could readily ask questions about a whole bunch of things, so I did, a few minutes soon turned into about twenty.

I bought what I came for and left with a spring in my step, I had found soemone who clearly has a delight for musical things, an interest in quality, and the the discussion on alternative instruments was quite fascinating.

I was impressed, I bought, I gained more knowledge and feel as if I could go back and readily interact some time soon, I even went as far as to allow him to add me to their data base!

The only thing that bothers me is if the guy serving me is not there the next time I go in. I have shopped there before and have mixed feelings about some of the other staff. Indeed another staff member in the shop today was a surly so and so, and I deduced that just from her facial expression/s.

Next time I will stride in with confidence but perhaps fully expect to be let down, due to past experiences perhaps weighing heavily in the background.

What can we learn and put in place from all this?

  • Be genuine – I felt it right from the start, he was interested and interesting, warm and inviting.
  • Be nice – Welcoming, open and friendly, he even used my name as I left wishing me a good day, nice touch!
  • Know your product/s – My questions were answered with clarity and interest as well as showing a depth of experience, I know he knew his stuff.
  • Offer more – I got added to their data base becuase he offered me the opportunity, simply by asking if I was on the data base already, I then asked if he would like to add me, no hard sell from his side of things.
  • Impress me – The hand made instrument on the front bench had me from the start, how it looked and sounded, I loved it (although not a big Ukelele freak per se).
  • Leave me on the up – I felt good leaving, and felt so pleased here I am writing about it!
  • Train your team – Pick up on the details that work in teh intereactions your staff have with the cutomers, then figure out what is the most genuine way to make those details a reality. Now train the team in the details.

If you are into causing your customers to love what you have to offer, be all you can be to cause people to love what you have and how you present it, they will be back for more… Now to make it a consistent offering!

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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The service conundrum

Your team were doing poorly in the service stakes, you got someone in to fix it, and viola! All good, it took a while, some people fought it but you got their lazy butts moving, They started to acknowledge the customers by saying hello and provided good service with a smile.

Image courtesy of Satvva from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Satvva from freedigitalphotos.net

Things were going swimmingly and people were praised left right and centre. This felt good, now some 18 months down the track the whole thing is starting to slide… What the?

You haven’t noticed it too much, but one of your stalwart customers has. You think they are just picky, yes they are, but in your best interests. They have noted the lack of acknowledgement, the lack of interaction, the staff walking past people pondering which item to buy who might need some assistance and the list of nasty pointers starts to build.

Did the system fail? Are your people slackening off? Did something change to cause this? Perhaps all of these pointers have kicked in and slowly over time the service culture has not cemented itself into the psyche of your team.

Think of it this way, if your people did bad service for five years, can they change the long term service to a more positive culture in eighteen months? Yes, but… It needs to done in a way to make that happen, a way that shows them there is a clear benefit to doing better service, a way that alters their thinking about how they used to do service and how good it feels to make the new change. They also need to lead each other, holding each person up to the fresh set of standards. New people that come in to the business also need to be trained in these new ways.

It wasn’t you who caused the team to slide, nor was it any one team member, but collectively if one factor moves off course by even one degree, then before long the destination can’t be reached because things are too far off course.

What may be needed are refreshers, service surveys, focus groups of live customers. In short feedback on what’s working, how people (customers) perceive the service.

Perception on the customers behalf is their reality. To keep the customers happy over the long term you need to make service a high priority and you need to massage it well in to place.

Happy customers spend more, they are content and feel the ‘love’ your people share. So ask yourself and your team, are we loving the customers enough to have them buy from us or not? Now take action to support better service reactions from the team.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Dear Customer Relationship Executive… ERGH!

Dear Customer relationship Executive.

Many thanks for the phone call recently, I note the last CRM person did not last long in the role… Pity, like you, he sounded  good on the phone, sent me a business card and an intro letter. He also asked me how my car was going. Nice…

Slight problem, the only time anyone has been in touch, has been to send me a Christmas card or to let me know the CRM person has altered.

Sure you did ask if I was thinking of upgrading my vehicle… (nope but I figure you get that kind of ‘smoke screen’ from a lot of people).

I figure you probably make such a lot of calls and get so little from it, iot would look good for your weekly stats however. The good thing about your call is it set me thinking, (And thanks for the nudge!) here is what I thought.

Nice that you called, but where’s the add on, the incentive, the relationship building, the “Hey next time you’re near here drop in for a coffee.”

Ok, so being the generous soul I am, may I give  you a few free chunks of info on how this could all alter.

  • The email program your dealership has is okay, but can it be tweaked to take into consideration my interests and let me know about things related to my interests? – Maybe
  • Can you send me a birthday card, a hand written one? – Yes
  • Can you chat to me about my interests and send me little snippets you might find (other than via email) ? – Maybe
  • Can you send me updates on programs your organisation is supporting? (Oh, so you did send me something once… er… what was it again?) short answer… Yes
  • Could you share stories of other people using the same type of quirky little vehicle I buzz about in town in… er yeah!
  • Could you have an in store tea and bickies session to chat about the latest version of the quirky little car, and developments in the future like an electric version? – Maybe
  • How about adding a photo of yourself on the intro letter so I can find you in the dealership and say hi, and thanks for the info, the invites, the great stuff the company is doing? –  Easily, so that’s a yes
  • Maybe you could ring me and invite me to be surveyed at a time which suits me… to find out what I love (and possibly hate) about the vehicle. – Yes (I’m a sucker for a good survey!)
  • Perhaps you could find a whole bunch of ways to build the relationship with me and others like me, ask me when my anniversary is or any one of a number of events which are of value in my life so you can assist me to celebrate these events and feel like the relationship with you is a special one. – Yes
  • How about the anniversary of when I bought that special quirky little car from you, how about we celebrate that too! 🙂 – YES

So take that to your team and brainstorm a few more ideas, so you can blow me away with excellence, sweep me off my feet and find out what I have been up to lately.

Sure there are a few maybes and a few ‘yes’s’ but it’s a whole lot more to go on than simply one phone call a year and one card… BLEH!

So take a look at your card and see your title, ‘Customer Relationship Executive’ now build that relationship like you mean it. NOTE! The highest level of any relationship is  unconditional LOVE… so get on with the role of loving me, because I might just want what you, have and it could be sooner than you think!

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Bitter, grumpy annoyed… get over it!

I have been on about good customer service for years now, and while I recognise it can take a lot to make it happen, it’s a thing, which needs to happen.

In my more recent travels I have noticed bitter, grumpy and annoyed people operating businesses. It’s one thing to have grumpy staff, but quite another to see the operator of the business in this “state”. Seriously if you want to be in business and be a grouch stay out of site of the customers…

I guess it’s in part due to the Global Financial Crisis or at least compounded by it, to the point where people are wondering about where the next customer and cash is going to come from. Okay so you may not be able to do much about that, (especially if you have spent all your marketing budget already!) So you have to sit and wait… BUT if that can’t change, what about you?

To alter being a “grump” you may have to take a stance and force yourself to be happy. try a few of these.

  • Write a sign for yourself “Be Happy!” and put it where it can be seen by you and not the customer, make a bunch of them, put them up and act on them.
  • Make a list of things that make you happy and each day “do” something on that list somehow… and DON”T give me the line of “Oh I don’t have time…”
  • Get or make a CD of a bunch of funny things, jokes etc by comedians you really like and laugh at even though you have heard them a zillion times, play it on the way to the office, and LAUGH heartily!
  • Look up, yes it’s that simple, look up and try to not feel good, hard to do eh? Note how glum people tend to look down a lot, makes sense right…
  • Tell  your staff to tell you to smarten up… Go on I dare you to.
  • Make a list of the things getting you down, now write a bunch of ways to fix them, then act on it… go on do that now! Keep adding to the solutions list.
  • Take a five minute stroll, go out of the office or store, walk briskly and get the blood pumping.
  • De stress, mediate or do whatever thing helps you to de stress (without hurting others or things…)
  • Get an unreasonable friend, one who can hold you to your promises, and chat to them about ways to work around your challenges, share a few jokes etc.
  • Kick a footy, It won’t de stress everyone, but It might work for you, heck even going to a sports shop and buying one might break your routine enough, no cash? Borrow one off a kid in your street… hey imagine going door to do and asking “Does your kid have a footy I can borrow for an hour?” Heck that kid has probably been looking for a kick to kick friend for ages.
  • Go to an Art Gallery or five for a few minutes, I used to do this when driving around in a van all over the city, I would drop in to see contemporary art, (no cost!) and I knew where heaps of them where so I could get to one fast for a break in routine. Oh and turn your mobile off for the few minutes you are there. 😉 Seeing other people’s “views” on and about the “human condition” can be useful.
  • Put a picture of yourself up on the fridge at home and yell at yourself… Did you like that? Now think about the last time you yelled at someone, did that feel good? Perhaps for you, how about them? Get the point, it’s not good.
So make yourself a “grump free zone” and get out amongst the customers with a happy disposition and see if that impacts well on sales or even just staff morale.

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