Posts Tagged love your customers

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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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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The problem with customers is…

They want to be loved – Yes you read that right, loved.  Think about it there are few who don’t want to be loved. So to make sure your customers are going to be great fans of your business and come back to buy time and time again, love them.

Here are some ways to give it.

  • Make things to go smoothly – If there are hassles things can go bad fast.
  • Give them timely responses (not waiting) – Make sure you connect with them as fast as possible, they will appreciate it and you will stand out from the crowd.
  • Show great courtesy (the best service wins) – Manners matter.
  • Respect, their views values and ideals – That does not mean you have to change yours to meet theirs just respect them.
  • Give them clear explanations in their language style – Speak at their pace using their tone etc.
  • Keep them informed – We have ordered that for you, we will call when it comes in…
  • Acknowledge them – Hello – Someone will be with you soon.
  • Listen to them – Active listening means you pay full attention to what they are saying, be there (in the moment as they say) so they feel as though you are focused on them

If your organisation is doing this part of customer service  right, then you have a chance to impress people and provide them with what they want, solutions to their needs and wants. Now that’s another story…

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The people service continuum

In the service stakes, there are those who connect with the people they need to serve and those that quite frankly wish the customers would go away. There are of course levels within that and as always I would like you to focus for a moment on the top end.

People who serve in those lofty heights, have a few qualities which makes them stand out from the crowd, but don’t let that descriptor fool you, you probably will not see anything different in the way they interact with the customers to give away the fact, that they have this high end skill.

In simple terms what they do is often invisible, it has great depth, it is a level of intimate connectedness. This allows them to encourage, influence, involve, engage, be in alignment with, but above all it allows them to be effective with the customers.

It also means customer loyalty is built in a way that makes it hard to erase, these customers do not fade away, they become advocates of what the service person has provided for them, which is much more than a product or service, it’s that intimate and deep connectedness all great relationships have.

The customers who come into contact with this exceptional sales or service person, will follow them if they leave the company.

For the company to ensure this type of customer service person is attracted and retained, they need to carefully look at their culture and the environment they provide.  In short they need to become employers of choice.

For the employee that has or wants to develop this skill level, they need to make sure they listen actively, find ways to connect genuinely with the customers (and most probably their team mates).

Great service is its own reward, and the return of customers time and time  again due to the intimate connectedness of the service people, is what the sales and service game is all about.

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