As you read this, your company is experiencing a Customer Service Failure that neither you nor the person handling the problem is even aware of. That’s the hard part about maintaining customer satisfaction is that most representatives don’t know when they are facing a customer that is a victim of your failure. Customer Service failures are sometimes hard to spot. My example is my rental car company. I rent from one of the biggies (ok, it’s Avis) and have for years. I am very loyal – though it’s only because my other traveler friends say their rental car companies are just as bad – so why switch? That is a poor testimonial to customer service right there. My story though is the typical car rental experience. I am one of those people that is supposed to land at the airport and go straight to my car, show my driver’s license at the gate and off I go. To know which car I should take, I get an email (maybe 10% of the time) with its location or I check a big display that has my name and the location of my car (25% of the time). The other two-thirds of […]
Tom shares seven things that you need to do to allow yourself the privilege of working on your business.
I just tried to hire a photographer. She was recommended by a friend and her website and Facebook page didn’t suck, so I reached out. I sent an email using the ‘info@…” on the website and received thoughtful a reply the next day (with no signature line). After a short exchange we set a time for a phone call. So far so good. At the appointed time, I waited a good ten minutes for her call. I checked her email – no phone number. But using a phone number buried on her website I got a recording that said – get this: the Mailbox was full. Apparently I accidentally dialed a previous decade. Not so good anymore. So, I sent a polite email that triggered a call. She apologized and said a shoot had run long and let me know that she needed to fix her website and disconnect the old phone number I had called…wait, what? You are telling me this in the first ten seconds that you don’t know how to maintain your website, that you have a phone number that doesn’t work, and you have done nothing about it? Do go on. The photographer’s contribution to the […]
And What to Do About Them Your sales team is not converting high-quality opportunities and you need to get to the bottom of it. If we know the symptom, we can diagnose the problem and apply the most effective counter-attack. The most common symptoms of ineffective selling are 1. Customers buying on price, 2. Quoting drills, and 3. Not closing deals. When customers insist on shopping on price, we know that this is partly from a lack a good value perspective but we also need to take into account customer insecurity. Our most effective response is to ask better questions, specifically to uncover the moment that price became important to the buyer. There is no substitute for thoughtful intuition in a sales representative, but developing some scripted questions can help less experienced reps delve into the buyer’s thought process. Without Thinking Questions, sales reps become order processors. Sometimes the customer seems to want version after version of the proposal. This is a byproduct of an unqualified opportunity being allowed to move forward. Customers often use your proposals as a tool to better educate themselves on what you do, what their options are, and how choices affect pricing. Sellers need to […]
The average business owner can look around herself and witness a sea of problems. Products out of place, numbers in the wrong account, proposals with misspellings, safety compromises, or trash in the parking lot – each and every one of these is a clear and obvious failure on someone’s part to do their job, she thinks. So, instead of growing her business, refining strategy, cultivating new accounts, and managing finances, she gets up from her desk to find out who did this thing and why. Accountability is her watchword, but even after years and years of chasing problems down, showing one individual or a team the error of their ways, and tasking a manager to ‘stay on top of this’ – the problems persist. I have an important message for these owners and managers: Just. Stop. Start Removing Obstacles. Stop solving problems because it is a waste of time. Problems have already happened. You can’t fix them. You can address the issues created by the malfeasance, but you can’t take them back. A better alternative to focusing on problems, their sources, and the repercussions is to fix your process. The process of restocking and maintaining shelves is designed to keep […]
Do your actions match your strategies? Tom identifies ways to help your strategies create the intended outcomes.
Tom examines how developing a shared language allows you to think strategically and develop action items that have a clear purpose.
It just struck me as funny the other day when I saw a “Going Out of Business – Everything Must Go” sign on a store that sells used CD’s/DVDs. Shouldn’t they have announced that their inventory was for sale sooner? Everything Must Go Boxes Overstock Inventory Store Closing SaleThe only marketing or advertising I have ever seen for the little shop is this fresh Going Out of Business sign. What they really needed was a “Now Open – Everything Must Go!” sign. I am sorry when any company is forced to shut down. (Assuming they are. There is a furniture store near me that has has been closing for three years.) I suspect that the used media business is on its way out and I have to believe that the store owners are more than aware of this. However, I have to wonder what they could have done differently. I am a big fan of reality business shows (no big surprise there). Anything with a restaurant or bar makeover is fun for me. I also enjoy Shark Tank because there is are financial valuations and strategic thinking taking place in real time. However, the best of this genre is The […]