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Who’s Got Your Back?

Your people are on your side. If you show that you have their back they will fight for you in return.

I was at a national conference talking with some employees at a trade show.  One asked how she could get me to come in and teach a teamwork and support workshop to their company.  I asked could I call her and talk to the right person.  “Call me, but let me talk to him.  My boss is the major hindrance to our company’s growth. He wants teamwork, but he promotes territorialsim by his actions and policies.” She really wants to make him look good but he seems to be fighting any transparency and lacks trust in she and her associates.

Why?  Often the people who want us to succeed are frustrated by a lack of permission to do what they do best. They just aren’t trusted by you. They want success but their hands are tied.

Your employees want you to succeed because your success is the key to their success. Why wouldn’t you want to listen to their feedback and comments, if they are for your own benefit?

You don’t have to prove you are smart or more business savvy to them. In fact, if you feel you do, you are in more trouble than you thought.

They will have your back if you have theirs!

Is Your Business “Easy?”

Mutual of Omaha at one time had only one competitor on price for their Medicare Supplement policies: AARP. But MofO sold their clients on the easy process to file a claim. While AARP required you to call a toll-free number to submit a claim, MofO sold the local agency as a more convenient process. They led in sales in almost every market.

People were willing to pay more for the ease of service than the less expensive inconvenience of calling a stranger.  In fact my apartment management has an easy process for turning in maintenance issues. Turn in your request online and you are rewarded with faster service. In fact, as I write this I am turning in my maintenance request online during a flight over Oklahoma (and that’s another “Ease of Service” story!) turning in a maintenance request. It will be handled and corrected by the time I get home tonight.

That was easy!

Servicing your customers and clients should be easy. If not, they won’t be your customers or clients much longer. Someone else will always find a better, faster, cheaper or easier way to do business. Your business that was once secure!

Ease of Application

There is a process we go through in filling out an application, contract or agreement that seems to take forever…

In 2009 a rural community bank was in the news because they made application for loans easier for their customers. It is a perfect example of the recession driving an innovative CEO to move his market to an area that no one else is targeting.

Mendenhall, Mississippi is a town of a bit more than 2,500 people. Peoples Bank of Mississippi has stood since 1908. But in 2009, when lending to small-town businesses was at a record low, the bank kept giving out loans. It kept lending (even though new loans backed by the government stimulus offered little for the bank) — no interest and deferred payments. Peoples Bank became known for making more interest-free loans than any other bank in the country. While other banks were shutting their doors to such loans, they kept their doors open!

What were the results? Peoples Bank is now third in the entire country in offering small business owners loans. Bank president and CEO Dennis Amman said, “We looked at it and said it’s going to take work on our part; we might not even make money off it in the short run, but in the long run it’s going to be good for customers, so it’s going to be good for us.”

Applying for your business is a separate entity from selling or servicing.

Don’t you agree?

Policies vs. Perks

Policies are about YOU, not your customers. They favor YOU. They protect YOU.  In fact, they are quoted to customers you really don’t want back.

Perks are about the CUSTOMER. They favor frequent business. They make people feel great and make you look good. They are quoted to customers who you really want back.

Which are your customers encountering? Which are you quoting? What are they hearing you say to them?

Fix It!

Guys like to fix things… If it’s broke, I prefer to fix it, right away…not wait on it to get better or ponder the consequences.

If there is a leaky faucet, a loose cabinet door, a squeaky door hinge, a faulty electrical appliance… I want to fix it NOW. It is in my makeup.

Now that is fine around the house. But when I encounter a billing process or an endless voice mail loop that I can’t fix, I get really frustrated. The other night I called Best Buy to check on a new laptop they were preparing for me. They didn’t have an option to press for “Get Information on Your New Laptop.” I tried pressing 0 for receptionist, but was told by the recording that option was not valid. It took a deceptive choice for a live salesperson to get someone to answer their phone. I had to listen to Christmas music for three minutes while waiting (Guess Mother’s Day is over so let’s rush the Season along).

If your customers are complaining about the service your render. Fix it!
If your prospects can’t get you on the phone to answer a simple question. Fix it!
If people are leaving you for your competitor because their service is better. Fix it”
If men and women constantly ask you for the same information they can’t find easily on your web site. Fix it!

There are a LOT of companies out there who are willing to fix customer problems that you assume people will continue to put up with. If you don’t fix it; the others will (or already have).

Are You an Enabler?

I met with a business leader for lunch. His sales staff isn’t performing at the top of their game. “They send me service requests constantly that they should handle and I enable them to meet customer needs.” But they aren’t excelling at sales. Why do you think that happens?

“What do enablers do?” I asked. He said he didn’t mean it that way. He meant that he was helping them fulfill customer needs. He reluctantly said, though that enablers allow dependent people to remain dependent. They “enable” alcoholics, drug addicts, abusive individuals and poor sales people to continue their patterns.

“That may be what you are doing.” I said. It is…

If you are allowing your employees to under perform and assisting them in any way, you are enabling them. Stop enabling them and they may drop their bad patterns.


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