Archive for November, 2012

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.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Are your customers complaining?  Do you hear what they are saying to you?

The greatest way to know what your customers want from you is to ask, “What are they complaining to me about?” Customer complaints are a gold mine of profits for you. In fact, you need to know the #1 complaint of your top customers.

Maybe you already do.

Perhaps it is keeping you up at night. Maybe it just won’t go away, no matter how much you ignore it. If that is so, then solve it for them! When you do two things will happen.

First, you will begin to dominate your market. Your customers will turn to you to have this need met – and they will tell others about you. This will make you the only one meeting that need. Everyone will turn to you for the resolution when they have this problem or complaint.

And second, you will sleep more. Start viewing your complaining customers as your greatest source of feedback. They are the lifeline of your business.

If your customers want something from you that is reasonable and will make more money for you, why wouldn’t you want to satisfy them? I talk to leaders every week who refuse to offer services to their customers that they COULD offer, but they choose not to. It’s against their “policy.”

What your customers want is to be heard, not educated. Get into the listening business and quit giving “solutions” to problems that don’t exist. You will find you will become much better at solving problems in a language everyone understands…

… everyone who wants to be heard.

Lesson from Hurricane Sandy: Are You Prepared for the Impossible?

We have all watched the tragedy unfolding in the middle Atlantic states… From New York and New Jersey to West Virginia. The storm wrecked havoc on lives and property.

It begs questions:

  • How do you prepare for a hurricane to hit New Jersey or New York in late October?
  • How do you prepare for a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in British Columbia?
  • How do you prepare for a tsunami in Japan?

Simple: Most people don’t. No one expects these disasters… But they happen whether you are prepared or not!
There have been hurricanes that devastated ill-prepared locations out of season: The “No Name Storm” in South Florida, 1993.
There have been earthquakes in every one of the 50 states in the US (Charleston, SC in 1886).
There have been tidal waves and tsunamis that came unexpectedly (Hilo, Hawai’i in 1946).

Don’t think your business is any different… It isn’t “recession-proof,” customer revolt-proof or injury-proof. A disaster or “storm” can happen anytime. You aren’t too big to fail; you are too big to be ignorant of failure.

Rethink everything you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Prepare for the impossible and be ready to act in an emergency. Because emergencies still happen today…

As the Boy Scouts taught me many years ago: Be prepared.  In a day when seconds count, don’t respond in minutes.

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November 2012


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