Business Karma

Business Karma

The Dalai Lama writes:

‘The word ‘Karma’ simply means ‘action’. So when we talk about our ‘Karma’ we are talking about our intentional (and unintentional) acts of body, speech and mind. And when we talk about the fruits of our Karma, we are talking about the consequences of those acts.’

The same is true of Organisations (and teams within them). Their ‘Karma’ are their acts, and the fruits of their ‘Karma’ is their reputation in the market (and therefore their customer loyalty and referrability).

So ‘Karma’ is VITAL FOR LONG TERM SUCCESS in today’s world of informed and hyper-connected customers.

How do Organisations usually know what results their Karma are generating? There are 3 ways:

  1. Guessing (the normal way) – resulting in pain and waste
  2. Surveys (the next most normal way) – the same as guessing, but this time with the added complication of incomplete and misleading information thrown in!
  3. Genuine customer feedback and engagement (the rare way) – resulting in genuine knowledge, motivation, reputation, loyalty and referrals

The conclusions are simple and don’t need to be spelt out.

In a world where the fruits of your ‘Karma’ will determine your success, you need to obsessively listen for your ‘Karma’ and systematically work on it bit by bit, until it is consistently and predictably positive.

And then work on it some more.

Please feel free to contact us for free information on how to do this in your team or organisation: support@salesthroughservice.com

The 4 Basic Behaviours of Service Excellence

The 4 Basic Behaviours of Service Excellence

So much is written about customer experience that it often goes in one ear and out of the other.

The key to success in any subject is to keep it simple and do it well. 

So, what are the 4 Key Basic Behaviours of Experience Excellence?

Well, if anything is right, it has to be common sense: so all these behaviours must follow the common sense rules of all behaviours …

 

Rule 1: our beliefs drive our emotions

Rule 2: our emotions drive our behaviours

Rule 3: our behaviours produce our results

Rule 4: our results reinforce our beliefs

 

So, applying this to customer experience …

Rule 1: believe that great customer experience is your product: this is what produces success (NOT your product)

Rule 2: know that emotions drive behaviour: what emotions do you want your customers to have in order to be loyal to you? What emotions do you want your staff to have to be engaged and motivated by you?

Rule 3: what behaviours are realistic, consistent and sustainable: consistency is more important than occasional excellence (as McDonalds have proven so well!), so constantly seek to improve behaviours and consistency little by little, every day and every week (remember Kaizen?)

Rule 4: measure your results: as well as your profits: the results you need to measure are your customers’ opinion of you, because this will determine your future success (we’ll tell you how to do this simply and cheaply in a later top tip).

So: Learn and inwardly digest these 4 basic behaviours of experience excellence.

 

 

 

How can I be a better leader?

How can I be a better leader?

I would guess that we all want to be better leaders – after all, better leaders get better results with less effort! So what do you need to do to become one?

Here are a few rules and ideas for you.

  • Remember all customers are volunteers – internal and external customers – they want you to be a great leader, so they have something worthwhile to follow.
  • See your internal customers as your no 1 priority – they’re the ones who need leading, inspiring and motivating to deal remarkably with your external customers
  • Have a crystal clear statement of what you and the Organisation are REALLY about (we call this a ‘customer focused mission’ but don’t worry about the name: if people are hyper clear on exactly what does and doesn’t matter to the Organisation, and the values associated with it, then that’s the job done).
  • Lead the Mission by example, and never deviate (even when times are hard)
  • If you ever do have to deviate, tell your people why and when you’re returning, before any deviation happens.
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Communicate effectively at all levels – win/win thinking and agreements
  • Gather feedback through simple systems and ‘management by wandering about’ obsessively
  • Ensure everyone else does the same
  • Use the feedback to understand people’s REAL needs, and Act effectively on feedback, little step by little step
  • Keep going: it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you never stop!

Remember, there’s not a lot of difference between ‘a great leader’ and ‘a bit of a prat’ … focus on small things done brilliantly … by the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard.

There’s your answer to ‘how can I be a better leader’?

 

For free resources and help with leadership and management systems that actually work, please drop us a line at support@salesthroughservice.com and we’ll send you our free ebooks on this subject.

 

 

How can we compete with online retailers?

How can we compete with online retailers?

This is a question we help a lot of our customers with.

The business landscape has changed dramatically, and this is affecting every business sector: the revolution that began with the world’s biggest bookstore online, now is effective goods and services in every sector around the world. Just look at a website like www.upwork.com for evidence.

So, how can a ‘traditional’ retailer compete?

We suggest two approaches.

  1. ‘Get great’
  2. ‘Get involved’

And you can use these individually or separately.

Get Great.

Customers do NOT buy on price … they buy on value. All great brands and long term successful businesses are NOT the cheapest … they are the best in terms of the value to the customer.

By this we mean that your value is your price multiplied by your customer experience (CX).

  • If your customer is only interested in price, then the CX score is 0 and these are your price obsessive fickle customers … and you don’t want these customers if you want a profitable sustainable business … let your competitors have them!
  • If, on the other hand, there is some value to the CX, then you need to know what the value is and how you can add it at every step on the customer journey (and the online retailers themselves know this and are doing this exercise obsessively). We suggest you look at your customers’ REAL needs (these needs are emotional needs and triggers), and step by step, inch by inch, develop your systems and processes to blow their socks off at every step.

Of course this is easy to say, and much harder to do: that why we work in the area of providing our customers with a simple and powerful systematic approach to help them do this: it’s called the ‘Great or Poor’ approach.

Do this well, as well as keeping a close eye on your online competition (which your customers will help you understand if you let them), and you’ll not only survive but thrive by offering new services that turbocharge your customer offer.

A good example of this was the wedding photographer client of ours who was suffering from lack of demand (everyone’s got a camera and a video camera with them on their phones these days), and listened closely and changed his business offer to include managing and sorting all these pictures and videos (rather than just taking the pictures in the 1st place), and now has had to take on 3 members of staff to cope with the demand.

Get involved

The other option (that can only work in addition to the above point we suggest) is to join the online retailing movement and offer your particular specialist skills and services online.

How do I make sure that I always get good feedback?

How do I make sure that I always get good feedback?

The answer is you can’t and you don’t want to anyway.

  1. You can’t: we’re now in the age of the empowered customer and the transparent business. Don’t try and manipulate the customer feedback and reviews: it’d be like King Canute trying to hold back the tide.
  2. You don’t want to: because in the age of the empowered customer, no one trusts an Organisation that only has great reviews (that’s why ‘testimonials’ no longer have any value). So it’s OK to get bad (and good) reviews and feedback: just accept them and use them to power continual improvement and continual development of your customer relationships and loyalty.

This is a truly new age, and it needs truly new tools: you can’t build a steam engine with the tools of a carpenter …

The tools you need are outlined in our book ‘Great or Poor’. This work outlines a simple, systematic approach to using the customer experience as your key driver of success, and gives you 4 straightforward but powerful principles and steps to achieve this.

If you want further information and support on how to get this right, please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com

 

How do I destroy my competition and make lots more money?

How do I destroy my competition and make lots more money?

The answer is to see your competition as yourself … not as the others.

Of course you need to know what’s happening in the market, but the best way to do this is to get very close to your customers (including potential customers and lapsed customers).

And, yes ok, listen to some ‘experts’ but take everything they say with a large pinch of salt.

But, to answer the question, if you examine almost all truly long term successful and profitable organisations, you will find that they obsessed about themselves and how they could obsessively, systematically, consistently, and continually blow their customers’ socks off.

So, focus on this, and getting as close to your customers as you can, and they not only fantastically complement each other, but they also, by the way, will destroy your competition and ensure you make lots more money.

(And when you do, don’t stop doing what got you there in the first place!)

If you want further information and support on how to get this right, please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com

 

How can we protect our reputation from malicious reviews?

How can we protect our reputation from malicious reviews?

This is a question that more and more people are asking as reviews and online feedback sites become more and more popular, and there is a simple answer.

You can’t control the reviews, but you can control how you treat the customer AND how you respond to the reviews. Any attempt to do otherwise is futile, dysfunctional and counterproductive.

So:

  1. How you treat the customer: no longer can you see ‘customer service’ as a ‘quite important issue’, it is now the heart and soul of all you do (whether you like it or not). We write and teach extensively on what to do to get this right, so look for our work ‘Great or Poor’ in this area. This includes a proactive system to encourage feedback direct to you (and then shared with others).
  2. When you get online reviews, the key is to respond to them (every one of them): there is no such thing as a ‘bad online review’ … if you do the above right, most of your reviews will be great and positive, but even the best organisations make mistakes sometimes, and critical reviews will always be experienced. You should not be afraid or angry at these (leave your ego out of this!), but treat them as valuable feedback and respond politely and positively, exactly as you would if they’d told you this information in a constructive and kind way to you personally. The key to remember is that this is NOT a personal conversation, you are talking to the world, and the world is very interested in how you deal with complaints (it exposes your true character). So do it well and be constructive and positive!

And malicious reviews? They’re just a minority of customers, don’t worry about them. Stick to the above 2 points and they’ll go away and get swamped by all the great stuff. We’ve seen it happen with our clients time and time again.

How can I get more referrals?

How can I get more referrals?

Some businesses depend on referrals more than others – in fact, the more valuable your customer transaction and lifetime value, the more important referrals are to you.

So, if you want more referrals, it’d be a good idea to get the process right!

Here are some rules:

  1. Be referable: you’ll only get referrals if you consistently act in a way that gets people talking about you for all the right reasons – and none of the wrong ones. (This is of course easy for us to say and much harder to do – for a simple powerful system on how to do this, please see my book ‘Great or Poor’).
  2. Continually mention in all your communication, your desire to do such a great job that you grow through referrals.
  3. Gather feedback using a quality professional system (not a cheap online one): if you want someone to go out of their way to refer you, you need to go out of your way to engage with them first.
  4. Split the feedback you get into 3 categories, using the net promoter system ®
  5. For the promoters, have a systematic approach to ask them for permission to ask them for a referral … you could perhaps call it an ‘introduction’ … don’t go charging in at the deep end, take it slowly.
  6. For the detractors and passives, have other systems which we talk about elsewhere.
  7. Know what type of referral you ideally need and have a set phrase to ask: something like: ‘We’re looking for people like you who want to [achieve result] without [issues that they’re worried about]’
  8. Take up the referrals professionally: have a set system and a professional manner.
  9. Follow up with the referrer and keep them in the loop.
  10. Have a quality ‘thank you’ system: maybe a specific gift, extra valuable service or special event.

 

For more information or a free e copy of my book ‘The Sniper Approach: how to get more referrals without the BS’, please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com

 

 

What is the ‘Net Promoter Score’ about?

What is the ‘Net Promoter Score’ about?

You’ll see a lot of people using and promoting the ‘net promoter score’. If you don’t know what we mean by this, you’ll probably have noticed an explosion of people asking one question of you in feedback systems:

‘How likely is it that you’d refer us to a friend or colleague’

The answer and scoring to this is the ‘net promoter score’.

Basically it asserts:

  • If people say ‘very likely’, they’ll probably be loyal and want to promote you to their friends
  • If people say ‘unlikely or worse’ they’re probably not loyal at all and could easily spread a bad reputation about you
  • If they’re in the middle, they aren’t loyal not disloyal, they’re ‘passive’

And this makes a lot of sense.

The trouble is that this genuinely excellent piece of work has been badly mishandled by the crowd in search of a quick fix (as ever), and is often used so badly that it had no, or fairly frequently, a negative impact (on both parties).

It’s a great question, but the key thing is to remember that any feedback is only ever of any use if it’s, proactive, systematic, high quality, engaging and enhancing.

And this is not the case with 99% of feedback systems we all see as customers.

If you want advice on how to get this right, please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com

 

 

What social media marketing works ?

What social media marketing works ?

‘Social Media’ has been a buzzword for a while now.

At first it was promoted as the ‘answer to everything’ ; just advertise here and you’ll have clients flooding in (and we all have heard that line somewhere before!)

Then it was : you have to be there and communicating with your tribe.

Because everyone always wants a simple answer and a quick fix.

So here is the simple answer and quick fix.

Simple answer: social media is just a new way of communicating that means your customer, or potential customer, can find out all about you, and tell others all about you, without your knowledge of consent. It is a radical change in consumer behaviour that will have ever growing revolutionary impacts.

Quick fix: as communication has become two way and interactive, so must you and your marketing. This means simply that you must take 4 steps:

  1. Genuinely have an attitude of wanting to wow the customer
  2. Gather feedback and engage with customers systematically and proactively
  3. Look for the customers’ REAL (emotional needs) and design your systems and processes around these
  4. Do this and continue to change and evolve in small steps

 

‘Sales through Service’ is a proven and powerful set of systems to boost sales whilst also enhancing the customer experience – to receive a free ebook ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Service’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/