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4 Rules to always beat the Competition

There is always pressure to watch the competition, weighing whether we can beat them or if they are currently beating us.

Many businesses obsess over what their competition is doing, so they miss the true issue at stake:

  • True winners do not focus on the competition: they focus on themselves.  They seek to truly improve everything they do, using information systematically gathered from their developing relationships with customers.

In the world of the empowered consumer, social media and transparent online feedback, this has never been more important.  Customers can toy with your reputation at the click of a mouse, publicise your problems at the swipe of a screen, and tell the whole world whether you were great or poor in a nano-second.

The true competition is not who you think it is.

  • The true competition is your own beliefs, systems and processes, and whether they are good enough for the hyper-competitive world of the empowered customer.

Of course it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening in your market, and to know what your immediate competitors are offering to clients, yet this is only background information.  I urge you to use this as a starting point only and instead obsess on the following four points:

  1. Get closer to your customers. Your customers can tell you what’s out in the market, what you’re doing well and what you’re not.  You then know what needs to change, and through this process you will also build world-class customer loyalty.
  2. Put a continuous improvement and innovation system into place in your business, based on small steps, continually executed.  We call this ‘going the extra inch’.
  3. Filter all your systems and processes through the customer’s emotional needs: trust, attention and easy life.  This way you can avoid inadvertently putting your foot in it, and make sure all of your systems deliver the optimum customer experience, resulting in maximum customer loyalty, reputation, cross-sales, up-sales and referrals.
  4. Make sure you have at the heart of your organisation something we call a ‘customer-focused mission’.  This is a belief that you are not there to make money, but instead to do something so well that customers want to give you their money.  This needs to cover every aspect of your business and direct everything you do within it.

If you do all of these things well, it will enable you to continually improve and rise head and shoulders above the competition.

Always keep an eye on your competition, as we’ve already mentioned, but more importantly keep an eye on yourself.  Focus on your systems and ensure that you are continually improving and innovating to meet and exceed the needs of your customer: next week, next month, next year and next decade.

In this hyper-competitive customer-empowered world nobody knows what’s round the corner, but you need to know before anyone else does, otherwise your market could literally disappear overnight, or trickle away until you suddenly realise that things have changed but it’s already too late.

Just look what Uber, Air BnB, Trip Advisor, Amazon, Google etc have done to their markets: they’ve revolutionised them!

Don’t focus on the competition. Focus on yourself and your competition will become less of a problem.

For more information on how to beat your competition, please contact us at: support@salesthroughservice.com

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

You people WANT to do a great job, but they are faced with a million things that are stopping them:

  • How they are treated
  • How they are feeling (this one is not really in your control, but how you identify and deal with this IS in your control)
  • The way the organisation behaves
  • The processes you employ
  • The culture you promote

The only true answer to the oldest employment problem in the world (How can I make my people motivated and enthused to give great service?) lies in systems.

Great or Poor ® systems to produce a consistent and continually improving customer experience.

Sales through Service ® systems to enhance long and short term sales (and reduce costs) at every step.

In today’s’ hyper competitive transparent market, it’s unlikely that your organisation can thrive without starting to get this genuinely right.

 

‘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/

 

 

How can we improve customer service ?

How can we improve customer service ?

This is a familiar answer, which encourages acres of print, mainly aimed at telling horses to drink (which doesn’t work, of course, because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink).

And one the main problems is that it’s actually the wrong question.

Your customer isn’t the slightest bit interested in ‘customer service’, they won’t be less or more loyal to you because of it and you can’t measure it.

Customers might think and say they’re interested in ‘customer service’, but, in fact, they’re actually meaning ‘customer experience’.

‘Customer Service’ is what you do to customers.

‘Customer Experience’ is how they perceive what you do.

And the two are very different.

So, the question is not ‘How can we improve customer service?’, it is ‘How can we improve customer experience?’

And that’s great news because ‘customer experience’ is measurable, motivational and very quickly improvable.

Focus on measuring and improving customer experience, with motivated people (more on that another time), and then using this solid base to build sales through service, and you’ll be well on the path to success.

 

For free resources and help with customer experience 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 to Go the Extra Mile?

 How to Go the Extra Mile?

There’s always lots of marketing talk about ‘Going the Extra Mile’ and it sounds sexy, doesn’t it?

Well, here’s a little secret that not many people know –  it’s not realistic or a good idea (it’s just a marketing phrase which sounds cool).

It’s not realistic because it’s too far and you’ll create unrealistic aspirations for your customers and fall flat on your face. If you deliver a bunch of flowers with their order today, they’ll hate you if you don’t do it every time going forward.

And it’s not a good idea, because ‘great leaps forward’ usually leave you with more problems than solutions because you haven’t been able to think everything through and implement them properly. How many times do we hear of large re organisations within businesses, just to see their service to us fall to pieces?

So don’t get hoodwinked by the sexy marketing drivel. Put customer focused ‘Go the Extra Inch’ systems into your business and improve by continual small steps from everyone every week.

It’ll give you fantastic progress over time, very happy people and a world class reputation (if you do it right).

Please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com for our free SHORT ebook on this subject called ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Service (and what to do about them)’!

go the extra inch

 

How can I sell more?

How can I sell more?

You know that dreadful feeling in the middle of the night – surely there’s a way we could sell way more? Why is it so hard to get the growth we need?

It used to be that we could advertise, push, promote … and increase sales.

The problem is that in these days of global consumer choice, outrageous price competition and choosy customers, it isn’t as simple as that any more. The key challenge now is not how you can ‘sell’ more, but how you can get the customer out there to find you more easily (through reputation and referral) and ‘want to buy’ from you more because you’re the best thing since sliced bread.

And that takes a VERY different skill set and tool set from what used to work in the ‘good old days’.

We call this skill set and tool set ‘Sales through Service’ and it needs to permeate everything in your organisation like a stick of rock.

Otherwise, those choosy customers with global choice will find it very hard to find you, and very hard to want to buy from you.

Please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com for our free SHORT ebook on this subject called ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales (and what to do about them)’!

The Key Principles of Effective Customer Feedback

The key principles of effective customer Feedback are;  Investors in Feedback Logo

  • Gathering feedback is vital … and responding to it effectively is what really matters
  • In the world of the empowered customer, not gathering feedback is suicidal
  • The method of feedback gathering must depend on the relationship you have with the customer: one size does NOT fit all!
  • Written feedback has no body language and should be used very cautiously
  • The customer isn’t interested in what YOU want to ask them: they’re interested in that THEY want to tell you: never forget that
  • The feedback process should enhance the overall customer experience: not detract from it
  • All feedback can be used to build sales and reduce costs: there is no such things as ‘bad’ feedback
  • The customer can forgive you for making a mistake: they’ll never forgive you for not engaging with them
  • In the world of the empowered customer and transparent online reputation, the winners focus on ‘return on relationship’

Want to know more? Click here to get in touch.

Measures

There is an old saying: ‘What gets measured gets done’

… and it’s completely true.

  • When the NHS in the UK started measuring patient wait times, the wait times went down (Hooray!) … but patient health (and death rates) went up!
  • When Continental Airlines started measuring on-time performance (and offered a small incentive to all staff to improve it), they went from no 7 to no 1 in a matter of months
  • And look how scoreboards motivate players on the field of sport!

So, accepting that measures are SO important, isn’t it bizarre that if you ask 95% of employees how their Organisation (or even themselves) are doing, they will invariably answer ‘I don’t know’.

Imagine how a football team would play if they didn’t know the score?

They often say something like: ‘I know I’m doing Ok if no one is shouting at me’

Imagine how a football team would play if the crowd never cheered, but only hurled abuse when something went wrong!

And, when organisations Do have measures, they are usually unbalanced. What is usually measured above everything else? Money, of course.

We are back to the same problem encountered by the NHS: if you measure too narrowly, you’ll get your results, but usually at the expense of something else.

Please note and remember this: if you ONLY measure money, you will get money, usually at the expense of something else. What may be sacrificed at the altar of money … to get the measures right? Well, perhaps it’d be quicker to list what would not be sacrificed!

Does Ratners the Jewelers spring to mind, or perhaps ‘Payment Protection Insurance’?

It’s time the business world started to get real and have some balanced measures: sure, money is important (without it the system won’t work), but it needs to be balanced out with longer term measures, measures of:

  • Customer Experience
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Reputation
  • Referrals
  • Loyalty

So that, if ALL (and I mean ALL) the balanced measures are moving in the right direction, then it’s highly likely the Organisation is in good health for both the short AND the long term. let’s face it:

  • Any fool can generate money at the expense of Customer experience (and many fools do … on a daily basis)
  • Any fool can also deliver great reputation without any profit (which is also a pointless exercise)

The key lies in balance in your measures (as in all things), and a focus on the long term measures FIRST (customer experience) and short term measures SECOND (money).

Why?

Because the long term actions, produce the short term results.