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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

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

 

 

How do I handle mistakes?

How do I handle mistakes?

We all make mistakes.

But in the age of global 2 way communication, and instant online feedback and sharing, they can be hyper dangerous – just ask Gerald Ratner if you want proof!

So, in this hyper connected age, it’s vital (not important, vital) to have a key set of simple principles to follow, when they occur: and of course, the flip side of all this is that in this hyper connected age, if you get it right, then mistakes well handled can be a massive boost to your reputation and business.

Want to see it done well: have a look at what M&S did when they ‘boobed’.

Before we go into the rules, we must point out that the rules are based on 4 (common sense) principles, that every customer is looking for:

  1. We genuinely care
  2. We consider the customer’s real needs above all else
  3. We focus on continual small changes
  4. We value feedback and act on it

So, here are some rules:

  1. Actively LOOK for boobs: most customers won’t tell you openly (they’ll tell their friends)
  2. See boobs as opportunities to excel, not something to be frightened of
  3. When you find one, apologise immediately (it doesn’t matter whose fault it was)
  4. Ask the customer for their thoughts and opinions empathically
  5. Reflect and agree small actions together
  6. Thank the customer genuinely for bringing this to your attention (if they hadn’t, the world would know about it via social media, but you wouldn’t)
  7. Take the actions
  8. Thank the customer again
  9. Check the customer’s happy
  10. Take a small action to change processes so the boob can’t be repeated

OK: rocket science it ain’t, but also common practice it ain’t. And this is the No 1 cause for problems in reputation and customer loyalty in organisations. Most boobs are small, but all boobs matter to customers.

The answer is actually quite easy:

  1. Embed the principles in your Organisation (this has to be GENUINE or it’s nothing)
  2. Continually train the actions

Then, and only then, boobs will become massive opportunities.

 ‘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 Sales’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/

 

 

How do we get the most out of social media?

How do we get the most out of social media?

There’s a lot of HYPE about social media, combined with a lot of activity, and usually very few real results – so here’s a very simple and effective approach.

  1. Focus on ‘getting it right’ first. People and organisations who are genuine, passionate, committed and attentive are like catnip to others, whether they get everything right or not – it’s their attitude and stance that’s so attractive. Focus on being genuine, passionate, committed and attentive in your field FIRST!
  2. When you’ve done that, make sure you’re ON all the relevant channels and have a reasonably decent profile.
  3. Then join in the conversation and seek to add value to others as an overriding principle through your genuine, passionate, committed and attentive approach.
  4. NEVER TRY AND SELL DIRECTLY – it turns people right off
  5. Welcome and respond to feedback and reviews (see our numerous articles on this subject especially the one entitled ‘There’s no such thing as a bad online review’)
  6. When you have a good profile and proven added value online – Consider adverts as they’re so easy to measure – start small and see what works first. Consider special deals via online activity.
  7. NEVER make special deals better than those that you offer to existing customers
  8. Review, measure, hone and keep it up and NEVER stop being genuine, passionate, committed and attentive

Social media is just open talk and gossip online. That’s it. So you need to act in a way that’s ‘worth talking about’ for all the right reasons, on and off line – be ‘remarkable’.

‘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 Sales’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/

What customer loyalty schemes work best?

What customer loyalty schemes work best?

We want loyal customers!

We want customers to buy more and refer others to us!

Of course we do, and there’s acres of print on ‘how to run customer loyalty schemes’, and what to offer as incentives.

There’s just one small problem …. It’s all rubbish!

Recent in depth research shows what we all know as common sense: customer loyalty schemes generally cost significantly more than they generate (not taking into account all the time taken up by them), and they generate no REAL loyalty, just loyalty to the treat.

It’s like training a dog: if a dog only sits in order to get a treat, it hasn’t really learnt to sit, and this ‘training’ will fall apart completely under pressure.

Customers cannot be bought.

I repeat: customers cannot be bought: they can only be seduced (over the LONG TERM) to WANT to be loyal to you and recommend you.

This comes about by obsessive focus on and adherence to ‘customer reputation and loyalty systems in everything we do’. I.e. we see ‘customer reputation and loyalty’ as the No 1 purpose of our existence, around which all our systems and processed are designed, and truly believe that:15. What to do to build cust loyalty

‘If we do this well, the profits will follow … not the other way round’

Of course customer loyalty rewards can play a part in this (look at the Richer Sounds VIP club, or the Naked Wines Angel network for an example of this done well) … but it’s only one smallish part of the overall business strategy, and NEVER an effective strategy in itself.

Otherwise you just get a fat dog that sits when you have a treat in your pocket, and buggers off at any other time …

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

What sort of marketing works best?

What sort of marketing works best?

Oh, the time honoured question!

Henry Ford once famously said, ‘I know 50% of my marketing works, I just don’t know which 50%’

The good news is that we’re living in an age of easier measurement and trackable customer behaviour.failure is the opp

The bad news is that there has been an almighty explosion in routes to market and competition is springing up all over the place … often where you expect it least.

we suggest that the whole marketing ‘funnel’ (which isn’t really a funnel at all) should be turned upside down, and marketing should focus on the following sequence of events.

  1. Feedback and engagement with customers to find out what will make them more loyal, and what we can do to achieve this.
  2. Reputation and referral building systems.
  3. Once we’ve achieved that, then gather feedback from existing customers, lapsed customers and ‘not yet’ customers on routes to market and why they chose you.
  4. Then, and only then, develop new marketing processes
  5. Start small, test and measure, then build systematically

Most marketing budget and activity is wasted – adverts and logos may look cool to you, but if they don’t generate at least 10x their cost in new business, then they’re probably a waste.

 

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)’!

 

 

How do I formulate a sales strategy?

How do I formulate a sales strategy?

Of course you want a sales strategy, otherwise you might look silly at a meeting and get terrible sales results.

But, let’s face it, how many ‘sales strategies’ have you seen that were based on wishful thinking and numbers picked out of the air (at best!)?

So, instead of seeing the need for a ‘sales strategy’, we suggest you start formulating a ‘buying strategy’ instead. You might perhaps be well advised to consider:

  • How can we manage and build our reputation so it spreads for the right reasons?
  • How can we encourage great reputation and continual referrals?
  • How can we ensure customers become more and more loyal to us and want to buy more and more things?
  • How can we become indispensable and remarkable to them?

And then, when you’ve nailed this, you can start considering the next step … a ‘sales strategy’ …

  • Now that we’ve done the above brilliantly, how can we make sure that people can find us easily and want to say ‘yes please’ quickly?

After all, this is the age of the empowered choosy consumer, who shops around the world and can make or break you at the touch of a button.        stratergy

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)’!

Why feedback doesn’t work: manipulating feedback is like taking aspirin for a broken leg!

Woman laughing on mobile phone isolatedAs feedback specialists, we help businesses organisations with all sorts of feedback on-line off-line, direct and indirect, immediate and delayed.

(I bet you didn’t even know that there where so many variations!)

Now, most people are beginning to realise that feedback only has value when it is transparent, and includes both positive and negative; but there are many organisations out there, and even, hideously, feedback systems that are promoting the ability to filter feedback; i.e. you just publish the good feedback (this is a process we use to call in the good old days, publishing ‘testimonials’).

So, without me having to spell out how completely ridiculously daft this is to do this let me just ask you some questions;

  • How popular would Trip Advisor if it only had good reviews?
  • How reliable would customer reviews on Amazon be if they only published the good reviews?
  • How would EBay work if the customer could only publish a good review?

It’s ludicrous isn’t it?  Yet, so many businesses are still on this mind set of ‘testimonials’ rather than feedback!

I don’t know how we can make this clearer; manipulating feedback in any way is like taking Aspirin for a broken leg.

Feedback instead needs to be dealt with systematically structurally, using both immediate and time lapsed systems, and joined together to make it easier for the customer to tell you whether you are good bad or indifferent.

The feedback needs to be published openly so that your consumers will trust you (remember; everyone can get things wrong, just not owning up is the problem!).  And every type of feedback should generate a response that will build customer loyalty and referrals.

There are ways of doing this that are tried and tested and pay for themselves many times over.  If you don’t know about these or have any questions you know where to get hold of us.

Why feedback doesn’t work? simple: you’re not doing it properly!

What to do? you need to engage an expert: it’s a simple as that:

  • you wouldn’t get an office junior to do your tax return,
  • and you wouldn’t go to the post office when you felt ill:

so why go to anyone other than an expert when you need to get the single most important aspect of your business right?

How do I protect my online reputation?

In today’s hyper connected world, there is a lot of talk about protecting online reputation … of course.listening how do I protect my online reputation

Customer reviews and online opinion can make or break your brand or Organisation almost overnight.

There are many Organisations offering to ‘protect’ your online reputation through technology (they constantly trawl online and take electronic actions to mitigate and minimise damage).

But little of this has any real impact because:

  • Once something is published, it’s out there: you can’t stop it
  • There are far too many forums and routes for dissemination: you can’t find it

Research shows us that, traditionally, customers will only tell YOU if you’ve got it wrong one time in 20 (the other 19 times, they tell everyone else). So what can you?

It’s not what ‘can‘ you do … the real question is now: ‘What must I do to protect my online reputation?’

Here are some pointers:

  1. Be proactive: put professional, customer focused feedback systems in that encourage feedback (you’ve got to persuade them to tell YOU first … not twitter)
  2. Genuinely aim to get it right (customers will always forgive genuine mistakes: they’ll never forgive you not caring in the 1st place)
  3. Put world class reaction systems in place (so when they tell you. you can deal with it like an Olympian)
  4. Invest in ‘Sales Through Service‘ systems (so you use these processes to proactively build sales and loyalty)
  5. and OF COURSE, get accredited: engage the services of feedback professionals, accredited by Investors in Feedback, to work with you to get this right

Remember 2 things:

  1. If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur
  2. Gathering feedback is vital, it’s how you react to it that really matters

How do I protect my online reputation? Realise that a social revolution is occurring, and start investing in feedback and acting professionally in all your processes around this.