Please check out this guest post by my good friend and amazing business resource JoAnna Brandi. When it comes to company culture, customer service and corporate leadership JoAnna has no equal. Read on and see what I mean!
What a mess the world seems to be in today! Looks like the economy’s up, the market’s heading down, the institutions we once counted on can’t seem to be trusted (think Wells Fargo, VW and Equifax) and people are very very edgy. Seems while some people win, a whole lot of others lose. It’s enough to make you lose faith in the venerable old models of business.
Perhaps it is time for a new way of thinking, perhaps it’s time that we move ourselves from the model that holds that for one to win, someone else has to lose. In the new rules of business Win/Win wins overall.
Creating thriving companies is a result of creating value for all the stakeholders. That means we are always looking for ways to help, support and add value for our internal as well as our external customers, our distributors, our suppliers, our communities and our stockholders. Let’s find a way to make sure Everyone WINS! Today, let’s start with the customers, let’s take a look at that idea as an acronym, just for the fun of it!
Here goes.. EVERYONE WINS – Elevate your customer support people – train, train & reward, reward, reward. Remember that sales is two-part process – getting the customer and keeping the customer. Don’t let the sales people get all the glory. Good customer care is selling too, not to mention building loyalty!
V – Verify and measure customer loyalty. Survey often and solicit feedback regularly. Find out what your customers expected and what they think they have received. Measure qualitatively and quantitatively. Make sure it is top management’s priority to see and act on customer perceptions and needs. (If you need help with this call me!)
E – Encourage only positive talk about customers. Don’t let anyone get away with badmouthing the customer. No, they’re not all saints and some of them may not even be very nice. But, they are your customers and if you choose to keep them you have a responsibility to them. Remove all signs of subliminal sabotage (those cutsy posters that poke fun at customer’s needs – “You want it WHEN?”) Instead, surround yourself with positive supportive messages. After all, without customers there is no business.
R – Reality checks. Do employee surveys. Since service is a “performing art”, discover what your performers think. Are they supported in doing a great job? Keep the lines of communication open.
Y – Your customers can “come alive” even for those who never interact with them. Invite your customers over, or go and visit them. Print customer stories and problem solving successes as well as employee stories in the company newsletter and social media pages. Post letters, testimonials, videos and yes, even complaints, and how they were handled. Require people at all levels of the company to go out on service calls.
O – On-going feedback from customers can come from websites, comment cards, invoices, packing slips, or your catalog. Give customers plenty of opportunities to compliment, comment or complain. “Incentivize” employees for submitting ideas too.
N – New phrase – “How will this affect the customer?” Make sure every report and proposal submitted to management begins with an analysis of the direct impact of proposed changes on the customer. Now there’s a new thought. Positive leaders have this phrase wired in.
E – Everyone should know the lifetime potential value of a customer and what it costs the company to lose one. Make sure they do.
W – When a customer has a good experience they will tell people, but when they have a bad one they will tell more people. Some estimates of how many they will tell on the web number well into the thousands. Start creating more good experiences. Learn how to deal with the bad ones and turn them to your advantage.
I – Insist that people keep their promises. Follow-up, follow-up follow-up. Underpromise and overdeliver.
N – Never give up. Become obsessed with customer focused quality. Communicate it relentlessly throughout the organization.
S – Simple rule. Perception IS reality when it comes to the customer. Listen to what they are telling you, it’s their reality.
So there you have it. Some more fun thoughts on how to create a positive customer-caring company that thrives! In times like these, it’s critical to keep the customers coming back and spreading the good word about our companies!
JoAnna Brandi is the publisher of The Customer Care Coach® and The Practice of Positive Leadership E-Course
www.ReturnOnHappiness.com and www.PositiveEnergizer.com
Read JoAnna’s blog www.CreatingCustomerHappiness.com and www.PositivityPractices.com
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JoAnna is the author of:
“Winning at Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ’em Happy, Keep ’em Loyal and Keep ’em Coming Back”
“Building Customer Loyalty – 21 Essential Elements in ACTION”
“54 Ways to Stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging and Sometimes Negative World”
For more information on JoAnna’s programs or books call 561-279-0027