Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

Spending Other People’s Money

I just completed a program in Las Vegas and I thought I would share with you a few of the reasons why my client was disgusted with the entire convention staff at the hotel. My client and I were talking about the audio/video set-up the night before my engagement, and what changes that needed to be made to help get the maximum benefit out of my program. He told me that working with this hotel had been a very painful experience. He said he had to go over everything in detail, because at every turn they were, in his words, sticking it to him, every chance they got … to increase his bill. In the hotel’s audio/video proposal, he found over $70,000 (that’s not a misprint – it was $70,000) of unnecessary charges that he had taken out, and in his words, again … they fought me every step of the way.”

This was no small hotel off the strip … this is one of the big boys, which has developed an enormous arrogant attitude. Not one time did he feel they were trying to help him, in anyway, save money. They even told him he had to pay for security to protect the audio/video and stage set-up that was going to be used the next day; it was the hotel’s set-up and he had to pay to protect it. He stated he would hire his own security company to “protect” it for half the price they were charging, and they said there would be a management fee charged on top of what he paid the security company. (that was in the small print of the contract) Everywhere he turned they were sucking him dry, trying to get every penny they could out of him.

Then, I heard the words from my client that didn’t surprise me at all … “We aren’t ever coming back here.” He said there are a lot of places he can go where they will happily spend his million dollar plus budget … with hopefully, more “respect for his money.”

A sure way to turn a client against you is to show no concern about the amount of money they are spending with you. I personally feel that when you are dealing with a customer, you should treat the money in their budget just like it is “your own money” and do everything you can to stretch it as far as you can. When the client finds that you are truly looking out for their best interest … you will have a client for life.

Companies who feel there are no consequences for how they spend “other people’s money” are sadly mistaken. Actions have consequences …

squeezing cents

The Future is Yours

I just did a program for a large multinational manufacturing company, who has been in business for over 70 years. My client’s theme for the conference was … The Future is Yours. In preparing for the program, I decided to do some research on great quotes and statements that have to do with our future. I ran across a statement made by the esteemed economist Dr. Lowell Catlett that really surprised me. He said they did a study in 1960 and again in 2010, which involved over 7,000 economists, that rated their accuracy for forecasting future economic trends; their accuracy rate was 47%. He elaborated on that statement, saying: “What I just told you is, you can flip a coin and beat 7,000 economists by 3%.“ He concluded his point by saying, “You can’t predict the future, but you sure can prepare for it.”

So, I thought I would share with you some thoughts/quotes on “Achieving Success in Your Future.” I think these quotes will help to give you a productive perspective on addressing your success in the future.

The future is unknown, but a somewhat predictable unknown. To look to the future we must first look upon the past. That is where the seeds of the future were planted.Albert Einstein

Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to … doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined. – Anon

I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.George Burns

The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek. – Anon

Your future is created by what you do today … Not tomorrow. – Anon

The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln

If I had to pick my favorite quote of all of them, it would be the second one: “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined.” I don’t care where you are in life, how low you have gotten, or how bad it has been … tomorrow you can start fresh, creating a better future. All great achievement begins with deciding what you want and then dedicating yourself to achieving it. So, my perspective on having future success is learning from our past.

Past

If you don’t apply the lessons you have learned from your past … you will never improve your future. There is no rule that says your past is your destiny. You possess the power to create a great future: we all do. Remember, your future success is dependent on your present efforts … so, do something today that you will be happy you did tomorrow.

Let your regrets fuel your future …

so your future will have fewer regrets.

 

 

 

Forget Something?

A while back I did a huge favor for someone and never heard anything from them … zip, zilch, nada, nothing. Just a simple “Thank You” would have been nice … but they acted as if it was expected of me. To say that I was disappointed is putting it mildly.

To me, disappointed is a very powerful and scary word. You see, disappointed can turn into other “Dis” words, such as disgruntled, discouraged, disenthralled, disillusioned, disheartened, and possibly even dissatisfied with our current personal or business relationship. I might start noticing that this relationship (business or personal) is really all about YOU and how YOU can benefit; the words reciprocation or gratitude don’t seem to be in your vocabulary.

Everyone likes to be remembered, thanked or appreciated for doing favors, going above and beyond, being courteous, considerate, thoughtful or kind. Being “taken for granted” stinks. Forgetting to show any kind of appreciation for someone who did something for you … that they didn’t have to do … can end up causing you problems later on. You will never know when someday you may need a helping hand and all those people you took for granted and/or never thanked, might NOT be so readily available to help you out.

Francesca Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, did some research on gratitude and looked at 41 fundraisers at a university, all receiving a fixed salary. The director visited half of the fundraisers in person, telling them, “I am very grateful for your hard work. We sincerely appreciate your contributions to the university.” The second group received no such expressions of gratitude. What was the impact of the director’s thanks? Gino said that “the expression of gratitude increased the number of calls by more than 50 percent” for the week, while fundraisers who received no thanks made about the same number of calls as the previous week.

Organizations and leaders who miss chances to express gratitude, lose opportunities to motivate people that actually costs them nothing. Simply stated: Gratitude is free and profitable. People may not show that they are upset about not being thanked … but when the time comes for them to help YOU out again, they may just be a little too busy that day. You can transform your relationships, business and personal life with the Power of Gratitude! Never underestimate the power of a thank you and never pass up on the opportunity to say those two words.

It is not happy people who are thankful.

It is thankful people who are happy.

Anonymous

 

Solve It by Sundown

The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world like nothing before. This world-wide broadcasting system can disseminate information without regard to geographic locations at the speed of a “click,” and there lies a BIG PROBLEM.

The speed of a “click” has now conditioned us to how fast we expect things. If you want a book you just download it (CLICK). If you want a movie you just download it (CLICK). If you want a song you just download it (CLICK). If you want information about something you just go to Google, type in the info you need and CLICK. We are all being conditioned to getting INSTANT service and information. That being said, it should be no surprise to you that your customers are becoming more and more demanding at getting whatever they want … NOW!

Right now, there are some of you who have already received a few text messages while you are reading my article and people are expecting an instant response. There is no turning back or slowing down when it comes to technology; there is only speeding up and moving forward. Therefore, the companies that will succeed are doing everything they can to please their customers in a manner their customers expect … which happens to be … NOW!

I would, therefore, recommend a simple slogan, mantra, or motto for all employees of your company to live by … Solve “IT” by Sundownbecause if you don’t, you have just opened the door for your competitor to do so. I used to work with an IT company that sent out my weekly articles; if I ever had a problem with their service, their standard response was, “we will get back to you with a resolution in 72 hours.” The third time that happened I changed companies. My new IT company had me up and running in one hour and I have been working with them for years.

Anytime you push off a customer to fix something tomorrow (or in 72 hours), you are giving them the opportunity and incentive to go find someone who will be willing to fix the problem today. You customer is thinking, “If they can fix it tomorrow, then why can’t they can fix it today?” Now, sometimes you don’t have the part(s) or person available to fix it today and you tell the customer that. Well, my question to you is this: Does your competitor? Remember the internet: A few typing strokes and clicks on a computer and I will have a list of your competitors available to ask that question, and if they can fix it, YOU ARE GONE, FINISHED, TOAST.

The brilliant man Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” I don’t believe Mr. Franklin ever envisioned The Internet, but he sure understood how to be successful. If you want to set your company apart from your competition, then I would do everything I could to establish a culture that understands …

WHEN AT ALL POSSIBLE – SOLVE IT BY SUNDOWN.

Passion is Powerful

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with Germania Insurance (based in Texas) at their annual sales conference with all their independent agents attending. The night before, at dinner, I had the opportunity to talk to several of their agents. I was fortunate to sit at the table with Matt & Kara Sodolak. (Matt is the insurance agent, and his wife Kara is in banking) I use the word “fortunate” because, I was about to witness what I would best describe as TRUE PASSION for your profession. 

I asked a question of Matt that I have asked countless times …“How do you like being in the insurance business?”  His response surprised me. Without any hesitation he said, “I love it. It’s my job for life.” In all my years of interviewing people, I have never had anyone say this is my “job for life.” The passion, sincerity and conviction in his voice just knocked me over. He sat forward in his chair and followed his statement with, “I love helping people and I get to do it every day.”  There was NO DOUBT in my mind the passion Matt felt for his job, career and the company he worked for. I felt that anyone who had Matt as their agent was so fortunate. He never mentioned commissions … he talked the whole time about protecting his clients and how people counted on him to make sure they had the proper coverage in case something disastrous happened.

Unfortunately, something disastrous did happen; Texas has been slammed this year with enormous floods destroying millions of dollars in property and causing havoc to people’s lives. I heard from Matt last week and he shared a quick story about one of the people who works in their claims department. He wrote:

 “Rob, one of our most valued Customer Service Reps made a comment that made me think of your message and how you said, ‘you must make a commitment to your career to be successful’.  She said, ‘being in the insurance business, all of our customers’ problems become our problems and we have to be here to help them through it that’s why they do business with us and that’s what keeps our lights on; you gotta love it or you are at the wrong place!’”

It doesn’t surprise me that anyone who works with Matt would also have a passion for their job; he would attract other people who would want to do, help and care for others. Let me share a few anonymous quotes with you about the Power of Passion: 

  • Lack of PASSION is fatal.
  • Do it with PASSION or not at all.
  • Talent isn’t much without PASSION.
  • PASSION is the difference between having a job or having a career.
  • Purpose is the reason for the journey – PASSION is the fire that lights the way.

Maybe the one thing that is causing your career from not taking off … is that you aren’t looking at it as a career; it is simply a job to you and your customers, associates, managers and boss can sense that. There is always going to be frustration, toil, hassles, problems, glitches, hitches and difficulties in any job (that is why they call it work). But, if you look at it from a different perspective … that what you are doing is helping people in some way … then it all becomes worthwhile. Galileo, the great Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician, once said: “Passion is the genesis of genius.” So, let your passion become the start of something great for your career.

When there is Passion in your Purpose

you give Power to your Potential.

 

How Many Crayons are in Your Box ?

If we were to compare the life we live to a box of CRAYONS, unfortunately, a lot of people will settle for a box of only 8 crayons containing the colors … red, yellow, blue, green, orange, brown, purple, and black. But, to be really successful in life and business, we don’t need to limit our options. There is a box of crayons with 24 color choices and even one with 64 color choices … in fact, there are currently 120 crayon color choices: 23 reds, 20 greens, 19 blues, 16 purples, 14 oranges, 11 browns, 8 yellows, 2 grays, 2 coppers, 2 blacks, 1 white, 1 gold and 1 silver…now we are getting somewhere.

If we stay within the confines of 8 colors (limiting our choices), when it comes to deciding what we need to do next and how we need to do it, we will greatly limit our chances to succeed. To be successful, we need to think freely and not be bound by old, limiting rules, policies or practices (limited colors of crayons). If someone were to start a taxi company, I would guess most people would think they need to go buy some taxis. But Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no taxis. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer has no inventory.

I have heard so many people tell me that they aren’t that creative, imaginative, ingenious, innovative, inventive, original, prolific, visionary, or clever; my response to them is start mixing colors and see what you get. A great chef will come up with a wonderful new recipe by simply adding some different ingredients.  World renowned scientist Albert Einstein once stated: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

There are those who hate to hear the overused statement … “you need to think outside the box.” So, for those who don’t like that statement … would it be better to say: “ You need to expand your horizons, think differently, be more creative, think of other possibilities, or consider alternatives?” Here is a statement that will get people looking for more alternatives (crayon colors): “You either figure out another way to do it or you’re fired or we lose or we go bankrupt.” Necessity is the mother of invention and that statement just created some serious necessity.

Eli Whitney was laughed at when he showed the cotton gin.

Edison had to install his electric light free of charge in an office building before anyone would look at it. People scoffed at       the idea of railroads. They thought that traveling thirty m.p.h. would stop the circulation of the blood.

Morse had to plead before 10 Congresses before they would even look at his telegraph.

In the early 1980’s, the great consulting firm, McKinsey, forecasted that a worldwide market for mobile telephones would top out at 900,000 by the year 2000. By the year 2000 there were 900,000 people signing up every 3 days.

Research didn’t predict the success of the telephone, radio, television, cable, personal computer, fax machine or mobile phone … unconventional thinking made them happen.

One 3M executive said that more than 50% of their new product innovations in his division came from ideas of complainers … not 3M … but from customers.

Your success is dependent on never confining yourself to one train of thought, one way of thinking, or limiting beliefs. Sometimes, there are different ways to accomplish the same thing; here are 25 ways to do things you may have never thought of.   https://goo.gl/yKSvoR

How many crayons are in your box? Most computers display 16.8 million colors to make a full-color picture, so as far as I’m concerned, 120 crayons just got waxed. (no pun intended). Get out of your box, start mixing colors, looking for alternatives, considering possibilities and never discount any idea as nuts. If everything you ever wanted was one step out of your comfort zone (your box) … would you have the courage to take the step? I hope so.

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit

when there are footprints on the moon.”

Anonymous

Don’t Be a Domino Pusher

You can line up DOMINOS in a beautiful pattern and spend hours doing it … but all you have to do to knock them all down is PUSH over the first one (the lead domino) and the rest will follow. The same is true about a business. You can spend years and years building up a great business with a super reputation and one employee can cause a customer to never do business with you again. One employee can PUSH a customer the wrong way and run them off … in other words … they knocked down one DOMINO. But, could that one upset customer cause other customers to follow them?

In today’s society of instant global communication, one upset customer can put the story out over the internet of your RIP-OFF … AWFUL SERVICE … UNFAIR TREATMENT … and seriously hurt your business. PUSHING the one DOMINO can sometimes cause a whole lot of DOMINOS to fall … maybe all of them.

We found out today the appliance repairman who works for the company that has done ALL of our warranty work, tried to pull a fast one on us; a $2,964.00 fast one. Before I spend that kind of money, I think a second opinion is in order. So, we got the name of a really talented repair man who had done work for our neighbor and had him diagnose the problem. He said it would only cost $74.96 to fix the problem. He had it fixed in less than one hour.

We had purchased ALL our appliances for our home from the first repairman’s company and they had done ALL the previous small repairs for warranty work … but out of warranty … BANG! … time to soak the stupid consumer who has no idea what is wrong. That repairman is right. I don’t know about appliances, but I do know how to dial a phone. I do know how to go on line and get other opinions. I do have neighbors who may have had similar problems.

Now, what damage has been done by the first repairman? TRUST has been destroyed. CONFIDENCE in what the first repairman (and his company) say is now a thing of the past. Will I ever do business with them again? No! There are a lot of other companies who sell and service appliances. Will I tell my friends about what happened? You bet I will. Will they believe me? They sure will. More customers will be lost because of what happened to just one customer.

Every single day companies PUSH over Dominos (customers) not realizing the potential damage that might be caused. I would suggest you start handling every customer like they are that Lead Domino who can possibly knock them all down. If you handle your customers with the care and honesty they deserve, then you won’t have to worry about other dominos falling (customers leaving).

Your customers aren’t obligated to do business with you. You need to assume your customers are always teetering, swaying, wavering … getting ready to fall over (go somewhere else) if you push them the wrong way … and on their way down they might just knock over some other dominos (customers) as well.

Are there any DOMINO PUSHERS in your company?

You better hope not.

Domino 2

 

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