Posts Tagged ‘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

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.

 

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

 

BE IMPRESSIVE

An eager rookie sales rep wanted to really impress his boss on his first day. So, when the rookie saw his boss coming towards his office he sprang into action. The new sales rep grabbed his phone and, speaking loudly into the phone so his boss could hear him, the young rookie said Yes sir, I can take care of that. I’ll see to it personally myself. You can count on me.” His boss was standing in the doorway, waiting for the young man to finish his call. The young man put down the phone and nodded to his boss and smiled widely, believing that he had surely impressed him. His boss smiled back and replied, “I just wanted to let you know your phone is scheduled to be connected this afternoon.”

Mark Twain said, Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” Don’t impress me with your words, impress me with your deeds (your lightning). If you want to differentiate yourself, your company or organization from your competition then set out to impress people with the job you do … every time! I have a list of people I can call on, who are experts at what they do. But, the reason I call upon them is that they impress me with their finished product or service; they give me splendid, superb, and well-done … every time.

There are a lot of people and companies out there who talk a great story, but they never seem to deliver on what they promised.

“Now that was impressive.”

“They did an impressive job.”

“I must say, I was impressed.”

“I had my doubts, but the finished result is impressive.”

Statements like those are what lead you to success. To have people impressed with your work effort, or diligence, or thoroughness, or focus, or attention to the details, or creativity, or innovative ideas, or persistence, will keep people wanting to do business with you and/or keep you employed.

 There is an old proverb which states: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” On October 26, 1967, six months before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, he spoke to students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. His message was based on the premise that regardless of your position in life, you should always strive to be the best at what you do. He used the example of a street sweeper to make his point.  Dr. King stated;

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper,

he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted,

or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.

He should sweep streets so well that

all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,

 ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

Impress me with your knowledge, enthusiasm, energy, professionalism, efficiency, upbeat attitude, along with your caring, accommodating, helpful manner and I will forever want to keep doing business with you.

 … In Every Job You Do …

Show It Your Full Respect by Always Giving Your Very Best

Seek to Impress – Every Time

Street Sweeper

The Pace of Change is Accelerating

Some people embrace change. Some people just go with the flow and deal with it only when they have to. Then there are those few, die hard, stubborn, inflexible, obstinate people out there who are going to fight changing to the bitter end. In today’s accelerating pace of technological change, I am finding that if you plan on WINNING, SUCCEEDING, and STAYING ON TOP, you better pay attention to the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Blind devotion to past technologies, methodologies, systems and procedures is a success killer. The pace of change is accelerating in every industry, every market, and in every facet of our daily lives. Technology is coming at us faster than it ever has. It took over 50 years from the invention of the gasoline car before one quarter of the population in the US had one. The telephone required 35 years to hit the one quarter mark. Then things started getting even faster. The television only took 26 years, personal computers took 16 years, and the cell phone reached that population exposure in just 13 years. Since its release on June 29, 2007, Apple has sold over 243 million iPhones and will pass 500 million by the end of 2013. They sold 10 million of the iPhone 5 in the first two weeks of its release.

In his book, Critical Path, futurist R. Buckminster Fuller estimated that it we took about 1,500 years or until the sixteenth century for our amount of knowledge to double. The next doubling of knowledge took only 250 years, until about 1750. By 1900, 150 years later, knowledge had doubled again. The doubling speed of knowledge is now between one and two years. So, if it takes 4 years to get through college, everything that was known to man the day the student entered college will be quadrupled when they graduate.  That is a rather daunting fact; they are behind before they ever get started.

With all of what I have just pointed out, I think it is obvious that for companies and people to succeed, they need to embrace change. We all need to stay curious, flexible, inquisitive, and never satisfied with today’s standard of excellence. What is considered excellent today may be considered average tomorrow. But, never forget the fact that technology is no replacement for staying in touch and caring about your customers and your employees. You can have the most technologically advanced company in your industry but if you lie, break promises, make mistakes, don’t meet deadlines, are impersonal, emotionless and unwilling to make any extra effort to help customers or care about your employees … you will fail.

 If you look for ways to unite technology with a human, caring touch …

everyone will benefit.

ONE CHANCE

You spend lots of money on advertising for customers, training employees how to politely deal with customers, delivering the best product or service possible and then somewhere along the process of dealing with the customer “SOMEONE” drops the ball. Someone has a bad day, or gets frustrated, or is too busy, or thinks that’s not their job, or they treat the customer rudely, impolitely, disrespectfully or just have a PERSNICKETY attitude and you LOSE a customer.

But hey, it was only one customer; no big deal. REALLY? In today’s social media world, it is never just one customer. Customers now have the opportunity to spread the word with just one click on a computer or phone and BAM … the story of bad, terrible, awful service is out.  (Bad news travels fast)

Henry Ford said, “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” That statement needs to be pervasive throughout your organization; every employee needs to understand where their paycheck comes from. The moment an employee has any form of interaction with a customer a BELL needs to go off in their head, reminding them of the critical importance of what is about to take place. The customer has made a decision to do business with you at this moment … how “they/you” do, will determine if the customer will do business with your firm again.

It has been said that opportunity never knocks twice at any person’s door. So, you must always take advantage of your first opportunity and deliver. It is not just in customer service that Persnickety, Rude, Impolite, or Disrespectful attitudes can hurt you. Many a career/relationship has been delayed, altered or destroyed by a bad attitude.

I try and look at every opportunity in business from a ONE CHANCE perspective. I have ONE CHANCE to do it right – ONE CHANCE to impress – ONE CHANCE to win them over – ONE CHANCE to deliver. May I suggest you make it a theme in your company to approach every opportunity, task, job, interaction or request from a ONE CHANCE perspective.

A good ending starts with a good beginning

so make your first impression count.

You have only ONE CHANCE to do that.

PERFECTION … WHY NOT?

Nadi Comăneci scored the first perfect 10 in gymnastics for women in 1976; in fact, she scored seven of them in the 1976 Olympics. Something that had never been achieved before by a female gymnast, she did seven times. The scoreboard couldn’t even show her score correctly because it had been manufactured so it could only display two numbers with a decimal place. When they showed her score they showed it as 1.0. The scoreboard manufacturer was told no one would ever receive a perfect score (10.0) so don’t build a three digit display.

A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher(s) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and no opposing player reaches base. The feat has only been achieved 22 times in the history of major league baseball.

Since the National Football League began in 1920, only one team has played a complete perfect season (both playoff and regular season): the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who won their fourteen regular season games and three postseason games, including Super Bowl VII, to finish the season 17–0–0. Apart from the 1972 Dolphins, three other NFL teams have completed undefeated and untied regular seasons: the 1934 Chicago Bears, the 1942 Chicago Bears, and the 2007 New England Patriots.

I think we should all strive for perfection. I don’t believe any company, organization, association, team or person should accept “that’s good enough.” I read an article the other day stating that the airline industry loses 26 million bags per year; domestically they lose 2 million bags. Domestic airlines “claim” that 99% of the bags they handle eventually get to their customers … but if you are one of the 2 million who has a bag lost, you’re not happy … and unhappy customers don’t come back.

Ray Kroc founded the McDonald’s Corporation in April of 1955, and I can personally attest that I have NEVER had a “BAD” french fry, hamburger, or Big Mac … EVER; not once in over 1,000 meals. The problem with so many companies is they have not defined what is considered perfect in the eyes of their customers … therefore, employees don’t realize when they fall short. From cleanliness, to attitude, to speed, and accuracy (to name a few) … what should be considered as perfect in your line of work? Define it, post it where everyone can see it and make sure you celebrate and reward those who achieve it. In sports, we can easily see when perfection has been obtained. The same needs to be done within your organization.

You will be amazed how productivity will increase,
how customer satisfaction will surge and profits will soar
when the bar for perfection has been defined
and recognition given when achieved.

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