Posts Tagged ‘Bad Service’

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Is the lockout really over?

August 2, 2011

Right now most of the sporting world is excited. The NFL lockout is over, and there will be a season this year. The fans are excited. Fantasy Football is back on track, wives will lose their husbands on Sunday’s and the NFL merchandise sales will start-up again.  I think Indianapolis is the most excited. After spending Millions and Millions of dollars to build a new stadium, make huge downtown improvements – they had the most to lose if there was no season this year.

But there is a bigger question that needs to be asked. When you look at the economic numbers for the United States it appears there is still some sort of lock out. Banks are not lending to small businesses, consumers are not spending, companies are laying off – and we won’t get into the US National Debt Limit.

What are you doing at your business to break the economic lockout?

Let me share with you a recent experience.

We decided to upgrade our camper. I love our Rockwood Roo Hybrid, but my 12-year-old son was not supposed to be 6’1″ and 205 pounds. So we needed to upgrade to preserve the peace when camping. We went to a nearby RV dealer and looked at a model we really wanted. We had done our research, priced it out, and were ready to buy. In the end it came down to $2,000 difference between the price quote from a dealer 4 hours  away (round trip) and this one.  The “Local” guy kept telling us he was only$2,000 more than the other guy, and he then insinuated that the other dealer would give is bad service. Over and over we kept hearing – but folks, its only $2,000 difference.  I really hated that he spoke that way about another dealer, and I was tired of being told that we were cheap. I was willing to drive 4 hours round trip to save $2,000. Shoot that’s $500 an hour. Now I was finally making lawyers rates!

We made the right choice. When a small issue came up on our camper, the dealer came and got the camper, fixed and drove it back to us. Now that is service!

Why do I share this story? Because the actions we took are the same actions every consumer is doing. Ask yourself – how are you making your business work?

  • Are you treating your customers like they are the only customer in the world?
  • Are you sensitive to pricing like they are? Everyone is facing financial challenges.
  • Are you trash talking the competitors?

Want to break the lockout going on im your business? Then step outside the box, set the standard higher, and take care of your customers.

Do you need help ending the lockout at your business? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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Does the story you tell make sense?

March 7, 2011

By now I am sure you have heard the expression – once you start to tell a lie, it gets complicated. You have to remember exactly what you said to whom, and now the story has to be supported.

While the expression is true, I find it is actually harder for business leaders to tell the same story every time to everyone.

Too many times leaders are trying to shape a message to connect personally with each person they meet. This is a problem because the story starts to change.

Many times the boss will tell customers varying versions of their policies hoping to keep the customer happy. In the end it creates confusion for the staff, and for the customers. It does not take long for the customers to find out that someone else is getting a better deal than you. Now the boss is continually in negotiation with each customer, and business profits and efficiencies fall rapidly. Yet the boss thinks they are providing outstanding service.

The same problems happen between the leaders and their employees. Once everyone starts getting a different story, they realise everyone is getting a different deal. Back into constant negotiations the boss goes. This is usually the same boss who does not provide real and regular evaluations.

What is the result of this bad communication? Well your customers and/or your employees will now have issues:

  • Trusting you. They have figured out that there is no longer a standard of fairness.
  • Become defensive. This is the normal reaction to a lack of trust. They have no idea where the bounds are, and will always try to defend themselves (back into negotiations you go)
  • Anger! Once you lose trust, and they become defensive the final step is true anger. Just think to the times you have felt wronged, and placed on defence. You become angry. Once it is no longer able to be diffused, it will come to a point where the customer or employee will choose to separate themselves from your business.

All of this can easily be avoided. Just tell the story so it makes sense to everyone.

  • It should be short. Any good story should be story enough to be remembered. It is like a good joke. It is always the long ones that seem to get messed up before the punch line.
  • It should be simple/clear. You want the message of your story to get through, and understood. There is a reason the sign says “No Parking” and not a list of all kinds of exceptions. People must be able to grasp the message.
  • Consistent. If your story changes every time you say it, how can you expect anyone to understand it.

Once of the best ways a short, simple and consistent story is told – airline attendants just before takeoff. They execute the pre-flight safety information to the passengers with near perfection each time. Why? Because people’s lives depend on it.

Let’s be dead honest here. You are in the same exact situation. Your business’s life depends on the story you tell. It impacts both your customers and your employees.

Now is the perfect time to ask yourself – “Does the story you tell make sense?”

Does your business need help telling short, clear, consistent stories? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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In the Fourth Week of the New Year I Resolve To… Get To Know My Customers!

January 25, 2011

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of really getting to know your customers. While it was well received, my shopping the last few weeks reminds me of how important it is to really know your customers.

This past week we planned our spring break trip with the family. We are headed to a popular area of the East Coast with our camper. It will be a blast for sure. We decided to book our reservations at a Yogi Bear Campground. Their campgrounds are pretty cool. obviously themed after a famous bear and his friends, these locations are very popular for families with children. There are always activities to do and most weekends have some unique events like chilli cooking competitions or chocolate fest.

Imagine our surprise when a family themed/children oriented campground price only includes two adults. You have to pay an additional up-charge for each child.  From a marketing and operations point of view – why would you do that? Why not just change your pricing to include two or three children and then up-charge over that?  Think about it for a second. Their marketing is totally based on bring your kids with you here – we will have lots of fun, but will charge you additionally to bring them.

If you want to remain in business there are four critical steps that must constantly be reviewed and revised.  Your customer’s knowledge and experiences will increase, new customers will be added, and there will always be variables like economic factors, trends, and so much more.

Step #1 – Find out what your customer wants. Too many times business owners and managers impose what they think the customer wants into the business. Rarely do they take the time to really find out what the customers are wanting.  Sometimes I think it is because of a “fear of the truth.”  They do not want to hear what is going wrong, or worse. What if the business is not really helping the customers with their needs? Without knowing, it all becomes hope.  Take control of your business. Find out what your customers want.

Step #2 – Meet their expectations. This is the most challenging part. You have to hit this mark 100% of the time. If you do not, customers start to look for other places to meet those expectations. This is what separates the winners from those who “hope.”

Step #3 – Exceed their expectations. Do not attempt this step until you  have mastered #2. It will be your demise.  Once you are running on all 8 cylinders all the time, then you can start to run in the 8,000+ RPM range. It is actually easy to start exceeding the expectations. You already know what they want, and you are meeting it 100% of the time. You will know your customers well, and by extension – go above and beyond with ease.

Step #4 – Review, Revise and Repeat. Always, always, always. Review. Revise. Repeat. This is the secret. You cannot complete these three steps just once and be a huge success.

Keeping your customers is far cheaper and easier than finding and converting people into new customers.

Do you need help connecting with your customers and increase  your business? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2010; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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What would you like me to do?

November 12, 2010

I hate those words. It seems I hear them all the time. You probably have heard them often also, but not realized how wrong it was.

When you go out to eat and your meal comes out incorrect what does the manager say when he or she comes to the table? “What would you like me to do?” Maybe it is at the local retail or grocery store and you have a problem. The manager quickly comes to solve things and asks you – “What can I do to make this better?”

Have all these companies hired mindless robots who will give the store away if you just ask? I do not know about you, but I am very  tempted to one day ask for 1-year’s worth of free meals the next time my meal is wrong. I can only imagine the expression on the managers face.

Here is my problem with  this “New Approach” that everyone is using to fix problems… The manager is asking you, the customer to fix it. It is not the customer’s store, it is not the customer’s problem. It is the businesses.

Why does a business have a manager? To direct the business in that store. Part of that is to fix any and all problems that arise. If they keep asking the customers to solve it, the company is paying the manager for a job they are not doing.

When I go out to eat it is so I can relax, enjoy the food and the company. It is so I do not have to worry about planning the meal, fixing it, and cleaning up afterwards. Why else would we all pay the premium prices for food that costs us all less than half the menu price to make at home?

When it comes out wrong, I want it fixed. I want the manager to acknowledge that my order was wrong, then find a solution to fix the problem and to also make me want to return. Offer to comp my meal, offer me special seating next time. Do not ask me what I want you to do! If you do, I just may take the initiative and take the job from you. At least I know what the customers are thinking.

Make me feel like you are in charge, and you really want my business.

© 2010; Wayne Eells, Jr. Eells Consulting specializes in Strategy and Marketing for your business. wwwEellsConsulting.com

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