Monday, December 27, 2010

Are you in business for one or a million?

Would you rather have one customer or a million?

No brainer, right? What if you had a million customers spending a dollar each? What about one customer spending a million dollars?

What's the difference?

There really isn't any.

I recently had a visit from my best customer. I told her that she was our best. She said we always make her feel like a million bucks whenever she visits so she likes us.

We should make every customer feel like our best. Even the $1 sale.


Random fact: I once won a chugging contest in college. It was Mellow Yellow. I won a Frisbee. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Customer service lessons from the Wizard of Oz

David. Come on. Really? The Wizard of Oz?

How can a make believe world about a place located on the other side of a rainbow relate to customer service?

It's pretty easy.

If you're a bank teller, an auto assembly engineer or a school teacher, you can incorporate the values embodied in the characters Dorothy encounters along her journey.

Brain, Heart, Courage

Brain - Make common sense common practice.

Heart - Have compassion and a will to serve

Courage - Be bold, make mistakes, learn and become better

Next time you watch the movie, remember these three attributes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

At the end of the day . . .

If you are not using Google Alerts (thank you Jeff), I would encourage you to do so.

One of the alerts I get is on the phrase "it's all about the customer" whether it is my blog or a story somewhere on the web.

This particular alert started with "At the end of the day, it's all about the customer."

One question . . . was it all about the customer at the start of the day?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Change, Change, Change

Changes are coming and are right around the corner.

"It's All About The Customer" may be down for a few days.

Let me echo what my kids said at my first 5K a couple of months ago . . . . Go Daddy!

"Could be, who knows. There's something new any day. I will know right away soon as it shows."

In an email response from the customer service rep I dealt with (Ron), I thanked him for his great level of service. He replied, "No worries. Fortunately, I love what I do."

Can you say that? If not, why not? Maybe it's time for change!

Random fact: I proposed to my wife from the stage at a Barbershop Convention in front of 1000 witnesses. We were serenaded with "I Love You Truly" after she said yes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Instant Feedback: Converting Visitors to Customers

It's a simple question.

Last year, while surfing the website of a well known travel company, I closed my web browser and immediately another window popped open in order to find out why I did not make a purchase before I left the first window.

At first I thought it was annoying. But I realized they were trying to find out why I didn't buy something. They expect every guest that visits their site to make a purchase. Anything less than that is considered a failure.

Now that is just my opinion. But what if it was the goal of the company to sell one of their products or services to every visitor to their website?

Call them crazy. Or just call them successful!

They are a Fortune 100 company. They've got a great social media presence. They probably know more about their customer base than most companies. They expect more from their employees because their customers expect it more from the company.

So do you hire someone to stand outside the doors of your company and find out why visitors weren't converted to customers?

That's a great place to start!

Random fact: I ran into Coach Joe Paterno on the sideline once and almost knocked him down.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We have some lovely parting gifts

Don't let them leave empty handed.

Do you let your customers leave empty handed?

To some merchants, it is a huge failure to see a customer walk out the door without making a purchase.

But there's more you can give them.

  • A flyer
  • A business card
  • A promotional magazine
  • A bounce back coupon
  • A free sample
  • A sincere "thank you for stopping by and considering us for your needs"
  • An assurance you'll research the product they were searching for

An empty bag can be filled with more than products. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Building your brand

"ME" out of business cards.

What is your brand?

I don't mean the company you work for. I mean you.

What do you stand for? Good service, honesty, quality?

I hope so.

Because qualities like good service, honesty and quality can be infectious. They can spread to others in your organization. Which will spread your organization.

Which helps build you and your brand.

Random fact: I can recite the last names of my 7th-grade homeroom class alphabetically, on-demand.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Blog!

Celebrating another milestone.

One year ago today, I made my first post. In the beginning, I wasn't looking this far down the road. I know. That was a little short-sighted on my part.

A lot has transpired in the last 365 days.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Can't wait to see what the next year holds.

Thank you everyone for reading, contributing, and inspiring.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The How instead of the Why

I believe we all can agree that one of the keys to a successful business is having great customer service. Many articles have been written about WHY you should offer great service; increased ROI, more business, happier customers, better goodwill, etc.

Some tips on the how:
  • Anticipate the needs of your guests and your employees
  • In spite of the limits, have a work-around that takes care of your guest when the situation warrants special attention
  • Give more to your employees and guests that keep them loyal
  • Become a good listener
I'll spend a few days expanding these topics and give specifics on just how we can accomplish them. 

Stay tuned for messages to follow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Right Audience - Can they find You?

How do you know you are reaching the right audience?

Take a look at the cover of a magazine we received recently.

Save, Drop, Beat, Make - They got 'em all!

Save Money.

Drop unwanted pounds.

Make more money.

They hit all segments.

Are you hitting your segments? What about your segment? Would you know either way? Do you even know what your target audience is? Do you know how to find them?

First off, start by making yourself accessible. Whether you are a manager, business owner, or CEO, if your customers and your employees know the door is open, they will find you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

See you again soon

As a customer was walking out, I said, "See you again soon." She stopped at the door and told me "Yes you will. You guys are always so nice to me."

That made my day.

But she made my day first by coming in. And I wanted her to know that.

Our guests/customers need to feel that they are the most special person at that moment in time. More important than sweeping the rug, or restocking the shelf, or working on that spreadsheet.

If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be . . . . period.

Friday, December 10, 2010

But you're not a customer, you're an employee

This phrase was recently overheard at a retail store. It appeared that an employee was making a purchase and was joking with the employee ringing the transaction. As soon as this phrase was uttered, a new blog post flashed before my eyes.

Would you want to work in a company where employees are valued as much as customers? If you said anything other than yes, you need help.

Southwest Airlines founder Herbert Kelleher used this response whenever he was asked about the success of the airline. "You have to treat your employees like customers."

Here is Southwest's mission statement.
We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

Sounds like a good company to work for.

It's been a while since I've been on a Southwest flight. As a matter of fact, it was 1992. It was a flight from Birmingham to New Orleans. I still remember it.

Random fact: Terry Bradshaw mussed my hair once. Once. (Thank you, Donna. I stole this idea from you!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Random act of kindness

I had a craving for a Chick-fil-a biscuit this morning. It had been a while since I had been there. Sort of a self-imposed ban. Saving bucks and calories.

It was Thursday and I usually take the kids to school so they can sleep in a little bit. That's not the real reason. I just like doing it.

Anyway, we're in the drive-thru line and I recognize the family in line behind us. So as I'm paying for mine, I tell the attendant I want to pay for the car behind me. I got my breakfast and sped off trying to be inconspicuous. With two elementary age kids in the car that was going to be tough. They would see this family at school just a short time later.

The day is rolling along and I didn't think about this until I got an email from my wife titled "Generosity". The email was a question. "Do you know anything about this?" It was a note from the principal where our kids attend. He sent the following letter to my wife.

"I don't know if it was you or your husband, but whoever blessed Ms. _______ this morning touched her in a very special way with the kind gesture at Chic fil A. 
Thank you for your kindness.  Parents like you make such a difference in the lives of our teachers and, as a result, our students.
Be blessed.  You have certainly blessed others.
ps - I know that this is really none of my business.  I apologize if this is an intrusion."

When I picked up the kids from school, the principal was waiting to meet me. He shakes my hand and again tells me how my simple act went a long way in blessing someones day. When the kids were ready, my son hands me a thank you card addressed to the family. It went into further detail of the difficulty this family had been facing over the last few weeks. It changed their day from a bad one to one that was filled with blessings.

Many times we never hear from the ones directly affected by our random acts of kindness.

Bringing this type of attitude into your operation can only spell success for your business and for you.

But let's not rely on the randomness. Begin your day determined to be a blessing to everyone you meet.