The Art of Simplicity

"Keep it Simple"

In business and in life I think we sometimes make a process harder than it has to be. I for one don’t like to reinvent the wheel – I am constantly looking around for ideas or suggestions on how to make a situation or process easier. But there is something I think we have lost with all our cool technology and how we have evolved through commercialization and getting the best deal etc… We have lost sight of the fundamentals and keeping things simple.

We built our house seven years ago. And, of course, all our appliances are starting to get the seven year inch. We bought them at a “Big Box” store which will remain nameless, and when our washing machine and dryer started to go they would not come out and fix it.  Now we bought the appliances there because their price was right (cheap) and they offered extras like not having to pay for a year, no interest, and 10% coupon off for building a house… I could go on and on… But after the transaction was completed, you no longer mattered …It felt a little like “see ya later and good luck with all this stuff you bought!”

Back to the future seven years later; a lot of these appliances have decided that they are not so interested in working properly. I should mention now that my hubby and I are not the handiest of folks. You will not come to my door and have my husband answer it with a wrench in his hand!  I am talking with my Dad about the issues we were having with the appliances and he tells me to call the “guy” on Main Street, and he can probably fix it.

Sure enough after six months of having a leaky washing machine the local store fixed it.

I decided to go pay the repair bill in person. The store has not been updated probably since the 60’s. It was a hand written receipt. There were no fancy promotions or gadgets in the store… You have to pay for the product up front…(with the cost of appliances these days is not easy for everyone). But do you know what they do have? He has been in business for over 50 years, he wears a tie to work every day, he knows his products inside and out, along with what the big chains are selling. He was responsive, he showed up when he said he was going to…and by the way, he fixed our problem that no one else cared to fix!

The guy keeps his process simple…He develops and thrives on customer loyalty. He wants to earn your business and wants you to be a repeat customer. He used to be one of the only games in town for years, but he has been able to survive the “Big Box” invasion because of his ability to focus on his fundamentals and never forget that a delighted customer is a customer for life!

So the lesson here to my fellow business owners is: look for the simplicity in business. Sometimes we make it harder for ourselves than we need to…

Discounts are cool …gadgets are fun…but to me, true fundamentals don’t change!!

 

Employee-Customer Interaction Starts with Engagement

The focus of building a trusting relationship with customers takes time and patience…but what else? In a recent post from Brian Solis, he says that changing your company’s focus to the quality of the customer experience should be top-most on your list of company priorities.

Listen, Customer, Customer-centricity, "Employee-customer relationship", "customer service", custome rfocus

Once in a while, we come across an experience where an employee might not seem 100% customer focused. Sure, they might be interacting with the customer…but are they listening? Hearing the input and feedback carefully, and having the employee interpret it properly will ultimately build a longer valued relationship with the customer. A process similar to this one takes some training and practice for employees, but it’s a great way for a company to change their tactics in grasping what is most valuable…not necessarily the product, but the people and the brand.

Similar to Tony Hsieh’s WOW customer experience…listen and give back 105% more than what they’ve expected. This will create a brand that is solid rock. My favorite quote in Brian Solis’ post that fully represents the real employee-customer relationship is:

“Customer-centricity begins with internal transformation and the willingness to adapt or create processes and programs that break down internal silos. It’s not just about communicating with customers; it’s about showing them that listening translates into action within the organization to create better products and services and also foster valuable brand experiences and ultimately relationships with customers. It’s also about empowering employees to improve those experiences and relationships in the front line and to recognize and reward their ability to contribute to a new era of customer engagement and collaboration.”

His words are powerful and completely true. What are some of your successful customer experience stories?

 

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Assistant Marketing Manager at Whiting Consulting.

Photo credit: Allbizanswers.com

Why You Need to Read the “The Thank You Economy”

Gary Vaynerchuk has done it again; he wrote another social media masterpiece!

Gary Vaynerchuk, Thank You EconomyOur company loved his last hit, Crush It!, about developing a strong personal brand in life and in the office, and Vaynerchuk’s new book, The Thank You Economy, targets points of why every business should incorporate and adapt to today’s expanding changes on the Internet into their company’s traditional organizational strategies.

One of Gary’s quotes that really hit my core about company culture is…

 

“I care more about my employees than I do about my customers, and I care more about my customers than I do about breathing.”

It is vital for every business leader to realize that in today’s market, customers and companies are experiencing equivalency due to the power of online media and competing for authenticity.

According to Gary, some of the main company culture building blocks that should be incorporated to create success are:

1.      Innovate today- Old fashioned business techniques are now unreliable, and innovation and creativity are the keys to moving ahead.

2.      Transparency- We love Gary’s enthusiasm about the importance of transparency and honesty. This is something we practice on a daily basis, because it builds our brand’s exposure and supports engagement with our audience. As stated by Gary, “Good intentions pull people towards you…”

3.    Do it the Zappos way- Tony Hsieh has empowered Zappos employees to care about their customers and go farther than expected. By performing small tasks that the company doesn’t ask employees to do, they have created ‘shock and awe’ moments. Even a hand written thank you note in today’s digital empire is considered a pleasant surprise; this is something we enjoy doing here at Whiting Consulting, as well!

4.     Empower the influential- Empowering your employees to care for your audience will boost your of community interactions and value online. Word of mouth will take charge, and all the effort put in will come back by continuously building-up your brand.  Empowerment within the company is a definite must.

Those are just a few of the key points Gary crosses in the Thank You Economy, and there are many more valuable tips and stories regarding how to survive today’s economic expectations online.

We highly recommend reading Gary’s book. Businesses should take every opportunity they have to create a unique experience for their customers in today’s ever-changing society.

 

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Marketing Coordinator at Whiting Consulting.

Photo credit: thinkvitamin.com

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