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

5 Lessons to WOW Your Customer

Wow, customer service, sign

Ever have that spectacular customer experience that made you stop and say, “WOW” to yourself? Did it change your thoughts about the company and willing to share your experience with your friends?

After reading the book about positive customer experiences, “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, Zappos! CEO, I came across my own positive experience. In the book, Tony talks about how his employees’ main passion is to give the customer a “WOW” moment. This WOW moment pertains to giving the customer more than they could ever want, by going above and beyond without them expecting more. For example, providing them with extra product knowledge or giving a customer an upgrade at no charge. Continue reading

Admitting You’re Wrong is the New Vogue

Subconsciously, we have always been a society who is afraid to admit when we are wrong. Why do people worry so much about ego and the short-term results, rather than the long-term?

From experience, dealing with a business who forgot to mention a big piece of the equation in customer service, immediately changed my perception of their brand. According to KnowHR’s blog tip of the day on June 4th, when you lie, people are very perceptive and store it in their long-term memory. This will harm you and your brand in the long run with WOM spreading, especially with the rapid pace of social media. Once a negative detail comes out online about a brand, it’s hard to stop its effect until the company has to personally track it with social media and take immediate action.

This got me thinking about if more people admitted their wrongs in business, productivity in the workforce would increase and it would also create differentiation from the trust that you build as a brand to further end results.

When was the last time you heard from a businessperson, “Yes, I was wrong, I apologize,”? If you have heard it before, did it make you feel off guard and in disbelief? You then see the individual in a different light, and you develop respect for their action and it helps secure the bond of trust. Continue reading

Who Is Your Next Customer?

When your company is hiring you have an opportunity to meet and exchange information with many people about your organization. In many ways this can be considered another marketing channel for your business. Have you ever taken a step back and thought about a potential employee’s experience with your company based on their perceptions from the interviewing process? This can be a VERY valuable exercise.

Often times, candidates are frustrated by the “black hole” of applying for positions or going in for an interview and never hearing back. Think about the last interview you went on when that happened to you. How did that make you feel?

I was reading a great article in The New York Times called Be Nice to Job Seekers. (They’re Shoppers, Too.) Preoccupations – Be Nice to Job Candidates. (They’re Also Consumers.) – NYTimes.com. The article spoke about two very well known brands that had made recent changes to their recruitment process. Both Southwest Airlines and Nabisco identified that they needed to treat candidates rather special because in the case of Nabisco, “Everyone eats cookies.”

When looking at your recruitment process you need to consider it as another channel to push your brand out into the marketplace. Companies that can identify this and make slight changes in the process will see many benefits in the long run.

Find a way to take that extra time and respond to that candidate and provide feedback. Going that extra mile will stand out in that person’s mind and you will never know when they could be your next client.

I know first hand that this process does work, I have been fortunate to have candidate’s become clients and it is a very rewarding experience.

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