Category Archives: customer survey

Stop employing Managers

Times have changed. The way we work has moved on. I think the role of Manager has had its day.

Unfortunately not many organisations have moved with the times. They’re offering new products and using new technology but  still servicing customers using the same old rules and tired, bureaucratic ways of working.  I don’t believe they can keep up with customer demands by working that way.leader_postit

New technologies have influenced what we do and the way we do it – organisations are offering a huge variety of products and service in ways we wouldn’t have thought of  just 10 years ago. Our customers see the convenience and efficiency of new technology as just the norm and are demanding even more. No longer satisfied with ‘average’ service;  they want more than just their query answered; they want choice, they want personal service.

In order to satisfy your customers I believe you have to focus on your employees. In my opinion they are in the best position to give your customers what they really want.

Stop controlling employees with overly complex and detailed rules. Instead give them the autonomy and responsibility to make decisions resolve problems and complaints themselves. Give them the tools, information and freedom to make decisions.

Stop telling employees what to do.  They are the ones doing the job so make use of the knowledge and relationships they have built up. They know how stuff actually works. They can tell you what works well and what’s getting in the way. You just have to ask. Your customers already (probably) tell them what they really think. Enable your people to use their knowledge and skill and you should see them, and your business grow.

Stop employing Managers to control things. Organisations need Leaders who focus on people. But you don’t just need leaders at the ‘top’ of a company. Everyone should be a leader.  Because Leaders motivate and inspire their people and encourage them to engage. And when employees are engaged they will motivate, inspire and engage your customers.

How many Leaders do you employ?

To hear more on how to create the right working environment and conditions to retain employees with valuable IT/Technology skills, employee engagement, customer engagement or ‘The 3Ease Standard’ and bespoke surveys email michelle@peopleessentials.co.uk; follow us on @peopleessential or sign up to receive our blog/occasional newsletter.

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Can you hear me now?

In the last fortnight I’ve heard more than 10 talks including some great ones from Steve Cram, Brad Burton and 3Ease Partner Sian Perham.

Now since joining Hungerford Speakers Club I’ve taken a much more, critical, interest in ‘talks’ – I’ve learn’t just as much from evaluating them as I have from delivering them.

I can’t really understand why I look forward to going to the meetings. Who’d have thought I’d actually want to stand up and talk for 2 minutes on a topic that I have had no time to prepare for!

I joined Hungerford Speakers because I want to improve my public speaking skills; I want to be more confident at speaking in front of large groups. And I’ll be honest I feel some pressure, when my subject  is ‘engagement’, to be engaging!

Communication Hierarchy

Of course I know that the more engaging my talks are the more likely people will listen and act on what I communicate.

My ice-breaker speech (the name given to your first speech at Speakers Club) was about mindset. I suggested that there was no such thing as luck and that luck is actually a state of mind. Funny really I could have substituted the word luck with confidence ( at speaking) and reached the same conclusion.

The most engaging talks are those that persuade and inspire. Now, you may not like his style, but when I saw Brad Burton he did exactly that. Unconventionally dressed in jeans and t-shirt, speaking at pace and using the odd swear word, his confident delivery quickly built credibility. He tells you right up front his intention is to make you ‘get off your arse’ and makes powerful use of personal stories to connect with you, his audience, and get his point across.

In my experience too few of us aim to persuade and inspire. We set our sites much lower; most of our communication focuses on giving information. It’s safe. It’s quick. It’s boring. It’s ineffective. When you fail to keep peoples interest or attention they stop listening.

Statistics about engagement suggest that for the average UK organisation:

  • 30% of employees are engaged ie. motivated, committed and performing their best
  • 40% are not engaged ie. doing just enough not to get noticed and either looking or waiting for something better to come along
  • 30% are actively disengaged ie. unhappy, demotivated poor performers spreading disatisfaction

If you apply those statistics to communication in the workplace (communication being one of the main drivers of engagement)  it means;

  • 30% of messages are understood and inspire people to act on them
  • 40% are unclear and lead to confusion, inconsistent or incomplete action
  • 30% of messages are completely misunderstood and result in no action being taken or people doing the wrong things

How much of what you communicate is unwelcome, irritating background noise?

Good communication is free. Bad communication is very expensive – for every organisation.

If you want to improve your customer experience improve the way you communicate with your employees.

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small is beautiful

When I worked in big corporates we looked down on small and medium size organisations.

big-giant-stepping-on-a-small-company1At that time I’d never even worked in one.

Working in a big company just bred a certain arrogance; we ‘knew’ we could do everything better. We used our muscle to buy more cheaply from suppliers and we could sell more cheaply too – if we wanted to. Our products and services were more easily and readily available. We could afford the latest technology. We attracted the best and most talented people because we offered better pay, more benefits, a  training plan and promotion prospects.

The tide is turning.

Today it’s better to be an SME.

Today being a big company is a problem.

Technology is no longer a barrier to entry, products and processes are more easily ‘copied’.  Small organisations can compete with big organisations on everything from price, quality and in recruiting staff.  And when it comes to customer experience – they’re outclassing them.

Research suggests, even in this climate, that price is not top of the customers wish list especially when it comes to selling B2B.

Customers still want value for money but expressed as a combination of personal, friendly and polite service, knowledgeable and available staff, responsive after sales support and finally price.

Customer service has never been more important to customers (and businesses). The 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer found that 68% of those surveyed in the UK spent more with a company when they had good customer experience.

The best organisations recognise that really good service can’t be achieved by just following a process or supplying a product. That just makes you the same as everyone else. Your reputation for service comes from the whole customer experience and is reliant on the day to day activities of each and everyone of your employees. Successful organisations understand that to deliver consistently good service that wows their customers then they have to wow their employees first!

Big companies have traditionally seen the customer service department as an overhead, the place customers go when things go wrong.  Their emphasis has been on decreasing costs by implementing automated call centres or out-sourcing the function overseas. Their size means that they are slow to adapt to these changes.

Smaller organisations are in their element. They can and are reacting to changing customers demands. They are flexible enough to ensure that everything they do is based around doing the very best for their customers.

Based on your experience, how much do you agree or disagree that each of the following accurately describes customer service in small businesses?

  • 71% agree that small businesses know their business/product better than large companies
  • 74% They understand their customer better than large companies
  • 81% provide a more personal customer service experience than large companies

Considering a small independently-owned business and large company that both provide excellent customer service – which type of company are you willing to spend more with?

  • 48% Willing to spend more with a small business
  • 7% Willing to spend more with a large company
  • 44% No difference

(2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer -UK)

Small companies are winning customers because they’re good not because they’re big.

Does your organisation still think big is best?

Do you know what kind of service your customers want?

As an employer are you giving your people the kind of employee experience that encourages, enables and motivates them to provide the best customer experience?

For information on how  3Ease can help you find out what your customers and your employees want talk to michelle@3ease.com / 01635 246214 / http://www.3ease.com

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It doesn’t have to be like this

I’ve just got back from a weeks skiing in France.

We flew out of Bristol with Easy Jet.  Our flight was at 0700 and that meant a very early start. When we booked we didn’t realise the clocks went back the night before – that made it a really, really early start!

We arrived on time, checked in and went in search of breakfast. It was quite busy but we found a place to eat and joined the queue. It took some time but we made it to the front of the queue behind the till and waited to be served.

We must have been waiting there, patiently, for 10 minutes. OK maybe 5. Not one member of staff acknowledged or approached us. Finally we caught someones eye;

‘Excuse me… we’ve been waiting here for about 10 minutes’

‘Why’

That was it. That was the response. It was so shocking it was funny. He simply said ‘why’ and told us to join the end of the adjacent queue. He didn’t care one jot what we did. Even worse not one of his colleagues batted an eye – that’s obviously just how they do business. That’s how they treat their staff and how their staff treat their customers.

I like to think it was because of sleep deprivation however  (muttering under our breath) we joined the other queue.

bad service

We may have looked complacent at the time but in true British fashion and like 89% of other people who experience bad service we won’t go there again. We will also tell at least 10 other people about our experience – with 4 Adults in our party that’s at least 40 people. If like David Carroll however I use  you tube (United Breaks Guitars) to share my displeasure I could get my message to 500,000 people in only 3 days!

In this technological age it could take just one bad experience to wreck your reputation and your business.

That was the only instance of bad service we had ( considering we were in France and at the end of the season, that was actually very surprising!).

We had a wonderful time and returned with the usual stories of falling off lifts and wipe-outs. We also have an interesting couple of food related tales to do with a cheese fondue and profiteroles!

Snow and sun were plentiful but what made the holiday special was the people looking after us.

This was our first skiing holiday for a few years and we chose to go with a company called Ski Bonjour who promise the ‘ultimate chalet experience’. They delivered.

Hannah and Lou,  our ‘Chalet Girls’ were a delight.  Very welcoming, attentive, confident and good company. Nothing was too much trouble for them. One of our party is on a gluten free diet – every day gluten free cakes/biscuits were on offer after skiing and every meal was adapted.

They told us that they were well looked after by their Employer, Ski Bonjour, and it showed. Nothing appeared regimented or forced (although there were clearly some well established standards and routines).  And because they were happy so were we.

Next time I want something whether it’s a holiday, book or a cup of tea I’m going to buy it from the person with the smiliest face, or the smiliest voice. And like 86% of the population I’m prepared to pay extra for the service that goes with that smile.

For more evidence that happy engaged employees deliver better service take a look at engage for success. Then ask yourself if your employees make your customers feel the way you want them to?

…and if you need some help to find out just ask.

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