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Success Newsletters

Vol 6, Number 2 March-April 2007

In This Edition
1. Make the Customer the Star
2. 7 Key Strategies for Leading Your Team
3. Inspirational Quotes
4. Recommended Reading

MAKE THE CUSTOMER THE STAR
As I alluded to above, my family and I recently moved. An experience all by itself, and I am sure most if not all of you can relate to your own experiences of moving at one time or another. As a result, we were exposed to many different trade persons, and companies whom we had to deal with for one reason or the other. One or two of our customer service dealings and interactions were excellent, most were just average, and some were frankly downright terrible. This left my wife and I shaking our heads in disbelief at people’s incompetence, lack of professionalism, and fundamental bad manners. Below are some ways to make the customer (read “me”) the star and win their business and loyalty every time.

Let’s get this one straight right away:

1. Whatever business you are in, it is the customer or client who keeps you in business and helps pay your bills. Companies who don’t recognize this are insane and doomed to failure. Focus on making the customer the star in every sense of the word. Treat them like gold. You are not doing them a favor. It is not about what is important to you. It is about what is important to the customer. Have their best interests in mind at all times. Start from what you need to do, and then think about what will add exceptional value to the customer. Be a problem solver.

Some other things to think about…

2. Show enthusiasm, passion for what you do, have a great attitude and empathy for your customer at all times. Too many people we interacted with treated us like we were an inconvenience to their day instead of being an integral important part of their day. Go the extra mile, make them feel special. Take a pride in what you do and who you represent.

3. Return your phone calls, e-mails, faxes and letters promptly. You would think this would be a no brainier, an easy one, right…. I’m afraid not. It is amazing the number of times that we had to chase and follow up with people. This left a very bitter taste and impression with myself and my wife and we would never do business with these people again.. Simple ways to do this include: a) Not being late for appointments. There are really no excuses for this unless it is an absolute emergency. b) Following up and appreciating people for their business. What does it take? A brief phone call to make sure everything is okay and that your customer is happy and satisfied. Added bonus would be to follow that with a hand written note to thank them for their business. Think this one would be just common sense? I guess common sense is not common anymore! Be a pro at all times.

4. Never get defensive with the customer. Nothing infuriates a customer more than someone telling them their request, complaint or question is not valid, speaking down at them. This implies to the customer that you don’t care, or don’t believe them, it is also disrespectful. Listen to them, hear them out, show compassion and empathy. Feel their pain and frustration. Put yourself in their shoes. Make it right for them. If you can’t fix their concern, find someone who can. No excuses, and again, never, never put people down or infer to them that they are not telling the truth.

5. Hire real professionals who will do a great professional job for you and for your customer. In our case, there was work that was sloppy in a lot of cases; paperwork was not done correctly, mistakes were made time and time again. Of course human errors occur, but not on the scale that we experienced. Go the extra mile. Focus on differentiating yourself through service and caring. Insist on references you can check out personally.

6. With number 6, I go back to number one. It is not rocket science, make the customer the star; they keep you in business, not the other way around. Learn to listen very carefully at all times without interruption. HEAR what they are telling you, what their needs are. Be caring, concerned and willing to help them at all times. Do not make excuses. promises or deadlines you can not meet. It will come back to haunt you and ruin your credibility. Be honest and upfront with people and if you are going to be late or can’t meet your deadlines, tell them. They will respect you more for that than trying to make excuses or beating around the bush.

My late father used to tell me “son, be in business for your customer and your customer will be in business for you”. Sound advice you can take to the bank, money bank guaranteed. If you want to be successful in business today, you must be on top of your game at all times, and be better today than you were yesterday and better tomorrow than you were today.

7 KEY STRATEGIES FOR LEADING YOUR TEAM

1. Set the right tone every day
Remember, image is important. Image is created by how people act and how they treat customers. It is also created by how leaders set expectations. Everybody should know what is expected of them. People look to you for setting the right tone, be consistent, no surprises, be crystal clear on this, no grey areas. Everybody has to know their role.

2. Hire only the best and be able to make the tough decisions
Who you hire reflects on your leadership and represents you. Hire for passion, attitude, work ethic and people who are team players before talent. Stay away from the prima donnas or the dream stealers.

3. Education is the key
Training your staff on a continuous basis on every aspect of the industry/profession you are in, is paramount to your success. When I worked at Vidal Sassoon’s they used to say “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”

4. Create a terrific working environment for your team
Your people will spend as much time at work often as they do at home, so make it a comfortable environment for them to work in. Plan enjoyable events and activities to build team relationships and bond them. If your people enjoy their work space and feel wanted, special, important and appreciated, you will see less turnover and higher productivity. When they start to say MY company instead of where I work, you know they are with you.

5. Have an open door policy and always give feedback
Always be available. Great leadership is about allowing your people to voice their opinions, not to feeling threatened by their ideas or opinion. Listen carefully to what your employees tell you and then act on their ideas accordingly. When people feel valued and they feel they have a voice, are respected and have a say in the overall running of the company, you will see far more creativity, less sick days and lower turnover. This policy will nip any issues in the bud

6. Value and reward your team
This one is so important. I know first hand how powerful it is. Reward people’s accomplishments, recognize their achievements, let them know how much you appreciate their hard work and efforts and the contribution they are making, will create an incredible working team. Happy and loyal team members create happy and loyal customers. Your customers can see when an employee is happy or not, and trust me, this matters.

7. Challenge your team to make a commitment to excellence every day
There is a time for fun and a time for work. Challenge your people to give that extra1% effort every day, to be proud, resilient, professional, and to truly give that customer experience every time. Key to success is consistency.

Inspirational Quotes
“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life”
Sophia Loren

“The problem in business today is that common sense is not common anymore”
Charles Marcus

“Many things will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue those with a passion”
Unknown

Recommended Reading

How to Make the Rest of Your Life by Mark Victor Hansen and Art Linkletter.
How do we ensure that our bodies remain fit, our minds alert and creative, and our finances stable through our senior years? This terrific book is mainly targeted to baby boomers, but there is wise advice and wisdom for people of all ages to learn from. Featuring TV icon Art Linkletter, still going strong and incredibly active well into his nineties, and Chicken Soup for the Soul guru, Mark Victor Hansen, I recommend this book to anyone looking how to make the rest of your life the best.

The Power of Selling: 101 Tips To Improve Your Sales Results By Kelley Roberston
This excellent new book will give you practical and powerful ways to increase your sales success no matter what you are selling or what level you are in the sales process. The author is a master sales expert and motivator, and writes from many years of success in sales personally, as well as teaching experience with thousands of sales professionals worldwide. Each chapter is filled with strategies, tips, approaches and insights for you to take your sales game to the next level. You can order this book directly from the authors website. Also please check out Kelley’s content rich weekly free newsletter at www.robertsontraininggroup.com. This is one of the very few newsletters I personally subscribe to and read every week and would encourage you to sign up too….

Visit the Number #1 ranked site on the web for Self Improvement, as ranked by Google and Yahoo.

Highly recommended. This site contains a treasure trove of articles on every aspect of being successful and bettering yourself, including: managing your finances, diet and nutrition, health and fitness, love and relationships, success skills, spirituality, employment etc. The list goes on and on.. The website link is:www.selfgrowth.com

Date Added: March 30, 2007 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters



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