Roy's Blog: June 2011

June 30, 2011

How to care for people not serve them

I have long advocated a shift from the notion of customer service (servicing me through a set of internal rules and policies) to serving customers (putting the customer in control and finding every possible way to say “yes” to what they want).

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A recent experience at Duke’s Restaurant in Kaanapali Maui has opened up another distinction to me: taking care of customers.

Taking care is really a deeper level of serving.

It has a dramatic impact when you feel it.

Taking care is more about my comfort during the serving process. Anticipation of potential “areas of discomfort” and dealing with them seamlessly. Almost going unnoticed.

Too many glasses of water on the table cramp my space. Reducing comfort.

Soiled napkins make the table unsightly. Reducing comfort.

Crumbs and food leftovers on the table having the same effect. Reducing comfort.

Pacing the serving process consistent with the unspoken needs of the customer. Flex the speed based on what is observed and felt by the server.

Heather, from Southern California, effortlessly ensured our comfort level was taken care of without invading our space and I almost felt that if I had a morsel of Mahi Mahi on my cheek she would have removed it without my knowing smile

Did Heather reach this level of serving effectiveness by being well trained?

No.

She was born this way.

Bottom line:
— serve your fans.

— build an organization that says ‘yes’ to them no matter what.

— take care of them. Make sure they are comfortable in your environment. Make them FEEL at home.

— And recruit people who do this naturally.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 6.30.11 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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June 27, 2011

This is what it means to build crazy sales relationships

Effective sales depends on building deep relationships with your customers.

Intimate relationships. Trusting relationships. Long term relationships. Mutual benefit relationships. Cherished relationships. Memorable relationships. “Gaspworthy” relationships.

The end game is to establish such a strong bond with a customer they will never EVER think of doing business with someone else. Customer intimacy results in barriers to customer exit; a far more effective approach that worrying about what the competition may be up to and over which you have little control.

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Try these three things to get you on your way:

1. Declare that bonding is in; flogging is out. Relationship building requires that a new strategic context be struck and communicated to the organization.
Make relationship selling matter. If you don’t make relationships a key element of your strategy and a key success factor for the organization, nothing will change.

2. Make relationship building a critical component of the sales performance and compensation plan.
Outline it as an expectation and include it in the sales bonus plan. That’s the only way sales people will pay attention to it.

Sales is THE most compensation-driven function in any organization. Show a salesperson the compensation plan and watch them go. No question what their priorities and focus will be. Their actions will be DIRECTLY aligned with what they are getting paid to do.

Introduce relationship building as the metric. Define no more than 6 that you feel are critical to your success. You could adopt proactive solution presentations, listening and engaging, follow-up, keeping promises and internal advocacy as behaviors you intend to hold sales accountable for. Don’t make it complicated, BUT implement it.

Year 1 make relationship building 20% of sales compensation and increase it every year thereafter at a pace and to a level you are comfortable with.

3. Engage customers in rating sales performance. How do you measure relationship building behavior? Introduce a customer report card and get the customer to rate how the person is doing on each behavior.
This approach will not only change sales behaviour, it will also bond you closer to your customer. Being open to customer input and actually caring about what they have to say will endear them more to you. Count on it.

Moving from a product flogging culture to a relationship building one is a major change.

Be patient. Stick to your guns.

BUT get started.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 6.27.11 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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June 23, 2011

Do you trust your amazing frontline people?

One example results in your employee sometimes having to break an internal rule to take care of a customer; “saying yes” when it goes against the standard way the organization deals with a customer.

The second example ends the vitriolic dialogue with the customer this way:  “I’m sorry it’s not our policy”.

The first instance trusts the frontliner to do what is right, trusting they have enough common sense not to sell the farm.

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The second instance believes frontline people are really not all that smart and need to be directed by specific procedures that require them to behave in a specific way.

My experience is that frontliners have forgotten more about balancing the wants of the customer with the needs of the company than leaders realize.

But they are junior employees and are relegated to enforcing dumb rules and policies that sometimes get in the way of serving customers in an exemplary way. The organization seems to believe that they need to be governed by rules and have no common sense.

Seriously?

Leaders must realize that those that constantly engage with your customers are the most important group of employees you have.

They can and should be trusted.

Let them do their thing.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 6.23.11 at 10:59 am by Roy Osing
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June 20, 2011

This is what happens when you say “yes”

YES invites opportunity; NO closes the door on it.

YES creates value; NO destroys it. YES is human.

The business builder looks for ways to exchange value with others; to find opportunities to respond to what others desire. To serve others in a way that will create long term relationships that prosper both the organization and the individual. You can’t do it when you are saying NO.

Yes no

Sound reasonable?

My observation, however, is that most organizations try to control customers by a internal rules and policies that stand in the way of them from getting what they want. “You can’t do…” or “Our policy doesn’t allow…” or “The rules say…” or “that’s simply not possible…” erect barriers that destroy relationships with people.

They prevent relationship building.

They create an impersonal and unfeeling organization. They drive people to their competitors. They contribute to the competitive herd of sameness, mediocrity and invisibility.

And they turn the culture of an organization to being internally focused with a follow-the-rules mentality; devoid of originality and creativity - cogs in a machine.

Imagine a world where organizations are motivated to say YES to their customers. To try to do whatever it takes to satisfy their innermost wants and desires.

In this world “How can I help"is the singular focus of all people in the organization.

Problem solvers are viewed as critical to the strategy of the organization. Policies are designed to SERVE customers not control them. Internal processes are engineered from the customer’s point of view with the objective of being easy to do business with.

How often do we ask the frontline what they need to say YES to the customer? What stands in their way? What internal dumb rules force them to say NO?

A critical component of your overall strategy should be a how to get to YES.

If you show that you are prepared to serve your most valuable asset they will reward you with their continued business..

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 6.20.11 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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