Roy's Blog: October 2016

October 31, 2016

10 ways to make your customers feel appreciated and important

“Customer Appreciation Days” don’t cut it. In fact they add nothing to thank loyal customers for their business.

You can’t make people feel appreciated by doing an occasional tribute to their importance. And you can’t do it by holding an event; a crowded often cheesy affair with free coffee and muffins.

Customer appreciation is about making them ALWAYS feel special.. Every time they “touch” your business for whatever reason.

These 10 acts will warm your customers to you and create a customer service culture unmatched by others.

1. Recruit employees that REALLY like to serve others; who are “born” with the natural desire and ability to put the needs of others before their own. If you don’t have employees born to serve, you will never be able to express your appreciation to your customers.

2. Appreciate each of your customers differently. Applying a boiler plate approach to all assumes that everyone likes to be thanked in the same way. Not true. Everyone is different and the challenge is to find the way they, specifically, like to be recognized for their loyalty. By the way, avoid “trash and trinkets” and other gimmicks to say “thank you”; they’re cheap and impersonal.

3. Take every opportunity to thank them for their business. A simple but powerful tool to reinforce how much they are appreciated.

4. Empower your frontline people to serve your customers the way THEY want to be served. Escalations to supervisors on complaints or other issues robs your employees of the ability to have personal credibility and “flex” to the customer’s unique needs.

5. Take the problem solving role. People feel listened to and respected when someone takes an earnest concern in helping solve a problem they are encountering.

6. Institute a “loose” system of rules and policies. In fact refer to them as “guides” to indicate an openness and flexibility to engage customers in a friendly manner. Allow employees to act in favour of the customer; do whatever it takes to “say yes”.

7. Reserve special offers and deal promotions for your existing customers to thank them for their loyalty rather than as an incentive to attract new customers. Offering “3 months free service” to someone to get them to switch from their current supplier does little to make your existing customer base feel special.

8. If you can’t meet your customer’s specific needs, for whatever reason, help them find where they can go to get satisfaction EVEN A COMPETITOR. This shows you care about them and not about pushing your own agenda.

9. Have a conversation with a customer to discover what’s going on with them; don’t flog your message and products at them.

10. Surprise them with something they don’t expect. This isn’t about sending a birthday wish to them every year, it’s about discovering something more intimate about them and giving them a “gift” accordingly. Surprise gifting speaks volumes about how you really feel about them.

Treat your customers like human beings with feelings and individual desires if you want to make them feel special.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 10.31.16 at 02:22 am by Roy Osing
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October 24, 2016

5 easy ways to accept a bad decision

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another in organizational life; we’ve been dealt a bad hand and have had to suffer the negative consequences of a decision that someone else has made.

A decision we had no input in; one that was not in our best interest. One that set us back and removed privileges we worked hard and long to earn.

You’re not about to change the decision; you either have to live with it or leave and find opportunities elsewhere.

Here’s how you might be able to stay and live with it.

1. Do your research on why the decision was taken. What elements of the organization’s strategic plan drove the decision? What does the overall good look like? Is the intent to increase market share? Improve profitability? Refine business processes to streamline customer service?

The strategic objective is the context to evaluate your particular concerns. It provides a higher level explanation of why you are being screwed over. It won’t necessarily make you agree with the decision taken, but at least it will enable you to understand why it was reached.

2. Always keep the long term first and foremost in mind. Short term set backs are a way of life for individuals who choose organizational life. Your immediate misfortune does not represent the end of your career.

The good news is that you will have more chances.

3. Show your resiliency. Be that person who can take the punch, move on and continue to make a valuable contribution to the goals of the organization. Stand apart from others who choose to stay in defensive retreat and be a victim.

Your immediate misfortune my be an opportunity in disguise.

4. Seek guidance from a mentor who has, no doubt, experienced similar issues in their time. Express your feelings, ask for advice and listen.

5. Keep your mouth shut! Go to your ‘cave’ and think before you go public with your opinion of the decision. It’s always tempting and hard to resist, but avoid the bitching and lamenting conversations with colleagues about how badly you’ve been treated.

Uncontrolled reaction generally results in saying things you will regret. You don’t want your personal brand to be tainted with winer and sniveler; it will hold you back once the ‘crisis’ has past (and it will pass).

Accept the fact that ‘they’ will do you an injustice sooner or later and if you treat the event as a learning opportunity it will serve you well in your career.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 10.24.16 at 04:23 am by Roy Osing
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October 17, 2016

11 simple truisms that define successful leadership

A 33 year career with a major corporation is a long run. 

The opportunities I had to play leadership roles as president, business unit VP, marketing EVP and CMO provided me deep levels of expertise and practical experience in virtually every aspect of an organization.

With an understanding of how successful results are consistently achieved.

My career yielded these leadership learning points that, looking back, we’re critical to my success.

1. Informality breeds trust. A tight leadership style begets little organizational rhythm and as a result produces spotty results. People trust people who are real and don’t act out their position in the hierarchy.

2. Simplicity attracts followers. It’s all about having an uncomplicated story line that people get, believe in and are able to execute on.

3. The frontline is in control. It’s where the brave idea of strategy turns into the crude deed of successful performance and results.

4. Ego must be muzzled. When an individual suffers a setback (and everyone does at some point) the overwhelming force that pushes them to lash out against the injustice must be subdued. Respect must be shown for the winner to earn the right to compete another day.

5. Language captivates. Unique words for common concepts attracts attention, interest and support. Cutting through the idea clutter is an essential act of leadership. Why say “eliminate non-strategic activities” when you can say cut the crap?

6. First responders earn the prize. Be the first one to offer to help in times of trouble regardless of whether it’s your job or not. Success is often achieved in the face of a screw-up or when the original plan falls short of expectations. Be THAT person who jumps into the fray to get things back on track.

7. Connect the dots and unleash the passion in people. Between what the organization wants to achieve and what each person must do to deliver it. Allow employees to determine their own tactical approach and inconsistency and dysfunction will result.

8. If you’re not focused, you’re done. Limited time and resource bandwidth make focusing on the critical few tasks essential to drive ahead. Chasing “the possible many” is a great way to make zero real progress.

9. Imperfection drives results. Seeking perfection paralyses an organization, as unnecessary analysis and pondering prevent taking action.

10. Serving humans is THE critical success factor for leadership. “Commanders” create virtually no long term value for an organization. Asking “How can I help?” to destroy barriers that prevent people from doing their job is THE key to engage employees and deliver unmatched performance.

11. Loyalty creates sustainable leadership. Personal commitment to the organization and people around them create “leaders for life” who are loved and remembered.

Ironically, I learned none of this at school.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 10.17.16 at 04:15 am by Roy Osing
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October 10, 2016

How you can easily contribute to organizational goals

I often hear people say they personally can’t affect the outcomes of their organization.

They believe that the actions of a single person in any organization are insufficient to enhance strategic performance.

This is not a surprising perspective. Organization’s are complex and often internal communication and leadership lack the precision of spelling out exactly what needs to be done to execute the strategy.

Most strategic plans lack the implementation detail that would enable individuals understand their role in implementation. They tend to be focused on WHAT outcome is desired rather than on HOW it will be achieved.

Here’s my step by step process to ensure your actions are both relevant and effective at contributing to the outcomes your organization wants to achieve.

1. Thoroughly understand the strategy of the organization. Accept the reality that the strategic game plan  won’t have the granularity you need to define your specific role in delivering it. You will have to know it intimately in order to determine what you must do to support its direction.
Seek clarification from leadership if you need to.

2. Determine the strategic programs that align with your position responsibilities and competencies. If you are in sales, look for the sales oriented objectives.

3. Boil the number of programs where you could contribute down to a critical few where you believe you can make a BIG difference. Make a call on those with BIG PAYOFF potential and focus on those.

4. Draft the specific role you believe you can play in each program. Be specific. Detail the deliverables you can contribute and how they will advance the strategy.

5. Confirm your role with leadership. Press them to agree you are on the right track or that modifications are required to align your actions more closely with the program’s intent.

6. Get a leadership sponsor for your task. You will achieve more progress with a “power pusher” supporting your initiatives than without one (also you can use another mentor in your career, right?).

7. Look for opportunities to perform your role differently than what leadership expects. Show originality and new box thinking.

8. Ensure you have sufficient capacity to perform your role flawlessly. Don’t take on more than you are capable of delivering. If you falter because your plate is too full no one will care.
All they will see is that you blew it. Build “slack time” in your schedule to account for the unexpected tasks you will most certainly be asked to perform.

9. Eliminate as many activities that don’t relate to your strategic role as you can. You won’t have total control over this, but, again, this is about building your capacity to deliver the strategic outcomes you have chosen.

10. Get comfortable with imperfection. You don’t behave the time to try to deliver the perfect anything. Plus, it doesn’t exist; it’s a waste of time trying. Be imperfect fast and often. Ship stuff; don’t study stuff to death. You will be judged by your output not your intellectual processing power. If you don’t do it, what good is the thought?

11. Strike and lead cross functional teams where the desired outcome requires more than just your resources. Show leadership.

12. Communicate regularly. Tell ‘em what you’re gonna do. Tell ‘em how it’s going. Tell ‘em what you delivered.

The “average” employee uses their lack of influence as a crutch to do nothing to support strategic goals.

Don’t be captured by that herd.

You’ll never get out of it.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 10.10.16 at 06:00 am by Roy Osing
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