Most business owners start up their businesses really well. They have done their homework; they understand that it’s the planning that is equally if not more important than their actual service. They have implemented the 85% of any outcome is achieved in the first 15% rule.
They have spent time selecting their products and services and are clear on their target market and have created best practice – systems, procedures, and service standards to fulfill on the promises they make to their customers.
These successful business owners also know that to grow their business through customer loyalty, word-of-mouth referral and repeat business they must apply this same rule to their Team.
Team underpin each of the following fundamental key areas – Process, Systems, Feedback and they know they must continue to test and measure each of these areas at an optimum frequency.
For these business owners when it comes to expansion like opening another location or locations, or even franchising they have everything they need to simply replicate these key areas and take their business to the next level.
And then there’s the businesses who haven’t done the work or don’t have solid grounded systems in place or who hold their systems so tightly they make it hard for their team and customers to do business with them. These are the businesses who tend to struggle and spend all of their resources managing the variation.
The variation may show up between locations or in all locations as discussed in a previous article WHY? Do Some Companies Get It So Right – Very Low Variation If Any, Ever?
For example, last week, we went to a number of furniture stores in search of our perfect couch (super comfy, with great back support) and we found it.
The chain of stores who will remain nameless, are an upmarket furniture chain and who I would have thought hold a pretty good slice of the market share.
The sales guy we dealt with instore was great, he gave us all the information to answer our questions, helped with the colour selection, the couch measurements and when I tried to negotiate on price, he stood by the value of their product, the price was the price, which I thought was good. Even though I would have preferred to have spent less.
We ended the conversation letting him know we were a yes, but just needed to be sure the couch would fit the stairwell as it was going to the second level of our home.
He responded by saying “when you want to buy it, just email us and we can do it all online”. He then handed over a card which consisted of the business name and store email address – hobart@(businessname).com.au. No phone number.
I asked him at the time, can’t I call or email you personally? He then proceeded to let me know that he works on commission, the salespeople are not provided with individual mobile numbers or email addresses. I was really surprised by this; they make it hard for their team to win.
Once we were clear that the couch would fit, I emailed the store to advise him that we were ready to purchase – no response. After 2 days we were very frustrated, we were also told the special will end on Sunday and it was Friday. N.B. I later found that to not be true which was very annoying. In fact, they are still promoting their winter special today.
We actually went to other competitor stores to see if they had the same product but fortunately for this company they did not.
I rang the companies head-office to complain, saying we just want to buy a couch and your system is making it very difficult. They offered to take our order whilst we were on the telephone which was good because we just wanted to complete the purchase however, that in itself did nothing to address a very poor customer experience or generate any customer loyalty.
Fortunately our salesperson had provided us with all of the relevant details of model, colour etc, otherwise we could not have bought on the phone.
It’s important to note, that although we felt annoyed at the salesperson not being available to us, it wasn’t really his fault because he is a direct reflection of a very poor system and here’s why:
I can’t deal with my salesperson directly – there is no way to contact him or the store directly without having to spend ages on the phone through their head office.
I cannot even be sure he receives his commission, after all the time and the service he provided.
It’s likely, that other staff had seen and read the email instore BUT did not act on it due to not having any relationship to us. Or maybe there’s a secret code instore – not my customer, not my commission, not worth my time.
Our salesperson also called to let us know he had, had 2 days off and was very disappointed to hear we had purchased through head-office, even though I reassured him I had given his name for his service instore for which he thanked me.
So, what was a great experience instore unraveled at the buying stage because of their very poor system and the impact of that system is that the sales guy lost our sale and we were all left frustrated and disappointed. Why make it so hard?
Don’t Let Your System Destroy The Customer Experience – Make It Easy To Do Business With You
For example, we have just completed researching one of our clients teams and one of the biggest employee loyalty best practice drivers was empowerment.
They make it easy for their team to win.
Each member of the team is equipped with the tools they need to make their job easy and make it easy for customers to do business with them. Unlike the experience I shared previously in this article.
They all have direct telephone numbers, their own phones and email addresses. They also provide clarity via sales and service standards throughout every role in their business.
So many of the employees researched mentioned – we really appreciate that they do this for us, because it makes us feel like they understand our commitment to the overall business goals, and what tools we need in our toolkit to contribute to achieving the overall business growth.
Remember your team is the face of your business, whether answering telephone calls, resolving inquiries, managing requests, or selling your products or services.
As leaders we must ensure our team is operating at their peak by setting clear expectations, providing the right tools for each team member to fulfill on their role and most importantly invest in their continuous improvement.
Fundamentally, it’s about setting your team up to win! When they win, you win.
What systems do you have in place that make it easy for your team to deliver 10/10 customer service? For your customers to purchase from you? For your team to get the sale? For your business to grow?
In summary, allow your team to make the decisions needed to make it easier for customers to do business with you and give them the processes, systems and tools needed to deliver.
If you would like to have a chat with me about ‘making it easy to do business with you and setting your team up to win’ contact me I look forward to hearing from you.