Be Attentive

Do you know what your customers are saying about better!

Do you know what your customers are saying about better!

Here is a powerful example of why customer feedback is so important to your business. Events like this happen everyday...are you making it easy for your customers to tell you what they think. Think of how "deadly" this word of mouth story could have been:

"A customer, Janet, recently gave us a feedback score of 0 and wrote a long story about the terrible haircut she received. She basically said she would never come back to Fantastic Sams. I sent her an apology e-mail and asked her to call me so I could apologize live, versus just e-mail. After a short phone call, she agreed to come back to the hair salon and let someone fix her haircut. I called the salon and arranged for her to call on her way in and ensure she had absolutely no wait when she arrived. I called her after her haircut and she was thrilled. She was amazed that I took the time to follow up with her again on the phone. . Janet also sent out 3 referrals through Promoterz. She also scheduled to come back to the salon to have her hair colored! I never would have known this woman was so upset without Promoterz. Think of all the people she would have told her story to. Now she is telling a new great we are! Promoterz just saved my business thousands of dollars in potential lost revenue...thank you Promoterz!"

Scott Weintraub
Fantastic Sams
New Jersey

Is this happening in your business?....are you sure? You have thousands of reasons to find out.

Unhappy customers tell on average 22 other people. If you ticket price is $50 that is $1100 in revenue. How would you like to know before they tell 22 others? Learn more

Perfect opportunity for feedback...lost!

Perfect opportunity for feedback...lost!

Last night, my family and I went to a "practice" dinner at a new, well known steakhouse in'd all recognize it. My daughter works there, so last night was free to family and friends of employees of the steakhouse. Obviously, not a new concept, it makes a lot of sense. What didn't make sense to me, was that no one asked us how the experience went. Love the idea of having a dress rehearsal before you expose yourself to the masses, but why not take the opportunity to get real feedback and know how everyone did.

There was no feedback vehicle offered to the hundreds of people who had a FREE meal. If offered, I am sure 90% of the customers in attendance would have loved to give feedback. My meal would have cost me $72...I would have vacuumed the carpet if they asked me to do it. I would have gladly given them a "grade" on our overall experience.

The restaurant could have learned what they needed to fix before the big opening...But nothing. No comment card, no 800# on a receipt, no invitation for feedback card ...nothing. They have no idea how good or bad the experience was for the hundreds of people who attended. idea. Huge opportunity lost. Customers are your company's greatest asset...what are they saying about your business? Don't miss the opportunity to find out.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

Legislating the Sun

Legislating the Sun

I live in Arizona, in the "Valley of the Sun". This is the place where all winter we flaunt our clear blue skies, our spring training baseball, and the fact we can give our kids bikes for Christmas and they don't have to wait till April to use them. (Of course, from June to August we are all visiting family and friends in cooler climes...but I digress.)

Arizona doesn't legislate the sun. We don't participate in the daylight savings time nonsense. But most other places do which means in the summer we are at the same time as California and in the winter we are the same time as Utah.

The standard argument for daylight savings time was that it saved energy. You needed less lights, so you saved energy. It seemed obvious and everyone seemed to have bought off on it and now the nation happily believes they are doing their part in saving energy by participating in daylight savings.

But it seems that no one really looked at the data. USA Today had an article recently describing research done at the University of California in Santa Barbara that showed that daylight savings does save energy used for lighting but that it used even more energy on heating and cooling costs. So the net effect is participating in daylight savings actually uses more energy. Now this is not an article intended to start "digital fisticuffs" about daylight savings. But rather the interesting point that people and governments think they are saving energy when in fact they are expending more.

Does that happen in your business? Do you assume that your customers are happy with something you do or provide when in reality they don't like it? Remember back in the "continuous improvement" business craze of the 90s the phrase "In God we trust...all others bring data". That is still true. Get the data and know what you know.

"What you don't know might kill you" could also be "What you think you know could kill you". So the point is get some data, some fresh live real data of how your customer's feel. There are lots of ways to do that. I personally feel that Promoterz is a great way since it provides a way to continuously monitor the heartbeat of your company rather than just a twice a year "exam". But whatever you choose, do it. You will be surprised at what you learn from the ones that really know. Your competition will be doing it.

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

Get Your Helmet Mounted Cueing System Now!

Get Your Helmet Mounted Cueing System Now!

The F35 is an amazing jet. It can reach mach 1.6 and then stop in midair and hover while landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in rough seas. You can see it in action here . For more than 50 years the Air Force has provided its pilots with "head up" displays so that the pilots can monitor key indicators they need without taking their view off the horizon. I guess when you are going mach 1.6 and dealing with an enemy it is pretty important not to take your eyes off the horizon. The Air Force is now testing new technology to replace the head up display specifically for pilots of the F35. According to a recent post on CNET, the new system uses infrared to actually let the pilot look right through the floor of the aircraft. It also displays the feedback that pilots need no matter which direction they are looking. The company that is developing the new technology calls it a "Helmet Mounted Cueing System."

So your business is moving along pretty fast, wouldn't it be nice to have a Helmet Mounted Cueing System to help you make better decisions? What information would you want on your cueing system? I don't think you'd want to clutter it up with important but not critical information. For example, I don't think I'd want to wander around with a copy of my latest balance sheet always in front of my eyes. The current cash balance in the bank, on the other hand, might be very useful. I don't know about you, but sometimes every second counts in getting a deposit to clear before payroll starts hitting! How about some indicator of how your customers are feeling? After all, everything we do as business owners is (or should be) about making customers happy so that they will buy from us again and again and tell their friends. Seems like knowing what they are thinking about our business and what they really want from our business should influence every decision we make. What else would you add to your HMBICS (Helmet Mounted Business Information Cueing System--got to have an acronym if we want to get any government funding!)

If you're not quite ready to pull on the Star Wars helmet (your customers might turn and run), you might check out our sponsor product, Promoterz. Right now--without government funding--you can keep a pulse on how your customers feel about your business. There is no head up display, but your customers' comments will go directly to your email so you will always be in touch and better able to take your business to mach 1.6!

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

The Customer/Employee is always right

The Customer/Employee is always right

A recent BusinessWeek article describes India's HCL Technologies unique management ratings program. In essence, each manager is ranked in several areas by those that report to them. Lot's of companies do these "360" types of reviews, but what is different about HCL is that they publish the results on their intranet for the employees to see.

CEO Vineet Nayar was rated 3.6 out of 5 for how well he keeps projects running on schedule by 81 managers that rated him, and everybody at HCL knows it.

According to Nayar "In our day and age, it's the employee who sucks up to the boss. We are trying, as much as possible, to get the manager to suck up to the employee."

In addition they have an online complaint system where anyone can voice concern over a particular issue ranging from the air conditioning to bonuses. Each of these concerns becomes a "ticket". What is unique is that these tickets can be "cleared" only by the employees, not management.

Imagine applying that to your small business. Your company is the "manager" and your customers are the "employees". What if companies posted online for all customers to see how they are ranked. What if noted problems remained listed until the company deals with them and the customer removes them.

Employee retention rates have increased at HCL. How would you like to have your customer retention rates increased? Have you asked your customers to rate you and your business? They are the only ones that know how they feel about your business.

Reicheld discovered the customer question that seems to track with the future growth of a business "Would you recommend us to your friends and colleagues?" Our service, Promoterz, helps you ask them that question with the addition of "Please provide specific comments to help us understand the rating you have assigned". You will know how your customers feel and have actionable data you can use to improve.

Perhaps small businesses should include Nayar's words in their business plan "We will try, as much as possible, to get the company to suck up to the customer!"

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more
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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.