3, Issue 6
Special Focus Issue
Addressing the daily challenges in being effective communicators
your product or service here.
Every single contact your organization has with
its customers either cultivates or corrodes your relationship. That
includes every letter you send, every ad you run, and every phone call
you make. This includes every employee contact, from the CEO to
technicians, sales force, support staff, and maintenance crews.
In other words, your business is only as good as your worst employee!
It's a sobering thought, isn't it? How well are you training your
employees to cultivate your customers? Is anyone too high or too low to
Make heroes of your employees.
At a meeting for the Gap stores, Ed Stair, Senior VP of Gap Outlets,
wanted to make everyone think of ways to serve customers and at the same
time wasted resources that could be directed to customer benefits. He
started his talk by saying, "We are here to talk about HEROES. They
may be sitting in front of you, or behind you, or they may be you. In
the trenches, Gap Heroes!"
He went on to describe how one Gap Hero in the mailroom noticed 7 FedEx
packets going to the same Gap location, on the same day, with the same
material inside the company newsletter. He repackaged them into one,
with directions to distribute at the final location. Making the same
observations everyday saved the Gap $200,000 in one year. This saving
could be directed into another jeans size not created, 18 miles of
shelves to make it easier for us to find what we need, a month more to
watch the fun Gap Swings, Gap Jives, Gap Rocks commercials!
See yourself through your customers' eyes.
On a visit to New York, my brother and I decided on a whim to see a
movie. It was the last show of the evening, and, though we were ten
minutes late, we didn't feel missing a few scenes would matter. (It was
a Jean-Claude Van Damme film, not the deepest plotline!) The cashier
refused to sell us tickets because she had closed the cash drawer for
the night. We asked her if it were possible to enter the money in the
next day's records. She said no. After speaking to two more employees
including the manager, we left without seeing the film. They couldn't
take our money because the drawer was closed.
Had the theater's employees been trained to see situations through the
eyes of the customers, we would not have encountered three uncooperative
and uncaring individuals. Taking money after the drawer is closed is
undoubtedly a nuisance, but it is revenue after all. Obliging customers
brings repeat business, and repeat business is what we all strive for.
See your company through the boss's eyes.
One of the goals of customer service training is to instill in all your
employees the sense that it is their business, too. Build this sense of
ownership by encouraging employees to see situations from the owner's
point of view. If the theater employees had had any sense of ownership,
they never would have turned down money. Which day the ticket sale is
rung up is irrelevant. Taking in money is what keeps the doors open and
what the business is all about.
Take the case of a manager for American Express in Phoenix, Arizona. He
visited a local mall to buy ten boxes of chocolates for his employees as
thank you gifts. There were two candy stores across from each other. He
entered the first store and asked if they accepted American Express
credit cards. Assured that they did, he selected candy totaling $150.
Then he noticed the store had only posted Visa and MasterCard signs.
Through the window, he saw that the candy store across the way had the
American Express logo clearly visible on its door.
The manager explained to the salesperson that, as an American Express
employee, he couldn't in good conscious give his business to a store
that did not advertise the card. "I hope you'll understand that
I'll have to take my business to a store that does," he said.
Just then, a sixteen-year-old stock boy asked him to wait a moment. The
young man ran to the other candy store, picked up an American Express
application, ran back, cut out the American Express logo, and taped it
to the register. "Is that good enough, sir?" he said. Needless
to say, he made the sale.
Now that employee had no long-term career strategy with the candy store,
yet he instinctively knew to take the initiative, creatively removing
the problem, saving the customer. He also knew that if he didn't act as
if his name were on the door... it never would be. The best strategies
are usually the simplest aren't they?
Everyone makes a difference. As noted broadcaster Paul Harvey says,
"For a company's advertising strategy to work, it has to be handled
not only corporately but also individually." No one is too
important or unimportant to leave out of your positive PR loop. Seeing
your business like a customer and a boss is a winning combination and a
good place to start.
Award-winning speaker and in-demand speech coach, Patricia
CPAE offers fresh, usable ideas on getting, keeping and deserving
customers. "Meetings and Conventions" magazine calls Patricia
"one of the country's 10 most electrifying speakers." Her
clients include IBM, Sears, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, American Payroll
Assn. She is the author of GET WHAT YOU WANT, MAKE IT--SO YOU DON'T HAVE
TO FAKE IT, and many best- selling audio and video programs. For more
information, contact [email protected]
634-3035, (415) 753-6556
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