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Influencing People to Say Yes

“How to Get Anyone to Do Anything You Want”

By Dr. Charles Dwyer

“The behavioral fragments of you are all you have to influence anybody else on the face of the Earth,” says Dr. Dwyer. “Not your good intentions, not your wisdom, not your knowledge, not your skill, not your authority, not your position. Your fragments of behavior, as interpreted by them.”

He’s not being cynical; he’s being honest. We’ve all seen hardworking people get passed over. We’ve all experienced having the right answer, but watching our peers listen to someone else.

Here is Dr. Dwyer’s original system to get anyone to do anything you want:

1.) Make sure the other person has the ability to do what you want.
Skip this step, and you will waste a lot of time. The only true obstacle to persuading someone to do something is if they lack the ability to do it. You can’t persuade an out of shape person to run a five-minute mile. If they lack the ability or self-confidence to do what you want, forget it.

2.) Offer a reward.
“If you can finish that project by Tuesday night,” you might tell your intern, “I’ll let you sit in on my meeting with the CEO.” Or, if she doesn’t want to be in high pressure meetings, you might say, “I’ll give you my tickets to the game.”

3.) Guarantee the reward.
The greatest prize in the world isn’t worth much if there is little chance you will win it. To persuade someone, you not only have to offer a carrot, but also prove they will get the carrot if they do what you ask. So if you are trying to close a sale, you might say, “If our software doesn’t reduce your costs by at least 10%, we’ll refund your money.”

4.) Reduce their costs.
People have a much greater ability to change their reality than most realize… if they are willing to pay the cost. Such costs can include longer hours, harder work or more inconvenience. By reducing the perception – or better yet, the reality – of these costs, you make it easier for others to do what you want. You could tell your high school son, “If you agree to go to practice five days a week, I’ll let you drive to school instead of taking the bus.” 

5.) Reduce their risks.
Most people hate to fail. They hate to be embarrassed, or to lose ground. Even if all four conditions listed above are satisfied, people can still resist your request because they perceive it to be too risky – personally – for them. To secure their cooperation, you must reduce their perceived risk. Dr. Dwyer suggests that the best way to get your boss to let you do something is to communicate that if it works they will get all the credit, but if it doesn’t, you will take all the blame. That’s what will happen anyway, he says, but if you use this tactic at least you will get to do what you want.

Finally, Dr. Dwyer says that the most effective way to get someone to do something is to ask for their help. It works far better than telling someone what to do.

15 Ways to Engage Employees

Employee engagement can present itself in a variety of policies and practices within an organization. Experts in the field offer 15 ways to engage workers:

1. Onboarding experience. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. “You never have higher engagement than when the employee starts,” says Alice Snell of Snell Research in Raleigh, North Carolina. The onboarding “process signals to the employee that this is an organization that cares about you and that you are going to be taken care of during your career here. It’s not good to start a new job and you don’t have a computer or a desk and you’re filling out forms for the fifth time.”

2. Offer clear lines of sight or alignment. Make sure an employee understands the goals of the company and where they fit into the plan.

3. Feedback/communication. This engagement tool often is rated in surveys as the best reward for doing a job well. Positive feedback can be as important, if not more so, than salaries and bonuses.

4. Feeling of community. This can be shown through social media, company bowling leagues or a team project that blends the talents of groups of people.

5. Opportunities for job advancement. “What kind of strategies does an organization have for people to move freely within the business and within your company?” says David Wilkins, vice president of research for Taleo in Dublin, California. “What are you doing to actively develop employees.”

6. Commitment to developing the employee. “There have been great improvements in that employees feel good about their future at a company, that the right people are being retained,” says Ilene Gochman, national director of Towers Watson & Co. in Chicago. “Companies have to pay attention to the people who are still here. You can’t assume that after all those cutbacks that people will think they have a future.”

7. Treating professionals like professionals. Autonomy and self-direction have proven to be terrific motivators, Wilkins says. Companies such as Mountain View, California-based Google Inc. and Sydney, Australia-based software developer Atlassian, which also has an office in San Francisco, offer employees 20 percent of their workweek to spend on individual projects. “At Google, one of the outcomes was Gmail and Google Reader,” he says. “Atlassian had zero percent turnover of engineers the last couple of years. It’s amazing what can happen when you unleash people’s creativity, their passion.”

8. Compensation. This goes well beyond pay, particularly for work that involves cognitive skills. “After a certain point, pay doesn’t work,” Wilkins says. “Companies need to work on nonmonetary rewards like giving employees more decision-making, more challenging work assignments and higher levels of influence and recognition in the company.”

9. Genuine investment in people. “When a supervisor or executive shows an interest in you and your development, you tend to be more open and receptive to that person,” Lee Pemberton IV of Inspired Performance Solutions in Kansas City says. “People leave organizations, survey after survey shows, because of the lack of career growth and mobility. People want to get better at their job and develop a mastery of it.”

10. Shared purpose. “Fulfilling someone else’s goal is a job. Fulfilling your own goal is a reward. When you get directives from the top down and you are not bought into that process, it is somebody else’s goal,” reports Pemberton. “You want employees to be connected to a goal and be part of a shared vision. You need to align goals throughout the organization.”

11. Relationship with peers. This goes beyond colleagues at your level to include managers. Wilkins says one of the main reasons employees leave a job is a poor relationship with the boss or co-workers.

12. Leadership. “The most important element is having strong managers and strong leaders,” says Judy Whitcomb, assistant vice president of learning and organizational development for Chicago-based Vi, which owns and operates senior-living facilities. “You have to have managers who are engaged. Without competent managers, everything else falls apart.”

13. Career development. “There has been great improvement in employees feeling good about their future at a company and a sense that the right people are being retained,” Gochman says.

14. Empowerment. An employee must have the feeling that you can speak up, that you have input in changes that can affect your job.

15. Company image. A good reputation can permeate throughout an organization. If you feel the company has a good image you are more likely to keep or stay in your job. Brand image is often tied to employee’s self-image. Are they proud of where they work? Will they recommend their place of employment to family and friends? Pemberton shares these questions as critical to the assessment of employee engagement.

4-Steps to Improving Employee Retention

The contact center industry has historically been plagued by high employee turnover. Particularly problematic (and expensive) is early agent attrition – new-hires quitting soon after the contact center has spent time and resources recruiting, assessing, training and preparing them to handle customer calls.

While some early attrition can be attributed to poor candidate selection, often rookie reps exit because they get rushed through orientation and initial training then thrown to the customer wolves. Or, in some cases, they receive plenty of coddling and coaching during orientation/training, and then wonder where all the love suddenly went once they’ve earned their headset.

During my call center management career I’ve seen call center leaders try many ways to reduce attrition including helping ease rookie agents into the challenging and dynamic customer care environment. Many top contact centers have implemented “extended on-boarding” initiatives. Such initiatives spread the transitional phase out over several weeks or months to help foster a strong sense of preparedness and belonging among new staff, resulting in higher levels of engagement and fewer incidents of them vanishing into thin air.

Following are several key components of successful “Extended On-Boarding” initiatives:

1. “Transition” training. After their trainees complete a couple weeks (or more) of classroom training, many contact centers send them to a special phone bay (or “nesting area”) to take basic calls while being closely monitored and carefully coached by a supervisor (or multiple supervisors, if the training class is particularly large). After a week or so in the bay, trainees may head back to the classroom to enhance their skills and to learn how to ignore the urge to punch customers. Following another stint in the nesting area taking live calls, successful trainees are moved to the official phone floor while their less successful peers are moved out or continue in the nesting phase.

“Transition” training, as it has come to be called, not only helps to shorten learning curves by providing plenty of practical experience, it works wonders in raising comfort levels among new hires, who love the extra care and attention they get before taking on much more complex problems on their own.

2. Peer mentoring. Effective agent on-boarding doesn’t end with initial training. Top contact centers continue to show new-hires the love after “graduation” by pairing them up with an experienced agent trained to assist and inspire. Having a peer nearby to help rookies through tough calls, peak periods and panic attacks is a surefire way to fend against early attrition and help new-hires thrive in what can be an overwhelmingly fast-paced environment.

In addition to raising the retention and performance levels of new hires, peer mentoring has the added benefit of enhancing engagement among the center’s frontline veterans (which can be infectious), who enjoy sharing their knowledge, taking on more of a leadership role, and having somebody to help.

3. Social events. Even with peer mentoring in place, feelings of isolation and alienation are common among agents, who must spend most of their time tucked inside a cubicle handling (or waiting to handle) customer contacts. Smart contact centers recognize this, and thus organize frequent events and gatherings aimed at strengthening relationships, elevating morale, and motivating agents to accept weekend shifts. Examples of such practical social activities include team luncheons, bowling outings and barbeques. During these events, managers and supervisors should introduce and encourage interaction with the center’s newer team members.

4. Specialized satisfaction surveys for new employees. Just because this isn’t a common practice doesn’t mean it’s not a good one. Administering an “on-boarding satisfaction” survey to agents after 60 or 90 days on the job enables the contact center to gauge the level of engagement among newbies and act quickly on feedback to help prevent early attrition and aggravated assault on supervisors. Agents’ input and suggestions also help the center to improve the overall on-boarding process to ensure high levels of retention. Many managers say that the very act of soliciting such feedback from new-hires helps to increase morale and retention, as it shows them that the organization truly values their opinion and is committed to improving hiring, training, brainwashing and other processes aimed at setting them up for success.

If your call center is struggling with retention, employee engagement, or creating customer loyalty, then contact Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com or Lee.Pemberton@inspiredperformancesolutions.com to discuss how we might be able to help you achieve your goals.

Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc. believes call centers improve results when they apply the success formula: 

Alignment of Strategic Vision is critical to creating Employee & Customer Loyalty

What does baseball have to do with your success?

As you may be aware, tomorrow is Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game. As some of the best players gather to play this “exhibition” game for the fans, I am reminded of all the ways baseball is similar to business. How are you playing the game? Would you have been selected to your industry’s All-Star Game this year?

While it seems like the Cardinals, my favorite team, just won the World Series, the reality is we are over half way through another baseball season. The Cardinals are 46-40 heading into the All-Star break. They are 2.5 games behind in the Division race and sitting in third place in the Division. If the play-offs started today, my beloved Cardinals would not defend their World Series title. Just like in business, what you did last year means little to this year’s results. Would you make your play-offs based upon this year’s results?

Who is your favorite baseball team? Ever ask yourself why you’re so loyal to them, even though they may not be winners? I wonder if your customers are as loyal to you as you are to your favorite team. Are your customers your fans? Baseball uses attendance, licensed apparel sales, television viewing data, just to a name a few to measure their success. What data are you using to measure your customer loyalty?

Here are the lessons in baseball you can apply to your business once you understand the importance and impact:

The baseball team is made up of individual players who know how to play together. Their individual skills contribute to the team’s success. They cannot win alone. The best team wins. Each player contributes based upon their individual strengths and natural talents. Are you positioning your players to achieve maximum success? Do you even know the strengths and natural talents of your players?

• Every great ball player was once a beginner. They started at a young age because they loved to play. They were encouraged by their parents and coaches. Most spent hours and hours practicing, playing, and working to develop their natural talents. They attended camps, played on select teams, watched video of themselves, studied the game and baseball situations. They practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. How often are you and your team practicing? What preparation does your team complete to maximize effectiveness? If you want to be the best, then wishing it so won’t be enough. Just like an All-Star baseball player, you must create a development plan and work the plan to become an All-Star.

• Nearly every Major League player starts in the minor leagues. In baseball, like business, there are no shortcuts. One step at a time is required for success. Before they got to the minors, it’s probable they had already been playing some form of organized ball for 15 years. Most spend years in the minor leagues learning the game and sharpening their skills. How prepared are your sales people, your service team, or anyone with customer relationship responsibilities to handle your customer interactions? Have you properly prepared?

Ballplayers are coached. Being coached and listening to coaches are key factors in a ballplayer’s success. Many great coaches were once players. Some of the best managers were not the best players. Take the former Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa, he was mainly a minor league player during his playing career, yet he led teams to three World Series titles and six appearances in the Fall Classic. Tony coached his players. He understood each person’s abilities and is credited with creating the specialization of the bullpen for relief pitchers. Just like in business, every player needs to know their role and the expectations for performance. Are you promoting the best players to managers or looking for the best managers within the players? Have you measured their abilities?

Ballplayers warm up and practice before every game. They get ready. Even if they’ve been playing for years, they practice before EVERY game. Does your team practice the skills needed to succeed in your business? Whether its role playing for a sales or service contact or preparing for a presentation, does your team practice?

Ballplayers learn the fundamentals of the game until they’re automatic. Then they practice them every day. Fundamentals like: Keep your eye on the ball. Know the rules. Know the strategies. Execute the plays. They understand that defense is just as important as offense. Have you communicated and taught your team the basics to success in business?

All ballplayers, even great ballplayers, get into a slump. Coaching, watching films, and practice gets them out of the slump. Read that last sentence again. When your team is in a slump, how are you reacting to them? Are you supporting them or complaining about them? Are you telling them to improve or showing them how to improve?

• All ballplayers make errors. Sometimes an error can cost you the game. Take errors seriously, NOT personally. Learn from them and don’t repeat them. The secret to error free play: More practice. Have you noticed the trend? Practice, practice, and more practice is the key to success.

Ballplayers love the game. They love what they do, and they play to win. Passion is the driver for the most successful people, but passion is personal. A passionate leader may inspire others to behave in particular ways. A passionate leader may even get others to share in the passion. When leaders communicate “WHY” they play the game, they are more likely to inspire others to find their own WHY.

There are the unspoken rules of the game – both in baseball and business. You must believe in your team and teammates. You must believe your team will win. You must believe in your coach, your leader.

Millions have played the game. Maybe even you. Thousands have played in the major leagues. But there are only 295 players in the Hall of Fame. It’s all about their ability, their devotion, their dedication, and their practice. As you watch the All-Star Game this week, ask yourself:

Why are you playing?
What are your goals?
How much do you practice every day?
Who are you giving your loyalty to? Who is loyal to you?

Measuring strengths, natural talents, obtaining data to indicate strategic alignment and helping you create behaviorally focused goals are our areas of expertise. Let us help you become an All-Star in your industry. Start the process by contacting me at:

Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com or 402 707-4868.

 

What resource is available in equal amounts to everyone regardless of education, net worth, power or prestige?

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day.  Every evening, it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do? Draw out every cent?

Each of us has such a bank.

It is TIME.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.

Every night it writes off, as a loss, whatever time you have failed to invest to good purpose.

It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you.

Each night it burns the remains of the day if you fail to use the day’s deposits then the loss is yours.  There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present on today’s deposits.

You cannot add to your balance with money, education, power, or prestige. We ALL have the same deposit each day.

If your business or livelihood is based upon setting appointments, then you MUST protect each and every appointment. You cannot allow your clients, customers, or employees to waste a single appointment. Rescheduling appointments for another time slot does not protect your current time. You must make the most of every appointment time.

Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc. is proud to introduce a new strategic partnership with Modern Memo. Modern Memo offers an Appointment Protection Service which allows you to more effectively manage each and every appointment slot.

The clock is running. Make the most of today!
Contact Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc. today and learn more about Modern Memo’s Appointment Protection Service. Call 402 707-4868 and ask for Dave.

 

How are your 2012 results looking? Are you ready to Spring into Summer?

Nearly half-way through the calendar year of 2012, can you believe it? Have your results met expectations this year? If you are like many call center managers or small business owners, then the economy is probably not turning around as quickly as you’d like. This is not a political commentary, its just the facts. The economy stinks!

In order to compete in this economic environment, you need to do things more efficiently and effectively than your competition. This starts with making sure your strategic goals are communicated and aligned throughout your organization. Have you measured this alignment? How are your employees feeling about the 2012 goals? Are they looking for “other” opportunities? Have they decided this years goals aren’t going to be achieved, so they might as well just go through the motions?

If you don’t know the answer to all of these questions, then you need to find the answers. One option to help you measure your team in the areas of Leadership, Strategic Planning, Customer and Market Focus, Measurement Analysis and Knowledge Management, Workforce Focus, Process Management, and Results. D.I.AL.O.G. is the perfect tool to help you achieve these measurements.

The “Spring into Summer” promotion allows you to use the D.I.AL.O.G. tool at a greatly discounted rate. Contact us today for more information about D.I.AL.O.G.:

E-Mail

Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com

Lee.Pemberton@inspiredperformancesolutions.com

Web

D.I.AL.O.G.

 

Implementing The Success Formula to Improve Retention in Your Organization

When you review “The Success Formula”, you might ask yourself “What does this have to do with improving retention?” Or you might believe that creating positive behavior change (i.e. getting employees to stay with your organization) is beyond your control. This article will help you understand how you can impact behavior change.

First, you need to recognize and accept that most employees do not leave companies, they leave managers. Your first assessment to reduce attrition needs to be focused on your current managers. What behaviors are they demonstrating which might cause employees to want to leave? You need an anonymous on-line survey for current employees and an exit interview for past employees. These results should help you identify how your employees feel. If you don’t currently use these types of surveys, then you should contact us (via e-mail Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com or call 402 707-4868) to discuss possible options which will meet your needs.

Second, you should develop a strengths profile for your organization. What common characteristics, natural talents, and behavioral styles do your top performers have in common? Can you measure these attributes today? The Attributes Index (AI) has been validated in over 28 individual validation studies, conducted over 20 years by more than 19 separate examiners. It has been proven to meet the rigorous standards for employment assessments referenced by the United States Federal Government Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Validation has also been documented in the areas of construct validity, concurrent validity, face validity, and predictive validity. The AI allows businesses to accurately assess, develop, and retain top talent.  If you are not using the Attribute Index for your team, then how are you measuring individual attributes? Has your survey been validated? If you are not sure, then you need to contact us (via e-mail Lee.Pemberton@inspiredperformancesolutions.com or call 816-674-8112) to discuss using the AI for your team.

Third, what’s the culture of your organization? Do your current employees welcome new employees and provide mentoring? Or are new employees told about the horror stories of unsuccessful newbies? Most people want to work for an organization they can believe in with a mission which seems worthwhile. Do your employees understand “WHY” you are in business? Of course, increasing shareholders value may be the business reason, but what’s the human reason. What’s your market differentiator? WHY should your employees look forward to coming to work everyday. If you answered “to get a paycheck”, then you may be the problem and cause of poor retention. What’s your employee retention plan? If you don’t have one, then we need to talk. Call us at 402 707-4868 (Dave) or 816-674-8112 (Lee) for a free consultation about creating a retention plan.

Finally, The Success Formula recognizes Attitude, Skills, Knowledge, and Goal Setting are requirements for Positive Behavior Change and Improved Results. Have you measured each of these for each employee? Do you have a development plan for each person? If not, then you will likely continue to get the same retention results you have always gotten.

Improving retention is not difficult. You simply need to apply The Success Formula. If you need help executing The Success Formula, then contact us and we will help you determine the best plan to meet your needs.

Contact US…

e-mail:

Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com

Lee.Pemberton@inspiredperformancesolutions.com

Phone:

Dave Gregory 402 707-4868

Lee Pemberton 816-674-8112

More Ideas about Customer Loyalty Management

Measuring and Managing Customer Satisfaction

Your definition of world-class customer service and creating a plan to achieve world-class customer service within your definition are two critical parts of creating a successful organization. Every Point of Connection (POC) carries its own opportunities and possible risks to achieving the goal of being a world-class customer service provider. Your next step in the planning process should include identifying every POC with your company.

It takes continuous effort to maintain high customer satisfaction levels. Measuring customer satisfaction is a relatively new concept. We know companies prospering in the new global economy recognize measuring customer satisfaction is the key. Only by doing so can they hold on to the customers they have and understand how to better attract new customers. The companies who will be successful recognize that customer satisfaction is a critical strategic weapon bringing increased market share and increased profits.

Creating processes to measure and track customer satisfaction is important to your success. A clear and accurate sense of what needs to be measured and how to collect, analyze, and use the data as a strategic weapon to drive the business is required. While many companies rely on outdated and unreliable measures of customer satisfaction, such as sales volume, sales reps describing their customers’ states of mind, track and count the frequency of complaints, or watch aging accounts receivable reports, recognizing that unhappy customers pay as late as possible–if at all. While these approaches are not completely without value, they are no substitute for a valid, well-designed customer satisfaction program.

It’s no surprise to find that market leaders differ from the rest of the industry in that they’re designed to hear the voice of the customer and achieve customer satisfaction. In these companies:

  • Marketing and sales employees are primarily responsible for designing (with customer input) customer satisfaction surveying programs, questionnaires and focus groups.
  • Top management and marketing divisions champion the programs.
  • Corporate evaluations include not only their own customer satisfaction ratings, but also those of their competitors.
  • Satisfaction results are made available to all employees.
  • Customers are informed about changes brought about as the direct result of listening to their needs.

Internal and external quality measures are often tied together.

  • Customer satisfaction is incorporated into the strategic focus of the company via the mission statement.
  • Stakeholder compensation is tied directly to the customer satisfaction surveying program.
  • A concentrated effort is made to relate the customer satisfaction measurement results to internal process metrics.

To be successful, companies need a customer satisfaction surveying system that meets the following criteria:

  • The system must be relatively easy to design and understand.
  • It must be credible enough that employee performance and compensation can be attached to the final results.
  • It must generate actionable reports for management.

Defining Customer Satisfaction

Because the concept of customer satisfaction is new to many companies, it’s important to be clear on exactly what’s meant by the term.

Customer satisfaction is the state of mind that customers have about a company when their expectations have been met or exceeded over the lifetime of the product or service. The achievement of customer satisfaction leads to company loyalty and product repurchase. There are some important implications of this definition:

  • Because customer satisfaction is a subjective, non-quantitative state, measurement won’t be exact and will require sampling and statistical analysis.
  • Customer satisfaction measurement must be undertaken with an understanding of the gap between customer expectations and attribute performance perceptions.
  • There should be some connection between customer satisfaction measurement and bottom-line results.

“Satisfaction” itself can refer to a number of different facts of the relationship with a customer. For example, it can refer to any or all of the following:

  • Satisfaction with the quality of a particular product or service
  • Satisfaction with an ongoing business relationship
  • Satisfaction with the price-performance ratio of a product or service
  • Satisfaction because a product/service met or exceeded the customer’s expectations

Each industry could add to this list according to the nature of the business and the specific relationship with the customer. Customer satisfaction measurement variables will differ depending on what type of satisfaction is being researched. For example, manufacturers typically desire on-time delivery and adherence to specifications, so measures of satisfaction taken by suppliers should include these critical variables.

Clearly defining and understanding customer satisfaction can help any company identify opportunities for product and service innovation and serve as the basis for performance appraisal and reward systems. It can also serve as the basis for a customer satisfaction surveying program that can ensure that quality improvement efforts are properly focused on issues that are most important to the customer.

Objectives of a customer satisfaction surveying program

In addition to a clear statement defining customer satisfaction, any successful surveying program must have a clear set of objectives that, once met, will lead to improved performance. The most basic objectives that should be met by any surveying program include the following:

  • Understanding the expectations and requirements of all your customers
  • Determining how well your company and its competitors are satisfying these expectations and requirements
  • Developing service and/or product standards based on your findings
  • Examining trends over time in order to take action on a timely basis
  • Establishing priorities and standards to judge how well you’ve met these goals

Before an appropriate customer satisfaction surveying program can be designed, the following basic questions must be clearly answered:

  • How will the information we gather be used?
  • How will this information allow us to take action inside the organization?
  • How should we use this information to keep our customers and find new ones?

Careful consideration must be given to what the organization hopes to accomplish, how the results will be disseminated to various parts of the organization and how the information will be used. There is no point asking customers about a particular service or product if it won’t or can’t be changed regardless of the feedback.

Conducting a customer satisfaction surveying program is a burden on the organization and its customers in terms of time and resources. There is no point in engaging in this work unless it has been thoughtfully designed so that only relevant and important information is gathered. This information must allow the organization to take direct action. Nothing is more frustrating than having information that indicates a problem exists but fails to isolate the specific cause. Having the purchasing department of a manufacturing firm rate the sales and service it received on its last order on a scale of 1 (terrible) to 7 (magnificent) would yield little about how to improve sales and service to the manufacturer.

The lesson is twofold. First, general questions are often not that helpful in customer satisfaction measurement, at least not without many other more specific questions attached. Second, the design of an excellent customer satisfaction surveying program is more difficult than it might first appear. It requires more than just writing a few questions, designing a questionnaire, calling or mailing some customers, and then tallying the results.

Understanding Differing Customer Attitudes

The most basic objective of a customer satisfaction surveying program is to generate valid and consistent customer feedback (i.e., to receive the voice of the customer, which can then be used to initiate strategies that will retain customers and thus protect the most valuable corporate asset–loyal customers).

As it’s determined what needs to be measured and how the data relate to loyalty and repurchase, it becomes important to examine the mind-set of customers the instant they are required to make a pre-purchase (or repurchase) decision or a recommendation decision. Surveying these decisions leads to measures of customer loyalty. In general, the customer’s pre-purchase mind-set will fall into one of three categories–rejection (will avoid purchasing if at all possible), acceptance (satisfied, but will shop for a better deal), and/or preference (delighted and may even purchase at a higher price).

This highly subjective system that customers themselves apply to their decisions is based primarily on input from two sources:

  • The customers’ own experiences–each time they experience a product or service, deciding whether that experience is great, neutral or terrible. These are known as “moments of truth.”
  • The experiences of other customers–each time they hear something about a company, whether it’s great, neutral or terrible. This is known as “word-of-mouth.”

There is obviously a strong connection between these two inputs. An exceptional experience leads to strong word-of-mouth recommendations. Strong recommendations influence the experience of the customer, and many successful companies have capitalized on that link.

How does a customer satisfaction surveying manager make the connection between the survey response and the customer’s attitude or mind-set regarding loyalty?

Research conducted by both corporate and academic researchers shows a relationship between survey measurements and the degree of preference or rejection that a customer might have accumulated. When the customer is asked a customer satisfaction question, the customer’s degree of loyalty mind-set (or attitude) will be an accumulation of all past experiences and exposures that can be indicated as a score from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). It can also be captured with other response formats with an odd number of choices (e.g., 1 to 3 or 1 to 7 or 1 to 10) to allow for neutral responses.

Obviously, the goal of every company should be to develop customers with a preference attitude (i.e., we all want the coveted preferred vendor status such that the customer, when given a choice, will choose our company), but it takes continuous customer experience management, which means customer satisfaction measurement, to get there–and even more effort to stay there.

Customer Satisfaction Measurement Facts

  • A 5-percent increase in loyalty can increase profits by 25%-85%.
  • A very satisfied customer is nearly six times more likely to be loyal and to repurchase and/or recommend your product than is a customer who is just satisfied.
  • Only 4 percent of dis-satisfied customers will complain.
  • The average customer with a problem eventually tells nine other people.
  • Satisfied customers tell five other people about their good treatment.

 

If you aren’t measuring customer loyalty today, then you need to contact us. Check out this link for more information:

http://go.inspiredperformancesolutions.com/promo/customer%20service%20v.%20customer%20loyalty

 

Customer Loyalty Management Awareness

Inspiration - Education - Application

Making certain that your Customers get what they want and come back for more is of critical importance to the long term success of any organization. All factors that impact negatively on the Customer (unfriendly policies or processes, untrained employees, etc.) must be identified and corrected if you wish to compete most effectively and profitably now and in the future.

To every successful business, having a customer is obviously the most important ingredient. Try conducting a successful business without one.

Management’s Responsibility

As a management team, one of your most critical functions is determining how best to relate to your customers. You must develop appropriate customer-oriented strategies, design and implement customer-friendly policies/processes, develop your employees to create and sustain customer relationships, and constantly monitor and continuously improve your progress for the issues that are most important to your customers.

To create loyal customers, an organization needs to provide a positive emotional tie during every Point of Connection (POC) even though it may seem to be a small, insignificant detail. A customer’s experience is inherent, a positive experience is not.

The customer consciously and unconsciously filters a barrage of impressions at each POC in the form of experiences and organizes them into sets of impressions, some rational and others emotional. Anything perceived or conspicuous by its absence is an impression. If customers can see, smell, taste, or hear it, it is a POC. Product and service providers provide measurable POCs, as does the physical environment in which they are offered. Therefore, in order to effectively manage POCs, they first must be identified. Once they are identified, management must clearly understand what value your customer desires.

Why Would You Want Loyal Customers?

The notion that there is no linkage between customer retention and profitability is being proven false. Recent studies that sought to find a linkage between customer retention and profits have supported the fact that the old notion is false. There is, in fact, a direct linkage between customer retention and profitability.

Even insignificant changes in customer retention rates have resulted in extraordinary improvements in profitability. One survey found that a 5% shift in customer retention consistently resulted in 25-100% profit swings. These almost unbelievable results would suggest that there must be a powerful force, your emotional connection to your customers, which needs to be understood and managed.

So what can you do differently for your business? A good place to start would be to find better ways to create and sustain a loyal customer base, the advantages of which will be enormous to customers, employees, and investors. Strictly from a financial perspective, revenue increases of improved service quality tend to be 10-20 times the costs associated with fixing the problem.

Measuring Loyal Customers

It can be difficult for an organization to measure the economic value of creating a loyal customer if they only focus on the balance sheet as a means of measuring current and future success. Only considering balance sheet items could lead one to conclude that relationships are irrelevant, and customers should be dealt with based only on what is profitable rather than what is right for the customer. Given this thought process, it is little wonder then that the customer often gets lost in the shuffle. So if profit is not the only, or even perhaps the best measurement of Customer Loyalty, what is a better measurement system?

How to Get Started

Schedule a two-day workshop with your team and Inspired Performance Solutions, you will be able to determine if Customer Loyalty is a strategy needed for your organization.

  • Develop a dashboard to maintain management and employee focus
  • Create action steps to retain loyal customers
  • Develop a methodology to measure employee loyalty
  • Examine relationships between customer loyalty and profitability
  • Identify core points of connection
  • Understand if this strategy will help you achieve your strategic objectives

Results

If a Loyal Customer Strategy is right for your organization and successfully implemented, you could expect:

  • Increased Profits
  • Reduced Costs
  • Increased Employee Retention and Loyalty
  • Improved Team Culture
  • Motivated and Productive Employees
  • Increased Future Growth Potential
  • Increased Competitive Strength

To schedule a meeting with Inspired Performance Solutions to discuss how Customer Loyalty might benefit your organization, contact us:

E-mail:          Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com or Lee.Pemberton@inspiredperformancesolutions.com

Website:        Customer Loyalty Page

Phone:           402 707-4868 (Dave) or 816 647-8112 (Lee)

Customer Service v. Customer Loyalty

What’s the difference between Customer Service and Customer Loyalty? Can you achieve one without the other? Are these two terms intertwined so much that they are synonymous? Are you measuring one or both of these terms to determine how well your business is performing? These are just some examples of the questions we often hear from clients. We will address these questions and a few others to help clarify the definitions and reasons each are important to your business in the next two blogs. Today, we focus on Customer Service.

Customer service is defined many different ways. Here are some common definitions of customer service in use today:

“Customer service is the ability to provide a service or product in the way that it has been promised.”

“Customer service is about treating others as you would like to be treated yourself.”

“Customer service is an organization’s ability to supply their customers’ wants and needs.”

“Customer Service is a phrase that is used to describe the process of taking care of our customers in a positive manner.”

“Customer Service is any contact between a customer and a company, that causes a negative or positive perception by a customer.”

“Customer service is a process for providing competitive advantage and adding benefits in order to maximize the total value to the customer.”

“Customer Service is the commitment to providing value added services to external and internal customers, including attitude knowledge, technical support and quality of service in a timely manner.”

“Customer service is a proactive attitude that can be summed up as: I care and I can do.”

A Definition to Guide Customer Service Today

If you are a contact center, a high-tech company, a company in a traditional industry, a non-profit, a manufacturer, a government agency, or in the hospitality industry, you can create passionate customer loyalty using the following definition:

“Excellent customer service is the process by which your organization delivers its services or products in a way that allows the customer to access them in the most efficient, fair, cost effective, and humanly satisfying and pleasurable manner possible.”

How would you define good customer service? Try to define it. It’s not as easy as you’d think.

So, we have to define customer service and develop a model that will work for your organization. We can’t do what we can’t describe. That’s true in breaking a sports record or building a bridge.

Customer service has often been done badly because it’s been defined badly. Business needs a customer service definition and model upon which you can build a strategy for your organization and industry.

Let’s see if you agree. Here’s a bad definition, a professional customer service consultant, defines good customer service as “Exceeding the customer’s expectations.”

This definition doesn’t tell you much of anything, and unfortunately, it’s what you often get in customer service seminars and publications. Here are two illustrations that tell you “exceeding customer’s expectations” can actually lead you astray.

Case Number One: If I go to a McDonald’s, then I don’t want you to exceed my expectations—quite the contrary. I’m looking for an experience that I can rely on. It may be many fat grams and exactly the same fries to someone else, but to me knowing that I’m getting McDonald’s fries is the experience I seek. The last thing I want is for McDonald’s to “exceed my expectations” by changing the fries.

Case Number Two: I went into a large store recently and quite by accident came upon a refrigerator with a plasma TV in the door of the fridge. I must say the TV had a really good picture. This fridge certainly “exceeded my expectations,” because I thought it was weird. Perhaps it could be a good dieting tool. I’m standing in front of the refrigerator and want to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Suddenly I change my mind, “No, I think I’ll just stand here and watch American Idol.”

A Definition of Customer Service and a Model that Will Work for You

Here is our customer service definition again that you can use invariably to set up the customer service model for your organization.

Excellent customer service is the process by which your organization delivers its services or products in a way that allows the customer to access them in the most efficient, fair, cost effective, and humanly satisfying and pleasurable manner possible.

Here is the first point to remember: Customer service is a process, not a set of actions that might include greeting the customer, smiling, asking if you can help, etc.

Customer service is about how your organization delivers its product or service. The part that sales people play in the customer service process is taking the customer through the process in order for him or her to receive the product they walked in the door, called, or clicked to acquire.

The process is efficient. Product information is immediately available. It is complete and correct. The sales person can refer the buyer to the website, spec sheet, literature, ingredients—or whatever other information is relevant.

The features and benefits are presented convincingly, but honestly and with a personalized approach. The terms of the purchase are clear. The payment process takes place in the least amount of time possible. If the product requires manufacturing or modification, accurate estimates are given about the time required. If the product is immediately available, there is virtually no lag time in taking possession of the product or experiencing the benefits of the service.

The process is fair. The customer service process must be transparent. If an organization can practice full disclosure in an obvious way in their product information and their contracts, they are on the way to creating customer loyalty. If the customer experiences your organization as one where they were never surprised and never felt deceived, the organization will create a competitive edge in a world where there is precious little confidence in the customer service process.

The product or service is cost-efficient. The product or is competitively priced, competitive pricing is the only way to survive in the marketplace.

Products should not seem to look like better quality than they really are. Say you take home a DVR player for a present to one of your children that looks chrome plated and is really cool. In a couple of weeks you discover the “chrome” is really cheap plastic and it has peeled, looking like fury animal that’s shedding. You’re really steamed because of this product. It they had just used sturdy gray plastic that stayed on you would not feel ripped off. Coffee pots and blenders often look just like durable appliances, and they expire in six months. I’d rather know I’m getting a throwaway product because it looks like one. Don’t create expectations that will be disappointed.

Customer service is a sellable commodity, but most companies are not cashing in on it. You can sell customer service. Companies are so focused on sales and cost cutting that they can’t see service as a commodity when it’s right in front of them. That’s actually what a service contract is all about.

The product should last through the first year of the standard limited warranty. If it doesn’t, if you sell them a service contact for the first 12 months, then you’re not selling service, you’re selling protection—protection against your inferior product.

If, however, you assure that your product is highly unlikely to develop problems during the first year, you’ll gain significant customer loyalty and also have a consumer that will be positive toward buying an extended customer warranty beyond the first 12 months.

Customer service must be delivered in the most humanly satisfying manner and pleasurable possible.

Here’s where the fun comes in after you’ve done the hard stuff.

In the human pantheon of pleasures, the act of spending is close to eating and sex in its importance, and for some people, it’s a lot more important than either of the other two.

The act of buying or acquiring is one of the strongest human emotions. I buy Starbucks coffee when I don’t even want coffee. Why? Because I enjoy the act of buying. If I feel sad, it always makes me feel good to go out and buy some nice new clothes. As the CEO of my company, what more powerful feeling could I experience than buying another company or a huge piece of equipment? It’s a real trip to spend a few million dollars. Why do department heads want a bigger budget? It’s so they can spend! In spending they feel useful and powerful.

So, yes, romancing the customer continues to be important in order to make to make the act of buying pleasurable at every level of sale. Enhancing the pleasure on the small-ticket item may be a great checkout system with a checker who is friendly. At the big-ticket level it may be a resort encounter with customers and sales people at an exotic location.

You have to sell more than the “sizzle.” Store interiors that look a movie set from Star Wars don’t compensate for an inferior product mix. Wal-Mart success certainly is a testimony to this fact. Sales people nicely dressed and smiling big will create a negative reaction if the sales system doesn’t work efficiently.

Yet the pleasure of the buying experience in many cases is as an important as the product itself. Creativity in creating the buying experience is a key component or organizations today.

Building a Customer Service Model for Your Organization

This customer service definition can build a customer strategy with it for a high tech company, a fast food restaurant, an IRS office, a mortuary or a theme park. You can build a model that will develop customer loyalty and will not bankrupt your organization.

Any organization can have good customer service. You don’t have to have genius employees to achieve customer service. Whether your organization is selling a half-million dollar piece of equipment, a public sector government service, or a meal at a restaurant, the model works. All it requires is that you go through your process from beginning to end and create a repeatable formula that allows the sales/service person to guide the customer through the process. Our next blog will address Customer Loyalty.

 

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