Yes, it’s that time of year again when we start thinking about the NEW Financial Year and as, we don’t seem to make many (any!) New Year’s resolutions, maybe we should at least THINK about making some NFY resolutions.
Although it’s not as common an occurrence here in Australia as it is in other parts of the world. I’ve asked lots of people why we don’t make New Year’s resolutions and the general consensus seems to be variations on the theme of “Why set yourself up to fail? You know you’re not going to keep them – so why bother making them in the first place?”
Whilst I fully understand the logic, it’s seems a little depressing and defeatist to me – but I also acknowledge that keeping ALL of your resolutions is a challenge that most will fail.
So here’s a “menu” for you to choose from – why not pick just THREE that you can and WILL keep?
1. Finding, Getting and Keeping customers is what EVERY business is all about. Marketing and Sales takes care of the Finding and Getting – but how much time, effort and money do we really invest in the Customer Service that is the Keeping part? In 2016 commit to investing (and it IS an investment – NOT a cost) x% of the total revenue generation of your business in EFFECTIVE Customer Service strategies. “x” can be as large as small as you think is necessary – I would recommend 10%, but even if it’s only 2% it’s a start and you will see results almost immediately!
2. Look closely at the mathematics of your customers. What is your customer churn? What are the main causes and effects of losing customers to your business? How hard is it for you to find new customers to replace those you lose? Translate those figures into hard $$$s and then look again at the first item in this menu and think again about that percentage!
3. Make 2016 the year when you REALLY work harder to engage your teams in your business. If they aren’t actively engaged with you, what are the chances that there are actively engaged with customers? Limited to non-existent I would say! Engagement doesn’t have to be expensive – but it does require clarity and transparency of mission; a commitment to listen; and management whose mission is to help people to achieve their potential.
4. Recruit with Customer Service skills front and centre. It is NOT a skill that should be bolted on to the side of their “technical” skills. You would be amazed at the number of people I talk to in retail who will openly admit that they don’t like people very much! And that’s pretty much their 9-5 isn’t it? You really don’t want a “pulse-optional” person to be anywhere near a customer (external OR internal!
5. Speaking of recruitment – make better use of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) monitoring tools (DISC / Myers Briggs et al) and use them to make sure you don’t have square pegs in round holes. And don’t limit that to new recruits – use them on your existing staff as well and follow up with training / coaching where necessary.
6. You already know my views on Customer Service in this wonderful country – it’s falling and some might say plummeting! Don’t settle for mediocrity in Customer Service – you really don’t have to do so much to look BRILLIANT in a market that’s as low as this. But set that bar higher and strive to be seen and acknowledged as the VERY BEST in your industry – the results of that investment will show you what you’ve been missing all these years.
7. Take EVERYTHING you know about Customer Service and link it all together into a coherent, achievable STRATEGY. Important though they are, it’s not just about smiling and answering the phone in three rings etc. It’s about everything you and your teams do that interacts with Customers. And it needs to be strategic!!!
So choose any three from seven and COMMIT to them (resources/people/systems/$$$s) and I guarantee that 2016 will be a better year than 2015.
I wish you all an embarrassingly prosperous NFY 2017/18 and look forward to blogging again soon…