IN FOCUS NEWSLETTER

Archive of Our Newsletters
March 2014

How we can help!

Our Quality Assurance Programs give you a truly unbiased and independent account of the Customer Journey as experienced by them when interacting with your business. This powerful and valuable feedback allows you the opportunity to know your Customers and to provide your Customers with the experience they want rather than the experience you think they want. To find out what your Customers think of you and what they want you to provide them, give our friendly Staff a call on 1300 766 545 or email us at info@focusplus.net.au. They can tell you how our tailored Quality Assurance packages will guarantee better Customer experiences for your most valuable asset. Focus Plus Service Auditors For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today! www.focusplus.net.au info@focusplus.net.au Ph: 1300 766 545

December 2013 - Volume 42

Merry Christmas!

To all our past, present and future Clients, Focus Plus Service Auditors would like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous 2014.

 

We would like to thank you all for your continued loyalty and engaging us as a partner. From our family to yours: The Staff and Team at Focus Plus Service Auditors, we would like to wish you and your families a Safe and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We hope you have a great festive period and the season brings all you wish for. Safe travels for those visiting family and loved ones here and abroad and we hope a relaxing and joyful time is had by all. Our thoughts are also with those who have not been as fortunate this Christmas and we wish these families all the very best as we think of those in need. Merry Christmas The Focus Plus Team

KEEP IT SIMPLE WHEN IT GETS CHAOTIC

  

5 KEY POINTS TO GET YOUR CUSTOMERS THROUGH THE CHRISTMAS RUSH A little bit of extra kindness to your Customers now will return a lot of Love to you in the coming year. But only if in the true spirit of Christmas you Give without the thought of Receiving. The biggest problem with the Customer Experience in most companies is how employees talk to Customers. All too often, employees come across as indifferent, cold, uncaring, rushed or rude. During the rush up to the festive season quite often our Customers can come across this way too. This employee “attitude problem” can be the tipping point that sends Customers to the competition any time of year. This attitude problem is what drives Customers to tweet and blog about a poor Customer Experience. The great news is, with the right training, monitoring and coaching, employees can learn how to soften tones, truly convey empathy, make Customers feel taken care of and even make memorable personal emotional connections with Customers even at this crazy time of year. Keeping it simple, but doing it well, is the key to getting through the madness at Christmas time. Whether you are in wholesale, retail, hospitality or a service provider (among many others) this time of year puts the pressure on everyone. The directive below will help you focus on what is important when it all goes crazy: Listen  – Focus on your Customer and truly hear what they are saying. This will not only aid you in getting the job done faster as you will have all the facts but it will make your Customer feel valued and heard at a time when they are frantic and possibly unsure if they will meet their own deadlines. Engage – Draw your Customer ‘in’ and show empathy where needed. Build rapport by showing an understanding of your Customers needs and the stress they may be under because at this time of year there is possibly a lot of people relying on them. Act – let them know they can rely on you. Be proactive in your approach and response to your Customers needs. Go that little bit further for your Customers to make sure they have found what they need. Follow Through – Make sure you achieve what you have told them you will do. This is not the time for lip service but a time for action when your Customers need you the most. Enjoy – They say Christmas is about giving and not receiving. In Customer Service Roles we have the perfect opportunity to live this mantra. Give the best service you can and don’t expect to get a thank you in return. Enjoy the karma and self satisfaction that you get for doing something for something else even if they appear to not appreciate it. Your Customer will appreciate you and your efforts when they have the chance to reflect on how you helped them to make someone else’s Christmas special. As I said above ‘A little bit of extra kindness to you Customers now will return a lot of Love to you in the coming year. But only if in the true spirit of Christmas you Give without the thought of receiving.’ Your Customers will want to show their appreciation for what you have done for them at this very busy time and if you have done it right it will be for the whole year through.

Enjoy this Christmas Jason Wren

Focus Plus Service Auditors

For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today! www.focusplus.net.au info@focusplus.net.au Ph: 1300 766 545

October 2013, Volume 41

It’s Customer Service Week! Celebrate 7 – 13 October

 

International Customer Service Week is a week long opportunity to raise awareness of Customer Service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice and the growth of a business or brand. Customer Service Week is an international event devoted to recognising the importance of Customer Service and to honouring the people who serve and support Customers with the highest degree of care and professionalism. The concept of Customer service week was first initiated in 1984 but in 1992 the U.S. Congress >> read more

RECOGNISE Your Staff and your Customers will thank you

 

During Customer Service Week take the time to really recognise your Staff and thank them for the sometimes unrewarding role they perform each day. Acknowledge the importance of their position within the team and identify at least one outstanding thing they have achieved and highlight an event or action they performed that was considered Outstanding Customer Service! Your Customers will naturally be attracted to positive, motivated and engaging Staff that deliver a cheerful experience. Your Staff will only portray this if they know they are doing a good job and it is being recognised by those around them. As part of our roles as Managers we are to assess and evaluate our Staff and sometimes we get too wrapped up in identifying the negatives and forget to acknowledge the positive things our Staff do in a challenging environment that is like no other.  .. read more..

For a personalised Action Plan on Customer Service and Sales Training tailored directly to your needs, please contact our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 or email us via enquiry@focusplus.net.au

Stay focussed, Jason Wren Managing Director Focus Plus Service Auditors

August 2013, Volume 40

HOW TO ATTRACT AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF CUSTOMERS

Attracting an endless supply of Customers is completely possible and highly desirable. You can make it possible by being proactive, creative, and willing to ask yourself some tough questions. The following tips will help ensure your supply of Customers is never ending. Give endlessly The act of giving something (with genuine intent) almost guarantees that you’ll receive something in return, whether it’s more leads, more referrals or just more great feelings. It’s actually part of a social phenomenon known as the Reciprocation. Be endlessly true to yourself Whether you’re a micro business owner or the head of a multi-national corporation, at some point you made a choice to be captain of the ship. But are you happy at the helm? If you’re not, there will always be something holding you back from attracting more Customers, whether it’s fear, frustration, stress or just plain boredom. All of these feelings and emotions may actually repel Customers as opposed to attracting them. So ask yourself: • Are you really doing the work you love? • Are you really working with your ideal Customers? • Are you really being true to yourself? If there are things you don’t like about your business, then make some positive changes and steer your ship to a brighter horizon. With your new, enthusiastic outlook, I’m sure you’ll see many new Customers waiting for you on the shore. Learn endlessly Learning endlessly doesn’t just refer to learning new skills and updating your knowledge, although that’s definitely important. It also involves learning about: • Whether your Customers are happy with your products and services, and if not, why not? • Whether your Customers are happy with your level of Customer Service, and if not, why not? • Whether your Customers will refer you to others, and if not, why not? • Whether you are keeping up with important changes in your industry. • Whether you are marketing your business regularly and in the most effective way possible. The answers to these questions will provide valuable insights, allowing you to make any necessary changes. By being proactive and responsive, you’ll continue to attract an endless supply of Customers. Interact endlessly You can interact with your prospects, colleagues, Customers and like-minded people in so many different ways: • Through online forums • Through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google +, LinkedIn and so on

  • By sending out a weekly, fortnightly or monthly email newsletter

• By arranging a webinar or presentation in order to share useful information • By just having a regular catch up with a valued Customer or colleague • By attending organised networking events But remember, the point of interacting isn’t about ‘selling’, it’s about sharing, listening and learning. Build on your relationships, and the leads and Customers will come. Create endlessly Be creative, not just because it helps you develop a point of difference from the crowd, but because it’s fun and helps to rekindle your own motivational fire! The advantage of doing something creative is not only will you regularly stand out, but if it doesn’t work you can create something else that will. It keeps you interactive and involved and provides a feeling of ‘Customer Value and Care’. Endless love If there’s a market for what you offer, and you’re regularly surpassing the Customers expectations then you will generate a reciprocal culture of ‘Endless Love’ with you and your Customers. Adapted from an article by Lucinda Lions, Flying Solo

RECIPROCITY – Why freebies boost Sales & Customer Satisfaction

When you give away free things to your prospects it activates a social phenomenon known as the norm of reciprocation. Here’s how it can boost sales.

Understanding reciprocation.  The norm of reciprocation dictates that if you give free things to Customers or prospects they may feel compelled to do business with you in the future. That’s not to say that you should only give to receive, but if you’re going to give anyway, then receiving is a wonderful by-product! For reciprocation to work you must be genuine with your offer. If you’re not sincere with the offers you put forward, your Customers will pick up on it and reciprocity will not work for you. On the contrary it will have a negative effect as prospective Customers will tell others of your disingenuousness. If you honestly give samples or trials of your products without an expectation of getting anything in return, your fortunes will change without you knowing it until it has happened. Below are some ideas you might like to try for yourself

“Have you ever walked into an ice cream shop, tried a few different flavours on those mini paddle-pop sticks, and then walked out cone-less?”

Whenever I walk into a particular gift store, the owner welcomes me warmly and offers me a foil-wrapped chocolate. She does this every single time, to every single person, no matter how busy she is. Her warmth is genuine and her chocolates are mouth-watering. When bought in bulk, the chocolates probably cost her a few cents each, but the joy (and conversation) they generate is priceless. I find it really hard to walk out of that gift store without buying something. Why? The wonderful smile. Those delicious chocolates. The norm of reciprocation.

Let customers sample your wares 

Have you ever walked into an ice cream shop, tried a few different flavours on those mini paddle-pop sticks, and then walked out cone-less? I haven’t. Not many people do. The free taste testing creates a kind of dairy-based psychological contract that compels us to make a purchase.

Share your expertise with a blog or free articles

When your website includes articles or a blog, you’re not just creating web content to help increase traffic, you’re offering free and useful information on topics that make your prospects’ lives easier, which creates an enormous amount of goodwill; and that goodwill can boost sales. For example, if you’re a photographer who writes articles about shooting perfect portraits, who will people turn to if they need a professional photographer? Probably you!

Offer free trials

Although free trials are not something that you can keep forever, they are a great way to encourage potential customers to try your product or service. If the product or service meets their needs, then people will probably buy it once the free trial is over. The norm of reciprocation can be used in any facet of your business, and while it won’t encourage every single person to do business with you, it might just encourage the ones who count. If you give freely, you may just receive warmly. Adapted from an article by Lucinda Lions, Flying Solo   Jason Wren Managing Director Focus Plus Service Auditors

February 2013, Volume 39

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How often do you think about where your salary really comes from? Every Customer is paying your salary or keeping your doors open. Do you do something every day to ensure you are differentiated from your competitors. How do your actions show your passion for your job, business or industry? If you think you have lost a bit of ‘passion’ for your business, give us a call about a great Customer Service Program. “If you don’t know where you are going – any road will take you there.” George Harrison

Welcome BARTERCARD members!

We are proud to announce we are now a part of the Bartercard community.

bartarcard Focus Plus welcomes any current Bartercard members to our services as we come online this month.

We now have full trade and negotiated products and services on offer to all Bartercard members. Ask us today about a great program that can really work for you and your business. Call 1300 766 545 or email info@focusplus.net.au today for more information! Jason Wren Managing Director Focus Plus Service Auditors

December 2012, Volume 38

            MERRY CHRISTMAS

To all our past, present and future Clients, Focus Plus Service Auditors would like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous 2013.

From our family to yours. From the Staff and Team at Focus Plus Service Auditors, we would like to wish you and your families a Safe and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

We hope you have a great festive period and the season brings all you wish for. Safe travels for those visiting family and loved ones here and abroad and we hope a relaxing and joyful time is had by all.

Our thoughts are also with those who have not been as fortunate this Christmas and we wish these families all the very best as we remember those we have lost.

Merry Christmas The Focus Plus Team

Stay focussed, Jason Wren Managing Director Focus Plus Service Auditors

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE THIS CHRISTMAS

   

A humble offering I would like to bestow for you all this Christmas. With a simple sentiment and elegantly delivered but possibly the greatest gift we could give this Christmas.    Christmas gift suggestions:

– to an opponent, tolerance – to a friend, your heart – to a customer, service – to all, charity – to every child, a good example – to yourself, respect.

Oren Arnold

CHRISTMAS CLOSURE

Our office will be closing as of Friday 21st of December and re-opening on Tuesday the 8th of January. Should you have any enquiries or you would like an obligation free quote on how we can tailor packages for your needs in the new year we will still have limited Staff available. Please contact our friendly team on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au or visit our website at www.focusplus.net.au and we will attend to your enquiry as soon as possible.

November 2012, Volume 37
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Principles of Great Customer Service

What do these companies have in common, Virgin Airlines, Disney, Red Bull and Vodafone? They are all Customer Service pioneers. Each company has forged a new path through their commitment, dedication, innovations, Company Culture and individualism to become known as leaders in delivering excellent Customer Service. These internationally successful brands have forged a point of difference by the way they Service their Customer and it is more than some fancy words on their company mission statements. Customer Service truly represents the very essence of each company’s core beliefs and the way they make each and every Customer feel ‘special’ when using their products and services. By delivering these principles of Great Customer Service they have successfully made their Customers feel like a part of something bigger and a member of their corporate family’s. So what do these companies and others like them do that has them leading Customer Service ‘best practice’?

Improving Customer Service

The key to great Customer Service is building good relationships with your Customers. Thanking the Customer and promoting a positive, helpful and friendly environment will ensure they leave with a great impression. A happy Customer will return often and is likely to spend more. These companies express their culture to their Customers through branding and putting their supporters first through their advertising, the events they sponsor and the promotions they run for loyal Customers. Not a bad way to keep them coming back and to thank them for using your products is it! To ensure you provide the best Customer Service for your Customers:

  • know what your Customers consider to be great Customer Service
  • take the time to find out Customers’ expectations
  • follow up on all feedback you receive, both positive and negative
  • ensure that you consider Customer Service in all aspects of your business
  • continuously look for ways to improve the level of Customer Service you deliver.

The following are some of the main elements of good customer service.

Customer relationships

To build good Customer relationships you need to:

  • greet customers and approach them in a way that is natural and fits the individual situation and fulfills the culture of your business and brand
  • show customers that you understand what their needs are
  • help people – even if you’re unsure of the answer go out of your way to find a solution and don’t stop until you find one.
  • continue to keep customers aware of what’s in it for them to do business with you.

Staff

If you want to provide the best Customer Service, all of your staff need to have good communication skills and be well trained in providing excellent Customer Service. Those given the mantle to uphold excellent Customer Service will need to show leadership by leading by example and personally providing excellent Customer Service at all times.

Complaints

Listen to Customer complaints; you may learn something about your product or service. Let customers know that you appreciate feedback. Feedback will only continue to be negative if you don’t do anything to respond. Your responses can range from simple empathy and letting your Customers know you understand how they feel to providing solutions that improve a Customers’ experience. Anything in between can only be positive and keep your Customers returning for more. In short – Confirm the validity of each concern and offer a solution.

Products

Know your products – where everything is located, brand names, place of manufacture and price. The more you know, the more confidence you can build in the Customer. Also recognise product features. Turn these features into benefits for the customer. Managers need to ensure your staff can tell customers about the product features and benefits. Please feel free to contact us or me personally if you have any concerns with your standard of Customer Service. As the world’s best companies have shown exceeding your Customers expectations can only be profitable. Stay focussed Jason Wren Managing Director Focus Plus Service Auditors

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20 PRINCIPLES OF CUSTOMER CARE

  1. Acknowledge Customers/calls promptly. If you must have your Customers wait for service put callers on hold, wait for their response.
  2. Introduce yourself. Use an appropriate greeting and identify your department/location/store as well as yourself.
  3. Offer assistance by saying, “How may I help you?” with a smile and eye contact (even if contact is over the phone). Always give Customers a chance to respond before asking your next question.
  4. Before placing callers on hold, obtain permission by explaining the reason why, and then wait for their response.
  5. Do not allow hold time to exceed one minute without returning to callers with updates and thanking them for holding.
  6. Before directing a Customer to another Staff member or transferring calls, explain to the Customer why the transfer is necessary. Also, when speaking to the department or person you are transferring to, give the Customer’s name and the reason for the transfer so the Customer will not have to repeat the reason for needing assistance again.
  7. Acknowledge all Customers respectfully with “ma’am” or “sir” or another appropriate greeting.
  8. Maintain a calm, appropriate, friendly and inviting tone of voice. Have a smile in your voice as well as on your face.
  9. Give Customers your full attention while serving them.
  10. Use appropriate empathy on all occasions.
  11. Engage with your Customer. Use paraphrasing and questioning to clarify needs. Acknowledge responses with, “Yes, I see.” Always use positive language.
  12. Avoid interrupting and talking over your Customer. Try not to ask Customers to repeat themselves.
  13. Avoid using jargon, acronyms, slang or abbreviations that your Customer will not be familiar with.
  14. Discuss the benefits of using your products and services in a manner that is tailored to your Customers requirements.
  15. Avoid discussing personal or unrelated issues with other Staff while assisting Customers.
  16. Avoid thinking out loud or voicing personal opinions unless in regards to providing suggestions or recommendations.
  17. Explain “next steps” sufficiently so Customers know what to expect.
  18. When closing, recap the key points, i.e. confirming the next steps.
  19. Ask if there is anything else you can do for the Customer.
  20. Thank Customers for visiting/phoning during your farewell. This may be your last chance to leave a lasting and positive impression so make the most of it.

Remember; always treat the Customer as a person and a potential friend!

August 2012, Volume 36

JUST IN CASE YOU THINK YOUR CUSTOMERS DON’T CARE!!!

showing a menu

A Texas waiter whose car was destroyed in a flood has been given a US$5000 ($5150) tip by two of his regular customers. The anonymous couple gave Greg Rubar the generous tip on a $27 bill after hearing his car had been damaged, the Houston Chronicle reports. “He said, ‘I’m not going to be giving you a tip for a while,” Mr Rubar said. “Take this money — go buy yourself a car.” The tidy wad of cash was given to Rubar on Saturday as he began his shift at D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe in Rice Village, where he’s been a waiter for 16 years. It was a gift from a couple Rubar has waited on for about eight years. “He said, ‘I’m not going to be giving you a tip for awhile. Take this money. Go buy yourself a car,’ ” Rubar said Tuesday, recalling the $5,000 his customer pressed on him. Why a car? The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, knew that Rubar had been without transportation for weeks since his car was flooded in standing water off a freeway exit after a thunderstorm several weeks ago. Since then Rubar and his companion, Terri Elsik, who also works at the restaurant, have had to take taxis and rely on the kindness of owners Nash D’Amico and Brina D’Amico Donaldson who have loaned them a catering truck when not in use. The gift – technically not a tip since it was not attached to a bill – underscores the relationship his servers have with his customers, D’Amico said. “We have customers who care about us and have a relationship beyond ‘May I take your order please?’ ” Rubar said he’s still rattled by the incident. “The next time I see them I want to offer to pay it back.” he said. But if the do-gooders refuse, he said he’s going to put all the money to the purpose they intended. “I’m going to get the best car I can get for the money.” Author: Nick Pearson

employee on phone

DISENGAGED EMPLOYEES CAN YOU AFFORD THE COST?

Engaging with Staff will make a significant difference to your business. Why you may ask? It is estimated that globally businesses lose £230 billion ($358.3 billion AUS) a year because of employee disengagement. This monetary value is contributed by high employee turnover rates impacting productivity, lower levels of innovation, higher costs of training and re-training and the obvious lost business due to poor Customer satisfaction. Corporations who involve Staff at all levels in building the business and the brand have better employee satisfaction than those with a closed-door policy from Management. Communicating openly with Staff promotes open dialogue and encourages your Staff to then ‘engage’ with your Customers. This open dialogue encourages Customers to provide feedback (both positive and negative) honestly and uninhibitedly about their experiences with your business. If your employees feel comfortable and safe in their working environment they freely pass this feedback onto Management who can act appropriately on the information they receive. Your employees are on the frontline and with this position are able to add the greatest value to your business. Encourage them to engage with your Customers by leading by example and openly engaging with each and every Staff member regardless of their job description or role within your business. Your business (and Staff) will thank you handsomely!!!

May 2012, Volume 35

PRODUCT PROFILE: CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING

At Focus Plus educating and developing personnel on how to provide exceptional Customer Service is not only a priority but more importantly a passion. We have successfully implemented numerous Customer Service solutions for our many clients. All our Customer Service and Sales Training packages are tailored to your needs to optimise every opportunity your business encounters. We always provide objective and constructive analysis and solutions to improve all areas of Customer contact from shop-front and Staff presentation, Sales Process and proficient Upselling to Follow Up and Follow Through with a high emphasis on quality Customer Service Upskilling. Our trainers provide personal development for your Staff with those who have years of real world frontline experience in high pressure Customer Service and Sales environments ranging from the Banking, Hospitality, Motor and Retail industries to name a few. Many of our trainers are international and national keynote speakers and nationally Certificate IV Training and Assessment qualified and accredited. Boasting a client list of international and national brands including Schwarzkopf, Honda, BMW and Toyota for Customer Service, Sales and Product Training we are proud to provide our extensive experience and resources to you. Starting from as little as $500.00 (plus GST) you can tap into this wealth of experience and resources and start upskilling your Staff and empowering them to make the most of every opportunity that your business encounters. To find out more on how we can tailor a training program for your business give us a call on 1300 766 545 or send us an email at enquiry@focusplus.net.au and one of our friendly Staff will be sure to create a program that suits your needs.

How to Implement Customer Service Training With Employees

Customer service training is a must to ensure that your employees can effectively meet customer needs. Implementing Customer Service Training with employees is a challenge that faces every business. To do so effectively, employers must understand Customer needs and how well employees are meeting them. They also must know employees’ skills gaps and their preferred methods of learning. Employers need to develop and deliver training programs that address these concerns, ensure learning occurs, and transfer gained skills to the job setting. For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today! FOCUS PLUS SERVICE AUDITOR’S – Customer Service Specialists As a specialist in the field of Customer Service best practice, Focus Plus Service Auditors will fulfill your training needs. We do this by assessing your Staff and business through specifically designed ‘test and measure’ products before evaluating performance and business needs. Through these methods of evaluation and getting to know your business before starting any training, we will identify the best training package, from providing specialised modules for in-house use for smaller teams to full service packages for larger organisations. What you need to recognise to determine training requirements:

  • Identify areas of need. This can be done by surveying customers to find out if their needs are being met and to identify areas where training may be necessary. This can also be achieved by performing test and measure activities such as mystery shopping exercises and quality assurance programs.
  • Evaluate employee skill levels. Employees may not be meeting customer needs because of an unwillingness to serve or a lack of the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality service. Employers need to identify the areas where skill levels need improvement and prioritise these areas to drive the development of employee customer service training.
  • Design training to fill gaps. If customer feedback has indicated that an opportunity for improvement exists to strengthen service skills among employees, training should be designed to fill this gap. Training design should take into account existing skill levels of employees and customise to meet individual employee needs.
  • Select the delivery mechanism. The training may be delivered by a live instructor to multiple employees at once, in one-on-one coaching settings, through video study or webinars, through computer-based-training (CBT) programs or through self-study. The delivery mechanisms selected should be based both on employee learning preferences and the best opportunities for training effectiveness. For instance, training employees to deal with angry customers can best be accomplished in a setting that allows for role-playing and coaching.
  • Deliver training. Training delivery must involve opportunities for employees (or students) to listen, interact, question and, whenever possible, to practice the skills they are learning. Management must also get involved and drive the training to ensure it is utilised to its full potential.
  • Evaluate effectiveness from the learner’s perspective and in terms of Customer Service best practice for your Customer base. The business and Management will identify the best training method selected from the learners’ point of view by determining their level of engagement and learning that occurred. Further evaluating of Customer Service results with feedback surveys to Customers to see where all the changes have occurred in the targeted training areas.

To find out more on how we can tailor a training program for your business give us a call on 1300 766 545 or send us an email at enquiry@focusplus.net.au and one of our friendly Staff will be sure to create a program that suits your needs.

March 2012. Volume 34

Customer Service Training – No matter what the Job Description!

         What priority to training do you give to those who do not directly contribute to the bottom line?

At a time when retail and consumer confidence is at an all time low it is paramount your Staff make the most of every Sales opportunity! The Customer Service standard and Business Culture of any business is consumed by the Customer long before a Sale can even be negotiated. If the Customer Service is poor or worse still non-existent at the early stages of the Initial Contact/Meet and Greet, your business is almost certainly not going to get the opportunity to provide a Sales Presentation let alone finalise a sale. For this reason, and this reason alone no matter what position your Staff hold within your business they must all be trained on how to provide exceptional Customer Service. Many businesses spend large sums resourcing the Sales Staff with top quality Sales Skills while neglecting the very component that provides the sales opportunity – Quality Customer Service regardless of the job description. A point I would like all Business Managers to consider is: “What priority to training do you give to those who do not directly contribute to the bottom line?” i.e. Administration and Reception Staff, Maintenance Staff, etc. These Staff in most cases are the first point of contact for many Customers and contribute largely to the Customer’s first impression and the quality of the Customer Service the Customer receives. While their names and departments are rarely on a business balance sheet their value to the bottom line is indisputable. For a personalised Action Plan on Customer Service and Sales Training tailored directly to your needs, please contact our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 or email us via enquiry@focusplus.net.au Stay focussed, Jason Wren Managing Director Focus Plus Service Auditors

Australian Shoppers among the fussiest!

  Australians are among the hardest consumers in the world to please, but are prepared to splurge when they are given top-notch service. We may cultivate an image as a pretty relaxed mob, but Australian shoppers are actually some of the world’s fussiest when it comes to Customer Service! Local consumers are amongst the world’s hardest to please, with 39% saying businesses failed to meet their service expectations, according to a survey by credit card company American Express. The result is a 7% jump on last year. It also makes us more dissatisfied than consumers in the United States, where 29% get let down by shop staff, and in Canada, where 24% are generally unhappy. Australian shoppers even outrank UK counterparts, who whinge about customer service 38% of the time. But Aussies are still happier than the French, who are grumpy about service 54% of the time. Customer Service Institute of Australia executive director Brett Whitford said the results showed local firms needed to focus on improving customer service. “Training and developing frontline Staff to deliver great service should be viewed as an investment in the long term health of a business,” he said. Generally, delivering great service comes down to the small touches and showing interest in Customers, asking how they are, recognising their custom and rewarding loyalty.” The survey which polled 1,000 consumers in 10 countries, found Australian shoppers were most likely to believe firms weren’t going the extra mile to get their return trade. Some 46% of local shoppers said this to be true, edging out France on 45%. But the survey also showed that Australians would spend more in-store than most other nations if they were getting good service. Some 73% of Australians polled said they would splurge if given top-flight service, coming in third behind India (80%) and Mexico (86%). Source: Courier Mail – 30/7/2011  For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today! www.focusplus.net.au info@focusplus.net.au Ph: 1300 766 545

January 2012, Volume 33

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a happy new year and a wonderful 2012. With the forecast of an air of uncertainty, 2012 should be a year to focus on all the things we do well, strengthen our skill sets and be true to ourselves and the core of our business. Wishing you a successful 2012! Stay Focussed, Jason Wren & the Focus Plus Team ***************************** WHEN CUSTOMER SERVICE GOES BAD WAITER PAYS ULTIMATE PRICE FOR POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE: YOU BE THE JUDGE!!   Millionaire CEO, John Castle, 76, ‘breaks waiter’s finger’ for bad service at private fine dining club. John Castle, 76, allegedly broke a waiter’s finger at a private dining club when he brought the bill without being asked to do so.   John Castle was with his wife Marianne at Club-Colette, a private dining club in Palm Beach, Florida, (pictured) when Paul Kucik, 57, gave him the bill – after he claims Mrs Castle had asked him to, reports the Huffington Post. Mr Kucik claims that Mrs Castle had requested that he bring her their dinner bill and give it to her husband, reports the Post.

Club members are allowed to charge bills to their accounts without having it delivered to their tables, and a bill should not be brought to the table unless it is requested by the host.

The waiter told the police that Mr Castle became so enraged that he yelled ‘You schmuck, why did you bring the bill to the table?”, says the report.

Mr Castle, who heads a private equity firm, is alleged to have become so angry that he then grabbed the hand of Mr Kucik and twisted his finger until it broke. He allegedly began ‘squeezing and twisting’ his fingers ‘and only stopped when Mr Kucik freed himself from the tight grip, according to a police report.

Kucik said he later began to experience ‘excruciating pain’ in his fingers and later went to the doctor who x-rayed his hand. The results apparently showed that his left ring finger had been broken during the incident on Sunday night.

Castle, is the chairman and CEO of Castle Harlan, a private equity firm, his riches have allowed him to purchase the Kennedy family’s Palm Beach compound in 1995.

Palm Beach police have said they are investigating the incident but no charges have been made. Mr Castle has declined to comment. Mr Kucik told police that he immediately told his employer about the alleged assault, but no action was taken, says the report. By Daily Mail Reporter 12th January 2012

How to Serve an Angry Customer 

             

While the supporting article is extreme, over the top and a completely unreasonable response from a human being, it does highlight the sometimes radical actions and emotions a Customer has when their expected quality of Customer service is not delivered. Below is a timely reminder for those involved in direct Customer contact on how to defuse and improve an otherwise negative situation. Following these handy tips will ensure you are able to enjoy the important role of a Customer Service Representative.  Firstly and most importantly: Speak calmly and remain relaxed to console an angry Customer. Many Customer Service Representatives dread the moment when a Customer becomes angry. The Customer’s tone becomes frustrated, their voice becomes loud and their words become venomous. At this point, it is the responsibility of a Customer Service Representative to console the angry Customer. Fortunately, consoling an angry Customer is a manageable task, as long as the Customer Service Representative remains calm and professional. So what do ‘we’ do then to pacify an angry Customer?

  1. Take a deep breath before you begin speaking. Focus on the fact that the Customer is not angry at you; the Customer is angry at the Company for which you work. Remember that you should not take the angry Customer’s words personally, as they are not directed toward anything you did and they don’t know you on a personal level.
  2. Listen to the Customer. Speak as little as possible, aside from displaying empathy and offering positive affirmations by nodding or saying phrases such as “yes,” “I understand” or “of course.” Allow the Customer to release their frustration. Once the Customer uses up a large portion of their energy, they will be ready to have a rational conversation with you.
  3. Confirm the Customer’s main points once they finish telling their story. This will reinforce the fact that you were listening to the Customer. Tell the Customer that you understand and care about their feelings. Validate the Customer’s feelings and let them know that you want to help.
  4. Ask the Customer what they expect you can do to correct the situation that made them angry. Most times, a Customer will ask for something reasonable, such as a discount off the price of a damaged item or a replacement for a broken product. If you are able to accommodate the Customer’s request, do so. This will present a positive image of your Customer Service skills and your company as a whole. If you are unable to accommodate the Customer’s request, attempt to compromise with the Customer or most importantly find a Staff member who can.
  5. Tell the Customer that you are happy that you were able to come to a suitable decision once you have done so and thank the Customer for working with you. If possible, offer the Customer something additional with the intention of good Customer Relations, such as a loyalty card or a discount voucher off a future visit.
  6. Provide the Customer with your name and direct work phone number (if you feel comfortable doing so). This will create a sense of accountability by you and allow the Customer to contact you if they have any future issues with the decision that you agreed upon. Even if the Customer does not contact you, they will feel satisfied that you were willing to provide your contact information. Plus, if the Customer wants to compliment your Customer Service to your company’s management team, they will have information with which to identify you. Tips & Warnings Keep a calm demeanor throughout the conversation. If you need a moment to relax, excuse yourself for a moment to take a quick break.

Contributions by Cadence Michaels For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today! www.focusplus.net.au info@focusplus.net.au Ph: 1300 766 545

December 2011 - Volume 32

To all our past, present and future Clients, we would like to wish you all and your families a very safe and Merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous 2012.

The Staff and Team at Focus Plus Service Auditors would like to wish you and your families a Safe and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

To all those going away this Christmas keep safe and enjoy your travels. Those staying closer to home should remember to use this time to reflect and be thankful of the people you have around you and make the most of the festive season to really enjoy the company of loved family and friends. But also remember to take a bit of time for yourself this Christmas as a reward for the hard work you have delivered this past year and to refresh for what is sure to be a hectic and demanding start to 2012. Our office will be closing as of Saturday 17th of December and re-opening on Monday the 9th of January. Should you have any enquiries or you would like an obligation free quote on how we can tailor packages for your needs in the new year we will still have limited Staff available. Please contact our friendly team on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au or visit our website at www.focusplus.net.au and we will attend to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Stay focussed, Jason Wren Managing Director Focus Plus Service Auditors

CUSTOMER SERVICE IS A CHOICE!

                 There are many things written and spoken about Customer Service but this puts it into action best. Looking for enlightenment, inspiration and motivation for why exceptional service is in us all if we choose it to be? Then read on: An excerpt from The Simple Truths of Service by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz No one can make you serve customers well. That’s because great service is a choice. Years ago, my friend, Harvey Mackay, told me a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point. He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey. He handed my friend a laminated card and said: “I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk, I’d like you to read my mission statement.” Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said: Wally’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest, and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment. This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean! As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, “Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.” My friend said jokingly, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.” Wally smiled and said, “No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.” Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke.” Handing him his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.” As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card. “These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.” As if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of the day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights, or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts. “Tell me, Wally,” my amazed friend asked the driver, “have you always served customers like this?” Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day. He had just written a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, ‘Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.'” “That hit me right between the eyes,” said Wally. “Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.” “I take it this has paid off for you,” Harvey said. “It sure had,” Wally replied. “My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.” Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. I’ve probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn’t do any of what I was suggesting. Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like a duck and start soaring like an eagle. How about you? For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today! www.focusplus.net.au info@focusplus.net.au Ph: 1300 766 545

November 2011 - Volume 31

Product Profile:

PHONE ENQUIRY AUDITS

It is unanimously recognised these days that the ‘phone shopper’ is closer to a purchasing decision than the ‘window shopper’.

The window shopper is generally gathering ‘intel’ on a product and researching features (& obviously price) before heading home to analyse the information and the CUSTOMER SERVICE they were given.

The ‘phone shopper’, by the time they contact you, has done their research and is ringing their short list to make a purchase.

So why is it then that we neglect the quality and the process of how to handle a phone enquiry?

Our Phone Enquiry Audits monitor the quality of the enquiry handling process of your team and provide analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses. Strengths can then be built on and weaknesses strengthened through training before they become unsatisfactory habits and trends.

Phone Enquiry Audit Programs conducted by Focus Plus Service Auditors assess the main elements and most critical aspects of the phone enquiry process including fundamentals such as:

– Initial Contact/ Meet & Greet

– Acknowledgement/ Prompt Attention

– Sales Experience/ Needs Qualification

– Customer Service Experience/ Customer Engagement

– Transferral of Feelings

– Recording Contact Details

– Follow Up

Starting from as little as $40.00 per enquiry, Focus Plus Service Auditors can conduct a Phone Enquiry Monitoring Program tailored to your needs.

With Customer Service and Sales Opportunities at the lowest seen for some time it is important each and every opportunity is seized.

For a no obligation quote, give our friendly Staff a call on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au

 

Stay focussed,
Jason Wren
Managing Director
Focus Plus Service Auditors

CUSTOMER SERVICE AND PHONE ETIQUETTE

Phone etiquette is very important to Customer Service. In many cases this is the Customers first impression!     

Customer Service keeps a business with a positive Customer image and a highly active brand awareness. Regardless what situation employees find themselves in with a Customer, a positive attitude needs to be kept so the Customer feels important. Training employees to ensure a proper Customer Service focussed phone etiquette is one of the most important techniques to keep Customers coming back and to keep a business’ Customer list growing.
5 main elements to remember for providing excellent phone Customer Service:
Answering

Be sure to answer the phone in a timely manner; Customers do not want (what they will perceive) any unnecessary waiting. Whether that be a longer than expected number of ring tones or on-hold times, this will inevitably start the Customer Service experience in a negative manner. Start the conversation by professionally introducing the business and yourself (and always in that order) before asking how you can assist them. If you have to put a Customer on-hold, apologise and ask if it is OK before doing so. If the call requires transferring you should also explain that you are putting the Customer through to someone who can help them directly. If possible tell the Customer who they are being transferred to. Do not leave a person on-hold for a long time without returning to explain the reason for the delay i.e. the person is on another call or will be on the line shortly.
Listen

The first and most important step in proper phone etiquette is listening to the Customer. A Customer needs to feel he or she is heard in order for you to assist them. Whether it be with a sale or a problem, if you do not listen you may need to ask questions that they have already answered, causing the Customer aggravation and a sense of not being heard.
Commitment

Give the Customer your undivided attention. Make a personal and professional commitment to be free of any distractions while you help the Customer meet their needs. Also, if you cannot help the Customer, be sure to find someone who can help.
Friendliness

Even if the Customer is in a less than positive mood, it is important to keep your cool and maintain a professional attitude towards the call by not taking anything that is said personally. Have a friendly (smiling) voice that says you are ready to listen and help the Customer. Remember that if there is a problem that it is not your fault and the person is not trying to attack you personally. Regardless of how rude the person gets, you must keep your cool and maintain a friendly and professional demeanor.
Apologise

If a problem does arise and regardless of whether the problem is your fault, be sure to apologise to the Customer for any inconvenience or headache the problem has caused. Apologising can keep a Customer calm and displays a readiness to assist in finding a solution. Remember the Customer always comes first regardless of your personal view of the situation.

Adhering to these five simple elements of basic phone etiquette (and expanding on them) will result in a positive and satisfactory experience for all your Customers and even your suppliers.

Some information referenced from an article by Sara Hickman.

 

For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today!

www.focusplus.net.au
info@focusplus.net.au

Ph: 1300 766 545

November 2011 - Volume 30

Customer Service Excellence Award Honours for ‘LOCAL FAVOURITES’

It is a great honour for me and Focus Plus Service Auditors to be able to congratulate two of our valued partners for their nomination as finalists in the ‘Sun’s Local Favourites’ Awards.

Goldsteins Bakery and Pie Shop is a finalist in the highly competitive ‘Cafes’ category and Big Chief Burgers is a finalist in the highly sought after ‘Franchisee’ category.
The Sun Local Favourites Awards acknowledge and recognise Excellence in Customer Service as voted by the public. It is a great achievement when your Customers vote you as the best and is a true assessment of those providing excellent Customer Service and going above and beyond in delivering it.

We know firsthand how hard both these companies have worked to provide their Customers with extraordinary products and Customer Service and they are being recognised accordingly for their efforts.

Focus Plus Service Auditors are very proud to have been associated with these business partners and take great pride in knowing we have contributed to their success.

Congratulations Martin and Christina for your achievements and keep up the great work! These awards prove that even when you think no one notices the most important people are always watching – your valued Customers.

Stay focussed,
Jason Wren
Managing Director
Focus Plus Service Auditors

THE SMARTER CONSUMER HAS CHANGED!!

And why your Customer Service is now more important than ever.

Recently IBM released its global report on Consumers and found out how consumers reason their purchases, who they are listening to, how they are changing the shopping process, and thus how retailers should respond.
They surveyed 30,624 consumers to learn what they really think when they shop. The story that unfolded is fascinating and goes against what the sales focussed ideal has been. The results showed that the smarter consumer wants to be known and served, not sold to.
The global consumer report highlighted many emerging areas of business that retailers need to accommodate to keep consumers happy and returning.

The Consumer is digital and the house is virtual.
In a nut shell the Consumer now has the resources to research their products before purchasing from the comfort of their lounge chair and have made their decision before entering a store. For this reason your Customer Service is under more pressure than ever before because the Consumer knows where else they can get their products and at what price.

Consumers listen to their Family and Friends.
Consumers know exactly what they want before they visit a retailer. 82% of Consumers have already asked family, friends or an external source for advice (other consumers) meaning only 18% rely on the retailer or manufacturer to make their decision.

Serve me, don’t sell to me.
Smarter Consumers are using technology to control their own experience. They want to be served and not sold to. What they are asking retailers is listen to me, know me and empower me.

In summary the IBM report has found smarter Consumers demand smarter retailers. Listening to Customers provides insight into what they want and how businesses can provide better Customer Service through delivering a personalised shopping experience.

For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today!

www.focusplus.net.au
info@focusplus.net.au

Ph: 1300 766 545

– Mystery Shopping – Customer Service Training – Quality Assurance –
– Walk-In & Phone & Email Audits –

October 2011 - Volume 29

QUALITY ASSURANCE & DEAD LEAD MANAGEMENT.

CUSTOMER PROFILING

The only accurate way to know how your business is truly evolving is to ask your Customers. By going directly to the source and the lifeblood of every business you will discover your strengths and weaknesses, and how to improve and attract new Customers.

Our QUALITY ASSURANCE programs and DEAD LEAD MANAGMENT programs directly contact the Customers who have recently visited your business and ask them for their valuable opinions. Both programs highlight what impresses your Customers and identifies the reasons your Customers may not have purchased from you on this occasion. Negative feedback should always been seen as an opportunity not a threat.

History has shown us that these are the areas where our opportunities lie and provide the most scope for improvement for the betterment of our business.

To take advantage of this great opportunity to receive true, unbiased and independent feedback from your potential Customers give our team a call on 133 766 545 or email enquiry@focusplus.net.au for your obligation free appraisal of how our programs can help bring Customers back to your business.

With program investments starting as low as $500.00 this is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.

OBSESSIVE LISTENING THROUGH QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAMS

Many retailers (and wholesalers for that matter) sprook about giving Customers what they want but few deliver. What Customers really want and are crying out for is – true Customer Service.

It is not for a moment from a lack of effort with product knowledge and store front presentation, far from it. It can simply boil down to assuming we know what the Customer wants without actually knowing.

So how do we achieve this? Through Obsessive Listening! This is an extract from a book ‘The art of being chosen’ by Mark Butler which succinctly puts what we have all been told for generations � ‘You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak.’ But how many put this into practice within their business?

We have found our new ‘Obsessive Listening’ products � Quality Assurance and Dead Lead Management Programs � to be a real winner with obtaining this most valuable feedback from our clients’ Customers.

The secret behind the success of this program is to get in touch directly with a company’s database by using an independent third party. As the independent third party we receive a truthful, unbiased evaluation as the Customer feels safe and removed with some form of anonymity with their response. This safety net results in a great assessment of a company’s Customer Service, Sales processes, products, store locations and ambience, Customer perception of value for money and Customer Satisfaction through a concise series of questions which extract the opinions of the person within your business that really matters – the Customer.

To find out more on how we can tailor a program for your business give us a call on 1300 766 545 or send us an email at enquiry@focusplus.net.au  and one of our friendly Staff will be sure to create a program that suits your needs.           

RESEARCH, NOT GUESSWORK – CUSTOMER PROFILING

If you don’t know who your customers are, how can you truly fulfil their needs? This article explains why you should profile your market, and gives you some pointers for getting started.

Once you’ve identified the target market(s) you want to focus on, you need to thoroughly research the characteristics of these particular buyers.

Guessing the make-up of your customer-base should be avoided due to the inherent inaccuracy associated with this approach.

Primary research such as surveys and questionnaires are outstanding for obtaining data for a specific task. Primary research can be expensive, but it’s not impossible to conduct market research on a soloist’s budget.

There’s also a potpourri of secondary research data available from sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), trade magazines, Google and even local libraries.

The Flying Solo example

While browsing the Flying Solo website recently, I stumbled across the results of Flying Solo’s Understanding Micro Business survey.

This is a classic example of using research to identify the make-up of any market, big or small. The survey clearly helps the Flying Solo team get to know their readers (it is primary research for them), but the rest of us can use this published data to gain some insights into the SME sector in Australia (it’s secondary research for us as it’s not specific to our businesses).

Without rehashing all the data, the survey gives us a great profile of the Flying Solo community:

  • 59 percent of readers are female and 41 percent are male
  • A substantial 46 percent of members are aged between 40 and 54
  • Perhaps not so surprisingly, 68 percent of the site’s audience run their businesses from home
  • And geographically speaking, 47 percent of the community resides in NSW and 20 percent in Victoria

B2C or B2B?

The best way to go about your market profiling depends on whether your target is a consumer (who purchases goods or services for their own personal or household consumption), or a business buyer (who purchases goods for the purpose of producing other goods, for resale to other businesses or consumers, and for operational use within their own businesses).

Key bases to cover when performing consumer profiling include:

  • Demographic factors such as age, income, gender, education, occupation and religion
  • Geographic factors such as location, city size and climatic conditions
  • Psychographic characteristics: Are your customers ambitious? Extroverts or introverts? Early adopters? Socialites or reclusive?
  • Behaviour patterns: For example, on what occasions or for what reasons are your customers likely to shop for, or use, your product?
  • Qualifying Benefits sought: Are you customers making decisions based on safety? Quality? Affordability? Prestige?

When profiling business buyers, some of the same bases (like geography) still apply, however you may also want to consider factors such as:

  • Customer type: Are your customers soloists? Franchises? National chains?
  • Industry type: Are they retailers or wholesalers? What industry sector are they from?

Applying your findings

The significance of applying your findings cannot be underestimated, and there are many ways that you can use your market profiling to enhance your product, pricing, promotion and distribution strategies.

For example, if you were manufacturing ugg boots, you’d be able to use your geographic profiling to determine that the cool climate in Victoria is a much more appropriate place to spend your marketing dollar than sunny Townsville in tropical far North Queensland.

Similarly, armed with demographic information about your customers’ level of education (and therefore literacy), you’d be able to use language that’s consistent with their comprehension in your creative copy, websites and brochures.

But more importantly directly asking your Customers what they want and how they think you can better help them can turn those indecisive leads into solid sales.

by Russell Dymond
Thank you and hope you have enjoyed this issue!

For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today.

http://www.focusplus.net.au/
info@focusplus.net.au
Ph:  1300 766 545

June 2011 - Volume 28

UNLIMITED OFFER FOR OUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS SAVINGS BEFORE JUNE 30!!

A friendly reminder for all our fabulous Customers whose customised programs are nearing an end or have recently expired. As a token of our gratitude and a display of loyalty in return for your valued custom we are offering all new programs, training packages and renewals at 2010 prices!
In many cases this could represent a saving of 25% or more for some programs!
Contact our friendly Staff today to secure your massive savings before the June 30 deadline when Focus Plus Service Auditors will be introducing a new pricing structure.
To find out more contact us on 1300 766 545 or info@focusplus.net.au

Looking forward to providing you with complete Customer Service solutions.

Authorised by Jason Wren
Managing Director
Focus Plus service Auditors
1300 766 545
enquiry@focusplus.net.au

Product profile: 
INTERNET ENQUIRY AUDIT

With online retail rapidly gaining momentum and a strong foot hold in the market it would be amiss of any business to neglect its own online presence.

As our feature article ‘Online Retailing – Top 5 tips for successful web based business’ emphasises, many sales can be secured by good online business practices and more importantly the quality of the Customer Service delivered.

Our Internet Enquiry Monitoring Programs provide a detailed insight into how your business connects with your online Customers.

An Internet Monitoring Program will ensure you are aware of the response time encountered by your Customers and the quality of how an online enquiry or sales opportunity is handled by your Staff. Programs start from as little as $40* and will provide trends encountered by your Customers and insights for solutions to continually improve this vitally important part of every business.

Contact us on 1300 766 545 or info@focusplus.net.au for Internet Enquiry and sales solutions tailored for you.

*Conditions apply

Online Retailing – Top 5 tips for successful web based business

With the emergence of online retailing gaining real traction in the market place and securing an ever increasing market share it is becoming necessary for all businesses to have an online presence. With that presence comes an even greater importance to provide exceptional Customer Service.

While the advantages for online trading means no rent or expensive store fit-outs, much less in Staff wages and smaller stock holdings, online retailing in far less personal than traditional shopping and therefore demanding a greater emphasis on the Customer Service you deliver.

Without the physical meet and greet or phone contact of traditional shopping it is difficult but not impossible to build rapport and create long lasting relationships with happy Customers.

Through proprietary studies with many of our clients and their Customers we have been able to establish the most important aspects of online shopping and compiled a list of our findings. While many of the issues encountered by online retailers are similar to those of more traditional retailing it is the importance of those elements that vary and now require more attention to ensure a successful online business.

The Top 5 elements of online retailing as gauged by Customers are:

5 – Location, location, location: As with any business being found by your Customer is of great importance. On the web this is amplified as internet uses not only want to get where they’re going quickly but are only a click away from your competitors. Australians spend $18 billion annually* via the web and if they can�t find you they’ll spend it elsewhere.

4 – Attractive site: Your site not only has to be visually appealing but also easy to use and navigate.

3 – Rapid response: Just like traditional shopping the Customer wants to be acknowledged quickly. Online Customers want to know their order is confirmed and when they can expect to receive their goods.

2 – Reply: As above, if the Customer thinks it’s important enough to contact you either through your website or by email, shown them the courtesy to reply no matter how minor or trivial you might think the enquiry or request may be.

1 – Follow up/Follow through: Contact your Customer soon after delivery of your products or replying to a request and make sure your Customer has everything they expected and need.

With smart phones these days and technology ever advancing your Customers are expecting to find you easily and get what they want quickly. If you don’t deliver on all these elements of online retailing they will go elsewhere to get what they want and this is now easier than ever.

To monitor the response time experienced by your Customers, we can tailor an online monitoring program to suit your needs. Just call us on 1300 766 545 or email the team at enquiry@focusplus.net.au and our friendly Staff will create a package to achieve all your requirements. It is still amazing to see the opportunities being missed by many businesses through poor online practices.

*Fady Daher, Vice President � Retail at American Express.

Thank you and hope you have enjoyed this issue!

For quality Customer Service Monitoring contact Focus Plus Service Auditors today.

http://www.focusplus.net.au/
info@focusplus.net.au
Ph:  1300 766 545

June 2011 - Volume 27

Welcome to the new ‘In Focus’ Newsletter!

Welcome to the new and exciting ‘In Focus’ newsletter for 2011!

As we launch our new look newsletter  we thought what could be a better time than now to thank all our loyal Customers for their patience during our ‘refurbishment’. While much of the revamp has been behind the scenes in development etc, you will notice all this hard work coming to the fore in the form of revitalised reporting formats, refreshed and  easy to use website and new product launches over the coming months.

We are excited about the new newsletter and introducing the new changes which you will all see from July. We also look forward to your feedback and appreciate any suggestions you would like to offer us.

New look newsletter – Same great service and great new deals!

Savings before June 30!

 To say a big thank you for your patience we are offering all our Customers discounted Program rates for the financial year 2011-2012.

That’s right any new Programs will receive their 2010 pricing if renewed or commenced by June 30, 2011, after which we will be using our new pricing structure for our monitoring and training programs.

We hope these big savings will help you all with your budgets for next financial year and we look forward to working with you all again for what should be an exciting few weeks and months here at Focus Plus!

Our friendly Staff will be in touch with you personally to ensure you are able to take up this great offer. If you would like to get started with these great offers please call us on 1300 766 545.

 

Your Feedback!

As always your feedback is greatly appreciated here at Focus Plus Service Auditors, we invite you to help us to improve not only our new newsletter and website but also the services we provide to you.

If you have any comments we would love to hear it! Just click on the link to our Feedback page and tell us what you think!

Thank you and hope you have enjoyed this issue!

December 2010 - Volume 26

MERRY CHRISTMAS

To all our past, present and future Clients, we would like to wish you all and your families a very safe and merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous 2011.

The Staff and Team at Focus Plus Service Auditors would like to wish you and your families a Safe and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

To all those going away this Christmas keep safe and enjoy your travels. Those staying closer to home should remember to use this time to reflect and be thankful of the people you have around you and make the most of the festive season to really enjoy the company of loved family and friends.

But also remember to take a bit of time for yourself this Christmas as a reward for the hard work you have delivered this past year and to refresh for what is sure to be a hectic and demanding start to 2011.

Our office will be closing as of Friday 17th of December and re-opening on Monday the 10th of January. Should you have any enquiries or you would like an obligation free quote on how we can tailor packages for your needs in the new year we will still have limited Staff available. Please contact our friendly team on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au or visit our website at www.focusplus.net.au and we will attend to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Enjoy this issue!

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT

The holiday season of Christmas is a great time to reflect on the past year  and I would selfishly like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our Staff for the great work they have put in throughout 2010.

I am personally very proud of what we as a team have achieved this year and I think this is the perfect time to thank all of those people who support us both personally and professionally.

On a personal level, our team needs to thank all our family members and friends for their ongoing support through a year of growth that has required patience (and sometimes forceful persuation) from our loved ones. On a business level, we need to thank all our business partners and associates for their ongoing patronage. We have provided many services this year and in conjunction with some partners developed new products to better assess and improve the level of service they provide their clients.

At this point I would like to thank BMW Group Australia, Schwarzkopf, Paul Sadler Swimland, Penrith Panthers, Bartons, Fort Knox Self Storage and Harris Partners (just to name a few) who have partnered with us this year. I would also like to thank RAMS Home Loans, Honda, Goldsteins, Big Chief, Sunshine Toyota, Parry Nissan, Metro Market Shopping Centres and many others for their ongoing support and recognition of the value our programs provide them.

A big highlight for me this year was to provide a keynote speech/workshop on Customer Service for Schwarzkopf PH Group in Shanghai earlier this year. While we have facilitated training and seminars nationally this was our first international engagement and something I am quite proud of.

It has been a very exciting year and I would like to thank you all for your ongoing and future support. We wish you all the very best this holiday season and hope you have a safe and Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2011. Enjoy this time with those people who make the long hours and stressful weeks that we all endure during the year worthwhile!

Merry Christmas!

Jason Wren

Sales Corner

LOYALTY PART VII

We’re rapidly approaching the end of our “How Much Loyalty Do You Inspire “exercise.
Product knowledge, sales techniques, company policies and procedures, a will to win, great displays and service protocols means nothing if the agent that represents them cannot win hearts and minds.  That’s why we’ve had such a positive response to this series.  The cost of the sale is so prohibitive if sales and service personnel can’t retain their customers.

Think of your team as account managers.  Better still; inspire them to think of themselves that way.
The reason Barack Obama’s election slogan “Yes we can” was such a hit is because ‘Yes’ is everybody’s favourite word.

This month’s question is about the opposite effect.  Anybody can make a sale if the customer walks up to them and says, “I want that one.” The salesperson’s job however really starts when the customer says, “No.”  Up until this happens, salespeople are merely providing information.  You’ve heard me say in the past, businesses should not be confused between a service culture (a healthy notion) and a servant culture which is detrimental to your outcomes.  There is no equality in the relationship between master and servant.  There is however equality in the relationship between partners.  We earn this status by being credible.  Often the best credibility is earned when the customer confronts us with “no”.  Loyalty parts V & VI dealt with negativity when it comes your way from the customer but what about when it’s the other way around?  What about when you have to say “no” to the customer?  The customer wants an upgrade for free or preferential service that’s impossible or unreasonable; so here’s your question….

How well do you say “NO” to a customer?

1                2             3              4                5
POOR       FAIR     GOOD    V GOOD  EXCELLENT

No one is interested in why you can’t.  The customers’ idea of quality service is “can do!”  We know however, that sometimes you just simply can’t do.  So do we rely on company policy or passing the buck or making some lame excuse?  We’re heading for an argument if we do.

Let us know if you would like assistance for your team in handling scenarios that could degenerate into arguments.  The key lays in prevention.  If you’ve ever been to Disneyland you may remember the massive queues lined up waiting to ride their most popular attractions.  Did you notice the lack of anguish in the customers?  If you did, it was because when you join the queue, there is a sign not too far above your head informing you of the time you’ll need to wait.  Customers can then make an informed decision about whether they want to wait or not.  As they progress, there are new signs updating their progress.  Again no anguish due to the proactive nature of the information delivery.
When  you walk in with your eyes open and you’re being “signposted” by a credible partner, rarely are there any surprises and the need to say “no” is reduced or nullified completely.

And on a personal note…

When I think of December I think of Christmas. Regardless of an individual’s belief, it’s an opportunity to celebrate notions like brotherhood, decency, generosity and selflessness. It’s also a season for renewal which is why we make resolutions in January. The trick is to see our resolutions mean something. Most will be history by February. My Christmas wish to you is for a happy and healthy time with those you love. What a great foundation for the new year ahead. Take care of yourselves, thanks for being our partners and be kind to each other.

Steve Wren

November 2010 - Volume 25

QUALITY ASSURANCE PRODUCTS     

OUR EXCITING NEW SERVICE FOR YOU

We are excited to be able to report that our new Quality Assurance Programs are being greatly received by all our clients taking up this option as part of their Customer Service Programs.

All our clients have enjoyed the insight our Mystery Shopping Programs have given them as to the quality of the Sales Process their teams provide and also the standard of the Customer Service they deliver. Our clients can now combine with their Mystery Shopping Programs our Quality Assurance products which provide firsthand accounts from the Customers themselves.

Our Quality Assurance Programs are not only providing valuable feedback from happy and satisfied Customers but possibly more importantly identifying why some Customers are not buying or worse still purchasing from your competitors.

In many cases (for clients this is appropriate for) we have been able to resurrect lost leads and turn them into business or at the very least create a renewed opportunity for our clients to rectify problems before the Customer defects to your competitors.

We have also found the priceless residual benefit of these programs is your Customer’s see you having an interest in them, and not only value their patronage but also seriously respect their opinions. This is done by directly contacting them, the Customer, and listening to how they explain the experience they have had with your business.

Many people feel more comfortable expressing their views to an independent third party and that is the advantage our programs offer over and above what any internal program will provide. The Customer knows the information they put forward will get back to the business without needing to confront the person or business directly that they are either satisfied of dissatisfied with.

As Australian’s we have never been quick to tell someone how good a job they are doing and are not a culture who like to complain, but when asked we will give honest feedback as long as we don’t have to confront the  person we are praising or criticising.

If you would like an obligation free quote and proposal on how we can idenify what your Customers are really saying about your business practices please contact our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au or visit our website at www.focusplus.net.au and we will provide a program and strategy to suit your needs.

Enjoy this issue,
Jason Wren

THINK BIG & ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

As the year rapidly draws to an end and our thoughts are turning towards end of year celebrations and a chance to unwind we may be partial to shortcutting tasks or possibly dropping the ball all together in order to finalise projects.
Now is the time to think about all the things we wanted to achieve this year and go about making sure they happen before we take that well earned rest. The time we get to spend with family and friends will be more satisfying and rewarding knowing that we did not stop giving our very best, that’s what makes us successful and gives enormous satisfaction within.

The following is an extract from a book I read recently that made me remember why we work so hard and such long hours in our jobs but sometimes lose sight of what we really want and need to achieve.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt as much as I have and it gives you the motivation to power on through the remainder of the year positively and achieve your goals. I truly believe if we embrace this notion the outcomes will look after themselves and as Harry S. Truman (third President of the United States of America) famously said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

An Excerpt from
Goals
by Gary Ryan Blair

Success is the intentional, pre-meditated use of choice and decision. Unless you choose – with certainty – what it is you want, you accept table scraps by default!

The world is plump with opportunity. With boldness and conviction, stick a fork into the goals you want by being decisive.

You are born with great capabilities, but you will not achieve your potential until you call upon yourself to fulfil it. You will rise to the occasion when it presents itself; yet, to assure self-fulfilment, you must provide occasions to rise to. Clearly defined goals allow you to travel toward another horizon that represents the end of one experience and the transition to a new and better existence. The objective is to choose the right goals, and then to create the necessary causes – the effects will follow!

The difference between what one person and another achieves depends more on goal choices than on abilities. The profound differences between successful people and others are the goals they choose to pursue. Individuals with smaller talents, intelligence, and abilities will achieve different results because they select and pursue different goals.

Each decision affects what you become. We form our decisions and our decisions form us. There is no escaping this; the smallest choices are important because – over time – their cumulative effect is enormous.

Never overlook the obvious: The nature and direction of your life change the instant you decide what goals you want to pursue.

Once you make a decision, you start down a path to a new destination. At the moment the decision is made, your decision to pursue a goal alters what you are becoming. Just one spin of the lock’s dial – a single choice – can alter your life, your destiny, your legacy.

Think about it – your goal decisions represent and express your individuality. You seal your fate with the choices you make. You define yourself by your decisions.

Your dialogue with success is ultimately a solo one. Decisions and goals made must be your own if you are to call your life a success.

Always establish the best goals you can. Goals are the seeds of success – you become only what you plant. The quality of your harvest is a direct reflection of the quality of your seeds – your decisions!

Indecision is the big eraser of opportunity and potential. Risks and costs accompany every decision; however, the price of decision is far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. When it comes to decisiveness, squatters have no rights.
Everyone has an official wish list of things they think are “reasonable”. What about the unofficial wish list? The one that common sense tells you to ignore. The list that exists deep in your mind, the list that keeps you up at night, that makes your toes wiggle when you think of it? Why not choose that list for a change?

How long have you dreamed of being, having, and doing what you really want? Think big, as when it comes to your goals, the size of your ambition does matter.

Sales Corner!

LOYALTY PART V

This month brings us to the half way point in our series on assessing our (or our agent’s) ability to create loyalty.

The feedback we’ve had suggests that across the sales, service and hospitality landscapes, human resources (more specifically, obtaining and retaining the right people) is becoming an increasingly difficult concept.  A juggling act at best (to quote one of our partners) to a nightmare at worst (to quote another) is what we’re hearing. Thus the importance of an exercise like this.

The more loyalty we can create, the lower our cost of the sale.  In a perfect world, where we create 100 percent loyalty from our partners and customers, our advertising budget would be nil.  In the absence of perfection, we have to spend large sums of money annually to keep a constant stream of new sales opportunities coming our way.  We need to be sure that the most is being done by these opportunities. Relying on the knowledge of sales and service protocols isn’t enough.  It’s a deeper notion than that and one that is learned in childhood.  These 10 units are designed to provide you with a tool to manage and coach your existing people, or as criteria in hiring new people who possess the ability to create a unique experience in the hearts and minds of your customers.  One they’ll want to replicate.  In our experience, these skills are uncommon but not unrealistic to expect from agents as a standard of behaviour and as an attitude to bring to work.

The question for this month then is;

How well do you solve your customers’ problems?

1                2             3              4                5
POOR       FAIR     GOOD    V GOOD  EXCELLENT

Customers are looking for solutions as much as they are goods and services.  They are looking for quality partners, an attention to detail, an interested agent and a consistent standard of integrity.  The trouble is; at worst they are often doing it in a rude, dismissive, arrogant manner which reflects the times somewhat.  At best, they have more choice, more knowledge, less of a difference in standard between brands and more power than they’ve ever had.

The way they behave and speak can create a dilemma for the service provider.  In the face of aggression for instance, your agent may become judgemental which would be understandable given that they’re human.  Being judgemental though won’t make a sale or inspire any loyalty.  The second worst thing a salesperson or service provider can do is argue with your customer.  The worst thing they can do is win it!  The notion that the customer is always right is not literal.  It’s perception.  They think they are, therefore they are.  To prove them wrong is sales suicide.  They’ll simply go elsewhere where their ego may remain intact. Then they’ll remember who “let them win” and show loyalty to your rival.

In deciding your score, consider how detached you remain in the face of a scenario like this.   Consider whether you can show understanding instead of judgement.  That is the essence of this question.  The less adrenalin in our systems during a difficult encounter, the more of a solution we’ll be able to engineer.

Good luck!

To finalise this segment, here are three things to consider;
• Consider loyalty above all else as the main criterion for promotion within your organisation.  The stability of your team, its morale and the chemistry it portrays relies on its leader.  A team usually emulates the qualities (or lack of) of the leader.  If it happens to be lack of, your good people will leave and your leader will only hire likeminded people.

• If you utilise commission as part of your team’s remuneration package, consider factoring the incidence that they can bring old customers back, as part of the package.  If you would like assistance in this area, please contact us any time.  Alternately, if you provide employee awards etc, the same factor should be a component in deciding the recipient.  We have structured many such initiatives for our partners and can help you if you require it.

• Provide your people with support in the form of training and prevention strategies that minimise leakage from your business and measure (if possible) the closing ratios of leads to sales.  Gross profit retention and the incidence of up-selling is also a yardstick as to how much value your customers see in your agents.  As a rule of thumb, the more up-selling and the more gross profit retained, the happier the customer seems to be.  The opposite is also very true.  Again, contact us if you require any more details on any issues raised.  Your business is too important to leave to chance.

See you all next month.

Steve Wren

October 2010 - Volume 24

QUALITY ASSURANCE PRODUCTS     

OUR EXCITING NEW SERVICE FOR YOU

We are excited to be able to report that our new Quality Assurance Programs are being greatly received by all our clients taking up this option as part of their Customer Service Programs.

All our clients have enjoyed the insight our Mystery Shopping Programs have given them as to the quality of the Sales Process their teams provide and also the standard of the Customer Service they deliver. Our clients can now combine with their Mystery Shopping Programs our Quality Assurance products which provide firsthand accounts from the Customers themselves.

Our Quality Assurance Programs are not only providing valuable feedback from happy and satisfied Customers but possibly more importantly identifying why some Customers are not buying or worse still purchasing from your competitors.

In many cases (for clients this is appropriate for) we have been able to resurrect lost leads and turn them into business or at the very least create a renewed opportunity for our clients to rectify problems before the Customer defects to your competitors.

We have also found the priceless residual benefit of these programs is your Customer’s see you having an interest in them, and not only value their patronage but also seriously respect their opinions. This is done by directly contacting them, the Customer, and listening to how they explain the experience they have had with your business.

Many people feel more comfortable expressing their views to an independent third party and that is the advantage our programs offer over and above what any internal program will provide. The Customer knows the information they put forward will get back to the business without needing to confront the person or business directly that they are either satisfied of dissatisfied with.

As Australian’s we have never been quick to tell someone how good a job they are doing and are not a culture who like to complain, but when asked we will give honest feedback as long as we don’t have to confront the  person we are praising or criticising.

If you would like an obligation free quote and proposal on how we can idenify what your Customers are really saying about your business practices please contact our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au or visit our website at www.focusplus.net.au and we will provide a program and strategy to suit your needs.

Enjoy this issue,
Jason Wren

THINK BIG & ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

As the year rapidly draws to an end and our thoughts are turning towards end of year celebrations and a chance to unwind we may be partial to shortcutting tasks or possibly dropping the ball all together in order to finalise projects.
Now is the time to think about all the things we wanted to achieve this year and go about making sure they happen before we take that well earned rest. The time we get to spend with family and friends will be more satisfying and rewarding knowing that we did not stop giving our very best, that’s what makes us successful and gives enormous satisfaction within.

The following is an extract from a book I read recently that made me remember why we work so hard and such long hours in our jobs but sometimes lose sight of what we really want and need to achieve.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt as much as I have and it gives you the motivation to power on through the remainder of the year positively and achieve your goals. I truly believe if we embrace this notion the outcomes will look after themselves and as Harry S. Truman (third President of the United States of America) famously said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

An Excerpt from
Goals
by Gary Ryan Blair

Success is the intentional, pre-meditated use of choice and decision. Unless you choose – with certainty – what it is you want, you accept table scraps by default!

The world is plump with opportunity. With boldness and conviction, stick a fork into the goals you want by being decisive.

You are born with great capabilities, but you will not achieve your potential until you call upon yourself to fulfil it. You will rise to the occasion when it presents itself; yet, to assure self-fulfilment, you must provide occasions to rise to. Clearly defined goals allow you to travel toward another horizon that represents the end of one experience and the transition to a new and better existence. The objective is to choose the right goals, and then to create the necessary causes – the effects will follow!

The difference between what one person and another achieves depends more on goal choices than on abilities. The profound differences between successful people and others are the goals they choose to pursue. Individuals with smaller talents, intelligence, and abilities will achieve different results because they select and pursue different goals.

Each decision affects what you become. We form our decisions and our decisions form us. There is no escaping this; the smallest choices are important because – over time – their cumulative effect is enormous.

Never overlook the obvious: The nature and direction of your life change the instant you decide what goals you want to pursue.

Once you make a decision, you start down a path to a new destination. At the moment the decision is made, your decision to pursue a goal alters what you are becoming. Just one spin of the lock’s dial – a single choice – can alter your life, your destiny, your legacy.

Think about it – your goal decisions represent and express your individuality. You seal your fate with the choices you make. You define yourself by your decisions.

Your dialogue with success is ultimately a solo one. Decisions and goals made must be your own if you are to call your life a success.

Always establish the best goals you can. Goals are the seeds of success – you become only what you plant. The quality of your harvest is a direct reflection of the quality of your seeds – your decisions!

Indecision is the big eraser of opportunity and potential. Risks and costs accompany every decision; however, the price of decision is far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. When it comes to decisiveness, squatters have no rights.
Everyone has an official wish list of things they think are “reasonable”. What about the unofficial wish list? The one that common sense tells you to ignore. The list that exists deep in your mind, the list that keeps you up at night, that makes your toes wiggle when you think of it? Why not choose that list for a change?

How long have you dreamed of being, having, and doing what you really want? Think big, as when it comes to your goals, the size of your ambition does matter.

Sales Corner!

LOYALTY PART V

This month brings us to the half way point in our series on assessing our (or our agent’s) ability to create loyalty.

The feedback we’ve had suggests that across the sales, service and hospitality landscapes, human resources (more specifically, obtaining and retaining the right people) is becoming an increasingly difficult concept.  A juggling act at best (to quote one of our partners) to a nightmare at worst (to quote another) is what we’re hearing. Thus the importance of an exercise like this.

The more loyalty we can create, the lower our cost of the sale.  In a perfect world, where we create 100 percent loyalty from our partners and customers, our advertising budget would be nil.  In the absence of perfection, we have to spend large sums of money annually to keep a constant stream of new sales opportunities coming our way.  We need to be sure that the most is being done by these opportunities. Relying on the knowledge of sales and service protocols isn’t enough.  It’s a deeper notion than that and one that is learned in childhood.  These 10 units are designed to provide you with a tool to manage and coach your existing people, or as criteria in hiring new people who possess the ability to create a unique experience in the hearts and minds of your customers.  One they’ll want to replicate.  In our experience, these skills are uncommon but not unrealistic to expect from agents as a standard of behaviour and as an attitude to bring to work.

The question for this month then is;

How well do you solve your customers’ problems?

1                2             3              4                5
POOR       FAIR     GOOD    V GOOD  EXCELLENT

Customers are looking for solutions as much as they are goods and services.  They are looking for quality partners, an attention to detail, an interested agent and a consistent standard of integrity.  The trouble is; at worst they are often doing it in a rude, dismissive, arrogant manner which reflects the times somewhat.  At best, they have more choice, more knowledge, less of a difference in standard between brands and more power than they’ve ever had.

The way they behave and speak can create a dilemma for the service provider.  In the face of aggression for instance, your agent may become judgemental which would be understandable given that they’re human.  Being judgemental though won’t make a sale or inspire any loyalty.  The second worst thing a salesperson or service provider can do is argue with your customer.  The worst thing they can do is win it!  The notion that the customer is always right is not literal.  It’s perception.  They think they are, therefore they are.  To prove them wrong is sales suicide.  They’ll simply go elsewhere where their ego may remain intact. Then they’ll remember who “let them win” and show loyalty to your rival.

In deciding your score, consider how detached you remain in the face of a scenario like this.   Consider whether you can show understanding instead of judgement.  That is the essence of this question.  The less adrenalin in our systems during a difficult encounter, the more of a solution we’ll be able to engineer.

Good luck!

To finalise this segment, here are three things to consider;
• Consider loyalty above all else as the main criterion for promotion within your organisation.  The stability of your team, its morale and the chemistry it portrays relies on its leader.  A team usually emulates the qualities (or lack of) of the leader.  If it happens to be lack of, your good people will leave and your leader will only hire likeminded people.

• If you utilise commission as part of your team’s remuneration package, consider factoring the incidence that they can bring old customers back, as part of the package.  If you would like assistance in this area, please contact us any time.  Alternately, if you provide employee awards etc, the same factor should be a component in deciding the recipient.  We have structured many such initiatives for our partners and can help you if you require it.

• Provide your people with support in the form of training and prevention strategies that minimise leakage from your business and measure (if possible) the closing ratios of leads to sales.  Gross profit retention and the incidence of up-selling is also a yardstick as to how much value your customers see in your agents.  As a rule of thumb, the more up-selling and the more gross profit retained, the happier the customer seems to be.  The opposite is also very true.  Again, contact us if you require any more details on any issues raised.  Your business is too important to leave to chance.

See you all next month.

Steve Wren

September 2010 - Volume 23

CUSTOMER SERVICE WEEK!

OCTOBER 4th – OCTOBER 8th

While we all recognise Customer Service to be a major aspect of Customer attraction, Customer retention and Customer Satisfaction, how regularly do we recognise the people who make it all happen? Probably not as frequently as we should.
Early next month is a perfect opportunity to rectify that. The first week of October each year is Customer Service Week and it provides us with the chance to not only recognise the great work our Staff do for us on a daily basis but to also thank our loyal and devoted Customers.

Customer Service Week is an international event devoted to recognising the importance of Customer Service and honouring the people who work on the frontlines serving and supporting Customers.

The International Customer Service Association began Customer Service Week in 1988.

Since 1991, the Customer Service Group has sponsored the week and provided how-to information, celebration materials imprinted with the official Customer Service Week logo, and inspiration from the hundreds of service and support professionals who share their celebration stories.

Each year thousands of companies around the world celebrate Customer Service Week. They represent leading financial, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, retailing, hospitality, communications, not-for-profit and educational organisations, as well as government agencies and others. What unites us all is our profound commitment to quality Customer Service. Join us in celebrating Customer Service Week!

Enjoy this issue,
Jason Wren

Customer Service Week Celebration Tips!

Each year Customer Service Week brings to the fore-front the importance of the quality of the service we provide our Customers.
While recognising this special week, your organisation can:

  • Boost morale, motivation and teamwork.
  • Reward frontline representatives.
  • Raise companywide awareness of the importance of Customer Service.
  • Thank other departments for their support.
  • Remind customers of your commitment to Customer Satisfaction.

Let your Customers — and your team — know how you can “Be the Difference” to your Customers by celebrating National Customer Service Week 2010!
Customer Service Institute of Australia is holding, for the 9th year Australia’s National Customer Service Week during 4th – 10th October, 2010.

How can you get your team involved and focussed on Customer Service?

  • Spread the word about Customer Service Week.
  • Be the Difference for your Customers
  • Thank your team for “being the difference” to their Customers
  • Focus on training! Customer Service Week is the perfect time to revitalise your training program.
  • Focus on stress relief.
  • Motivate your team.
  • Keep it festive. Plan events every day!
  • Encourage other departments to applaud your team’s award-winning Customer Service!
  • Recognise your team.
  • Reward your team!

If you would like any information on Customer Service monitoring products or Customer Service training packages please contact our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au or visit our website at www.focusplus.net.au and we will provide a program and strategy to suit your needs.

Sales Corner!

LOYALTY PART IV

Welcome to the fourth question in the series; “How much loyalty do you create?”

Before we get to the nitty gritty, a word to team leaders; when you’re considering promoting people.  Consider their ability to inspire and maintain loyalty over and above their skill levels or experience where the criteria for promotion is concerned.   Will and skill (two thirds of the necessary trifecta for excellence) aren’t enough.  In the absence of a conscience (the other third) will and skill are actually amplified.  Before you start thinking of this as a good thing, consider what the ramifications are of Will without conscience.  Suddenly, instead of thinking win/win where a third alternative is possible which may suit both opposing original perspectives, win at all costs becomes the order of the day.

Bombastic massive egos or “my way or the highway” managers turn their staff entrances into turnstiles.
Skill in the absence of conscience is what being a bully is all about.  Hardly ideal in a team environment.  The culprit is often like the candle that burns twice as bright; they burn half as long.  I call it the Darth Vader Syndrome.  “The force” is about power and power is seductive.  Will and skill are moderated by conscience.  The dark side of the force is about power (will and skill) without the constraint of conscience.  A balance of will, skill and conscience is what makes loyalty possible.  People want to do well for leaders who understand this balance.  Today question comes under the will/conscience banner.

Question 4 is; what level of service are you prepared to offer every time?
Considering that the vast majority of the Australian workforce is engaged in sales, service and hospitality, no one really learned much about what’s required at school as preparation.   The score you assign yourself should take into account, how consistent you are, your ability to empathise with people and attitudes that may irritate you, how open minded you are and your willingness to compromise and learn.  A thick skin doesn’t go astray either.  Now assign yourself a score and bear in mind that the operative word in the question is “every”.

1                2             3              4                5
POOR       FAIR     GOOD    V GOOD  EXCELLENT

Next month will be the half way point in this exercise.  What we’ll do is provide you with some suggestions on how to improve the scores in the five categories to date.  See you then!

Steve Wren

August 2010 - Volume 22

THANK YOU TO SCHWARZKOPF!

Early this month I had the honour of being asked to provide a workshop presentation and keynote speech on Customer Service on behalf of one of the world’s most highly recognised and leading brands – Schwarzkopf. It was without a doubt one of the greatest experiences I have been involved with in my professional career. The Schwarzkopf Professional PH Convention was held in Shanghai over a week in early August and although my official commitments were fulfilled on the opening day the team at Schwarzkopf invited me to stay and partake in all the activities with the owners and employees of these elite salons for the remainder of the convention.

During this time I had the privilege of interacting with some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s leading business owners and some the hairdressing industry’s leading stylists. This extra time was valuable as it gave us the opportunity to discuss Customer Service issues at an individual business level and to tailor solutions that could be implemented immediately upon returning home. Admittedly the glamour and entertainment at many of the events we were taken to were quite distracting but we were all able to find time to collaborate on the core issues and find positive outcomes.

During the convention it was easy for me to see why so many of the attendees had such successful businesses and it was because of the high emphasis they put on quality Customer Service and providing their Customers with an unforgettable experience. As a group their ‘Point of Difference’ was their willingness to work together to find solutions and share their experience with everyone for the betterment of their business and the Customer.

The back drop of Shanghai was possibly the ideal destination for me to discuss Customer Service protocols. We were lucky enough to witness some of the highest Customer Service standards you would see anywhere in the world (which made my job easier as we watched the locals do their thing). The Schwarzkopf Professional PH Club Awards Gala event at the Hyatt was a perfect example. The evening went like clock work and all guests wanted for nothing.

Last but certainly not least I would like to thank Kellianne Newell, Bianca Panozzo and Stefan Mund for their hospitality and organising such a wonderful event. I would also like to thank all who attended for being so accommodating and involving me in your agenda. I am sure along with the destination and the invaluable information offered by other guest speakers and presenters that this convention is one that will not be forgotten easily.

The Schwarzkopf Professional PH Club convention gave me a great insight into the culture of one of the world’s most demanding Customer Service focussed industries. I hope to be able to pass on what I have learnt from my experience over the coming issues.

Enjoy this issue,
Jason Wren

WHERE DOES AUSTRALIA RATE WITH OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE?

I recently heard an interview with Barry Urquhart one of Australia’s leading Customer Service consultants stating that Australia (along with Britain) have been given the unwanted distinction of having the worst Customer Service in the world. After my recent trip to China and Shanghai in particular I would have to agree. I had not been overseas (other than to laze on beaches) for sometime until recently and I think it is complacency and possibly isolation that has left us as consumers just accepting the poor standard of Customer Service we are given.

There have been many programs in the media of late showing the poor state of our Customer Service and Sales industry when it comes to delivering adequate service. In particular many investigative journalists are highlighting shopping centres and once high traffic retail areas now as ghost towns, and this many months after the worst of the GFC has apparently passed us by. It’s hard to believe that as Sales and Service Professionals, and evidently being visited by less and less Customers, they would deliver such poor service, but as they say the camera never lies!

It still baffles me long after seeing it for myself that any Sales Professional would believe they are doing a good job by greeting the Customer first with a cough and then a “Hey bro.” as shown on Today Tonight (Seven Network). The upside for me seeing this is that I know our clients don’t have much to compete with to deliver a ‘Point of Difference’ to their Customers.

It has been of interest to me to see how well documentary style programs such as ‘Undercover Boss’ (Ten network) and the like rate so well. For me I think it is because being able to go undercover in our own business is something we would all like to be able to do. Those of us who interact personally on a day-to-day basis with our teams will find it nearly impossible to discreetly or anonymously explore the frontline experience of our businesses without being exposed by either our Customers or employees and therefore diluting the valuable outcome. That’s where our team can help.

We provide honest, unbiased and independent feedback of the Customer Service and Sales experience delivered by your team. We also provide solutions from our findings with Sales and Service Training, Seminars, Team Building, Coaching and Development all tailored to your business needs.

If you would like an obligation free quote and proposal on how we can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your team and provide solutions for improvement please contact our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au or visit our website at www.focusplus.net.au and we will provide a program and strategy to suit your needs.

Sales Corner!

LOYALTY PART III

Thank you to our many subscribers for the great feedback on our series on creating loyalty; particularly in relation to the first question about proactive friendliness.  It’s amazing how we can take fundamentals like this issue for granted.  Often when professionals fail, it’s not the higher skills that let them down; rather it’s the basics that become blunt as they are taken for granted.  Anything taken for granted eventually abandons the culprit.

This issue, we examine the third vital component of an assessment tool that determines one’s loyalty skills.  If you’re a new subscriber, please let us know and we’ll send you the last two issues; as loyalty, your agents’ abilities to create it and sustain it, are your most cost effective marketing tools.  Your ability to be vigilant about it will determine how much you drive a focus on it. Then it will have an impact on your team, your customer satisfaction index and of course, your business.  This exercise, over 10 issues, is a means to assess their skills and attitudes in this most important field.  In the meantime, assess your own by taking the test yourself.  Loyalty starts at the top and is most powerful when initiated by a proactive desire to provide a mutually satisfying partnership.

Reconsider your advertising budgets and think about how much you throw at the media versus how much you invest in the skills of your people who deal with the customers your marketing strategies create.

It’s time for the third question which is more a skills issue than attitudinal and it goes like this;

How affective is your choice of words and tone?

The most effective account managers (and that’s what your people are) understand and invest in the power of the spoken word.  The things they say and the way they say them need to be more than just the truth.  They need to be laden with belief, be compelling, memorable, unique (or at least different from your rivals) interactive and do justice to the quality of the product or service you provide.  In scoring this question, consider how much you’ve evolved your word power in recent times.  How different is the way you verbally portray your product or service to others in your field.  Also consider your ability to prevent and/or overcome objections and while you’re at it, decide whether you engage in dialogue (worthy) or monologue (not so worthy)?

Now assign a score

1                     2            3                4                   5
POOR        FAIR     GOOD    V GOOD   EXCELLENT

As Jim Collins says; “Good is the enemy of great!”  Vigilance is the difference.  See you next month!

Steve Wren

June 2010 - Volume 21

THANK YOU TO BMW GROUP AUSTRALIA!

The team at Focus Plus would like to forward a sincere and enduring thank you to David Lederer, Ian McMah and BMW Group Australia for inviting us to exclusively facilitate their Management Conference in Melbourne last month! It was yet another highly successful event and all the feedback to date from those attending has been extremely positive. The theme of the conference was ‘vigilance’ and coincided with the release of the new BMW 5 Series perfectly. The topics for the day focussed on Sales and Customer Service issues at the core of both the brand and the premise of the conference, and guaranteed everyone involved returned to their respective ‘ports’ with a renewed view of the fundaments and key values required and enthusiasm to empower their Staff.

Key components of the agenda included Education versus Training, Change and Protocols for dealing with it, the Chemistry of Selling and its applications to your team, Customers Service and creating and maintaining loyalty, and Leadership Initiatives that balance Customer Service with profitability. As a group we looked intently at the ’10 greatest hurdles confronting Salespeople’ and the top 10 reasons ‘Why Customers stop doing business with us’. These topics generated a buzz and encouraged involvement and discussion with those who attended to ensure we all identified areas of strength and solutions to improve weaknesses to take back to our businesses.

A special mention should also be given to Ashlea Devereaux of BMW Group Australia for her hospitality and arranging a fantastic event. Ashlea’s efforts ensured every attendee had premium access to all the information offered and personal correspondence with the facilitators to help provide solutions for their own individual objectives.
Should you require our services to facilitate your conference, seminar or event as either a keynote speaker or work shop facilitator on all topics Customer Service and Sales related please contact the team at Focus Plus on 1300 766 545 or email us at info@focusplus.net.au. Our team also offer personalised training packages for all our clients and each program is tailored to your individual needs and requirements. Give us a call to establish how we can help your team today!

The Focus Plus Team

POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE HIGHLIGHTED…..AGAIN!

Are you being served?  It can be hard to get good service these days.

It seems everywhere we look many of the nation’s top media broadcasters and current affairs programs are highlighting the poor standard of Customer Service delivered by so called Customer Service Assistants. Not only is this a blight on our industry but unfortunately we are then all ‘tarnished with the same brush’.

What these telecasts highlighted was the inexperience and lack of skill (and definitely training) in the Customer Service element of being a professional. Recently the A Current Affair program focussed on how many Customer Service Assistants made the wrong assumption that ‘some Customers are not good enough’. These were the opening words of host Tracy Grimshaw as she headlined yet another poor Customer Service story.

Using the term ‘retail snobbery’ Customers described how angry and disappointed they felt about being treated with such disrespect. They all described the action they would take due to such poor service as either ‘just walking out’ to the more severe ‘I would never buy from them’. One of the images repeated during the story was footage of a Customer standing in the store with a product in her hand ready to purchase for over five minutes without being served. I think we would all agree this is just not good enough. Some Assistants barely raised their heads from the service counter or desk to see who was entering the store.

A story a short time later on Today Tonight (Undercover Billionaire) featured Gerry Harvey, owner of one the greatest retail business in the world, secretly entering his own stores to get a real snap shot of the Customer Service within his own retail domain. What he quickly identified was the need and ongoing requirement of Customer Service and Sales Training. He recognised that when he arrived incognito he saw a different Harvey Norman than the one he was used to. Something I am sure we can all relate to.
Two of his best tips were “You have to be honest with yourself about the service your Staff deliver” and “Your reputation is everything and is gained by the quality of the people you employ”. His main gripe after the experience was that Staff don’t engage with Customers.

It was interesting to see the lengths one of Australia’s premier business men, Gerry Harvey, would go to in order to identify such a critical component of his retail empire. What will be even more fascinating to see is if the service many of us receive from his 160+ outlets improves and how many other high profile organisations follow his lead.

Gerry Harvey’s point of view is “It’s a never ending vision, a dream to be able to give the best customer service in the country. You just keep striving and never let you guard down” and I could not agree more.

The message after this story to all Staff should be ‘The boss will go to any lengths in pursuit of excellent Customer Service.”

Both articles reaffirmed the importance of Customer Service and the monetary impact (positive and negative) it has on profit lines of our balance sheets. While the reported news is not great the upside is it provides all of us with an opportunity to surprise our Customers, who now have a very low expectation, by offering more than they expect. This opportunity allows us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors where our stock doesn’t. Sure in many cases our Customers can get exactly the same product from another supplier but what they can’t get from your competitors is exceptional Customer Service which will keep them feeling valued and returning time and time again to be served by your friendly and helpful Staff.

Should you require assistance in setting up a Customer Service Monitoring Program, please call our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 or email us at enquiry@focusplus.net.au and we will provide a program and stagey to suit your needs. We can also provide training and solutions to any identified Customer Service and Sales issues.

Sales Corner!

LOYALTY PART II

Last month we kicked off the self assessment questionnaire on the vital subject of loyalty and loyalty creation.   We asked the question, “How friendly are you?”

Make no mistake – this is THE money issue in your business.  Your ability to create and maintain (and assess others’ skills to create and maintain) loyalty will either save you an enormous amount of money or cost you likewise.  Consider the issues that are affected by loyalty creation or the lack of it;

–          Staff retention  (HR is a nightmare at the best of times)
–          Customer retention  (finding them is costlier than retaining them)
–          Gross profit per sale (the happiest Customers are the ones that pay or spend the most and they chose to because of you or somebody who works for you.)
–          Referral business (word of mouth)
–          Your relationship with your supplier or factory (allows for premium consideration when you may need it)
–          Your standing in the community (reputation) and
–          Your career and thus your family (or any shareholder in what you do and the way you do it).

Remember that we asked you to read the entire section before assigning a score.  This month’s IN FOCUS will ask the question;

“What’s your attitude like?”

1                                   2                                3                                 4                               5
POOR                      FAIR                      AVERAGE                    GOOD                  EXCELLENT

Having a positive attitude really simplifies how you respond to people.  “You are the way you think” in other words.  Are you positive all the time?  The key word is “all”.   Not many of us are.  Before you assign a score consider these issues;
–          What sort of a winner/loser are you?  Competitive people make great salespeople but are also pretty high maintenance.  When they become leaders they are often typified as ‘my way or the highway’ types.  A strong will to win can cause you to crash and burn when you lose.  Recovery time is slow and collateral damage is high.
–          How thick skinned are you?  This is vital in minimising harm and reducing recovery time after adversity.
–          When your attitude cycle is on a negative, are you able to turn it around.
Self assessment is an honest way to prevent things being worse than they need to be when your results aren’t ideal.  Denial is the opposite and erodes self esteem over time.  Low self esteem makes self assessment uncomfortable.  It is therefore avoided.  Then the blame game kicks in and before you know it, you belong to the ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ club.

The ‘devolution’ goes like this;
complacency – scepticism – denial – cynicism – hopelessness.
Attitude is merely a choice.  You choose today what you become tomorrow and the change (for better or worse) is subtle enough that you don’t even notice.  If the change is for the worse, when you finally do notice, it’s too late and you experience the only failure that can’t be recovered from…….regret.

On the other hand, if change is for the better, what you notice is your results.  Suddenly you seem luckier.  This is because your attitude conditions your subconscious mind.

The good news is that luck has nothing to do with it.  You are now attracting positive outcomes.  Cynics call it luck because they don’t understand it.

Now give yourself a score and stay well until next month and remember that the best professionals are primarily good people first!

Steve Wren

April 2010 - Volume 20

EXCUSES    V    ACCOUNTABILITY?

Many of our partners have declared their concerns about rising interest rates and the impact such trends have on their businesses.  Just where casualties may occur bears thinking about.
Certainly WANTS are the first.  The instant economic trends impact consumers, the sale of want items tend to suffer.  Those in hospitality and who sell high ticket want items like boats and motor cycles will testify to that.  Retailers of prestige brands are more vunerable than their colleagues who supply mainstream alternatives.  Retailers of the ‘staples’ aren’t impacted as much either.
Bear these thoughts in mind though;
The instant a subject is referred to using an acronym is the instant it’s become accepted.  Such is the case with the Global Financial Crisis which has become the GFC.  Our greatest fear should be fear itself.  Changing course from tried and true methods, looking to the horizon when the answers are in front of us or ignoring the ‘temperature’ of your sales or service team; are examples.
We are a society addicted to consumption.  Modern families have never experienced an economic depression.  Recessions are skirmishes compared to a depression.  At the height of the GFC and now in its wake, we’ll pay $200 a ticket to see Lady Gaga and then moan about the price of petrol.  Back in 1929 when Wall Street crashed, want items weren’t a factor in consumer consciousness.  Now it’s fashion and lifestyle that keeps economies afloat.
The bottom line is that people will go without the things they need to find a way to buy the things they want.  As team leaders, retailers and providers of services, that is your answer.  Invest in skills and protocols to create want in the hearts of your customers rather than relying on need in their heads.
There are four kinds of customers.  First time inquirers, comebacks, referrals and repeats.  This is in the order of their merit.  The bulk of salespeople spend the bulk of their time dealing with first timers.  Guess which category dries up first during tough times?   In our sales corner this month, we are commencing the first of 10 segments designed to assist you and your team to assess your skills where creating loyalty is concerned.  Let’s tip the scales our way.  Our best bet to be GFC proof is to retain our customers.  The revenues are higher and the cost of sale is lower.  It has been said that “the price of freedom is vigilance”.  We believe that the price of excellence is too.

Stephen Wren

Enjoy this issue!

THANK YOU TO HONDA AUSTRALIA!

Thank you to the Queensland State Manager for Honda Australia, Mr Ian Meyers for inviting us to speak at the Sales Managers Conference this month.  It was fantastic to feel the positive atmosphere in the room which reflects the general culture of the Honda Brand.  We welcome new subscribers, Mr. Tom Jager from Bayside Honda Cleveland, Mr Jason Wood from Von Bibra Honda at Southport, Mr Phil Spataro from the Norris Group at Nundah, Mr Gavin Grant from Caloundra Honda, Mr Peter Cropp from Blue Ribbon Honda at Ipswich and Ms Caroline McNamara from Highway Honda at Springwood.  We look forward to seeing you all again.

CHANGE
One of our favourite axioms is “The best way to handle change is to cause it!”  Soichiro Honda once said, “We only have one future, and it will be made of our dreams, if we have the courage to challenge convention.”   Certainly, this is the essence of causing change and the opposite to “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
Our advice; run to the nearest exit if someone says something to you like, “be realistic.” They’re about to tell you why you’ll fail.  Mr. Honda says, “What we learn through failure becomes a precious part of us, strengthening us in everything we do. So let the tough things make you tougher.”
How about this final gem from Mr Honda; “When Congress passes new emission standards, we hire 50 more engineers and GM hires 50 more lawyers.”

Sales Corner!

LOYALTY

Last month we promised our INFOCUS subscribers that we would roll out some of the fundamental components of our loyalty creation tools as this is a major factor in our partners’ business plans.  Certainly, the cost of a sale is massively reduced when agents are skilled and disciplined about their roles as account managers.

Incidentally, if you’ve never considered your sales or service personnel as ‘account managers’, we advise you do so from now on.  Human nature/perception overrides reality and one untucked shirt, body piercing, or casual remark can undo the last $10,000 worth of marketing you spent; whether the victim thinks it’s fair or not.

Therefore, welcome to the first in a series of 10 assessment aspects that you can use to either gauge your staff’s individual potential to generate and perpetuate loyalty or for that matter, your own.  The ability to generate loyalty is at the core of leadership.

With each question, we’ll explain the reasoning behind it, the depths that each concept can be explored (which should allow you to interpret it to your own needs) as well as some applications and remedies.  Any participant should score themselves from 1 to 5 as follows;

1                     2                          3                        4                       5
POOR           FAIR              AVERAGE           GOOD         EXCELLENT

Notice that 1 is ‘poor’ not hopeless and that 5 is ‘excellent’ not perfect.  There are no absolutes in self assessment because there would be no room for evolution or learning – only room for complacency and we know where that leads!

Our lead article this month refers to fear of the times or the uncertainties of economic trends.  Let us say that complacency is an ever present spectre which hangs over our industry.  Engaging in evaluation of your present situation is the first step to creating change.

Additionally we can expect accountability too once a score (especially a high score) has been committed to; which is always advantageous to business owners.  The questions are simple in their wording but multifaceted in their implications.  We suggest the “background” be read and understood before a score is offered.

Question 1:      “How friendly are you?”

1                        2                        3                         4                      5
POOR            FAIR              AVERAGE           GOOD         EXCELLENT

Background:

Most people are friendly when offered a friendly gesture.  This is NOT the meaning of the question and does not constitute any sort of an advantage for sales or service personnel.  That sort of friendliness is not distinctive.  It is reactive friendliness and barely memorable.  We’re talking about being “proactively friendly”.  The first to offer a gesture or a genuine compliment, the first to speak, being socially flexible and fitting into any company.  It’s incredible how many unfriendly people serve on the frontline of multi-million dollar Australian businesses.  A confronting question to ask oneself is, “How would I feel if I just met me?”  Issues that contribute to first impressions include body language, carriage, grooming, eye contact and facial expressions followed by tone of voice and word choice.  All of which are contributed to by one’s attitude and conditioning that attitude causes over time.

The worst possible outcome is contempt.  Tone of voice is the most obvious symptom.  If you believe “all buyers are liars,” regardless of the truth of it or otherwise, contempt could be flavouring your game plan.  Suddenly you’re judging your customers rather than understanding them.

The great conditioning coach Ken Boothroyd once said of a young Wendell Sailor, “He’s not a footballer yet – he’s an athlete but you give me an athlete and I’ll give you back a footballer.”  We feel the same about the trait of proactive friendliness.  You give us a person who is likeable and we’ll give you back a customer service professional.  It’s that important.

Customers often sense an unhappy team when they walk into your premises.  The building blocks of morale start with this fundamental question.  The difference a focus on skills in this area makes to a company’s bottom line is staggering.  For more information on our customer service/loyalty creation seminars, contact us on 1300 766 545 anytime.

Steve Wren

March 2010 - Volume 19

FOCUS REVIEW

Hi and welcome to the next edition of ‘In Focus’. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, feedback and general comments and questions over the past few months – it is great to hear from you all.

Before the year rolls on and gets away from us too much I would like to welcome two new partners to our readers – Paul Sadler Swimland and Fort Knox Self Storage. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership of mutual success. Our new partners add to the new and diverse range of clients we service and ensure our Team are always thinking of new and evolving ways to better serve our clients.

On that note, I would like to inform all our readers of a new program that we have worked on vigorously over recent times and is now available to all our clients – our Quality Assurance Program. While we have always offered Customer Satisfaction packages, this new program takes it to the next level of excellence in Customer Service. We collect data received from genuine prospects of your business and analyse trends that form from both buyers and non buyers. This data has been very beneficial to our partners already using this program.

For more information on this program and how it can benefit you, please contact our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 who will be more than happy to help.

Until next time – enjoy this issue and have a happy and safe Easter break!

Jason Wren
Jason Wren
Managing Director

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2010 FROM FOCUS PLUS?

Theories abound but it’s Business Solutions that pay the bills.
From February, we are excited to be offering the first in a series of instalments
of just that – solutions.  This one is aimed at the Motor Trade.  It takes the form
of a document/module we will be offering for sale which was 6 months in the making.

WHAT IS IT?
It’s called “10 – 1 Hurdles facing Motor Vehicle Salespeople – a leader’s aid”.

BACKGROUND
During 2009, we researched a wide variety of motor dealership personnel across
3 states plus the NT; simply asking them what they saw as the greatest hurdles
they face on a daily basis.  The result, whilst not surprising, was confronting.
It was confronting in the sense that the issues are chronic and represent diminished
profitability and unfulfilled ambitions mutual to the agent and the company.  The
solutions to them revolve around leadership, training, measurement, accountability
and foresight.
There is no doubt that the modern shopper is more shrewd (and the poetic similarity to ‘rude’ is ironically true too) has more choice, is better informed and less loyal provides the core of the issues that were offered.  This research would not have been possible without the cooperation of many of our fantastic partners.  A big thank you to Mr Scott Carse (general manager of the Sunshine Audi Centre at Caloundra) whose knowledge and application are quite exceptional.  His team was pivotal in our research.  He already has his copy.
Other notable contributors who deserve thanks were;
–          Mr Mark Miller and Mr David Russell (A P Eagers – Darwin)
–          Mr Tim Hore, Mr Colin Goodwin, Mr. Tod Mardel (Inchcape – Sydney)
–          Ms Lisa Stallard  (Blue Ribbon Motors Qld)
–          Mr Alan Parry and Mr John Doolan (The Parry Group in Townsville)
–          Mr Bruce Chard (Collins Honda Sydney).
The finished product is a 52 page manual. It tables the top 10 hurdles and all a sales team will need to prevent, rectify or maintain a sales standard that reflects the quality of their brands and facilities.  Dealer Principals deserve a receipt for the money they spend to generate business.

WHAT IT OFFERS
“If it isn’t broken don’t fix it” is the motto of the complacent and a recipe for inaction; so said General Colin Powell.  We agree.  This package will cover solutions in the form of training, prevention, maintenance and staff development on issues like;
–          Handling objections including the price shopper, procrastinators and difficult people.
–          Maintaining morale including recruiting and motivation analysis
–          Leadership issues that generate revenues including, communication, involvement in the sales process and handling change.
–          Sales tactics, word paths, scripts and issues that will improve the ‘chemistry’ of your sales team.
–          Relationship management and tactics.
–          Additionally, each of our customers will receive a CD containing pdf files that they can print off as exercises, handouts etc.
–          Non motor trade teams would also benefit as the issues raised revolve around customers, customer service, attitudes and gross profit retention.

WHO SHOULD USE IT?
–          General Sales Managers and Sales Managers.
–          Any small sales team where the cost of external consultants may be prohibitive.
–          Any team that relies on internal training
–          Any professional who wants to improve their skills through the application of leading edge tactical dialogue or leadership protocols.
–          Anyone responsible for the development of their subordinates ‘skills.

WHEN AND HOW MUCH?
This module is available for shipping to our customers now. Orders may be placed or any questions about the product inquired about by contacting us via email info@focusplus.net.au  or on our 1300 766 545 phone number.
The investment is $699.00 plus gst.  The price of inaction cannot be calculated.

Sales Corner!

HOW MUCH “LEAKAGE” IS THERE IN YOUR TEAM’S SALES STRATEGIES?

In my efforts to obtain ‘the best price’ (sound familiar salespeople?) on a new washing machine, I rang Clive Peters and The Good Guys for a quote on an 8kg Simpson.  The branches shall remain anonymous.  This was my phone experience with Clive Peters;

“Hi, my wife and I have decided on the 8kg Simpson washing machine.  What’s your best price on one?”

The salesperson replied, “They’re on special at the moment for $849.00 and that’s delivered…..”  I said, “Thanks for that mate.”  He thanked me too and we signed off.

My “Good Guys experience” was better.  On making the same inquiry, the rep replied (with some enthusiasm) “We’ve got a special price for today only…it’s $755 and that’s delivered, installed and we’ll take your old machine away if need be.”

“Sounds good” I said.  “Ask for Jeff when you come in and I’ll look after you” he continued.  We exchanged mutual thanks and hung up.  So, guess where we purchased the washing machine.  You guessed it……..David Jones.

There’s no other store like them so we’re told.  The reality is that despite the chandeliers and the black suits, they will get down and dirty with their cheapest competitors.  Now before this starts to sound like an advertisement for DJ’s, the point is that the other two set them up for the sale by ‘serving’ rather than selling.  What I got was a hunting licence without any expectation of having to pay for it.  No one was prepared to engage me or obtain a commitment from me prior to making one.

There is nothing subservient about service!  Service is about partnerships and the best partnerships are about equality.

If this scenario sounds familiar or you suspect your team could be guilty of similar sales behaviour, run this scenario past them at your next sales meeting and ask them to nominate how they would have handled the inquiry using “Jeff’s example”.  Can you imagine how much revenue slips between the corporate fingers of sales organisations by virtue of the simple fact that salespeople aren’t armed with dialogue and strategies geared to do their advertising budgets justice?

Good guys will always finish second to clever guys.

It’s about being prepared and having options.  Our most fundamental training modules are geared to minimise leakage to your rivals.  The cost of engaging us to empower your sales team is insignificant compared to the cost of relying on a price point.
Steve Wren

February 2010 - Volume 18

WISHING YOU A SUCCESSFUL 2010!

Well, 2010 is flying past at a great rate already! We hope you all enjoyed your Christmas break as I am sure the next one will be upon us just as quickly.
Now is certainly the time to ensure you have your carefully crafted plan for the coming year to enable every possible success in 2010. Our last few editions have focussed on just that with some information on creating cultures and service standards and planning for the everyday – and the unexpected.

This year we have a lot of exciting projects building and over the next few months we will be introducing those to you as they roll out. So stay tuned!

Enjoy this issue!

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2010 FROM FOCUS PLUS?

Theories abound but it’s Business Solutions that pay the bills.
For February, we are excited to be offering the first in a series of instalments
of just that – solutions.  This one is aimed at the Motor Trade.  It takes the form
of a document/module we will be offering for sale which was 6 months in the making.

WHAT IS IT?
It’s called “10 – 1 Hurdles facing Motor Vehicle Salespeople – a leader’s aid”.

BACKGROUND
During 2009, we researched a wide variety of motor dealership personnel across
3 states plus the NT; simply asking them what they saw as the greatest hurdles
they face on a daily basis.  The result, whilst not surprising, was confronting.
It was confronting in the sense that the issues are chronic and represent diminished
profitability and unfulfilled ambitions mutual to the agent and the company.  The
solutions to them revolve around leadership, training, measurement, accountability
and foresight.
There is no doubt that the modern shopper is more shrewd (and the poetic similarity to ‘rude’ is ironically true too) has more choice, is better informed and less loyal provides the core of the issues that were offered.  This research would not have been possible without the cooperation of many of our fantastic partners.  A big thank you to Mr Scott Carse (general manager of the Sunshine Audi Centre at Caloundra) whose knowledge and application are quite exceptional.  His team was pivotal in our research.  He already has his copy.
Other notable contributors who deserve thanks were;
–          Mr Mark Miller and Mr David Russell (A P Eagers – Darwin)
–          Mr Tim Hore, Mr Colin Goodwin, Mr. Tod Mardel (Inchcape – Sydney)
–          Ms Lisa Stallard  (Blue Ribbon Motors Qld)
–          Mr Alan Parry and Mr John Doolan (The Parry Group in Townsville)
–          Mr Bruce Chard (Collins Honda Sydney).
The finished product is a 52 page manual. It tables the top 10 hurdles and all a sales team will need to prevent, rectify or maintain a sales standard that reflects the quality of their brands and facilities.  Dealer Principals deserve a receipt for the money they spend to generate business.

WHAT IT OFFERS
“If it isn’t broken don’t fix it” is the motto of the complacent and a recipe for inaction; so said General Colin Powell.  We agree.  This package will cover solutions in the form of training, prevention, maintenance and staff development on issues like;
–          Handling objections including the price shopper, procrastinators and difficult people.
–          Maintaining morale including recruiting and motivation analysis
–          Leadership issues that generate revenues including, communication, involvement in the sales process and handling change.
–          Sales tactics, word paths, scripts and issues that will improve the ‘chemistry’ of your sales team.
–          Relationship management and tactics.
–          Additionally, each of our customers will receive a CD containing pdf files that they can print off as exercises, handouts etc.
–          Non motor trade teams would also benefit as the issues raised revolve around customers, customer service, attitudes and gross profit retention.

WHO SHOULD USE IT?
–          General Sales Managers and Sales Managers.
–          Any small sales team where the cost of external consultants may be prohibitive.
–          Any team that relies on internal training
–          Any professional who wants to improve their skills through the application of leading edge tactical dialogue or leadership protocols.
–          Anyone responsible for the development of their subordinates ‘skills.

WHEN AND HOW MUCH?
This module will be available for shipping to our customers by mid February.  Advanced orders may be placed or any questions about the product inquired about by contacting us via email info@focusplus.net.au  or on our 1300 766 545 phone number.
The investment is $699.00 plus gst.  The price of inaction cannot be calculated.

Sales Corner!

Tis the season for resolutions.  Most will be broken before February.  I would like to share some of my favourite quotations with you in the spirit of inspiration.  I would argue that inspiration is what we all need once in a while to keep us on track with the goals we all have.   So here they are with a few notes for relevance sake and I hope they mean something to you as they do to me.

“Yesterday is a cancelled cheque.  Tomorrow is a promissory note.  Today is the only cash you have; so spend it wisely.” Kay Lyons
This I believe is the original quote we’ve all heard variations of.  This one is about giving priority to the NOW.  Your now.  We lament over the past and worry over the future; both of which have little to do with what we are actually doing.  Remember that NOW is about choices and what you choose NOW will determine what you become.  Don’t waste the opportunity.

“Life is an echo – what you send out comes back.”Anon
A very “Buddhist notion” this one.  Sounds like Karma or just plain justice.  The bestselling book, “The Secret” is based on this law which is as sound as anything Newton ever devised.  The Universe is a very balanced equation from galactic to microscopic.  It’s all about energy and obeying nature’s laws.  There’s personal karma and professional karma; goodwill, the power of a gesture, customer service, staff development – you name it.  Disobey these laws at your peril.

“If you’re going to do something tonight you’ll be sorry for tomorrow morning…. sleep late.”Henny Youngman
A bit tongue in cheek but you’ve got to appreciate the comic relief after the last one.

“If you can dream it, you can do it!” Walt Disney
I’d listen to this guy.  Did anyone in the 20th Century have a bigger impact on popular culture than Walt?  His beginnings were humble and his empire was built on his determination as well as his imagination.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”  Milton Berle

In other words; take control and take ownership.  Stop waiting for a handout and create it yourself!

Steve Wren

December 2009 - Volume 17

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

To all our past, present and future Clients, we would like to wish you all and your families a very safe and merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous 2010.

As we rapidly approach the end of the year and we start to think ahead of spending some much hard earned time with our friends and family, it is easy to forget the true meaning of the festive season. As we get frustrated trying to get those last minute things to cap off the perfect Christmas we may forget how we treat others at this unnecessarily stressful time. Take a moment and step back and realise that people will say and do things they normally wouldn’t out of pure frustration.

As the pressure of creating the perfect Christmas for our families (either out of guilt or desire) mounts up on us spare a moment to consider those less fortunate, and the real meaning of the festive season will come through.

Customer service is about improving your Customers experience at every opportunity. What better time to try and strive for this than right now when your Customers could really use a smile and a friendly helping hand.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

From the whole team at Focus Plus.

P.S. Thanks to everybody who donated to the cause last month for Movember. We raised funds and some much needed awareness for men’s health issues. Jason is back to normal and has removed the fuzzy caterpillar from his face in preparation for next year. Your participation by donating is greatly appreciated!

The MOSCOW Principle!

With Christmas rapidly approaching I’m sure your “To Do” list is endless.

If so, it’s time to adopt the Moscow Principle. Taken from the letters M-S-C-W, the Moscow Principle is a quick five second motivator that will assist in prioritising your work flow into four categories:

M for what I must do?
S for what I should do?
C for what I could do?
W for what I would do?

Next time you are confronted with an overwhelming mountain of tasks pause and take a breath and think of MOSCOW.
Given the time frames and circumstances, what must I do? Let’s identify the critical tasks and get them done first. Then what things should I do? What tasks are important but not urgent? What could I do, and lastly what would I do if I had nothing else to do?
It might not substitute for your personal organiser but it is a brilliant five second motivator to keep you focussed on what is important for your business to succeed!

Source: www.smallbusiness.yahoo.com.au

Sales Corner!

The season of resolutions is upon us!

It’s a time for reflection, renewal, focus, thanksgiving and planning.

REFLECTION
In our training seminars, I often make the statement that; “to be living and working in Australia in the 21st century is like winning lotto 10 times over”.  On our worst day, it still beats London during the Black Death or Europe during the Spanish Inquisition or even many parts of the world today.   In reflection, let’s understand what we have, not lament about what we do not have.  Let’s respect it and attach as much significance to each opportunity that every new day presents us with.

RENEWAL
On reflection, let’s renew our commitment to these issues.  This will affect our attitude, align our priorities and ultimately impact our results.

FOCUS
Our very company name suggests a notion that needs to be maintained to be effective.  Discipline borne from respect, open communication, transparency of intent and the dignity of providing people with quality service is our benchmark and offered here in the spirit of the season.

THANKSGIVING
Is about taking nothing for granted.  The instant anything is taken for granted it initially depletes and ultimately abandons the culprit.  In business these days, we see many things taken for granted as anyone who has ever been a customer will testify.  Our tip; in your business, create an atmosphere for buying – not for selling.  Happy staff (often taken for granted) a welcoming environment (very often overlooked completely) and a respect for the opportunity your customer is giving you (reliant on the first two) will ensure your business stands out.

PLANNING
One thing we’ve learned; if you have no plan, you are not entitled to an expectation.  Whilst theories abound on the best way to initiate (most people’s downfall) the best business theory is the much overlooked S.W.O.T.* analysis.  It works because it is its own action plan.  By doing one, you are initiating.  The rest is easy.  If you need assistance in this or any area, please let us know.
To all our customers and associates, have a safe and Happy Christmas.  We look forward to sharing our views with you in the New Year and working together to make the most of our wonderful industry.

Steve Wren

*Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats

November 2009 - Volume 16

IT’S MOVEMBER!

Jason is growing a moustache for Movember this year and is willing to make himself look silly (with one of the worst mo’s) for a great and worthy cause! Jason has been invited to join the ‘Mo Mongrels’ by one of our valued clients and is slowly steaming along with his itchy ‘tache’!
If you see one of your Customers sporting an obviously new moustache chances are they are supporting this cause because they have a mate or family member effected by one of these health issues. What better way to provide a fun and happy first impression and deliver friendly Customer Service than to congratulate them on their efforts for supporting a very worthy cause. The light-heartedness of your interaction may even get you an extra sale or two and will definitely level that positive lasting impression that good Customer service can provide.

Movember is about raising much needed funds and awareness for men’s health – specifically prostate cancer and depression in men. Important when you learn that close to 3,000 men die of prostate cancer each year in Australia and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime – many of whom don’t seek help.
If you are able to donate to this great men’s awareness campaign please click on this link to the ‘Mo Mongrels’
https://www.movember.com/au/donate/your-details/team_id/46973

The more people that get onboard, the more awareness and money will be raised and so we are asking you to join and either grow a moustache as a Mo Bro, or sign on as a Mo Sista and help out with raising funds, or just make a donation to the team.

To join the ‘Mo Mongrels’ team and get in on the action go to http://au.movember.com/register/46973 and follow the steps. Once registered you’ll be sent all the information you need to get donations and get growing as part of the team.
Hope you can get involved!

Enjoy this issue!

MANAGING THE SERVICE CULTURE

 

Following is more on our series on Customer Service Culture. Managing the culture that you create is an ongoing part of your business and is vital in building successful relationships with all your current and future Clients.

To put it most simply – Staff don’t create the service provided by a company, they deliver it.

In fact, about 80% of the service delivered from a business stems directly from the company’s processes, systems and policies. Put another way, poor customer service policies will ensure the Staff have very little capacity to influence the overall service quality, as much of what they can and can’t do is effectively dictated by management.

Good service can only occur where the management culture brings together a service environment that integrates the Staff with processes, systems and policies that are focussed on servicing the Customer.

Much has been written and spoken about service attitude and behaviour. In practice, good customer service comes from what the business is doing. The best management and Staff “service attitude” in the world means nothing if it is not put into practice with what it actually does. It is what they do – their behaviour – that matters. Having a customer-focussed attitude is important but it is only converted to service when someone actually does something for customers.

Therefore, responsibility for managing the service cultures clearly lies with management. It is management’s role to ensure that what their business and Staff actively do is focussed on providing excellent customer service.

Source: www.business.gov.au

Sales Corner!

MANAGING VERSUS LEADING

If you work in this capacity, have you ever stopped to consider your own style?  Or what about the percentage of your day that is spent on each side of the fine lines that separate this vital role that you play?
I say “style” because leaders have style which is an individual notion as opposed to “knowledge” which whilst important, doesn’t differentiate one manager from another if both have it.  Style always will.  Often, what separates truly effective teams is the style by which they are lead.  Even the word “effective” has a less charismatic cousin; it’s “efficient”.
Consider the implied meaning of “manage”.

–          Did you manage to get that done?
–          Are you managing with that new system?
–          Do you think you could manage to be on time for once?
The implication is a barely passable ability to cope.  The celestial title of General Manager loses its gloss if he or she “generally manages to get by”.
Managers tend to be efficient at best whereas Leaders tend to be effective at worst.
Managers do things efficiently whereas Leaders handle people effectively.  These definitions of “manage” imply a depersonalisation within the role which will always diminish the long term outcomes of sales teams.  This is because morale within the team is the casualty when the team is “managed.”

POINTS TO CONSIDER

–          Good managers know the rules.  Good leaders make the rules.
–          Does your team look up to you or look toward you?
–          When things go wrong, do you blame your people or do you train them.
–          Nothing is more important than your team’s morale.  If your spreadsheets are in the red, look to the way your team is lead, not managed.
–          Knowledge can only accomplish so much. The “X Factor” that makes for truly memorable long term results relies on charisma, guts and a willingness to take a bullet for the team once in a while.
–          Is your staff entrance a revolving door?  If you’ve ever worked in such an environment, look to the culture of those in charge for the reason.
QUESTION TO CONSIDER.
Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) once posed the question; would you rather work for a bad boss in a good company or a good boss in a bad company?

We’d be interested in your thoughts.  Let us know at  swren@focusplus.net.au or  info@focusplus.net.au

FOCUS PLUS conduct leadership seminars based on creating loyalty, generating profit through decent morale and ethical process and understanding that the best way to handle change is to cause it!
If these seminars are of interest to you and your Staff, please give the team at Focus Plus a call on 1300 766 545 and we will put you in touch with our training facilitators who will put together your personal program.

Steve Wren

October 2009 - Volume 15

COMING SOON!

HOT PRESS!

FOCUS PLUS SEMINARS – HALF DAY AND FULL DAY

COMING SOON TO A CAPITAL CITY NEAR YOU!

Any increase in market share is easy to achieve when satisfied customers become walking billboards for our brand and our business!

We are conducting Half Day and Full Day seminars focussing on issues that evolve our business away from the uncertainty of dealing with strangers. These seminars will include topics covering ‘Creating Loyalty’, Human Resource issues, Customer Service issues, Cost of Sale and Profitability.

Forward expressions of interest to   info@focusplus.net.au  titling your email ‘Seminars’ and you will be notified of the upcoming dates and venues in your area. Get in early as priority will be given to our existing clients and their partners!

SERVICE MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST!

Following is Part 2 of our Service Management checklist which you can adapt to help your business create your own Customer Service Culture. The items supplied can be stylised to meet your business needs and provide a great platform if you and your Staff do not have a Customer Service Charter. Combined with the tips supplied in Part 1 last month you will be well on your way to building successful relationships with all your current and future Clients.

  • Creating a structure and culture that enables high levels of Staff Satisfaction, and rewards Staff for their ability to deliver excellent Customer Service.
  • Ensuring you have mechanisms in place to obtain regular, reliable feedback from your Customers about their needs and your service.
  • Actively encourage quality Service and continuous improvement in everything your business does. This requires ongoing examination of the underlying causes which create or tolerate service problems, and changes in practices which created the problems.
  • Ensuring your business always complies with the fair trading laws as a natural complement to best practice Customer Service.

MY ‘SALES MOTTO’ EXPLAINED.

A motto that has always stood me in good stead and one I share with our partners is; “Never Make a Commitment without One”.  It’s fair to say that at first glance it doesn’t sit well with everyone in sales and service industries.  I’ve often heard reticence in the form of, “Yeah but customer service is about making commitments.”  In a one on one discussion I would never be so blunt as to say “WRONG” but in this forum I will.  “WRONG.”

Any amateur can make a commitment.  Many do in the absence of skills or ethics.  Customer service is about seeing commitments through.   Commitments that were made mutually which formed the basis of the relationship that allowed business to be done in the first place.

Any partnership is doomed where only one partner makes commitment to it.

Consider the key words; the ones in italics.

–          Commitment
–          Mutually
–          Relationship and
–          Business.

Mutuality is the key to commitment.  Commitment is the key to a relationship.  A relationship is the key to business and the profitability necessary to sustain the relationship.

Many businesses have gone broke with a motto similar to ‘we deliver’.  You need to be profitable and the most profitable businesspeople are the ones capable of extracting a commitment prior to making one.  The good news?  By the time you see your customers; they have already made a commitment.  They’ve validated your brand and your outlet by showing up or calling.  You reciprocate by;

–          Acknowledgement
–          Being welcoming and
–          Providing solutions.

Asking questions provides the necessary control which extracts commitment.  It’s also consultative, shows you’re interested and it’s good protocol.

Ironically, there is an undeniable truth in sales.  The lower the gross profit retention, the more dissatisfied the customer seems to be.  Thankfully the opposite is also true.  The chemistry the agent taps into to create or retain profit is the same chemistry that creates satisfied customers AND understanding it keeps your agents on the right side of the fine line that exists between SERVICE and SERVANT.

Steve Wren

September 2009 - Volume 14

HOLDING ONTO EXCEPTIONAL STAFF

As bosses we all complain sometimes about how poorly our Staff perform the tasks we ask them to complete.

But what do we do when we find excellent Staff that deliver great Customer Service, exceed not only our Customers expectations but also our own? What do we do for Staff who represent our company and business culture to the public exactly how we want it and excel at it?

It is important to appreciate these Staff who do a great job or risk losing them to someone else who will appreciate them. Like Customers, good Staff will leave if they do not feel valued. It is hard for them pass on this culture to your Customers if they themselves do not feel valued by Management. It is important that we as Leaders do exactly that and lead by example.

We all know how costly recruiting, training and placing Staff can be but most good Staff would stay if shown some appreciation by Management. Not only do you save money and resources on unnecessary training to bring new Staff up to speed and in re-training Staff in policy and procedures, you also improve morale and most importantly productivity.

In my experience, usually the smallest gesture is more than enough to keep excellent Staff happy and continuing to do great work for you.

May I suggest coming in to the busy holiday and Christmas period, that as bosses we all show our good Staff we appreciate them to ensure we have great Staff to look after our clients and most importantly keep them working for us and not against us.

Until next time – enjoy this issue!

Jason Wren
Jason Wren
Managing Director

SERVICE MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST

Over the next couple of issues of In Focus we will be providing you with a Service Management checklist which you can adapt to help your business create your own Customer Service Culture. The items supplied can be attapted to meet your business needs and provide a great platform to begin if you and your Staff do not have a Customer Service Charter.

Key Management areas include:

–          Creating a Customer Service environment across your whole business that is specifically aligned with your Customers’ needs and focuses on Customer Retention.
–          Having and actively following a Customer Service Charter which clearly sets out the quality of service your Customers can expect from you.
–          Integrating your Customer Service strategy into your overall business approach and business plans.
–          Ensuring that your business’ policies, practices, systems, rules, facilities and Staff actively provide excellent Customer Service delivery.

To be continued next month….
Source: www.business.gov.au

Sales Corner!

THE ADVANTAGE OF STAYING PUT.

From time to time I make it my business to provide personal coaching and feedback to key people that I work with.  The criteria I use are based on my humble estimations of the worth of the character, the potential of the professional and the integrity of the company.

The Partnership.

Most Australian companies provide many things that constitute a worthy partner; often great family heritages and profiles that extend over a continent or internationally.  Even the weaknesses they experience (chiefly HR issues such as the transiency of staff) provides opportunity for loyal and worthwhile individuals to stand out and carve a career.  I’ve yet to encounter the perfect work environment but challenges that face any company are always opportunities for smart people within those companies to make a difference and as a result; get themselves noticed.

 

The Professional

Where potential is concerned, the only limits are those we place on ourselves. Whether it’s the imagination, the will or the attitudes we choose, it’s worth remembering that we are free to choose.  The rest of the world is then free to judge us based on those choices.  The thing you need to guard jealously is your reputation. Always be choosy about the scruples of the people you deal with and the agenda of the companies you align yourself with. This brings me to the character bit.

The Character

The finest qualities in business people are all based on loyalty.  Your ability to show it, create it and inspire it will supersede all you know and whom you know as catalysts to ensure you reach your potential as a professional and leader if such is your goal.  Your ambition must always be tempered by this thought.  The term “win at all costs” all too often characterises business people.  More of them have short life spans than not and are typified by moving from company to company based on the lure of short term outcomes.  Some believe the grass to be greener elsewhere.  I can’t recall many that have gone on to be respected and successful leaders.  My advice?  Cultivate the grass in the paddock you’re in. Create a reputation for loyalty and attention to detail.  These are the benchmarks.  I’ll say it again; these are the benchmarks – loyalty and attention to detail.  Celebrate the strengths of your company and its brands and identify its weaknesses as priorities for your attention.  These weaknesses are your opportunities and will show you instant results.  Look to the skills of the people under your control.  They will contribute to your success.  Their expertise and morale are everything.

Chip away and there is no doubt you will fast track your career without the risk of the devil you don’t know.

Stephen Wren

July 2009 - Volume 13

CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS SLIPPING

“Staring at recession and possibly out of business you would think retailers would make Customer Service a priority but for many it leaves a lot to be desired.”

These are not my words but the opening comments from a report aired on Today Tonight on Tuesday 7th July. While many business operators would not agree with this statement or believe this happens at their stores, what should be taken from the Today Tonight report is what is expected from the Customer.

Whether or not you agree with Barry Urquart, the Marketing expert interviewed by Today Tonight, he highlights and correlates the important aspects of Customer Service as expresses by the Customer. He goes on to say that “Customer Service standards in Australia have fallen in the last three years (I possibly think it has been longer than that) and Customer Satisfaction has fallen with it.”

Barry Urquhart’s comments based on the five second service test, suggests the Customer must be acknowledged within five second or they feel unloved, unwanted, mentally turn off and will often physically remove themselves from the premises. The Customer must be spoken to within thirty second and served within two minutes or the sale is lost. While I think this time line is a little unrealistic it does emphasise the Customers thought patterns and the importance they place on being valued.

What is reasonable is for the Customer to expect to be at the very least acknowledged within thirty seconds of entering the store. This is a simple “Hi, how are you?” … or a glance and a smile not pouncing or ‘badgering’ as expressed by Scott Driscol, National Executive Director of the Retailers Association. What Barry Urquart did say about the acknowledgement process was this allows the Customer to express how they want to be treated and if they need service immediately or want to be allowed to browse the store before being offered assistance. Acknowledgement of the Customer is the single most important part of Customer Service and I could not agree more.

The Today Tonight program accurately depicted the poor service encountered by Customers on the whole. The final words of the Mystery Shopper saying  “They didn’t stack up” put if fairly mildly when you see the lack of service given. Barry Urquhart’s final comments were “There are more sales lost because of poor Customer Service than the Global Financial Crisis” and from the examples shown on Today Tonight and what I myself experience recently (see Volume 12 of In Focus) this could not be more true.

I hope you all got to see this article on Today Tonight but if not I’m sure it could be found on their website. I strongly urge everyone to have a look as it is very interesting viewing and shows first-hand what many of our Customers are experiencing on a daily basis. As always if you have any Customer Service or Sales issues that need attention we have many products suited to improving Customer Service within your business. Give the team at Focus Plus Service Auditors a call or email your details to info@focusplus.net.au and one of our friendly Staff will happily discuss and tailor a program that suits your needs.

Until next time – enjoy this issue!

Jason Wren

Jason Wren

Managing Director

CONGRATULATIONS HIDDEN VALLEY FORD!  

A big congratulations to Hidden Valley Ford in the Northern Territory who won our Focus on End Of Financial Year Competition.

The Team at Hidden Valley Ford have won 50% off a Customer Service Monitoring Package for the next three months. The prize is valued up to $1,000 of free Customer Service Monitoring.

Due to the overwhelming response we will be running a similar competition soon. So keep your eyes out in future editions of In Focus for more details.

Thank you to everyone that entered our competition and we wish you all the best of luck in our next competition!

 

Sales Corner!

ON ATTITUDE

If you’re interviewing prospective employees or about to entrust someone with something important, be wary if that person says something like;

“You can count on me.  I will give 110%!”

Three things to consider here:

1. It’s impossible to do anything in excess of 100% therefore

2. The promise is doomed to be broken

3. The promiser will fail and the higher the number in excess of 100 that was promised, the higher the height to fall from.

There will be collateral damage everywhere.  Spirit, trust and morale being the major factors.

If you attach a value to each letter of the word “attitude” consistent with its place in the alphabet (A=1, B=2 etc) look what happens….

A   T    T   I    T    U   D   E

1  20 20  9  20  21  4   5  =  100

All that is needed or requested is a ‘can do attitude’ summarised perfectly as follows;

“Nothing more than your best is expected.

Therefore nothing less than your best is expected”.

Steve Wren

June 2009 - Volume 12

DON’T MISS OUT! WIN A HALF PRICE CUSTOMER SERVICE MONITORING PROGRAM!

That’s right – Win your own tailored Program for HALF PRICE for three months! Enter the Focus Plus EOFY Competition and you could be enjoying half price Service Monitoring for your business! Enter before June 30th for your chance to win this amazing prize. Just in time for the new financial year!

Prize drawn on 1st July 2009 and winners contacted by 5pm.   ENTER NOW!

If you are not the lucky winner of our first prize, then you have another chance to win in our competition…

Second Prize – 10% off your own personalised Customer Service Monitoring Program.

To Enter Click HERE!

*For Competition Terms & Conditions click here.

CUSTOMER SERVICE – IS IT STILL OUT THERE?

A CHALLENGE TO ALL

TRY THIS EXPERIMENT – THE RESULTS WILL AMAZE YOU!

I pose this question for all of us to ponder: Have Customer Service Representatives and Sales Staff forgotten how to provide Customer Service or have they chosen NOT to provide it at all?

The recent recession has opened all our eyes to the difficulties of running a profitable and successful business. The long economic boom which saw people willingly part with their money had Customer Service Representatives and Sales Staff having to do very little as Customers freely spent on items they possibly did not need.

I as recently as a couple of weeks ago conducted an experiment I would like you all to try. I walked into a store to see how long it would take before I received any form of Customer Service. To my complete amazement not only was I not acknowledged, greeted or attended to in this store, I received the same dismal Customer Service in the next four stores. Yes, believe it or not, I visited a total of five various stores before I even received an acknowledgment.

Even more surprising is that none of the stores I visited were busy. Most had two, three or four Customers (not many more) with one or mostly two Staff. I started to feel self-conscious that maybe it was me (did I smell, look intimidating, have something on my shoe) but as I looked around each store none of the Customers were being served. I witnessed so called Customer Service Assistants talking to other Staff, stocking shelves, talking on the phone, walking in and out of store rooms, reading magazines and order forms at the service counter and generally doing anything other than offer Customer Service.

At a time when many businesses are struggling to survive and people are struggling to hold onto their jobs how is what I experienced even possible? I asked myself ‘Is the trade of the Customer Service Representative dying and have we lost the art of delivering exceptional Customer Service or has the laziness that was possibly acceptable during the boom resulted in a lethargic hangover that our Staff cannot pull themselves clear of?’ Sure Customers are more discerning with where they spend their money, but they are still spending! They are simply wanting to be valued as they know how important their purchase is to a business in this economy. Customers are now rewarding good Customer Service with a purchase!

I went the next step and looked around the shopping centre. There were plenty of people around walking in and out of stores all carrying evidence of their willingness to spend by the numerous bags of goodies they had purchased. The more I looked the more I thought to myself ‘What recession?’ and that is not to make light of what the world is up against at the moment.

What it did make me realise is that there are many Customers out there wanting to spend. More importantly it is even easier to pinpoint a genuine buyer now because those who can afford to buy are out shopping and those who are in financial trouble are steering clear of any temptation.

I urge you to try this experiment next time you are out shopping and pay particular attention to the Customer Service you receive. Now consider is this happening in your Store, Restaurant, Sales Office, Car Dealership or Hotel? If so how much business have you lost? How is it effecting the livelihood of you and your Staff.

To improve Customer Service, Staff need to be made aware of their strengths and weaknesses and then trained to improve the Customer’s experience. Out team at Focus Plus Service Auditors can help by supplying Customer Service Audits and Training to enhance the most important part of your business – Customer Service.

Contact our friendly team on 1300 766 545 or info@focus.net.au for a no obligation quote.

I hope you have all entered our competition which could see you win 50% off a Customer Service Monitoring Program drawn 30th June!

Enjoy this issue!

Jason Wren

Managing Director

 

Sales Corner!

Something a little different this week.

EXCELLENCE.

Where professions and professionals are concerned, there are three primary factors that inhibit excellence.  They are;

  • Ignorance
  • Laziness and
  • Fear.

Ignorance is the easiest to remedy.  You remedy it by learning.

Laziness is an attitude that is chosen.  You remedy it by choosing otherwise. Ignorance contributes to it and fear restricts a desire to cause change.

Being fearful does more harm than the thing you fear.  Ancient peoples knew this.

A Old Cherokee Proverb –  “The Two Wolves”

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people!   He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ who dwell inside us”.

“One is Evil. It is FEAR, anger, envy, jealousy, IGNORANCE, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and LAZINESS.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it and then asked his grandfather:

‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed”

Steve Wren

May 2009 - Volume 11

Have your Staff now been ‘wired’ by the media to deliver a lesser standard of Customer Service? Have they sub consciously decided not to adhere to sales process because they assume that nobody is spending money? This is very dangerous as your Customers would not enter your business if they were not wanting to purchase!

The media have said enough. Now is the time for business to act and combat any decline or downward movement in profits and Customer base due to the recession!

Along with the improved level of your Customer Service comes increased profits! It’s not new – it’s not just something that we are saying – It’s a fact!

If you want to be one of those growing businesses, (as our clients already are) then act today with a living Customer Service Monitoring Program that changes with your business.

It cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of your Customer’s opinion of you and your business. It determines whether they will ever come back! Your small investment will not compare to the benefit of a long term Customer base established on the delivery of sound Customer Service!

It never surprises us to see the number of businesses spending large amounts of their budget on advertising only to deliver substandard service to their Customers. This only equates to more people out there relaying their poor Service experience. Get your Customer Service right first and then you will find you need to spend less on advertising as your Customers will do it for you! We can all improve and we can help you…..

Your Customers are still out there and they are still shopping, but are they still shopping with you!!

 

Contact our team at FPSA for a no obligation quote and information on how our services can help you and you business grow and even flourish during this economic climate. Click here.

Enjoy this issue!

 

Focus on End of Financial Year Competition!

WIN A HALF PRICE CUSTOMER SERVICE MONITORING PROGRAM!

That’s right – Win your own tailored Program for HALF PRICE for three months! Enter the Focus Plus EOFY Competition and you could be enjoying half price Service Monitoring for your business! Enter before June 30th for your chance to win this amazing prize. Just in time for the new financial year!

Prize drawn on 1st July 2009 and winners contacted by 5pm.   ENTER NOW!

If you are not the lucky winner of our first prize, then you have another chance to win in our competition…

Second Prize – 10% off your own personalised Customer Service Monitoring Program.

To Enter Click HERE!

*For Competition Terms & Conditions click here.

 

Sales Corner!

 

ASK STEVE

This one is from JRL who is in direct sales in the ACT.

Hi Stephen,

I am writing to you in regards to my results lately. This month has been hard for me with Customers only buying on price and not caring about the value at all. I have made six sales this month and to me that is absolutely disgusting. I am competing against someone who will always have ‘be back’ Customers on any given day and that is no disrespect to him, he deserves it.  I am finding it to be difficult to get high numbers.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can combat this problem?

Kind Regards;  JRL

My reply was as follows;

Hi J,

Thanks for your note. I’ll cover your issues as I see them one at a time. I’ve copied your letter as follows to allow points to be made that you can reference later.  I suggest you print this off and digest the thoughts over some time, perhaps with someone else; better on paper than looking at a screen. Also, make your own notes and seek suggestions or feedback from your Manager.

Point 1. “This month has been hard for me with Customers only buying on price and not caring about the value at all.”

It’s up to you to show the value.  You must not expect Customers to automatically feel desire to buy.  It’s your job to create it.

This relies on how you feel.  If you feel good, you’ll think good.  You’ll then say good things and this will impact the way you make the Customer feel.

Customers mostly know the price before they meet you.

You are a likeable young man which is all you need.  Even product knowledge is useless if you’re not likeable.  You wear your heart on your sleeve as most likeable people do.  This can hurt you if you’re not feeling good because you show it.  If you show it, people pick up on it and it is harder to transfer your feelings to create WANT.  Want = value.  Need = price.  No one haggles when they want!

Maximising your potential to do this; you need to give yourself a ‘check from the neck up’ every day.

Make sure you leave nothing to chance.  Even things you do right; do them better.  It affects your personal discipline which impacts how you feel.  Then nothing bites you.  Do it in this order.

Personal grooming/hygiene.  Check!

Have a decent breakfast and take 15 minutes (maybe over breakfast) to watch an inspiring video or two on YouTube.  There are plenty that feature selling skills, goal setting etc.  Try Zig Ziglar for a start. He is entertaining as well as informative and will kick your day off with the right mood. From his videos there are links to many other fantastic people with great ideas on attitude, sales and generally maximising the quality of what you do.  Check!

  • Shine the shoes and make sure the shoes are business shoes. Check!
  • Ensure your clothes are spot on – military standard.  Pressed, bright. Check!
  • Make sure you carry yourself confidently.  Walk tall.  You’re 6’7″.  Show every bit of it.  Big folks have so much more body for body language to screw up.  Throw your shoulders back and move with purpose.  This is why ‘how you feel’ is so important.  This can’t happen if you feel low. Check!
  • Make sure your office is spotless.  Take ownership of it.  It reflects who you are and funnily, how you feel.  Check!
  • Decorate it with items that inspire you.  This will personalise it and make it welcoming to boot. Check!
  • You know it’s ‘value’ that sells.  They need to see value in you, how you look and what you say. Preparation is essential.  These things sound basic but ignoring the basics is nearly always fatal.  With the basics taken care of, you’ll feel more businesslike and thus be capable of portraying yourself as a worthwhile potential partner. Everything you say will have more oomph and as a result, be of more value.

Point 2:  “I have made six sales this month and to me that is absolutely disgusting”

Good.  It’s important that you can pause and smell the roses.  BUT it’s making you feel bad, and guess what that does?  Refocus on the above and the very act of doing it will take away the negativity.

Point 3:  “I am competing against someone who will always have ‘be back” Customers on any given day and that is no disrespect to him, he deserves it”

No you’re not.  You must not think that you are competing against your work mate.  I know that this is tough to do as it’s human nature (especially for salespeople) to feel that way but it will hurt you more than help you as it obviously is for you to have mentioned it.  The fact that you covered yourself by saying “no disrespect to him, he deserves it” shows that it is affecting you negatively.  It means that subconsciously, you may be professionally jealous; just a tad.  Focussing on his results takes the focus off your preparation and process and the attention to detail that always adds spark to any method.

Consider this;

  • You are an entity unto yourself.  His results; good or bad will never pay your rent so forget them.
  • Treat every one of your own prospects as the only one you may see for the day.  Give them a great experience based on your desire to create a relationship; not to make a sale. Ignite a friendship and the sale becomes incidental.  Forget what has or might happen. Focus on what IS happening. Your preparation will impact this.
  • Spend your down time in your database.  Create additional leads and nurture existing relationships which will consume your down time with positive activity rather than by watching your work mate and getting more psyched out with each one of his successes.  Don’t be impatient.  Nurturing your business takes time but once the roots establish themselves, growth will happen.  One thing about your observation I agree with; “he deserves it.”  You do too so make it happen.

Point 4:  “I am finding it difficult to get high numbers”

That’s because your focus is on outcome and not process.  Forget the high numbers.  One at a time.  Get the preparation right which will impact each opportunity and then collect opportunities.

In between opportunities, work on your business.  Maintain the shine on the shoes which will maintain the shine on your attitude.

Also consider;

  • How could you better network yourself through people you already know?  In other words, what percentage of your sales comes from existing relationships?  You admired your mate’s success in this area.  I’ll wager he worked on it over time.
  • Do you have a spotters’ network.  If not; create one.  Get R to assist you with an appropriate letter that offers opportunity where this is concerned.  I can help you next time I’m there too.

Conclusion:  “….on combating this problem.”

It’s not a problem anymore J; it’s just life.  Treat it as an opportunity to learn and grow.  You have everything on your side and willingness too as evidenced by your requesting assistance.

Keep your presentations interactive and close to the buying motives you discover when you’re getting to know your Customers.  Seek commitment as you go.  The instant you don’t secure commitment, pause and ensure you get back on track before proceeding. Best advice mate; keep smiling!

Best regards,

Steve Wren

FOCUS ON END OF FINANCIAL YEAR COMPETITION 

 

COMPETITION TERMS & CONDITIONS:

 

Competition closes 5pm Tuesday 30 June 2009. Only one entry per business will be accepted. Competition entry is open to all new Clients or returning Clients who have not had any Customer Service Monitoring Programs with Focus Plus Service Auditors during 2009.

Winners will be contacted by phone and email after 11am Thursday 2 July 2009. The first entrant drawn will receive a 50% (half price)  Customer Service Monitoring Program for three months created by Focus Plus Service Auditors up to the value of $1,000AUD; the second entrant drawn will receive 10% off Customer Service Monitoring Program for three months created by Focus Plus Service Auditors up to the value of $500AUD. All winners must sign the Focus Plus Service Auditors Engagement Agreement for Privacy, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Property legalities to protect both the winner and Focus Plus. All intellectual property remains the property of Focus Plus Service Auditors. PLEASE NOTE: All entrants will be added to the Focus Plus – In Focus Newsletter email database. Participants can choose to unsubscribe at any time.

PRIZE INCLUSIONS: Each prize (two in total) includes a personalised and tailor made Customer Service Monitoring Program for their business (owned or employee) for the period of three months maximum. The Program can continue after this time at the full cost of the Program which is the responsibility of the winner. Prize must be redeemed before 30th September 2009 and completed by 31 December 2009. Prizes are non transferable, non redeemable for cash and cannot be on-sold to a third party. Please note availability must be agreed to by Focus Plus Service Auditors in accordance with all requirements to provide a quality Program to the winner.

April 2009 - Volume 10

HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!

The Team at Focus Plus would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a Safe and Happy Easter and we hope you all enjoy the break. Remember Easter is a notoriously dangerous time on our roads all around Australia as everybody tries to make the most of the short break. To all those heading away (or staying at home) please take care when driving and enjoy this well earned break.

THE STIMULUS PACKAGE

# Up to $900 to all tax payers during the 07/08 financial year

Whether or not you concur with the way Kevin Rudd is spending the previous Government’s accrued surplus, we can all agree on one thing; at least he is trying something. Governments generate a surplus when times are good for spending on a rainy day and let’s face it, globally it’s pouring. But lately here in Australia things may be starting to improve. Recent data tends to show while the economy is still contracting, some consumer confidence is returning to the market and NOW we need to capitalise on the second stimulus package implemented by the Government.

To get through this economic slow down and to save jobs in Australia we all need to do our bit.

It is up to all Sales Professionals and Customer Service Staff to encourage consumers to spend this extra money in your stores and not your competitors. It is the responsibility of all Staff in contact with the consumer to ensure they deliver the best possible Customer Service and provide the Customer with a professional Sales Process so the consumer wants to spend their money with you.

How do we do that?

Ask yourself these two questions:

1) Are all enquiries to your business given 100% attention and followed through to the end?

2) Are all Customers dealing with your business receiving quality Customer Service?

If you even slightly hesitate answering ‘Yes’ to either of these questions we can help you.

Your current Customer base and any future leads must be given nothing less than the very best Customer Service to ensure they spend their Stimulus Bonus  and continue doing business with you (and not your competitors).

To find out how we can improve your Customer Service and Sales potential, just call our friendly Staff on 1300 766 545 to obtain a free  quote on Customer Service Monitoring, Service Training and Sales Training.

For a no obligation appraisal of how the Focus Plus Team can help your business,

give us a call on 1300 766 545 or email us at  info@focusplus.net.au

Happy Easter and enjoy this issue!

Effective Follow Up!

There may be many situations where you need to provide some form of Follow-Up information to the Customer.

This can be initiated as a request from the Customer, or it can be something initiated by you where you need to send something to the Customer such as confirming arrangements, providing quotes, sending information, providing a progress report, or requesting clarification.

Many of the same Customer Service Guidelines from “Product & Service Information” also apply here.

The key phases in this activity include:

–  Ensuring and confirming that you know exactly what is required for the Customer

–  Sending out the information quickly and in the time requested by the Customer; and

–  Following up to see if it has met the Customer’s needs and expectations.

Customers value things being personalised rather than just the standard ‘form’ or ‘letter’ and they rely on you to make sure all the necessary and relevant information is included.

The speed of the response is very important, as often the requested information will be important to the Customer. The thing to remember is that if you take too long to fulfil the Customers request they will go elsewhere to satisfy the enquiry which will arm your competitors with an immediate advantage. This advantage may be all your competitor needs to secure the Customer’s business which you have now lost.

Another thing to remember is that the Customer may be testing to see if they can trust you with their business. How punctual you are in delivering what you have promised to the Customer will be your biggest test. The Standard to which you follow through with what you tell your Customer and the quality of the Follow Up Service you deliver will determine the relationship you have with your Customers.

In essence, any further information that is sent to the Customer must be relevant and timely and exceed their expectations.

 

 

Source: www.business.gov.au

 

 

Sales Corner!

ASK STEVE

Something different this month.  Instead of a question, here is a note we received which perfectly illustrates the reason why the skills of your agents are so critical to your sales and service outcomes.

You may recall from a previous IN FOCUS that I reported on the mediocrity currently rife in various selling environments where quality presentation sequences are concerned.  This therefore is refreshing and is reprinted here with John’s kind permission;

Hi Steve,

I just had a call from some Customers who purchased an X-Trail from Beau today. He has been dealing with them since before Xmas.

The gentleman said that he would not normally buy out of town because he too is in sales.

However Beau kept in touch every week as promised and was the only Salesman to offer a test drive (5 brands in total) and the only one to send a properly prepared quote on letter head. The Customer was really impressed with Beau and said he has a big future ahead of him; which we all know.

This really highlights what you found on the shop around recently with the sales guys, NO ONE is following the road to a sale, and with the way the market is, it’s stupidity.

John Doolan

Sales Manager

Parry Nissan, Renault & Suzuki

Townsville Qld

Fact:  The majority of Customers who purchase at their first choice outlet say the Salesperson was the chief reason.

Fact:  The vast majority of Customers who look elsewhere claim they did so due to being put off by the original Salesperson.

Conclusion:  Either way, your agents constitute the most significant component in the decision your Customers make.

Footnote:  The Salesperson referred to above is Beau Kennedy.  He is 18 years old and knows no other way but the right way.  This author has never seen a sales team so devoted to decency, ethics and an agenda to succeed.  The Parry Bros. (Alan & John) and John Doolan have created this culture.  John is an example of the harmony that should exist between the notions of Leader and Manager.

Steve Wren

March 2009 - Volume 9

STOP YOUR CUSTOMER’S WALKING!

I think everyone will agree that all your Customer’s shop with their feet!

 

Today’s Customers are more discerning than ever before, and when they come across something they don’t like they shop with their feet. Customers will shop around and soon find somebody that sells a comparative product that looks after them better. During these difficult economic times this is one thing that none of us can afford!

 

There is no better time than now to have a Customer Service Audit conducted on your business. These Customer Service Audits can be tailored to suit your individual business needs and include Walk-In, Phone or Internet Mystery Shops. Through Market Research, our Post Purchase or Customer Satisfaction Surveys will find out exactly what your Customer thinks of you!

 

After performing a Customer Service and Sales Process Audit, Focus Plus Service Auditors will provide you with a comprehensive needs analysis. Armed with this valuable information you can control and fix the leakage caused by poor Customer Service standards and inferior Sales Process.

 

For a no obligation appraisal of how the Focus Plus Team can help your business,

give us a call on 1300 766 545 or email us at  info@focusplus.net.au

 

 

Enjoy this issue!

SERVICE IMPROVEMENT !?!

At the risk of stating the obvious – Customer Service IS important.

 

In today’s competitive market, it would be hard to find business people and Staff that say the concept of Customer Service is not important – although their action may not match their words. Certainly Customers are becoming increasingly vocal about the high priority they place on Customer Service, and businesses are feeling this pressure.

 

The importance of Customer Service is also reflected by business managers who consistently place Customer Satisfaction at the top of the list of factors they believe directly affects their business success.

 

Why then is there a lack of any significant sustained improvement in service in Australia? At best it could be claimed business is just keeping up with Customers’ expectations, at worst that service levels are in fact declining.

The lack of any notable improvement in service in Australia is in part associated with three key factors:

– Businesses’ inability to know how to define service in a way that means something to Customers and is capable of practical action.

– Businesses are also suffering from not knowing how to deliver such Customer focused service

– Too many Managers are not acknowledging that they could improve their business’ service.

 

And all this is operating along with a strong emphasis on cost reduction. Hardly the environment for improved Customer Service.

 

Source: www.business.gov.au

 

Sales Corner!

ASK STEVE

This week’s ASK STEVE is jammed pack full of great sales tips and ideas on how to handle the ‘price shopper’ and still be true to your business….

 

 

Hey Steve,

Thank you so much for you mini coaching session on the phone this morning!

Some bullet point’s for you about my customer-

 

– Classic ‘Director’ and a local café proprietor

– Says he’s not fussed on which car he owns.  Just wants the ‘best deal’

– Is well known is town and knows people who have bought from me.

– Very, very stand offish.  I’ve been dealing with him for a while now including quotes and model variants.  He’s settled on one but won’t commit.

– He’s expecting me to follow up again today with a ‘better deal’ but I’m not sure what else I can say.

 

Thanks for your help mate.

BR

 

 

Hi BR,

 

OK, you’ve nailed his profile and the question as to why he’s a director is also the answer as to what to do to secure a closed sale.

 

My gut feeling is that he has either had a nasty prior experience/s or this typifies the way he does business.  Either way, he has probably seldom been impressed by his agents so is fairly dismissive of your time and feelings.  He wants your car though otherwise he would have made a purchase by now; especially if you gave him a quote.  Dangerous by the way.

 

The second worst thing you can do is to create an argument with him. He expects it and probably wants it.  The worst thing you can do also is win it.  His ego will exact revenge even against his better judgement.

 

Your course is simple enough.  Engage him through empathy and earn the right to solve.  The way you need to do it should come out of ‘left field.’  He’s a local café owner, so go see him (don’t phone) and tell him you’d like to shout him a coffee and a scone whilst you share some news with him.  Breaking bread is about fellowship.  Create the relationship his previous agents could not.  You’ve already earned the right to do this.  Sharing “news’ validates his time.

 

He knows other business people you’ve sold to.  This is a bonus.  Tell him that because of this you took his situation straight to your GM as the relationship you’d like to have is even more important than the sale.  You’re both local businesses and the potential for networking is excellent.

 

Procrastination falls into the category of “not convinced” objections.  You need to eliminate the reasons (there are only 4) that he hasn’t purchased, isolate the real issue and then solve it.  The reasons are; the product, the company, you and the price.  In your customer’s case I think he’s just making you sweat but the way to uncover this is to ask him.  Usually it’s in the order I just listed but your guy has persevered enough for me to know that this isn’t the case.  We need to close.  Here’s what to say,

 

“Steve, we’ve spent a fair bit of time together and I’m feeling that there may be something about me that’s made you either uncomfortable or reluctant to do business with us.  I’m hoping this isn’t the case but you’d be doing me a massive service if you let me know?”  Be silent and allow him to soak in the feeling of what you said.  Trust me; said this way, this will be new to him.

 

Then have a conversation with him.  Empathy is your key.  Worst case scenario?  Yes, it’s you.  You’ll learn something that may prevent future issues if your ego can take it.  Best case scenario?  He’ll regret that he made you feel that way, give you some latitude which opens the door for closure.  Isn’t that an ironic remark?  Let me know how you go.

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

February 2009 - Volume 8

MAKE THEIR DAY WITH YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE!

The team at Focus Plus would like to send our thoughts and warm wishes to those affected by the Victorian bushfires and North Queensland floods that have devastated so many lives this past week.

In the industry of Customer Service it can be easy to take a Customer at face value only. When we make Customer contact, we really know nothing more than what we see in front of us. We have the power and opportunity to change a Customer’s day or make their day with the way we conduct ourselves professionally! It could be quite likely that the person you serve today may have had their lives impacted directly or indirectly by these events. By delivering sincere and care-driven Service to all our Customers, it may be all it takes to put a smile on someone’s face at a time when it is needed the most.

Good quality Customer Service can often bring more joy to the Customer than the product itself!

Enjoy this issue!

NEW FORUM – ASK STEVE!

Write to Steve at info@focusplus.net.au with your question on sales or service issues.

Good Morning Stephen

I have just had my best month ever at Ford. I have got a lot of confidence in myself at the moment but lately I am starting to slip a bit. I think I am getting over confident in myself. I am not qualifying enough.

Like today I have had a gentlemen ask me what prices are on our Falcons. He was looking to spend around the $35,000.00 mark. Holden is doing their SS and SV6 (as he said) for $31,000.00 and I could not get him the Falcon that he wanted at that price. But he wouldn’t spend any more and I lost him. How can I stop this from happening again?

Thank you very much Stephen.

JB

New Car Specialist

Hi JB

The fact that you are able to see yourself slipping a little is a good sign. To not be aware would only make you bitter about the Customers.

Let’s address the rival brand thing.

Sometimes rival brands get the better of us and sometimes they don’t. Where a situation like the Holden v Ford thing is concerned, there are a few things to consider;

Qualifying is, as you said, the most important thing. If a Customer says that they are comparing brands, try something like this. “Mr Smith there are so many quality products for sale these days, I think it’s terrific that it’s such a buyers’ market. The reason I choose to sell Fords is that I’m really proud of the advantages we have over some of our main rivals at present….if you have some time, let me show you what I mean…” Then get away from the price and talk value! Do it interactively!

Both cars are race bred with awesome Bathurst heritage BUT did the Holden salesman think to say that?

Note how you signed this letter; J. B. – New Car Specialist. Being a specialist means that you need to understand the rival as much as you do your own brands. This allows you to differentiate them and justify being dearer when you occasionally are.

When Customers are tossing up brands try;

“Mr Smith, thank you for putting (my company) on your shopping list. Interest and demand on the Falcon range at present has been incredible. ”

What exactly is it about the Falcon that you like the most?”

“Our Customers tell us that sometimes it’s worse to pay too little than to pay too much.”

People will accept dialogue like this when it’s feedback from other Customers rather than your own opinion.

Straight away “Mr. Smith, in fairness, I should tell you that my product is a touch dearer than the Holden at present. Will your decision on what to purchase be based solely on price?”

This is very effective as most people will answer “no” as they don’t want to appear cheap. Here’s your chance to digress away from price and back to value.

From your own perspective;

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Treat each Customer as if he could be your last. In other words; value them. Don’t rush. Make a friend. Don’t worry if you fail. Success can make you complacent but failure is always a wakeup call if you let it be.

Sell yourself and the dealership as a partner to him. Long after they have forgotten price, they’ll worry about who cares if they have a drama.

Don’t forget you are part of (Company name) and the resources you have. Tell them.

I don’t think you are over confident. If you were, you wouldn’t have considered writing this letter. Qualify more, don’t rush, have some fun with your people and make sure you give them an urgent story every time. People (me too) can’t help themselves and will respond to an opportunity every time.

Make sure you ‘double open’ if you qualify a price shopper.

Thanks again JB for writing me.

Steve

***********************************************************************************************

Sales Corner!

Keys to an Effective Demonstration

  • ‘Dynamic’ is the word. Movement and enthusiasm turns a static display into a memorable and effective demonstration. Don’t forget a little of the “Steve Irwin factor”. Steve’s passion and enthusiasm was the foundation of his popularity. ‘Infect’ your customer with them.
  • Do your presentations fully believing your client will go straight to your competitor next!
  • Qualify qualify qualify! Then use the information you gain to stylise your demonstration to suit the individual requirements of your prospect. No spruiking allowed!
  • Conversation is better than lecturing. Dialogue in preference to monologue. When in doubt, ask a question.
  • Involve everyone present.
  • Remember to get them touching and feeling.
  • “Paint pictures” of ownership in the minds of your Customers.
  • Include the culture of your brand and company at every opportunity.
  • Remember that the reason you’re doing the demonstration is to make the sale; not to simply provide information.
  • Avoid being predictable or a “typical Salesperson”.

These days, the spin has more potential to be a differentiating factor than the product. The quality of it is your choice.

Stephen Wren

January 2009 - Volume 7

WELCOME 2009!

Happy New Year to all!

If you are anything like me you have probably over- indulged during the Christmas break and have possibly set yourself some quite ambitious New Year’s Resolutions.

Ambitious – Yes, Unobtainable – No.

While the economic news of late has not been the brightest, the upside is that it has provided us with the need to re-assess our business and personal goals and the opportunity to take control of the outcomes. There would be nothing greater than to succeed when everything is against you.

It’s the challenges that make life exciting.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope you achieve your goals in 2009. Remember: Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator!

Enjoy this issue!

NEW FORUM  –  ASK STEVE!

Help with Sales Issues from Steve and great Customer Service anecdotes.

In 2009 we would like to introduce a new ‘Forum Style’ component to our future newsletters. Stephen, who since the conception of our newsletter has provided valuable Sales Tips through our Sales Corner is here to help. He has many years experience in the Sales Industry and is now a Sales Trainer providing clients Australia wide with the techniques that made him a successful Salesperson. This forum will give you the opportunity to ‘Ask Steve’ any questions about those nagging Sales Issues you or your team may need help with and have them answered personally by an experienced and highly regarded Sales Professional. We also invite you via this forum to tell us about any great Customer Service stories from your business that you would like to share with us. Alternatively, you may have experienced a Customer Service disaster that we can all learn from.

We look forward to receiving your questions for Steve and your Customer Service tales at info@focusplus.net.au .

Stay tuned for some great Customer Service accounts in ‘Ask Steve’!

************************************************************************************************Sales Corner!

I take no joy in reporting this selling experience to you.  There is no better profession than the sales, service and hospitality industries.  Nor are there better people than the elite of each.  It is my passion that causes me to be infuriated by mediocrity of effort and the extent that it exists across the sales landscape.

As recently as two days ago, this author attended a prestige motor Dealership in the Brisbane CBD and inquired as to the price and specifications on a new model.  My buyer’s profile was;

  • The director of my own business.
  • Living outside the Dealership’s area (an opportunity for conquest business)
  • My first prestige car
  • A leasing situation
  • I had visited their nearest rival and had experienced dissatisfaction.
  • I was looking for a ‘best price’ situation and
  • I was controlling (but not rude) in my approach.

This would constitute a valuable prospect in any selling environment.

Whilst the Salesperson was friendly and welcoming (itself not as common as we’d like) the following factors summarise the outcome.  There was;

  • No presentation sequence
  • No relationship was created or even attempted even though the Salesperson was aware of all the above factors.
  • No introduction to a Sales or Business Manager.
  • No commitment was sought.

I left the Dealership with the understanding that there were only two units available in Australia in the model variant I was interested in and that the Salesperson would get back to me with a price.

The result; the Sales Manager called me and offered me a cool $15,000 discount with absolutely zero commitment from myself.

I am now armed and dangerous, at liberty to haggle at my leisure and my starting price will be $15,000 less than it should be.  Only two in Australia! This ripped up a car that deserved a better effort.  John Cordogan would be laughing.

Consider what a prestige Dealership might spend on marketing only to have the opportunities it generates sacrificed by poorly trained Salespeople. Times are such that no Sales Team in any industry can afford such a luxury.

Whilst it’s imperative to provide great Customer Service, there is a fine line between offering service and being seen as a servant.

There is an alternative.  Look to the “Ask Steve” section of future editions for the best way to handle the ‘price shopper’.  I’m sure we’ll be swamped with scenarios like this one.

Take care for now,

Stephen Wren

December 2008 - Volume 6

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

From the Team at Focus Plus Service Auditors, we would like to sincerely wish you and your family a safe, happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2009.

We thank you for all your continued support throughout 2008 and look forward to working with you in 2009.

The office will be closed from Friday 19th December till Monday January 5th 2009. If you need to contact us during this time there will be skeleton Staff checking in so please feel free to make contact and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Enjoy this issue!

SPECIAL LIMITED OFFER!

  

To all those past and present clients who have already taken advantage of this great offer – “Welcome Aboard or Welcome Back!”

And for those who have not yet taken advantage of this great offer – It’s not too late!

Simply call us or email your details before the 19th of December and regardless of when your Program commences, you will receive

25 Complimentary Customer Satisfaction Surveys!

READ ON…..

Focus Plus Service Auditors is offering a great incentive to ACT NOW and get your Customer Service Monitoring Program started TODAY! Turn those enquiries into Sales and return business!

Until the 19th December 08, you can take advantage of this great offer and receive 25 Complimentary Customer Satisfaction Surveys!

When you sign a twelve month Customer Service Monitoring Program Agreement with Focus Plus Service Auditors you will receive 25 complimentary Post Purchase Audits or Customer Satisfaction Audits per site nominated on yourAgreement.

If you refer a client to Focus Plus Service Auditors who signs a twelve month Customer Service Monitoring Program Agreement you will receive 25 complimentary Post Purchase Audits or Customer Satisfaction Audits for your business!

These surveys will provide you with an insight into the Customer Satisfaction ratings and invaluable feedback from your existing clients.This essential information can be used for Advertising and Marketingcampaigns, and Staff Training Sessions.

To take advantage of this great offer, call the Focus Plus Team on 1300 766545 or Click here to email your details.

************************************************************************************************

Sales Corner!

Tis the season for resolutions so why not get in early.  Get a running startfor 2009 by committing to your personal and business goals now!

Our lives and careers are too important to ad lib our way through them.

Living and working in Australia in the 21st century is a gift beyond measure.

Here are a few tips for 2009 that might see your resolution last beyond February.

* Make sure your goals and your ethics are in harmony.  No one likes a ‘winner at all costs’.

* Don’t subscribe to trends or benchmarks.  They are mostly records of other people’s mediocrities.  Be the benchmark that others aspire to.

* Invest in your people and fund it from the advertising dollars you don’t spend.  Advertising is a murkier area than the people you already trust with your business’s name.  Don’t hire them and sit back to watch them fail.

* Understand the difference between ‘training’ and ‘education’.  Training teaches you how but education teaches you why.  The guy who knows how will always have a job but the guy who knows why will always be his boss!

A very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all of our partners!

Steve Wren

November 2008 - Volume 5

NOW IS THE TIME! 

In the current economic climate, now more than ever you need to ask yourself – Are your Customers getting the best Customer Service from your Staff? Do you know what level of Customer Service your Staff deliver and how is this impacting your Business?

Today’s media networks are clogged with the same thing – bad news about the economy!

You shouldn’t do this and you must do that, it’s all very gloomy. One thing is for sure – Customers will be fewer and farther between!

Taking advantage of every opportunity and every sale will be vital for the survival of your business.

Every Customer contact needs to be personal and made a priority.

Our Customer Service Monitoring Programs illustrate exactly what your Customer’s experience when they attend your business. When implemented regularly, Service standards improve and Staff maintain a high level of Service Excellence and Customer appreciation thus generating improved Customer Loyalty.

Now that opportunities may be less than previously experienced, it is more reason to maximise your sales off those Customers that do come through your door.

When you consider all the funds spent on attracting the Customer in the first place it is only sensible to ensure they are receiving only the best Customer Service or they will go to your competitors. Don’t give them a reason to look elsewhere! You don’t want to lose your Customers after you have done all the hard work and expended all the resources on initially attracting them to your business.

Each Staff Member on your team must be offering that ‘Customer Service point of difference’ in every encounter they have with your existing and potential Customers. If not, they will purchase elsewhere.

It is as simple as that. Think about it – don’t you go elsewhere when you’re not satisfied?

Enjoy this issue!

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SPECIAL LIMITED OFFER!

Focus Plus Service Auditors is offering a great incentive to ACT NOW and get your Customer Service Monitoring Program started TODAY! Turn those enquiries into Sales and return business!

Until the 19th December 08, you can take advantage of this great offer and receive 25 Complimentary Customer Satisfaction Surveys!

When you sign a twelve month Customer Service Monitoring Program Agreement with Focus Plus Service Auditors you will receive 25 complimentary Post Purchase Audits or Customer Satisfaction Audits per site nominated on your Agreement.

If you refer a client to Focus Plus Service Auditors who signs a twelve month Customer Service Monitoring Program Agreement you will receive 25 complimentary Post Purchase Audits or Customer Satisfaction Audits for your business!

These surveys will provide you with an insight into the Customer Satisfaction ratings and invaluable feedback from your existing clients.

This essential information can be used for Advertising and Marketing campaigns, and Staff Training Sessions.

To take advantage of this great offer, call the Focus Plus Team on 1300 766 545 or Click here to email your details.

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Sales Corner!

A SIGN OF THE TIMES?

Sometimes an insignificant incident has the power to illustrate a much larger issue and teach an even bigger lesson.

Such was the case for me recently.

I have stayed in the same hotel for 4-5 nights per month over the last four years.  Each time I checked in, there would be a chocolate covered hazel nut, a bottle of water, a newspaper and a “with compliments” card on the writing desk.  Nice.

This time there was none.  I noticed the car park was only half full and the lobby wasn’t the usual hustle and bustle.

I rang the desk clerk and asked about the absence of the goodies and was told; “Sorry Sir, we don’t do that anymore…”

OK that’s cool, times are tough.  An accountant looked at a spreadsheet, worked a formula and saved a buck.

Twice that week (and for the first time I can recollect) my room was not made up.  On the second occasion I needed towels.  I called housekeeping, spoke to a harried manager who insisted the “do not disturb’ sign must have been on my door but reluctantly agreed to send someone up.  I waited half an hour, expecting the bell to ring before I gave up and decided to leave for dinner.  As I opened the door, there were the towels on the carpet at my feet.

If I’ve learned anything in my time in business it’s that; “you can’t gear down for success”

The “no more chocolates” initiative was a precursor to a general down turn in morale, Customer Focus and the very culture of the company.  I started to notice that the receptionists weren’t acknowledging guests as they made their way to the elevators, the general tidiness of the lobby had declined, and the mood had changed.  I made these observations not as a disgruntled Customer but as a consultant.

Reinvesting in our agents at the expense of questionable resources (like the print media) is a far better approach than trimming the very factors that provided our point of difference originally.

Personally, I think the press has a lot to answer for where ‘the times’ is concerned.  I would be challenging any print media that I use to advertise (I think their value is questionable) wherever possible.  They’re happy to slug us for the full page ads we run and then vilify industries at the drop of a hat to satisfy the frenzied “save a buck” mentality they have themselves caused through fear of ‘the times’.

Trends are merely records of other people’s standards.  Let’s create our own trends rather than following them!

Source: Steve Wren

October 2008 - Volume 4

SERVICE & PRODUCT INFORMATION – Are you out there?

Being noticed and being seen by your Customers is vital to your business success!

Once you have their attention you need to capitalise on every opportunity.

So how do you get your Products noticed? Ensuring your Staff are clearly informing your Customers of all the Services and Products that your business offers is the first step. Information, as we all know, is a very powerful tool in business. How can your Customers buy what they don’t know you sell?

Staff must be successfully qualifying each and every Customer to determine their needs and interests in your Products and Services. When Staff offer an in depth and comprehensive Customer Service Experience, these answers easily come to light and only then can you truly take advantage of every Customer contact you encounter.

We at Focus Plus Service Auditors believe in the accountability of those representing your business to the public. Only they can provide individual and personalised Customer Service that every Customer deserves and indeed expects when they enter you business.

Our Customer Service Audits are the perfect tool to ensure your Staff are informing clientele of what your business can offer them. Are your Sales Staff qualifying every Customer, and providing the Customer Service that will maximise every potential opportunity?

For an obligation free quote on any of our Services, please call the Focus Plus Team on 1300 766 545 or Click here for more information.

Enjoy this issue!

SERVICE & PRODUCT INFORMATION –

Clearly explaining what you offer to your Customers.

 

Clear, concise information will tell your Customer what you want them to know, and what they want to know. No matter what the information is about, clearly establishing it at the outset avoids any problems down the track.

Providing clear information that the Customer can understand avoids misunderstandings, and in turn, any subsequent conflicts that may arise.

The old phrase, ‘When all else fails, read the instructions’ is not something a business should rely on, as it has fundamentally set the Customer on a potential collision course with you. You need to do everything possible so the information guides the Customer, and is not an afterthought.

Much of the information produced by businesses is about products, with the most important things valued by Customers being availability, clarity and relevance.

Information becomes especially critical for Services, as it is often more difficult to communicate intangible offers clearly. Experience has shown Services are easier to misunderstand than products. For Services, the information itself becomes the only tangible or real element and therefore is essential to get right.

Information about your Service and Products must be:

  • Easy for Customer’s to understand using plain language and diagrams appropriate to the Customer.
  • Readily available to Customers, and capable of being easily sent to them
  • Tailored to the specific requirements of Customers to ensure it is interesting and useful to them
  • Accurate, clear and concise in conveying details about the scope of the Service or Product provided.
  • Kept up to date, including information about when it was prepared
  • Clear in specifying if it is only relevant to certain situations such as:
    • nominated time period
    • specific geographic area
    • certain Customers
  • Capable of being easily stored by the Customer
  • Specifically provided to Customers if it forms part of any contractual agreement
  • Clear in providing contact details for any further enquiries.

The initial information you provide about your business is critical to all ongoing aspects of your relationship with Customers. In essence, it can make or break whether they will continue to deal with you.

Regardless of its ‘form’, the information is all about clearly explaining what you offer.

Source: www.business.gov.au

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Sales Corner!

THE ROAD TO SALES SUCCESS – PRODUCT PRESENTATION AND PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE

How do you establish which product to present to the Customer? You need to use information gathered when qualifying the Customer to determine the best product to best suit their needs.

Present your Services and Products displaying as many of the ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ of the Customer as possible. This will show how well suited the product is to their needs.

Display your product with a pre-determined presentation plan, highlighting the benefits from the competition’s products. Know your stock and sell from it. If the Customer can see and touch the product it maintains the passion for the product. Talk about all relevant features which creates a high level of perceived value, and thus ensures we don’t overlook any opportunity to build value in our product.

If you fail to present – you fail to prosper!

During the presentation, use the FBI Principle.

F – Features

B – Benefits

I – Information.

Drawing attention to the features and benefits that your competition may be remiss in mentioning will create an environment that makes it hard for the Customer to say ‘No’.

Source: Steve Wren

September 2008 - Volume 3

BRAND LOYALTY

                

In this issue we follow on from our Customer Retention issue and discuss Brand Loyalty. What are the most popular and trusted brands in Australia? Below are the category winners qualified from an independent survey conducted earlier this year.

The category winners:

  • FOOD – Cadbury (runner-up Kellogg’s) – Cadbury tops for 5th year running
  • HEALTH & WELLBEING – Panadol (runner-up Band-Aid)
  • RETAILERS – Bunnings Warehouse (runner-up Big W)
  • CARS – Toyota (runner-up Mercedes Benz)
  • AIRLINES – Qantas (runner-up Virgin Blue)
  • SOFT DRINKS – Coca Cola (runner-up Pepsi)
  • BEAUTY & COSMETICS – Gillette (runner-up Palmolive)
  • WHITE GOODS – LG (runner-up Westinghouse)
  • MOBILE PHONES – Nokia (runner-up LG)
  • ELECTRONICS – Sony (runner-up Panasonic)
  • COMPUTERS – Hewlett Packard (runner-up Toshiba)
  • CREDIT CARDS – Visa (runner-up MasterCard)
  • BANKS – ING Direct (runner-up Bendigo Bank)
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS – Vodafone (runner-up Optus).

Interesting to note that the only Australian company on this list is Bunnings (Qantas is only partly Australian owned).

What do your Customers think of you? Do you have the processes in place to be on next year’s list? The most cost effective way to keep your Customer Service, Sales Processes and Customer Satisfaction in check is with a Customer Service Monitoring Program!

Statistics prove that 93% of Customers indicated that quality Customer Service was vital to maintaining brand loyalty. 68% of Customers stopped doing business with a company due to poor service. Yet 95% of dissatisfied Customers would continue to do business with a company if their problem was fixed quickly and satisfactorily.

This proves that Customers will remain loyal to a brand, product or service if they feel valued by those serving them and are offered good Customer Service.

Our Mystery Shopping Programs monitor and help improve Customer Service levels and our Customer Satisfaction Audits pinpoint most importantly why your Customers are remaining loyal or defecting to your competitors. Click here for more information.

Enjoy this issue!

 

CUSTOMER RETENTION LEADS TO BRAND LOYALTY!

It has been repeatedly shown that good service leads directly to increased Customer retention rates (Oliver, Nett Effect surveys). The emphasis here is on ‘good’. You can’t expect Customers to stay simply because the service wasn’t bad. In other words, their service has to be of a high standard to genuinely keep Customers.

One estimate suggested 95% of Customers that experienced no problems will remain loyal, and another suggested that over 90% said they would buy from the supplier again if they had no problems (SOCAP).

STRONGER POSITION IN THE COMPETITIVE MARKET PLACE

Studies have shown that companies identified as being good service providers tended to have revenue growth at twice the rate of their poor service competitors (De Vrye survey). A related finding was that the good service companies market share increased by around 6%, while poor service companies lost approximately 2% market share per year.

It has also been shown that good service businesses have a greater ability to hold market share during a recession (Lyons survey).

Source: www.business.gov.au

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Sales Corner!

BEING MEMORABLE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO CUSTOMER LOYALTY!   

What causes ‘word of mouth’ which is the cheapest (and most effective) form of advertising?

When your encounter with your customer is complete, he or she will say one of five things about the experience with you behind your back;

  1. Something great
  2. Something good
  3. Nothing at all
  4. Something bad
  5. Something really bad

Ultimately, it’s up to us as Salespeople to determine what that is.  In Australia, most of the time it will gravitate between nothing at all (most frequently) something really bad and if we’re lucky; something good.  Rarely is it something great!

What are your Customers saying behind your back?

We need to be aware of this at all times because it will determine not only the fate of that relationship but the fate of other potential relationships with prospects in your Customer’s circle of influence.  Remember the six degrees of separation.

We need to aim at something great!

So how do we achieve it?

The single most important word in your game plan needs to be MEMORABLE.

Being creative, causing the occasional WOW in the hearts and minds of the client and passing the benchmark of what the competition does.

How many companies’ mission statements say things like, “we want to be the No 1 company” or “we want to exceed our customers’ expectations” without a dedicated plan or idea of how to go about it?  Plenty; that’s how many.

Here are a few tips on creating that point of difference:

  • Maintain your databases as if your lives depend on it.  This is intelligence – not mere information.
  • Be honest with your data.  The integrity of your intelligence is vital to future relationships and necessary to the integrity of your business.  Note:  both meanings of the word ‘integrity’ were intended.
  • Make communication proactive.  They ring you with a situation; your response is an excuse.  You ring them proactively; it’s an explanation; even when it’s bad news.
  • Make the occasional gestureGestures cost less than initiatives!   The unexpected gift of a single rose for no reason has far more impact than a dozen roses on an anniversary.
  • Remember the chemistry of a relationship keeps it alive and vibrant – good advice at home as well as at work!
  • Make your sales presentation as memorable as you can by keeping it interactive and enthusiastic; always seeking commitment as you go!  Whether you’re selling a product or a service, it’s a mistake to list features without describing the advantages and benefits of them AND THEN SEEKING AFFIRMATION from your Customer as to how close this fits to WHAT THEY WANT!

Source: Steve Wren – Kingsway Training

August 2008 - Volume 2

CUSTOMER RETENTION

In this issue we discuss the importance of good Customer Service in our article Good Service is Good Business. This article highlights how important it is for your Customers to receive high quality Service and why it is such an effective business tool.

Our Sales Corner this month looks at creating Customer Loyalty and generating a valuable client retention base. This return patronage is the ‘bread and butter’ of your business and the referrals they offer are priceless.

The best way to manage and keep abreast of Customer Service issues is to use our Customer Service Monitoring Programs. These Programs allow you to deal with any Customer Service problems that may arise before they escalate into an irresolvable issue potentially costing more than just a financial downturn – most importantly your reputation!

Enjoy this issue!

GOOD SERVICE IS GOOD BUSINESS

 

Customers, and Customer Service. Both go hand-in-hand, and both are essential to the success of your business.

In today’s competitive marketplace, if you don’t provide good Service you won’t attract Customers. And without Customers , you don’t have a business.

Customer Service is real, it matters, and most importantly, it is achievable.

Providing good Customer Service is not as hard as it sounds.

Despite all the talk, there are only four simple things you need to know:

What is good Service?

Good Service is always doing the right things the right way for Customers.

Why should you do it?

Good Service leads to increased Customer Satisfaction. This satisfaction builds Customer loyalty, and in turn contributes to improved business profits. Good Service is good business!

What’s in it for my Customers?

It makes it easier for them to deal with you, they are more satisfied with you and they will want to do more business with you.

How will you know when you are doing it right?

Your current Customers will keep coming back, new Customers will be referred to you from your existing Customers, and your business will show the returns!

Source: www.business.gov.au

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Sales Corner!

WHAT CAN WE DO TO IMPROVE THE POTENTIAL TO CREATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY?

  • Invest in our people skills
  • ‘Educate’ the Customer as to what to expect from our relationship
  • Stylise the experience, from the meet and greet through to the final sale to suit the client’s needs
  • Show the client there is a ‘mechanism’ in place to maintain their satisfaction
  • Take ownership of the client’s issues
  • Keep the lines of communication open at all times
  • Provide a memorable Service Experience!

Source: Steve Wren – Kingsway Training

July 2008 - Volume 1

Welcome to our new ‘IN Focus’ Newsletter!

The Team at Focus Plus Service Auditors are excited to announce the arrival of our new monthly Newsletter ‘IN Focus’.

In the coming months we will be providing you with up to date information, articles and statistics across different retail sectors on the standards of Customer Service in Australia.

We will also raise and discuss current affairs, points of interest and Customer Service issues relative to the Service industry.

A regular feature of our Newsletter will be the Sales Corner, providing Sales Tips and an insight into the world of Selling.

We welcome your feedback on any of the topics raised in our Newsletter and invite you to forward your comments to  info@focusplus.net.au 

 

We hope you find ‘IN Focus’ enjoyable and informative and we look forward to the next edition!

The Bottom Line Impact of Customer Service

Service is important, but it is not just about satisfying the Customer. There must be a ‘pay off’ for the effort, and there is!

Research and case study experience has repeatedly shown that there are many business benefits achieved by providing Customers with high quality Service (Harvard Business Review).

The benefits are certainly there to be gained but can also be quickly lost as the reverse is also true. Customers are becoming increasingly intolerant of long suffered poor Service. There are now serious business implications if you deliver poor quality Service to your Customers.

From a business perspective, the benefits of good Service are many, as it leads to greater revenue from Customers, reduces your operating costs and in turn provides for a healthier business.

BENEFITS OF GOOD SERVICE:

  • Increased Customer Retention Rates
  • Attract New Customers through positive ‘word of mouth’
  • Reduced Running Costs of the business
  • Reduced Marketing/Advertising costs
  • Stronger position in the Market Place
  • Able to differentiate Service as a competitive advantage
  • Increased Staff and Job Satisfaction
  • Increased Profits.

Source: www.business.gov.au

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Sales Corner!

 

 Your Real Point of Difference; Your Sales Team!

Why do we measure the performance of the agents we entrust our Customers to?  The question answers itself; or does it?

On deeper reflection, the answer is more multi-faceted.

In business we often walk a fine line. The “chemistry of selling” is on one side and your process is on the other.  Process alone lacks the ‘x factor’ that often differentiates your company.

Your agents’ ability to personify your vision relies on something a little harder to quantify and a lot rarer to find.

It is our contention that agent’s skills sets need to include 5 areas that contribute to good ‘chemistry’. They are;

  • The ability to create urgency/opportunity
  • The ability to transfer feelings
  • The ability to alter the Customer’s perception
  • The ability to foresee and handle objections and
  • The effective use of your resources

Historically, the agents’ applications or shortcomings in the 5 categories mentioned above will be consistent with data you will gain through your Service Audits.

Much of my consultancy work revolves around unlearning old sales axioms that pollute an agent’s willingness or ability to be on the offensive without being offensive.

This is an example of one of those fine lines we walk.

When our agents cross these lines it costs us money.

The perception and loyalty our customers have is totally related to our profitability.  Happily, this is something that if we’re prepared to monitor, we can control.

Goodbye for now and remember; when you’re good, getting paid is incidental.

 

Source: Steve Wren – Kingsway Training