The ‘golden rule’ of great customer service?

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

In one form or another we have learned this rule for as long as we can remember. But can the simplest life lessons apply to our sales or service careers? Many people try their best to apply this rule in their everyday lives. But, how many of us try to follow such a simple principle when it comes to business?

If you think about it, this could single-handedly be the most important rule to follow in business. After unpleasant sales encounters, it is not the product or service that customers are most upset about even though they may have been the root of the problem. The reason most people leave these situations upset is because of the way they have been treated. They feel upset when they have spent their hard-earned money on your product or service and that for one reason or another it did not perform to their expectations. This upsets them, but what really angers them is when they feel that no-one cares.

This applies equally to sales and service environments. In fact, it also applies to general stakeholder management. We have all had negative customer service experiences. Whatever your business, you have most likely been on both sides of such exchanges. With this in mind, never underestimate the importance of treating others as you would like them to treat you. By doing so, it is often possible to turn a negative customer experience into a very positive one that will bring far greater rewards to your business in the long run.

But much more than that, if we are able to keep the good old “Golden Rule” in our consciousness at all times when dealing with customers, we are likely to find our jobs more enjoyable, our customers happier and yes, even our profits on the rise!

9 Quick Ways to Increase Business Profits

Many business owners want as many clients as possible but the objective of increasing business profits isn’t only met by attracting more clients.  There are several other reasons why a business doesn’t make as much money as it should besides not having enough clients.

Here are a few simple, yet effective business coaching ideas that will help you unlock the hidden profits in your business – whatever your key product or service:

  1.  Focus more time on the important matters – you may not have enough time available to boost your business, especially if you are the one who is serving clients on a regular basis. In this case, you should consider hiring somebody to help. Running a business takes a lot of work, so let the employees handle the day-to-day issues, while you take care of the important ones such as developing strategies for present and future growth.  Set aside an hour each week to brainstorm ideas, implement strategies and nurture key business relationships.
  2. Carry out competitive intelligence on other businesses (especially the ones that are successful) and emulate them. This doesn’t mean copying whatever they do.  Take the best parts of your competitor’s business and apply them to your own.  It is also very important to keep a close eye on the competition, regardless of the nature of your business. If you are running a restaurant, for example, you should inspect the services, the offers and the prices of the competition. By doing a little research on other businesses, you will be able to reorganize, improve your services, adjust the prices depending on the competition, as well as introduce new offers to your clients. By knowing what your competitors are up to, you will always be one step ahead of them.
  3. Spend less of your gross profit on overheads and ineffective marketing.  Lease unused space in your office or warehouse.  Track sales as a result of expense.  Employ salespeople on a higher commission scale rather than a high base salary.  Test and measure marketing effectiveness before splashing out on an expensive marketing campaign; start small and build up when your strategy brings in results.
  4. Instead of competing on price, develop an ultimate strategic advantage or unique selling proposition.  Emphasize the qualities that make your business stand out and create a whole new positioning in the industry.  Find out what really matters to your clients by surveying them – and then offer them what they want. 
  5. Talk with clients and find out if they are delighted or not.  Ask for suggestions and don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers for referrals. Dissatisfied customers will not return but a delighted client will often be happy to refer others.
  6. Nurture existing clients.  Instead of focusing on acquiring new customers, concentrate on nurturing and maintaining the clients that you already have. Make sure they are pleased with the services you provide for them and pay attention to their needs, desires and complaints. It is very important to establish and maintain good relations with your clients, as they are the ones who will keep your business running. Many business coaching companies encourage selling more to existing clients because it improves a business bottom line by increasing the lifetime value of a client.  It also brings new clients, attracted by positive experiences from your existing ones.  Referrals lower your acquisition costs through word-of-mouth marketing and this also adds to business profits.
  7. Up-sell other products/services.  Selling ‘extras’ is known to be a great method of increasing profits.  For example, grocery stores strategically place magazines and snacks near the checkout. People browse and buy these while waiting in line, raising the value of their average sales.  McDonald’s is well-known for its up-sell before a sale is completed. They do this by asking a simple question to add on more products (e.g. would you like that as a meal or with fries, sundae, or apple pie, etc).
  8. Increase your advertising – advertising is expensive but if things work well, the money will definitely return to you. You can also try to make the best use you can out of free advertising. Get the most out of promotions and limited offers, especially around holiday periods.
  9. Seek out business coaching advice. Having a comprehensive set of business strategies can help you further, by providing you with new efficient methods of increasing the profits of your business.  To operate a business effectively long-term, most businesses will have to deploy several strategies in order to diversify their sources of leads and maximize their profitability through smart marketing, team building, and business process management.

BIG’s Conclusion: As a business owner, be sure to allocate sufficient time and regular opportunities within your busy schedule, to review how your business operates. Develop a number of strategies around key topics such as business development and marketing; above all, see your strategies through to completion and then develop new ones to ensure your business stays fresh and appealing to new and existing customers alike.

32 Words That Can Change Your Life

Do you realise that a change in approach to business ethics could result in a positive change to every aspect of your life?

We all have ways of testing opportunities that enter our lives.  Some of us just dive straight in based on feeling; others walk straight into what they know is right by a gut feeling or intuition.  And if it’s not gut feelings or emotions that are the tests of opportunities, it is the logical mind persuading us to ignore those feelings and emotions and test it with our reality of reason.

Most of us do not have a predetermined strategy for testing opportunities, or even more generally, to test the actions we take and the choices we make in our lives.

There is an easier way to determine if the choices we make and the opportunities we receive ‘pass the test’.  This simple 32 word statement of business ethics was first created in the 1930s and was originally used to turn around a failing company.  These four questions were applied by each employee to each and to every minute detail of the company’s workings.  This little list of four questions from Rotary International, a humanitarian business organization, is the most widely printed, translated and reproduced piece of business ethics today:

“Of the things we say, think or do:

1.    Is it the TRUTH?
2.    Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.    Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4.    Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

If we built businesses and our lives based on these very simple questions, we would be coming from a place completely the opposite to the competitive mind and the lack mentality.  As you can see, these questions prompt you to choose what is true, fair, and good, making choices that can build friendships and goodwill.  It helps us to see how the choices we make can be beneficial to all concerned.

Because of our societal influences, we most often are inclined to make choices and act based on a competitive mind.  This comes from the perspective of lack, scarcity, and ultimately greed.

Any opportunity based on the model of competition and lack will simply not pass the test.  Competition promotes strife.  It embodies winning one spot, taking it away from all the other people who want it.  It misleads people to believing there is only one chance for success, when in reality there is plenty for all.

The competitive model encourages people to rely on a source outside of themselves to give them what they need.  This denies the power of their own ability to create what they want.  This narrow focus shows they are choosing to ignore the possibility of creating this opportunity in their own lives, instead of trying to win the spot from millions of others.

This simple testing technique takes us completely out of the competitive mind of greed, scarcity and lack.  It turns our thoughts and choices toward the positive, realizing there are opportunities we can take that can provide increase for all concerned.

I invite you to use these questions to test your actions and opportunities in your own life.  If you are seeking opportunity, these questions may help you see things in a different way.  In doing so, perhaps you will find opportunity in your life which truly allows you to benefit the world; it is likely to also help you reach and to achieve your own personal dreams, goals, and desires.