10 Things That Turn Your Business Into a Profit Machine
Let’s be honest; we start our own business to do one, some or all five of these things:
- Be our own boss.
- Do what we love.
- Provide products/services that delight customers.
- Make a positive difference.
- Make money (aka profit).
Number five can make some Small Business owners a little uncomfortable to admit, but without making a profit, you will struggle to remain doing the other four things long term. Money is a natural by-product of giving customers value. Value is determined not only by the products/services you provide, but the experience your customers have whilst accessing your products/services.
If you have competition for your products or services, how you and your team interact with your customers can be the only thing that sets you apart. If you don’t have competition, how you and your team interact with your customers determines if those customers will be great to interact with or hard to handle.
Research has shown, and I have seen it happen time and time again, most customers would willingly pay more for a product/service if it is wrapped in excellent service.
If you are on your own in your business, then the customer experience is all up to you but, if you have a team you need to give them 10 things if you want them to wrap a bow of service excellence around everything your business provides:
Bonuses and other rewards are nice, but a genuine and, on the spot, well done about a specific event can be incredibly motivational.
2. Refresher training.
Customer service professionals are made, not born. It’s important to provide both people and technical skills training and if possible, use a specialist. A specialist guarantees you will be giving your staff the best training and frees you up to do your work.
Provide clear customer service standards and guidelines that are practical and achievable, and you must practice what you preach. Why should your staff bother if you don’t?
Mistakes will be made but give staff permission to ‘mess up’ as the greatest learning comes from experience. You can pick them back up with the assurance that they will do better next time.
Have regular and structured feedback processes. Show you are committed to their professional development by setting actions, reviewing progress and providing feedback consistently. If you say you will, you must, or you risk losing an employee’s trust.
Seek staff input into the service standards of your organisation and finding solutions for customer complaints. This confirms you value their opinions and their insights may just lighten your own workload.
Inspect what you expect. Spend some time watching, listening or perhaps acting in their role. As little as 10 minutes of ‘walking in their shoes’ shows you respect their position and will give you a first- hand insight into the needs of your customers.
Being a customer service professional is a skill, and like all skills, it takes energy and focus to keep them sharp, especially during peak periods. Make sure that breaks are allocated and enforced, as nothing drains energy and focus more than dehydration, hunger and fatigue.
Set regular and structured time to allow your staff to de-brief, vent and share their best practices and struggles. Customers today have very high service expectations and sometimes issue unreasonable demands. A day full of emotional or difficult customers is a hard day and venting is a way to let staff cool down.
Empower them with the knowledge to react appropriately in the event of an emergency, threat or abuse. Provide access to external support to help with the after-effects of these events, i.e. coaches, counsellors or psychologists.
Every employee who interacts with your customers is powerful.
They have the power to delight or dismay your customers. Give them everything they need to become customer service professionals and sit back and watch your customers glow and your profits grow.
In my book, The A – Z of Service Excellence, I discuss this topic of creating a culture of service excellence in your business, and you can download the first chapter for free. Get in touch in the comments below.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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