Tag Archives: customer

Simple Formula For Increasing Sales and Profits

images(Posted by Rick Dacri and originally published in the York County Coast Star)

Watching people connect in the workplace will tell you a lot about a company. In over 25 yeas in business, I have found that by observing how people interact, one quickly understands how a company operates, its effectiveness and its level of employee engagement.

One of the perks of being a management consultant is the opportunity to visit literally hundreds of different organizations. I always try to arrive at scheduled appointments early. The condition of the facility, the initial greeting by the receptionist, and the interplay of employees provide me a wealth of information about the organization’s culture. Am I greeted with a smile or am I another intrusion? Are employees talking with one another, engaged and animated or disinterested and frustrated? Is the “feel” of the organization warm or cold?

You can get that same read in a restaurant. My wife and I frequent the many fine area establishments. We both watch for how we are treated by the host and our server. The chef can make a fabulous meal, but it is the host and server that make the experience—and they will determine whether or not we return. We expect a smile; a cheerful and helpful attitude; quick and knowledgeable responses to questions and requests; and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make our experience positive. When that happens we return – frequently. And we also tell our friends.  Engaged workers engage their customers and engaged customers buy.

Gallop recently released their annual poll on employee engagement (2013 State of the American Workplace Report) and the results are not good. Only 30% of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full time jobs are inspired and engaged at work; 20% are actively disengaged; and half are not engaged at all. In other words, 7 in 10 workers are either simply showing up or are actively sabotaging their companies. It gets worse. Only 41% of employees feel they know what their company stands for and what makes it different from the competition. And of these workers, “Millennials”, those born between 1980 and 1994, are likely to quit their jobs in the next 12 months if the economy continues to improve. Finally, service workers, those employees with the most direct contact with the customer, are the least engaged of all workers. Imagine – customer service reps, bank tellers, sales clerks, wait staff, call center reps – those individuals who have the greatest daily customer contact, those employees upon whom employers depend to take care of the customer; the very face of the organization, are the least engaged. Remember, disengaged workers directly impact the company’s bottom line. The CEO may set the goals and direction of the business, but it is these workers who determine whether it reaches them or not.

The news is not all bad. While the national statistics are damning, organizations are not condemned to follow. Great organizations have engaged workers, but they must first have engaged managers and supervisors. Studies show that without them, a committed workforce is nearly impossible.

Great managers create engaged workers and when that occurs, organizations enjoy significantly higher productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, less turnover and absenteeism, and even fewer on-the-job accidents. Gallop even found that organizations with an average of 9.3 engaged employees to every actively disengaged employee experienced 147% higher earnings per share compared to their competition. You can take that to the bank, literally.

The best organizations are lead by and with strong managers who demand excellence from their staff. These managers set high standards and mirror it in their own behavior. Successful organizations hold their managers accountable for their department and staff’s performance. Every employee, manager and non-manager must buy into the company’s philosophy or they must go. The evidence is clear. When all employees are willing to do whatever is takes to make the company successful; embrace the direction of the firm; and value their customers, then success follows. And it all hinges on good management. It is that simple.

The formula for success is not complicated. It may take hard work to achieve and investment in their people, but the benefits are huge.

Customers know. Whether they’re shopping at the local store, purchasing a car, ordering dinner or calling customer service, they quickly realize the level of engagement by the employee with whom they interact. That singular exchange will often determine whether they buy or not and whether they’ll ever return to buy again. Organizations will likely have engaged customers when they have strong management and engaged workers, and engaged workers means higher sales and greater profits.

Other posts you may want to read (click to read):

  1. Where Has Company Loyalty Gone?
  2. Costly Turnover Can be Controlled
  3. Employees Providing Great Customer Service?

If you want to know more about how I can help you, click here: Dacri & Associates, LLC

 

 

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Strategy: Any Road Won’t Get You There

imagesEmily is the CEO of a medium sized manufacturing company. She knows where she wants her company to be and what she needs to do to get it there—and she is driving it in that direction. But it wasn’t always that way.

Like many CEOs, she took over a relatively successful firm and focused on continuing the things that made it successful while learning her new job. She immersed herself in all aspects of the business and quickly found herself getting bogged down in the day-to-day operational issues. But, the company was making money, customers and employees weren’t complaining, and there was no need to do anything differently, until the recession hit. She lost her largest customer and suddenly her company was bleeding. Doing more of the same would no longer work. Changes were required. A new plan was quickly needed.

Over a difficult 6 month period, she and her key managers developed and launched a new strategic plan and direction for the business. They realized that as the economy radically changed, so too must they. Through a series of careful steps, they formulated their plan, initially defining their core purpose (mission), company values and vision for the future. Goals and objectives were established to get them there.

Emily knew that they would have to differentiate themselves from their competition, so she went out and talked to her customers. Armed with their input along with market data generated by her staff, she reformulated a new direction. Knowing that before she could implement her plan, she needed to communicate with her workforce and vendors, bringing them on board, and ensuring that everyone was fully engaged and ready to move.

The “journey” as she calls it was not without missteps, setbacks, and pain. It has now been nearly 3 years since Emily begin the road back from near ruin. Her company has gone through an organizational transformation.

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Mission Statements Define Who You Are

“Our vision is to be the Earth’s most customer centric company.”

Everyone who visited Amazon.com last week read this in an open letter to customers written by CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos.  Quoting Amazon’s mission statement, Bezos continues with a promise “to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they may want to buy.”

Amazon’s mission statement is clear and bold. They seek to be the best-not the best online retail site in America or even North America, but the world-“Earth’s most customer centric company.” No one, no customer or employee can question this company’s focus and position. They set the bar high and they have backed their words up through performance. Bezos’ letter lists a number of customer service awards they have received this year. It is impressive. Continue reading

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Leadership, More Than The Soft Stuff

Leadership is more than the soft stuff.  Success in managing people is dependent upon setting clear expectations, putting in place accountabilities, communicating effectively, and always taking care of your people.

Too often employees do not know what is expected of them. They wander aimlessly like a rudderless ship, doing what they think they should be doing but never quite getting it right. From the first moment you meet them at the initial job employment interview, managers must begin to define what they want them to do (roles), how you want them to do it, and how they expect them to behave—whether it is with you, other employees, or with your customers. Don’t complicate the process-be clear, be direct. If you expect all customers to be greeted with a smile, tell them. If you want your monthly reports on your desk by the 10th of every month, say it. Never assume anyone will know. And don’t think that since everyone else knows, they will too. You will be mistaken and disappointed. Unless your new employee is a mind reader, tell them what you expect.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll need a hammer to get your message across. A simple conversation followed by regular reminders will do. At the same time, back up your talk with actions. Keep people on course by modeling how you expect them to act. Make sure you greet each customer with a smile. Employees model the behavior of their boss. By being clear up front, you’ll avoid many headaches down the road.

Setting clear expectationswithout putting in place accountabilities is like building a corral and forgetting to close the gate and then wondering why the horses are always getting out. Accountability systems hold people to the fire; they keep people focused. They guarantee that your expectations will be met.

When people are not performing up to your expectations, tell them. And do it immediately. Not tomorrow, not when you aren’t so busy, and not at performance appraisal time. Do it when the infraction occurs. By immediately having an adult conversation, explaining what you want and why their actions were not acceptable, you increase the odds of extinguishing any bad behaviors and replacing them with what you want. Be clear about what you expect, hold everyone accountable for their actions, and communicate all this. The rules of when and how to communicate are simple. Communicate often–never think you can over communicate. Be timely–never wait. Deliver your message–your people will listen. Finally, be constructive. The blame game will never result in anything positive.

Finally, take care of your people.Your success is dependent upon having motivated and engaged employees. So ensuring that they are taken care of is essential. But that does not mean you hold their hands and sing ”kumbaya.” Taking care of people means different things to different people. It means treating your people respectfully. It means listening to them and showing flexibility. And it means developing relationships based on mutual trust.

Excerpted from the book Uncomplicating Management by Rick Dacri

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