May 10, 2019 /
Comments Off on The purpose of surveys is not to measure service

The purpose of surveys is not to measure service

What’s the purpose of customer surveys?

If you think it’s to measure customer service you may want to re-consider.

Surveys measure what the customer thinks they thought.

Those thoughts can be wrong, and more importantly, they don’t measure what makes you money.

Customers are so easily swayed by a nice employee and nice environment. They may even be loyal to your product and give you unadulterated high scores.

  1. Was the promotion on display?
  2. Did the staff member go through a needs analysis?
  3. Did the staff member physically put the product in the customer’s hand?
  4. Did the staff member try to close a sale?
  5. Did the staff member try to up-sell?
  6. Did the staff member mention the loyalty program?
  7. Did the staff member take the customer’s details?
  8. Did the staff member follow up after the enquiry? (e.g. in car dealerships)

All these points are core drivers of profit and INVISIBLE to the customer. You will surely have your own list of profitable events in your company which are invisible to the customer, yet they’ll give you rave reviews even if you don’t do the activities.

May 07, 2019 /
Comments Off on How to up-sell 800% – with purpose

How to up-sell 800% – with purpose

Being in the Mystery Shopping business, I often get asked some good examples of great sales. Here’s one of my own where a cab driver up -sold me 800%

Now available on youtube and podcast – subscribe here.


April 23, 2019 /
Comments Off on 6 steps to move from price selling to brand selling

6 steps to move from price selling to brand selling

Chinese shoppers are renowned for their price sensitivity and intense negotiations. I spend a lot of time there, yet I’m constantly surprised at the pace of change.

Big changes are afoot. Consumer behaviour have caught up to the West in a matter of years and blown past us.

There has been an explosion of brand and luxury shopping in the past few years to coincide with the massive growth of electronic commerce. .

We’ve all seen the playbook. 

Much maligned telecommunications manufacturer Huawei is the latest example. In recent years they have surpassed Ericsson and Nokia to become the world’s biggest telecom equipment supplier. Their phones have gone from the cheapest to compete with Apple and Samsung.

Consumerism starts with price, then moves to value and then brand. But selling value and brand are not as easy as it sounds.

Competing on price is simple (if you get the production right). Bang out a product and just suck in the small margins. But as you move along the value chain, different things happen.

  1. You need to stand out (this will happen automatically if you are selling on price)
  2. You need to be marketing (also not so tough when you sell on price)
  3. You need to be clear about the ‘value’ (value is defined around price when you are the cheapest)
  4. You need to be clear about the service (this is where it falls apart when you sell on price)
  5. You need to be clear about your positioning (when selling on price, you have an easily replicated position).
  6. You need to be clear about your purpose

Selling on price gets you as far as the third step. If you want to move away from price then you will fail at step 1, because you no longer stand out.

Each of these “needs” require a cohesive strategy, but where do you start?

So reverse the order

Start with Purpose and move back up the list. That’s right, start at the end.

Standing out will be an outcome, not a strategy.

When you are selling on price, purpose seems as far from reality one can imagine, but it will become your North Star.

  1. Purpose – be clear on your organisation’s purpose in this world (e.g. Google – make the world’s information freely available to all)
  2. Be clear about the positioning – How do you position the company in the customer’s mind around your purpose.
  3. Service proposition – How we will we execute our positioning around our purpose.
  4. Value – What value will we provide within the service around our positioning around our purpose.
  5. Marketing – How will we promote the value within the service around our positioning around our purpose.
  6. Stand out – This becomes an outcome rather than a step in the process.

The Chinese are moving from (cheap) price strategies to brand, as are the consumers. You should too, because your consumers probably have already moved.

#purpose #strategy #why

April 17, 2019 /
Comments Off on Unsure how I feel about this Chinese restaurant video

Unsure how I feel about this Chinese restaurant video

Back-of-house Staff can usually hide their habits.

(This 7 second video is to be seen to be believed – for its ordinariness)

To increase transparency, some restaurants put the kitchen staff out in the open. The kitchen is out with the diners. The motivation is obvious – to show they have nothing to hide.

There’s something reassuring to watch your food being  cooked nearby.

This Chinese restaurant in Shanghai (and many others) have taken it a step further by playing live video of the kitchen on screens out the front of the restaurant.

It gives reassurance and the staff know they are always on show. It also makes the back-of-house staff feel important to the marketing effort.

But I can’t help but think it’s creepy. Yes, it’s coming here I’m sure. I’m just not sure we need to go that far by showing them off like zoo animals.

April 16, 2019 /
Comments Off on Why technology makes Service even more important

Why technology makes Service even more important

The future has arrived – in China.

I’m fortunate enough to travel to my Shanghai Mystery Shopping office every 3-4 months.

Since my last trip I noticed that cash just does not exist.

Yes, cash does not exist.

We are starting to feel this in the West thanks to Apple Pay and Google Pay, but it’s gone further.

Many of the staff in my office have not touched money in a year. They use either WeChat (like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger) or AliPay (like PayPal) for all transactions. 

It’s seamless and instant. Consider it Apple Pay or Google Pay on steroids. It’s used for purchases as easily as it’s used to transfer money to a friend.

What does it mean?

When you use cash, you “feel” the purchase and prices are promoted front and centre.  When the purchase is a cold and unemotional beep, the price diminishes in importance.

The coffee shop under our office illustrated the point perfectly.

It looked like a standard trendy Melbourne coffee complete with polished floors and exposed roofing and a sign behind the counter detailing the menu. Although the prices were on display, they were not a big deal.

Time after time customers would enter, order, and then just beep their phone. Like all of us, they want:

Taste, Service and Reliability

The location isn’t even important because they have a constant stream of Deliveroo’s and Uber eats equivalents.

And so two large forces come together.

  1. the move away from price to quality (very pronounced in China)
  2. the removal of cash resistance through technology.

This returns retailers full circle towards service, and the same applies to the West.

No matter what challenges are thrown at customer service through price, technology or culture (more of that later), service remains the cornerstone of success. And the measurement of service remains as important as ever.

#mysteryshopping #customerservice #cx

April 10, 2019 /
Comments Off on Marketing is service

Marketing is service

Marketing is not often viewed as customer service centric. It’s seen as the funnel filler before Sales takes over. 

But marketing is more than that and your relationships are not so easily compartmentalised. 

“Prospects are potential customers and customers are potential sales.”

Think of it this way. When someone walks into a shoe store we refer to them as a customer. When someone calls to enquire about a car service, we refer to them as a customer. 

These pre-sale moments are owned by the marketers and therefore they need to reclassify “leads” as customers. They are just customers who haven’t bought yet.

Then there are existing customers. 

They are the low hanging fruit with the lowest sale acquisition cost. Marketers should be obsessed with customer service as the most efficient way to generate growth. 

Either way, the customer story is a marketing process.

 #marketing  #sales #customerservice  #cx

March 21, 2019 /
Comments Off on Customer Service is more than answering questions

Customer Service is more than answering questions

Customer Service is about more than answering questions.

You need to understand the purpose of the customer’s inquiry. When they call asking a question, customers don’t just want the question answered, they want the purpose ion the call satisfied.

When they call asking how much a car service costs, they don’t really want the question answered, they want their car serviced. Bots will revolutionise service by getting straight to action and answering the intention.

March 20, 2019 /
Comments Off on Customer Service is like a party

Customer Service is like a party

It’s easy to know if you hit a sales goal, right? But you know it gets more nuanced and complicated than that. What if a large customer left because they went bankrupt but otherwise you were on track for a record. Is that a failure?

If you prefer video, scroll down to the bottom

My Mystery Shopping business measures customer service all day every-day. Our service forms an important part of the measurement matrix, but how do you really know if you are on the right path with service? Do you have service goals?

I’m going to take you on a big loop around to the world of parties and waves, then come back to service.

So what is it about the world’s obsession with goals, are goals really goals or are they gaols.

Now in old-style English spelling, the difference between a goal and a gaol is just a letter “a”. It’s only one letter and yet goals and gaols can feel the same.

Goals are useful and we know we need them, but they can really mess with our heads. I’m not interested in whether goals are worthwhile or not but keeping them in perspective.

The thing about goals is that they tend to focus on success. So did you get to the goal? Yes, you did you’re a hero, you’re on National TV. You won a meddle, got the promotion.

The problem is they focus on the endpoint and a single point of evaluation which is infinitely simpler than reality.

Let me explain with a party analogy.

Parties can teach us a lot about life and work. Let’s look at how a party gets constructed.

So you have an idea

The idea comes first, you think “okay great I’m gonna have a party”.

Then it becomes a project. You’ve got to plan something, so you put together your checklist, go out and do the shopping and you prepare your food. Then people arrive, you socialise, eat and drink, and have a great time.

How parties represent life and work

The party is underway and at the end, you’ve got a cleanup. That’s really no different from any other project plan. It’s no different from a career.

If I want to be a champion cyclist, you’ll need to train, race, and recover.

It applies equally to an IT Project or construction job. It applies to life itself.

The thing about the party is that it’s not a thing where you can plan for the peak moments. Now yes, you’d like the party to have peak moments and you would like many peak moments, but you won’t necessarily have them.

The party could be a complete dud.

You would like some peak moments but along the way you’re going to also have troughs, You’re going to have these in a project, in life and at a party.

The thing about the party is that when you go into it you don’t know how it’s going to look. It could be a flat line along the bottom of the wave of fun and probably not going to stay at the peak, and it’s not going to mid-line. It’s going to have waves.

You can’t think of a party as being an event which was just the peak moment either. You can’t think of it with goals beyond a general goal to have fun.

Allan Watts the famous 1970’s English philosopher, likened life to being like a dance, he said you don’t have a dance for the sake of the end, you don’t have a dance or the sake of the beginning. You have the dance for the dance.

It’s the same for a concert or a play or any other activity. You don’t go to the concert for the end or the beginning or that one note or guitar solo in the middle. You go for the whole process.

If you party, you gotta dance

You go to the dance for the dance. You go for a walk for the walk. You don’t go for a walk for the endpoint or the beginning.

You go for a jog for the jog.

You have a party for the party.

The party is going to have a life of its own as is your life and career.

Your life is going to have all of this, but with goals, we tend to focus on high points and endpoints. We know achievement is a happy point. We know failure is a sad point. Should we aim for the middle? Should we flatline?

No that would be boring. Having a flatlined life flatline is death.

Catch some waves

By virtue of just living, you’re in a wave, you’re in sound waves, light waves, and absorb all sorts of vibrations. These waves are represented by the activities that we undertake, including our work, including customer service interactions.

A customer will (usually) hang in there with you for the whole process. Although they might have had to wait too long at the beginning or a little bit longer at the cashier or you didn’t have the exact product or whatever, they’re going to look at the whole experience, with all its waves.

We can only judge by looking back, not while we’re in the activity.

The judge’s mantle comes down at the end. You think to yourself, oh okay, that was good or bad, but you can’t go judging while you’re in the activity.

Judging yourself within an activity will drive you crazy, because of the potential alternatives. You could be finding yourself “here” or “here” as opposed to “there” or “there”, potentially giving you a false dawn or it will false pessimism.

One point I really want to stress is that this wave has got an interesting character when it comes to life. Lets’ again look at it from a party perspective.

You are an attendee of the party, whether you organized it or not. You’re going to be a participant in that you’re going to be swept up by the wave and you’re gonna be dragged down if this thing doesn’t work. So you’re bobbing along the top of this wave, like a cork in a storm. You’ve, got actually very little control over that.

However, at the same time (and this is where the cork analogy sinks), you are not only riding the wave but you’re also ‘the’ wave. You’re both. You’re one of the people in this party AND you’re one of the people contributing to whether it’s working or not.

You are the wave, and in the wave

At work, you’re one of the people contributing to the team and affected by the team. Sometimes you’re the victim of it, but you’re also part of the problem by making other people victims (or successful).

The big take away I’d like to leave you with here is that you are always the wave and on the wave, whether it’s work or life.

When you are servicing customers, you are part of the team wave affecting others, but you are also contributing to the wave.

Don’t judge your impact on one bad (or good event). Don’t judge on the spot. Look back, reflect, and then you’ll know. Same applies to managing teams. The trend is your friend.

Don’t judge too soon

Don’t judge where you are at a particular point in time because you don’t know if it’s the top, the bottom, or the direction of movement.

You just can’t have perspective when you’re in the middle of something. So when you’re in the middle of a project you’ve just got to grind away and do the right things, you’ve got to do the things that you know you need to do. Whether or not the project is killed is a different decision altogether,

You don’t have time for self-judgement. Judgment is the greatest distraction from a great job and a great life. Let it pan, out, you’ve done your preparation, you’ve done your planning, you’ve done all those things, you had a great idea.

Let it pan out. It may not work but may, just thinking about whether you’re constantly down in the through is only going to get in your way.

March 15, 2019 /
Comments Off on How to sell with Meaning – 3 examples

How to sell with Meaning – 3 examples

In this episode we look at how to sell with meaning.

We all know you should sell with Features and benefits, but I’ll suggest switching that around to take it up a notch.

Then we’ll take it up another notch by incorporating meaning to the sales process

The three examples include:

  1. How Meaning affects the sale of banking products
  2. How meaning affect the sale of a car
  3. How meaning affects B2B sales

Meaning is the missing ingredient just under our noses.

To listen in on your favourite Podcast platform, click here.

March 03, 2019 /
Comments Off on What can Lego, Cycling and IKEA teach us about meaning?

What can Lego, Cycling and IKEA teach us about meaning?

Meaning is possible even in the most frivolous (Lego), painful (cycling) and frustratingly mundane jobs (IKEA) and can be lost in the most complex and career building activities.

See full post on Steven’s personal blog here or watch the 7 minute video below.

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