September 09, 2019 /
Comments Off on The ultimate test of good customer service

The ultimate test of good customer service

The ultimate test of good service is to sell something.

My friend Kon goes into a shoe store to ask for some specific shoes only to find they are out of stock.

They frustrate him so he goes to the company’s other store 20 minutes away. He then tries another store of the same retailer. Still no luck. In an effort to ‘serve’ the customer, the store suggests he goes online – thus losing control of the sale.

To make matters worse, Kon hates buying shoes and clothing online. They tried to help him but didn’t.

The purpose of serving customers is not to be their friend.
The purpose of serving customers is not to be ‘nice’
The purpose of serving customers is to sell…. and
The purpose of the customer’s visit is to buy.

Don’t be confused, and don’t be scared to make this clear to staff.

(Cover image

August 30, 2019 /
Comments Off on How Uber Eats almost destroyed a small business

How Uber Eats almost destroyed a small business

We have to be careful of the shiny new toy.

My local cafe has started doing Uber Eats deliveries.

Good for them!

Well….. not so fast.

The wait times jumped to 20 minutes and then 40 minutes.

My big cycling group worth $600-$700 per month has slowly moved to another cafe (despite many second chances).

We are (were) loyal for a number of reasons.

There’s a certain vista we were used to. There’s the food. There’s the way the the Norfolk Pine tree casts shade in summer mornings. There’s the familiarity of where we sit.

People buying online have less reason to be loyal. The emotion tugs are absent, and the business can evaporate.

All it takes is one change to an Uber Eats algorithm and it’s gone. What do you do? The shiny new object is so tempting?

The problem is that the cafe isn’t clear on its purpose. As consumers, we can feel that they are only there to squeeze money out of it. Profit is a result and consumers see straight through it.

The last section of this video explains how a small business can use purpose to inform them of what to do. Chase Uber Eats? Chase loyal customers? Or both?

August 20, 2019 /
Comments Off on How to stay top of mind

How to stay top of mind

How do you get to be top of mind in your industry?

If you are a #linkedin expert, will you be top of mind when someone needs LinkedIn help?

If you are a recruitment expert, are you the first thought of?

How do you get there?

Behavioural science points to a key principal called the “Mere Exposure Effect” as first described by psychologist Robert Zajonc in the 1960’s.

Given the voice of two options, you’ll take the one exposed to you most.

For example. A 2012 study of the Eurovision song contest showed that the number of times an audience saw a contestant corresponded to the votes received, regardless of talent.

Princeton University researchers inserted a subliminal message in 12 frames of a Simpsons episode with the word “Thirsty” and 12 frames of Coca-Cola. The subjects rated themselves 27% thirstier after watching the show.

How to be top of Mind

  1. Stand for something by being known for something (my struggle is being fragmented)
  2. Be consistent – Keep your look the same (I’m also working on this one e.g. black T-Shirts and orange thumbnails on videos)
  3. Think long term – The benefits will come over time, not today.

I want to be known for Mystery Shopping, Purpose, and Small Business Hacks. It’s way too much but the list has shrunk significantly.

July 12, 2019 /
Comments Off on The iconic brand doing a Blockbuster

The iconic brand doing a Blockbuster

An iconic Australian department store (DJ’s) is doing its best Blockbuster impersonation.

They are reducing two Sydney flagship stores to 1, and eliminating 6 floors.

Profits have been declining every year for 15 years (lightening reaction times).

Online sales rose 46.8 per cent and now account for 7.7 per cent of total sales.

But they call it a “retail recession”. 15 years is not a retail recession. More like a crusty brand recession.

The wonderful DJ’s service was legendary, but the legend is built around invisible staff and awful service.

Service counts more than ever in physical stores but it’s the place they cut.

They had/have a chance to fix it if they become an but they are probably cooked.

They saw their purpose as a multi-brand landlord, but they should have considered themselves to be a multi- brand marketplace.

This would have enabled them to pivot to online.

When service and purpose clash it’s like waves crashing on an outgoing tide.

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.

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. 

Price Value And Brand

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

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.

August 11, 2015 /
Comments Off on Episode #14 – The one thing more important than profit

Episode #14 – The one thing more important than profit

The greatest frustration of most leaders is to get your people to go the direction you’ve set.

To bring strategy and execution together, the two things overlooked are Purpose and Personality. Sure there’s more to business than that, however, these are the two rarely spoken about missing pieces.

Let’s start with Purpose.

I know, your business exists to make money. But scratch a little deeper. What’s its purpose beyond dollars.

I’m sure you have goals and strategies to get to your financial goals, but there’s a problem. Your customers and staff couldn’t care less about your goal to make money, and they care even less about an Operation Manager wanting to cut cuts and be more efficient, or for you to re-engineer your sales distribution channels.

Customers and staff are looking for something simpler and deeper.

For the time being let’s focus on customers. (We can deal with staff another day).

Customers want to know what’s in it for them. You and I both know that. And the thing the customer is looking for has nothing to do with your goals.

You also know they don’t just want a cheap price. If they did, you’d be using only the cheapest suppliers and be selling things out of low rent bland spaces strewn with cardboard boxes and hand written price tags. Customers want more.

So you have to figure out what place you have in their minds. What do you mean to them?

Every company has to mean something to it’s consumers. Every company has to have a purpose for the customer and staff that a means something to them. Their purpose for choosing you has nothing to do with your goals.

Here’s what a good purpose looks like.

Sometimes it’s price – Aldi ~ Quality at incredibly low prices

Sometimes it’s grand – Google ~ make information freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Sometimes it’s unexpected but makes sense – Hyatt ~ offering guests opportunities to broaden their horizons and rejuvenate.

Even smaller companies like my own can use them e.g. Service Integrity ~ Revealing the truth to execute strategy.

The second part, personality was dealt with in the previous post – Episode #13.