How to Turn Complaints Into Loyal Customers
When a customer complains, is it possible for them to become a Loyal Customer or are they lost forever? It depends on how your company handles the complaint. If you create not only a positive outcome, but a positive encounter, you have a pretty good shot at creating a loyal customer.
Of customers with minor problems that are handled quickly, 95% will repurchase from that organization; 82% will purchase again even if it is a major problem that has been resolved. On the other hand, if a major issue goes unresolved, only 14% will repurchase.
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Is Business Insanity on the Rise?
The practice of doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein
You would think that this definition would become less and less accurate over time as more people are exposed to it. And you would be wrong. Small business owners (and more than a few executives in larger firms) seem to be determined to prove this particular stereotype true year after year.
And, with another year just about in the books, it’s worthwhile to take a moment to explore some of the key symptoms of business insanity to help you identify and treat this dangerous disease.
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Promoting And Winning
Business owners and key executives are always looking for good talent and often ask if I would refer potential candidates. Although I ultimately agree to keep my eyes peeled for such talent, my mind always wanders to the question, “Why not simply promote from within?”
This is actually a misnomer. One either promotes an existing employee (promoting from within) or one hires an external candidate to fill a position (promoting without?). So, we’re really talking about promoting key employees versus hiring externally to fill a vacancy.
I’m a big fan of promoting employees. When properly planned and executed, it works wonders for employee morale and customer loyalty. It is less risky and less costly, especially compared to external hires that end up being a poor fit.
Need more reasons? Employees already know your customers, your values, and how the organization works. There’s tremendous value stored in the institutional memory. External candidates generally have no idea about these factors and may never fully adapt to your culture. Employees who see the potential for growth within the organization are more loyal to the organization and convey their feelings to customers. Conversely, employees who only see a dead end send negative vibes to customers.
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A Pattern And A Solution
Early this year, I noticed a pattern in what business leaders were saying throughout the region:
- Some were expressing frustration over turnover among key employees and the disruption and cost incurred as a result.
- Others were reluctant to delegate more responsibility to key employees because they had been disappointed so many times before.
- Some were concerned about how they were going to handle important inflection points in their growth.
- Others observed that important team members were struggling to keep up with the demands of a changing marketplace or workforce.
- A few were searching for ways to engage top-notch employees who showed real promise but had no immediate promotion pathway.
Do you see the pattern? So did I.
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The One Thing Revealed
In our previous two articles, we shared how The One Thing can completely transform your business and, as promised, this article will reveal The One Thing—what it is called and why it is important for your company.
The One Thing goes by many names: Systematizing, Systemizing, Enterprise Operating Systems, etc. We prefer to think of it as creating your Business Operating System. Just like the operating system makes your laptop, tablet or smartphone do amazing things, your Business Operating System enables your company to function the in a manner that enables you to achieve your ultimate goals.
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The One Thing...
I love the scene in the film City Slickers where Mitch, played by Billy Crystal, is sitting around the campfire with Curly, played by Jack Palance. Curly shares some wisdom with Mitch.
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean s***.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: That's what you have to find out.
What if there is One Thing in business that is so powerful that it outshines all the other THINGS you’ve been taught? Well, there is such a thing. It isn’t a silver bullet and it requires real focus and persistence to get it right but the payoff is huge.
Value Creation Sustainability Scalability Process Leadership
Develop Your Leaders, Transform Your Company
What could be more important to your company’s future than choosing and cultivating its future leaders?
Whether you’re the CEO presiding over hundreds of employees or the founder of a small but growing business, your success hinges on consistently getting superior results from yourself and your team.
Why, then, is leadership development so often overlooked? The answer lies somewhere in our own understanding of what it means to be the boss. Have you seen or experienced situations like these experienced by Nick?:
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4 Steps to Employee Accountability
How accountable are the people in your organization?
This is a question that reveals a great deal of frustration amongst many of the CEOs and business owners I’ve spoken with over the last year or so. So many leaders are struggling with how to create a culture of accountability that one would think that there are hordes of unaccountable zombie workers running amok in today’s workplaces.
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Unleash Your Secret Weapon: The Power of CEO Roundtables
Life at the top can be lonely for a CEO.
But it is decidedly less so for forward-thinking CEOs who join forces once a month with other members of their peer group to delve confidentially into the issues and challenges they each face at their respective companies.
CEOs or business owners step into their roles with strong executive or entrepreneurial backgrounds, but are often unprepared for the daunting responsibility and potential isolation that comes with leading an organization, large or small. Few ever went to CEO school.
The role of CEO is so different from others in terms of overall responsibility. The buck stops right here in the CEO’s office. As CEO, you can make or break the company and there's no one else to blame if it doesn't go well. So it's immensely beneficial to have a safe haven of fellow CEOs who have varying backgrounds, tons of experience and whose only vested interest is your success.
A CEO peer group can serve as a sounding board for dealing with problems, including decision making, handling difficult employees and setting direction for the company. While these groups may seem like an activity viable only for large corporations, their benefits extend to small business as well.
Many CEOs have been burned by trying to use trusted employees as sounding boards. Problem is that human nature drives everyone to present themselves in the most positive light and evaluate ideas based on how they perceive they will be affected by those ideas.
The resulting lesson is that, when you're the CEO, you must be very careful what you share with your direct reports and the rest of your organization. If you’re uncertain about the strategic direction of the organization, it's not something you want to talk about casually inside the organization.
It is also the case that organizational structures often inhibit the ability of people to talk to one another. It is important for people, especially CEOs to have this human interaction. CEO peer groups offer a safe place for people in similar situations to talk to each other. The experience can often be eye-opening and enlightening and group members reap several benefits.
First, CEO peer groups provide exposure to a diverse and varied range of experiences. You might be surprised at how relevant the issues of a CEO from a different industry or region can be to your business. The group also gives you the opportunity to present individual challenges or dilemmas to individuals who can provide a unique and fresh perspective. A broad spectrum of perspectives is one of the most prominent benefits these groups have to offer.
Secondly, the time spent in your CEO peer group or forum gives you a chance to discuss strategy, vision, and the big picture. You spend enough time worrying about day-to-day issues while interacting inside your organization, so it’s important to seize the opportunity to discuss and analyze broader issues with your peers. Receiving honest input from multiple sources in your CEO peer group can help you gain true clarity about your company, your industry and the market as a whole. Clarity of this magnitude simply isn’t achievable acting alone from within the narrow view of your individual business. Small businesses especially can fall victim to getting too wrapped up in day-to-day issues to focus any attention on the big picture. Don't miss the chance to zoom out and analyze your company from a broader perspective.
Finally, CEO peer groups work to create a network of trust and accountability for your professional life. It would be naive to think that all members of these groups are entirely honest with each other, but when openness is extended by all parties, a very unique climate can be established. It is both liberating and energizing to experience the encouragement, honesty, and accountability of your business peers when sharing week-by-week developments and exploring what ideas from a previous meeting worked and which ones flopped. And, by encouraging others to do the same you'll find that competitiveness quickly takes a back seat to collaboration.
CEO peer groups are an excellent outlet for a small business CEO to share and learn. With a diverse range of perspectives, a chance to step back and see the big picture, and a climate of honesty and accountability, you can utilize these groups to take your organization and professional career to the next level.
Becoming a member of a group is a commitment of time and money. It is also a commitment to listening and to sharing one’s experience and insight. Given the immense returns, they are commitments well worth making. Unleash your secret weapon by attending our next CEO Roundtable to see for yourself.
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Your Leadership Potential
How to Unleash All Your Leadership Potential
There is a steady flow of information in the form of books, articles, white papers, and training all in the context of "what is leadership" or "how to develop a leader?" In this article, I will avoid those two questions and write about two others that I believe might be on the minds of a lot of readers and they are:
Why does better leadership make a difference? and
How does better leadership achieve those differences?
Leadership is a highly unique form of human behavior that requires the integration of character, knowledge, and experience. What can you do if you step up and unleash your leadership potential? Change the world.
Your journey to unleashing your leadership potential begins with a greater understanding of self. Discover your personality traits and how they relate to leadership. When we know ourselves, we can maximize our positive traits and become aware of our weaker areas, which helps us to achieve our leadership potential. Once you understand and know yourself, next you must hone your communication skills. These are not limited to your public speaking skills either. This includes your writing style and your body language. Your ability to communicate effectively enhances your ability to improve interpersonal relationships. Another important skill is to learn how to learn. Examine different teaching methods and learning styles to identify how you and those you may lead learn best. This skill will greatly enhance your ability to make decisions and give clear instructions.
An exceptional leader recognizes the value of harnessing the skills and abilities of team members and leads them toward greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Leader is not a title, and leadership is not something you are born into. Leadership is something you develop.
This is what Dr. Ken Blanchard, had to say about good leaders in his book "The Heart of A Leader": "If you want to know why your people are not performing well, step up to the mirror and take a peek."
Acknowledgement: Resource Associates Corporation
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