Whether or not you are a freelancer, retailer or international brand, your success lies largely in how well you serve your customers. And in today's rapidly evolving world of globalization and consumer awareness, paying close attention to the consumer has never been more important.
Customers are precious and need to be guarded like precious stones.
Over the past decade, I've been involved in helping organizations striving to deliver great customer experiences as a strategic differentiator.
They've seen that this is their only true point of differentiation because delivering a great customer experience has such an impact on others because of the rapid viral spread of stories about these experiences.
Within minutes stories can reach thousands.
We've all done it. Told others of our great or crappy customer service experiences.
Right now someone is sharing their story about your brand.
About their experience in your store.
For many years since first being published in a Harvard Business Review, it's a generally accepted rule that loyal customers buy more, purchase more often, cost you less to do business with, stay with you longer and are more likely to recommend you to others. So winning and keeping customers is vital to ensure the long-term success of any business.
There are many strategies to build customer loyalty such as building a winning culture in your organisation which I wrote about previously in this post.
You can also educate your customers to help them through the various stages of using your product or service. Offering free online courses are a great way to do this.
Software companies are usually very good at supporting their customers in this way. They know that the more educated their users are the fewer support calls they'll get, the happier the customer is and the fewer complains they'll receive.
The smart consumer will opt to buy from the company that’s...
So you've heard about creating online courses as a means to generate income or build your brand. But what are your options for making it all happen? If you've been following our work for some time you'll know that we've written extensively advising you about the nitty gritty of course creation. Just take a look at our blog.
In this post, though we're zooming out and giving you the broader options so you can see what choices you have apart from the DIY route. We're not going to be selling you on the idea of creating online courses or highlighting all the benefits for you or your business. If you've still need convincing we'll leave that for another time.
Read this post for some great advice to help you determine what's the best route for you to take if creating an online course is on your agenda or might be in the future.
First, we're going to tell you about the four types of people/businesses that create online courses. Then we'll look at the four options you can choose from for...
A few years ago, I met with the MD of John Lewis's flagship store on Oxford Street, London. Sales were slipping and the store was lacking in other key areas including the customer experience. My partner and I were invited to the store to discuss ways to shake things up across the business and to lead some workshops for management and store partners (the term they use for employees). In his words "I need to reinvigorate the store!" It was the perfect word to describe what was needed.
Reinvigorate. It sounds powerful, earthy and energetic. It's not a word you often hear used in business nowadays but it's the perfect antidote to a business that is failing or underperforming.
When you re-invigorate your business you fill it with life and energy. You can energize teams, sales, customer experiences, shareholder value and more when you choose to reinvigorate your business.
In our experience, most business owners or department heads know where they are...
There are so many ways in which Apple has brought change into our world. They've dented the universe for sure. If only our personal universe. From their devices to their retail store experiences they have set the benchmark for many others to follow.
The Genius Bar is a tech support station located inside all but one of Apple's retail stores transforming the technical support for customers to concierge-style support for Apple products. These bars have often been referred as the "heart and soul of our stores" by Ron Johnson, the former Senior Vice President for Retail.
There are many organisations around the world who are committed to creating the greatest customer experience with Apple being a hot contender for the number one brand to visit and experience for benchmarking.
So it's interesting to see 'secret' or 'leaked' material finds its way onto the Internet where we can get a deeper understanding of how Apple goes about its training before they can be let loose on...
Ready-for-use (RFU) training materials have been around a long time. I can remember using them back in the 1980's when I first began training. Those were in the days of overhead projectors and acetates. Back then we even had ready-made silhouettes for using on your acetates! So the concept of using RFU material isn't new nor is the key benefit where all the heavy lifting has been done for you.
What is new is the method by which we can access them and the quality that is now possible to obtain. We have the Internet and technology to thank for both. The former allows us to access everything online as you well know and the latter enables us to produce materials without ever going to a printer or graphic design studio. Course material editors can develop content that is of high quality and distribute it online to a global audience.
We've taken the view that it's safe to share our content without the worry of competitors stealing our best ideas or material and using it against...
If you have ever moved house or changed workplaces you'll know how much more sensitive you are to your surroundings. You become heightened and sensitised to new experiences and stimuli around you.
Such experiences provide you with rich and colourful inputs that rapidly help you become aware of your new surroundings and how to adapt to your new setting.
We can take this phenomenon and apply it to our business world by deliberately changing our environment. It's a quick and easy way to begin shifting our mindset.
If you work in a business where you rarely get out of your office then this will really help you understand what's going on in your business.
I'll give you an example and then you can apply it to your own situation. For the sake of the example let's imagine you work in the training department for a large fashion brand and your own stores and franchises across the country.
Here are the steps to follow.
You visit several of your stores and ask a...
Firstly, I will explain for those unfamiliar with biking terms that ‘a bonk’ is cycling’s classic term for hitting a brick wall. My eldest son is into mountain biking in a ‘big’ way. Not only does he ride downhill extensively in Europe, but he has his own company specialising in titanium suspension springs for mountain bikes and nearly new bike parts. So no it's not me with familiarity with bonking but him!
Apart from some new biking terms, this post will teach you three things you need to consider when making changes to your organisation's policies.
Recently my son noticed that easyJet has changed their sports equipment weight allowance for passengers with bikes, impacting their customer experience. Previously, with an appropriate 32kg maximum weight, a bicycle could be packaged well and transported in a padded bicycle bag. Unfortunately, they have now have reduced the maximum weight by 9kg! The maximum weight is now just 23kg, meaning it's almost...
We've used this activity many times with teams to help them understand the landscape they work within may not be quite like they perceive it to be. The team landscape is for ever changing and evolving and not always toward star performance. It can evolve for the worse as well as for the better.
You can't put your shoes on, then your socks on. That's a fact. You can't do this anymore than you can change perceptions until you first establish what the current view is.
Individuals may often feel like outsiders, not connecting their contribution to the bigger goals of their team. This can lead to frustration, a sense of alienation and not wanting to contribute above and beyond.
Try this activity with your team next time you want to develop a better understanding and awareness of what lies within the team landscape. It will cost you no more than an hour of your time and the price of some rope. A small investment with big returns!
The aims of the activity...
Popped through our letterbox the other day came our invite to the launch of the new Lexus GS at our local dealer. As I opened and read the information inside it read
"You can expect the very best of Lexus hospitality, with delicious food and drink to tempt your palate... and some unusual twists to the entertainment, as part of your opportunity to ENCOUNTER AMAZING. If you think all executive cars are much the same, you're about to be amazed."
With this tempting news I promptly filled out my details and popped the leaflet back into the post box, diarised the event and eagerly waited for the day.
The day arrived, my daughter decided to come with me, so dressed for the premium occasion we drove to the dealership in our car (not a Lexus by the way). On arrival at the entrance to the forecourt of the said dealership, we were surprised to be met by a gang of men huddled together.
These men were stood around all in black; one asked me to wind my...