If Time and Money Were No Consideration

Antique clock and coins on wooden table on dark color

 

Carol-Wain-and-Jay-Conrad-Levinson-300x272

My friend Lynne Sagen posted a question on Facebook “If money or time were no consideration I would…”

I didn’t have to think about it at all because I learned long ago that time and money are two of the most common excuses for not doing or committing to something.

“I don’t have the money” is the most common excuse.  Oh yes, you do have the money — it’s somewhere and you will find it or earn it if you are committed to whatever it is that requires that money.

If you have the opportunity to change your life and you are committed to changing your life, you will find a way.  That’s what commitment is all about.

I found a way myself when the opportunity to write a book with Jay Conrad Levinson arose.  Becoming an author was never in my bucket list but when the opportunity arose, a part of me said “You’ve got to do this.  You have to find the money to become certified and to take time off to write the book.”  I was still reeling from the downturn in my business and the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars from three failed software attempts.  However, I made it work — I cashed retirement funds and I used frequent flier points and I was at his home about 2 weeks later.  Becoming an author changed my life.

Now don’t get me wrong here.  I’m not advocating for reckless spending.  If you say “I don’t have the money for those ridiculously expensive shoes that I’ll wear once because they will kill my feet.” that’s smart but the real reason you choose not to buy those shoes is because you don’t want or need them.  You may not have the money but don’t make it about the money.  If you change your excuse to say “These shoes aren’t for me”, then you aren’t making an excuse, you are making a statement.  Choose your words wisely.

time-to-reinventThe second excuse is “I don’t have the time”.  Again, I’ve used this one many times.  “I don’t have time to go to the gym.”  “I don’t have time to volunteer.”  “I don’t have time to head home and make a healthy lunch before my afternoon appointments.”  The reality is I have time — and you do too.  If you don’t want to do something be honest with yourself and instead say “I don’t want to go to the gym.”  “I don’t want to volunteer.”  “I prefer to have fries and a burger at the fast food restaurant.”   The decision doesn’t change but the story you are telling yourself and the message you are sending does.

The last excuse is energy.  “I don’t have the energy to do that.”  This excuse is a bit different but it’s still an excuse.  We tend to take on too much.  We don’t set strong boundaries for ourselves or for others.  We have demanding jobs which suck us dry at times.  We don’t take care of our health.  We make money and time excuses for eating properly and working out.

Instead if we made a conscious effort to understand what our ideal lifestyle looks like, what our ideal day looks like, we will start to make decisions to lead us there.  We’ll set boundaries.  We’ll turn off the TV and go to the gym or make a healthy meal or go to bed.  We’ll stop doing things which drain us.  We’ll start doing things which give us energy and fulfill us.  We’ll switch the excuse to be a statement.  “That doesn’t interest me.” or  “I’ve chosen to focus on this instead.”  are powerful statements rather than excuses.

Choose your words wisely.  Don’t make excuses.  Make empowered statements instead.

My Reinvention Process is S.U.P.E.R.

Stop doing what no longer works for youReInventYourself

Understand where you are now, how you got here, where you want to go and what you need to get you there

Plan your reinvention

Execute your plan

Readjust as necessary

Here’s How I Responded to Lynne

Never stop travelling sharing my message that we business leaders can and should change lives in a positive way —

Our lives by being in better alignment with our businesses;


Our families lives because when we’re doing what we are meant to do and loving our lives we are less stressed, wealthier, happier, healthier and we can take our love for life and deliver happiness, safety, security and fun to others too;

Our customers lives because we deliver the solution they need to positively impact their lives and we deliver it consistently according to our brand promise so that our customers know what to expect every time (which lessens their stress too);

Our employees lives because we use our strong vision, mission, purpose, values and passion to attract the right employees to help us get there AND we treat those employees with respect, admiration and appreciation.

Our community because we share our insight and success with other leaders and employees to help lift them too and exponentially enrich the lives of others.

I could go on forever because I’m soooo passionate about this but I’ll stop now and spare you all

I said to hubby that even if I win the lottery I’d still do what I do, I’d just be able to do it in a bigger way right now. I have 2 passports good for the next 10 years, so this is what I’m working towards regardless of time and money considerations.

What would you do if time and money were no consideration?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Don’t Make the Same Mistake This Software Developer Made

young man pulling funny face on white backgroundI purchased a great video editing software a few weeks ago.  Fortunately (for me) I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to use it yet because all software has bugs — even after the beta testers have given their feedback.

I logged onto our Facebook Group today (which, btw, is a great tool for you to use to keep your pulse on what your customers are experiencing).   Sadly for the developer, there is a firestorm going on in the group because of a decision that he made to put ads on the software after we bought it.

The tribe is furious!  Comments are along the lines of “we didn’t buy a software with ads, so why are there ads now?” and “if you had given us the option from the get-go to have a version with ads or without ads that would have been one thing but to add the ads after we bought it is wrong”.

The developer is defending his position, stating that he was adding all sorts of value and that he didn’t make any money on the initial sale.  He then got defensive and told people they could ask for a refund.   Whoa!  Obviously ego and hot-headedness have taken over.

The initial purchase price was really low $39.95 (or something like that) and the developer is asking for $9.95 / year to have a version of the software that doesn’t have ads.  Obviously the $9.95 isn’t a large amount and everyone of his customers could easily pay it — but the issue we’re all having is with communication and the feeling that we’ve been the victims of a bait and switch.

Here’s my response to him / the group (which has received a lot of “likes” and a suggestion to turn it into a blog post.)

Carol Wain Andrew Darius — buddy — I am a customer experience specialist. Do not cut your own throat right now. You’ve nicked yourself but it’s time to put down the knife.

The best way to handle this is to stop for a second and look at how long you want to be in business.

Don’t piss off your early adopters.
Customers are a fickle bunch — don’t give us a reason to defect
There are others waiting in the wings to launch an even better software than you have. They will take what you’ve learned and what you’ve created and they will swoop in and “save all of us” who are not happy right now.
Do you want to be a one-hit-wonder who is gone next month or do you want to build a sustainable business?

Here’s what you should do. Reverse the decision for the ads and grandfather all of us. Do what you can to rebuild our faith in you.
Listen to what we’re saying. Remember that the initial promise was for a software that does X,Y and Z. Always deliver on that promise.

Create opportunities to increase your revenue.

Increase the price immediately. (btw, create a new FB group for the new people… let us be your advisory group here without the new people seeing what is going on. This group and the posts will scare away any new customers.)

Identify your core product — what we were promised and what we’ve paid for. Deliver that exceptionally well.

Identify add-ons.

I believe your approach to over-deliver is getting you in trouble. You’ve missed the mark on what to over-deliver.

Over-deliver on service.

Up-sell on features that weren’t included in the core product.

Cross-sell on products that enhance the overall experience with the product (but remember the product must work without them).

By all means — stop, look and listen. Let your guard down to truly hear what we’re saying. Make a plan for us early adopters and another plan moving forward.

Smart business owners know that it costs 6x (or more) to get a new customer than it does to keep one. They also know that the initial purchase is the tip of the iceberg — make the initial customer experience great and expect at least 10x the initial purchase price over the customer’s lifetime.

Stop complaining that you hardly made anything from the initial sale — if you make things right with us you can easily turn things around. Many people will break even or take a loss knowing that the money is in the back-end.

Use good judgement and wear your “Customer Experience” hat as you make decisions. Always think about how this decision will impact your customer experience — and never, ever underestimate how important it is to your success.

If you need assistance, PM me.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much — a monthly fee of less than a dollar to stir up a bees nest.  How you respond will make the difference between success or failure because your customer experience is the only true differentiation between you and your competition.

Have You Experienced Any Situations Like This?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Travel — One of the Best Reinvention Tools

Travel-Package-TypesWhat is it about traveling to far off destinations that is so ingrained in our humanity?  From the beginning of time, our species has traveled to populate the planet.  Later, explorers set off to discover “new worlds” and today travelling from one continent to another can be achieved in less than a day.  But why do we travel?  Many of us travel for business and although it may seem glamorous to be in Monterrey, Montreal and Montreux in the same month, this isn’t the type of travel I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the type of travel where you come back a “new person”.  Travel where you’ve rejuvenated your mind, your body and your soul.  Travel where you experienced new cultures, new foods and new ways of doing things.  Travel where you leave your comfort zone and stretch yourself and travel where you witness innovation and ingenuity, which inspires you to change elements in your life and/or business.

Travel takes us out of our box — literally!  The box that is our life, home, our office, our community.  It is one of the best and most fun reinvention tools I know of.  If you are stuck in a rut, get out of it by travelling somewhere you’ve never been before.  The more it unsettles you, the better it will be for your reinvention!

But, don’t just jump on a plane and go half-way around the world and expect the comforts of home.  This type of travel is a change of scenery but it doesn’t give you the total experience you could have by immersing yourself in your new surroundings.    If you cannot bring yourself to jump in with both feet and live with the locals, at least spend some time during your stay getting to see what life is like for them.  Gain an appreciation for those who live in your chosen community.  How is their life similar to yours?  How does it differ?  What can you learn?

I’ll never forget walking through a favela in Rio de Janeiro, seeing the gorgeous little white dresses hung to dry across the streets.   I saw pride in those little dresses — I imagined the Mom getting her little girl ready in her Sunday-Best to go to church.  The families who live in this favela are very poor.  It’s dusty and smelly and there are signs of violence everywhere, yet these families are proud.

As an aside, while we were walking down the street our tour guide paid no attention to the car that passed us.  Inside, the passenger in the front seat had a machine gun on his lap.  We were a bit freaked out and we wanted to get out of there quickly but she kept on walking!  It turned out he was a policeman and as we were enjoying the hospitality of one of the families — in an impeccably clean home — an arrest was made without incident.

Our hosts — the Brazilian tourism department — really didn’t want us to go to the favela for safety reasons and I can understand why.  Anything could have happened while we were there — we could have been caught in a cross-fire, we could have been kidnapped, we could have been robbed (not unlike other parts of the world, including in our own back yards!).  Nothing bad happened though and the impression I was left with still stays with me nearly 10 years later.   We took a calculated risk by going to the favela as a group with a tour guide, who paid for our safety, and we were all glad we did.

It’s for this reason, I travel as often as I can.  I do things that are out of my comfort zone — not always this brave — but I still do things that give me the “tingles”.

If you feel you need to reinvent yourself or your business, get out of your house and travel somewhere.  It doesn’t have to be half-way around the world, it can be a short drive away.  Just make sure you experience something new — it could be a new food; it could be a new recreational activity; it could be a volunteering experience.  It doesn’t matter — what does matter is that you come away from your travel experience with something which gives you a different perspective, a different experience and a new memory that will remind you to keep taking steps toward your dream life.

This time next week, I will be on my way to Playa del Carmen where we’re doing something “new”.  It’s not as far removed from our comfort zone as my favela example yet it is a step toward our location independent lifestyle goal.  We’re staying in a condo, rather than an all-inclusive resort, which isn’t a first for us because we have done the same in Italy, France, Canada and the US – but for some reason it’s not as comfortable for us to take this step in Mexico (I know we’ll laugh about this perception as soon as we get there).   We’ll be taking taxis and shopping knowing only a few words of Spanish.  We’ll be ziplining and snorkeling in cenotes.   We’ll even be going to Coco Bongo for our daughter’s birthday — that’s an experience that words can’t quite describe!

We’ll each be getting out of our comfort zones and proving to ourselves that we can indeed live our dream of traveling the world while I continue to write, speak, train, consult and coach.

What are YOU doing this month, this week and today to achieve your dream life goals?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

2

Marketing – The New 5 Ps For Marketing

5 Ps for Marketing_3-01You likely already know the 5 original “Ps” to marketing – product, placement, packaging, promotion and price.  However, in today’s business environment there are 5 new marketing “Ps” to consider to transform your business.

Personality – People want to see the personality behind the brand and they want that personality to be honest and congruent with the way the person is “off stage” too.  For example, Sir Richard Branson shows his fun-loving, adventuresome side of his personal life while the Virgin brands are also fun-loving and adventuresome.   Even if the personality behind the brand are  the employees they need to be congruent with the personality of the brand.  No grumpy people working at Disneyland; only tender dental hygienists working at the “tender dentist” etc.

What is your brand’s personality and are you including it in your marketing?

Purpose – Every business has a purpose — to make money.  There are other purposes to consider though.  Purposes larger than the business or product itself.  For example, the purpose of our business is to reinvent lives globally and the best way to do this is to help business leaders to transform their business to become S.T.A.R.S.™ – Sagacious | Transformational | Attractive | Resourceful | Sustainable.

What is the purpose for your business and/or brands?  Are you sharing your purpose with your customers, employees, prospects and supporters?

Passion – People want to connect with people who share their passion – whether it’s reinventing lives, transforming businesses and communities, living off the grid, living a healthy and happy life, driving race cars, travelling the world, leaving a legacy, paying it forward or denouncing ways we are being manipulated by big business.

Do you show where your passion lies in your marketing?

Platform  – Your platform is what you are known for.  My platform is reinvention.  My friend Sohail Khan’s platform is joint ventures.  My friend Karen’s platform is the mind/body connection.

Ideally you want your name / brand to become synonymous with your platform – think of shoes and you think of Zappos.  Think about books and you think of Amazon.  Think about a magical vacation with small children and you likely think of Disney.

By becoming clear and focussed you will be able to hang out your “platform shingle” which helps you expand your reach through strategic partnerships and your marketing.

What is your platform?  What do you stand for?  What are you known for?

People –  Your people make or break your business.  People * Power * Profit so how do you ensure you are marketing to the right people so they become your employees, your customers, your vendors, and your strategic partners etc?  You do it by being very clear what your mission, vision, purpose, passion and ideal customers are.  You take a stand.  You invite those who you want in your circle, your tribe and your community to join you.  You ensure that those who you do not want to associate with don’t are kept on the other side of the “red velvet rope”.

Are you attracting the right people to your business?

How Will You Incorporate These 5Ps in your Marketing to differentiation your business?

Customer Experience Failure – Boston Pizza Style

I have always been a champion for the customer, which is why I look at the customer experience first when I help business leaders to transform their businesses to become more profitable.

People-Power-Profit-300x35

People can power profit — or they can destroy it. And sadly — more often than necessary — they make decisions to destroy it.

Tonight is a case in point.

I have taken my first day off in ages. It’s a glorious, hot, sunny Sunday here in Courtenay, BC. It’s also a long weekend. And here’s where Boston Pizza comes into the picture.

It’s 6pm and I’m well into the “relaxation mode” I had planned for, so I went online to place an order for delivery. I’d been building myself up to have my absolute favourite dish — the Chilpotle Chicken Salad — for a few hours. I ordered 2 of them for delivery.

2 Seconds after I ordered online I got a call – which is normal and appreciated. However, this time the message was “I see you chose debit at the door as your payment”. I said “No, it’s credit, which is what I chose. There was only an option for cash or credit payment at the door.”

I was then told that they could not deliver to me because the machines for accepting payments at the door were broken. If I have cash it’s fine.

Okay… think about this for a second as it’s a classic Customer Experience Fail.

#1. I was able to place my order online. Why can’t I pay online? (my guess is that it will require extra administration on behalf of Boston Pizza — guess what? I don’t care!) The customer experience is what matters across all touch points in the customer journey. So figure out the logistics behind the scene and don’t make any decision a burden for your customers.

#2. Why are the machines broken? Every single one of them? On a long weekend? On a hot and sunny long weekend?

and most importantly…

#3. Why didn’t the gal say “I’m really sorry but we’re experiencing problems with our machines for payment at the door. Can you give me your credit card number and I’ll punch it into my machine here? Then you can sign when we deliver your meal.”

or failing all of the above, as a back-up measure…

#4. Have one of those old fashioned machines with the “cha-ching, cha-ching” that takes an imprint of the credit card and you sign it? I travelled to Mexico a few months ago and they still use them there. My credit card was charged just fine too.

So, before I go off to spend 10 minutes making a salad — I’ll share these parting words:

The majority of customers will not return after a poor customer experience. Often it only takes one poor experience to lose a customer.

Many people (myself included) will happily share customer experience fails online via social media, review sites and blog posts.

Boston Pizza — and every other business — needs to start thinking about the customer experience as the only true differentiation between itself and the myriad of other choices in each market.

Customer Experience is in every decision.” ~ Carol Wain

3From the decisions at head office — those who made a website that allows you to order but not pay — to those in the field who don’t think about how they can make a work-around to ensure their customers have an awesome experience, it’s time to rethink what you are doing.

  1. Think about how your decisions impact your customers and ask before implementing.
  2. Have designated staff to be the Voice of the Customer and ensure those people have a seat at the Executive Table. Ideally, all employees should be encouraged to watch and listen for customer reaction and are invited to share what they learn.
  3. Train your employees to ensure your customers’ experience is as expected. Of course you have procedures and systems but there are times when employees should be permitted discretion to go outside of them.
  4. Have a back-up plan
  5. Ensure your customer journey is consistent across all touch points

 

Update:  August 11, 2014  — Here’s what has happened since my initial experience.

After I wrote this post and shared it on LinkedIn I went to Boston Pizza’s Facebook Page and posted there.

I applaud the community manager for responding and suggesting we take the conversation offline (which I teach!)

I wrote a very long email with suggestions and counter-arguments to some of the “policies”.

I was assured that someone would be in touch shortly.

I received a phone call from the restaurant owner, Gary, who was on vacation at the time.  He left his cell phone# for me to call.

I called back a day or two later and we had a conversation about the experience.

I explained my Customer Experience passion and that I can’t help but speak up when things are going badly.

He spoke for a while to explain the problem (again, as the customer, I really don’t care that TD Bank had screwed up so none of the machines were working).

I was sitting there ever so silently wondering if he was going to ever get to “me” rather than an explanation about why I experienced what I did.

I also wondered when he would accept ownership (or if anyone would).

I wondered what — if any — offer would be made to “make it up to me”.

I was waiting and waiting…

And then Gary said “I would like to offer you gift certificates to make it up to you”.

He also suggested I may be able to help them improve the customer experience (oh hell yes, I can!)

I was not angry — I came from a place of  “sharing and caring” while I also wanted a resolve.

I explained how most people wouldn’t give a second chance and how important customer experience was.  We chatted a bit about my services and we ended the call.

Fast forward to today — exactly one week to the day I attempted one more time.

What a nightmare!

Today, I placed my order online.

I received a call a few min later to confirm the order.

I corrected the delivery time — I didn’t want it in 50 min, I wanted delivery at 6:30.

So at 6:35 the delivery person arrived (oooh… he smelled badly… not good in the food service industry … although he was pleasant enough as a delivery person.)

This time the order was for one Chilpotle Chicken Salad and one personal cheese pizza….

…………Except the “chicken and bacon” part of the order was missing…………

You’ve got to be kidding me!  The Customer Experience is actually worse this time!

6:38   I called the restaurant and explained what happened.  I received an apology and a promise the chicken would be delivered soon.  I pressed to find out what “soon” meant.   I was told 15 – 20 min depending on traffic.

6:39  I emailed the email address Gary gave me when I spoke to him

7:15   I called the restaurant again and apparently the driver was there and he’d be leaving with my chicken right away.  I asked to speak to the owner.  Gary is still on vacation.  I asked to speak to the supervisor.  I explained today’s situation and last week’s situation and I had spoken to Gary.  She attempted to correct me that perhaps I spoke to “Steven”.  I said “no, I contacted Head Office and Gary gave me his cell phone #.”  She seemed surprised.

I’ll cut to the learning points:

  • I discovered during this call — this is a common occurrence — the onus is on the host/hostess to ensure the order is complete but they don’t.  Why is the problem common?  and…. Why on earth do they share this?
  • The supervisor does not have the authority to authorize a refund — this time I’m expecting one — tomorrow she’ll talk to the office manager to see what can be done.
  • The delivery guy showed up with my new salad and he said words to the effect that he only delivers what he’s given.
  • It is now 1 hour after I asked for my salad to be delivered… 45 min after I was promised the chicken would be delivered.
  • I’m actually surprised I haven’t “Lost it” by this point — maybe because I knew I’d be using this as an example in my teaching for years to come 😉

Whoa!  Whoa!  Whoa!

You’ve got to be kidding me…  Remember, the customer doesn’t give a sh*t about excuses and who isn’t doing what.  The customer expects to experience the brand promise and to receive what they bought in a timely manner with the quality promised.

Boston Pizza desperately needs a Customer Experience overhaul — I’m here and I’ll consult with corporate and franchisees.  I’ll also train staff.

Consistency is missing — as is a focus on the Customer Experience — instead, the culture appears to be one of “pass the buck”.

In the restaurant business, this combination is a death sentence… perhaps my first best-selling book Guerrilla Tourism Marketing might be useful as the first step!

What Suggestions Do You Have for Businesses That Have Challenges Like This?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Want to Make Your Customers Feel Special? Thank Them!

TD Bank Takes a Page from WestJet — Combining a personalized Thank You with great PR

Watch and you can’t help but feel moved.

This video shows the power of a personalized thank you.    How are you thanking your customers — particularly your long-time, most profitable customers?

How do you show your customers that they are valuable to you?

It seems like such an easy question to answer, doesn’t it?  So why aren’t more people doing it?

In his book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk talks about the Joie de Vivre hotels in California.  As part of their Dream Maker program, the hotels ask each guest to provide a significant amount of personal information upon registration so that they can find ways to give their guests a memorable experience.

This program challenges the employees to come up with ways to provide exceptional guest service.

Gary tells a story about a reservations manager, Jennifer Kemper, at the Hotel Durant in Berkeley, which incidentally is the number three hotel in Berkeley according to TripAdvisor.  One of the hotel guests needed multiple, long-term stays because her son, a 20 year old Berkeley student, was undergoing chemotherapy treatment while trying to continue with his studies.

The guest needed to visit often to help her son during his sessions but some of the dates that she needed were not available.

Jennifer told her guest that she would be taken care of but she did not stop there.

Jennifer thought of the guest’s plight and determined that she would be a great candidate for the Dream Maker program.  A few days later, Jennifer went and bought a card, sunflowers, chamomile tea and a dragonfly mug with a built-in strainer.  The card said “For a loving mother who deserves to relax.  Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.”

Naturally, this touched the heart of the guest, who continued to stay at that property until her son graduated.  This example of a fantastic customer experience also shows how a simple touch can have a viral effect.  Imagine how many people heard about this story from the guest and her son.

Thank-You-300x199That caring, attentive service, which is one of the guerrilla marketing principles, provided exposure to this hotel they could never afford through traditional marketing.  Talk about a win-win situation.

The appreciation you show can take many forms – from saying “thank you” to following up after the sale, to responding quickly to requests or questions to finding a special gift for them for a special occasion.

 

 

How can you / do you thank your customers in a meaningful, personalized way to make them feel special and appreciated?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Transform Your Business Starting With Personal Alignment

balanceYOU have been a person a lot longer than you’ve been a business leader and as a result, you have beliefs (some of which could be self-limiting) and you have dreams, whether you’ve explored them or not.  The reason why we start business transformation with an internal focus is because your decisions as a business leader are a direct result of what you belief, what your core values are and the vision you have for your life.

While it’s not necessary to do inner work to know what makes you tick to be a successful entrepreneur, it sure is a whole lot easier to make appropriate decisions when you have a sense of you. It is also a lot easier to see when you are falling into a trap set by your subconscious.

Core Values

When your core values are in alignment with the values of the business then the first hurdle has been crossed.  However, if your core values differ from the core values of the business, an internal conflict arises.  The same holds true with your employees — if the core values of the business are not in alignment with the core values of the employees there will be a disconnect, an imbalance and ultimately conflict.  Therefore, start your business transformation by listing your core values.  Click here to download a PDF with a list of Core Values, if you need help coming up with adjectives that describe them.  If you have a huge list, cut the list down to your top 10 values. Then to take those top 10 and decide either / or to get them down to 5. For example Freedom is one of my values as is Dependability … but if push came to shove, I’d take Freedom over being Dependable (fair warning!), which means that if something came up where I had to decide between being dependable and being free I would choose freedom.

Your core values will not change – from the time you first identified with them until the day you die and it’s the same with your business.  Strategies, tactics and plans change but the core values never change.

I want to drive home the point that these values are something you live each day – they aren’t a convenience item to create the illusion of being something you are not. For example, if one of your core values is integrity – you’d better do every single thing you say you are going to do. If honesty is a core value – you are honest always – always! If you say that family time is a core value – nothing stops you from having that family time – nothing.

Business Core Values

After you’ve done this exercise for yourself, do it again for your business. This time though, ask your employees, your customers and your vendors what they believe the values of your company are because they are the people who experience the decisions you make and it’s those decisions which reflect the core values of the company.

How are your business practices and the experiences you have with your people being translated into values? What are the common denominators for values, as seen through the eyes of those you serve? Are the results consistent with your own perception of what the core values are? Are there disconnects? How do you close the gap?

Is there a disconnect between what your core values are personally and the core values of the company? If so, you will experience some internal conflict at some point.

A prime example that happened not too long ago in the corporate world is Brendan Eich.  Mr. Eich, the creator of JavaScript, was appointed CEO of Mozilla only to be forced to resign few days later after an outcry from employees over a $1,000 donation he made to California’s Proposition 8 campaign in 2008 — a ballot that defined marriage between a man and a woman.  He argued that he leaves his personal beliefs, values and views at home. However, it didn’t matter to those who felt his beliefs were out of alignment with the company beliefs of inclusion and acceptance and they refused to accept him as their leader.

After you have completed this exercise you’ll be ready to move on to the next step in ensuring you are in alignment with your business — understanding what you what and do not want for your life.

If you’d like to know more about how to reinvent your business, contact Carol or check out how to work with Carol

What do you think of this exercise?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Lesson In Tenacity

Honey_badgerHere’s what happens when you don’t give up… gotta love his ingenuity and tenacity!

Would you try as hard to get what you wanted?  Sadly most people quit right before their breakthrough.

If you truly want to reinvent your life or transform your business you must be as tenacious as this honey badger.  If your why is big enough you will find a way to achieve what you want.

Your original idea might not work and that’s fine.  None of us bats anywhere close to 100.  We try things and they work, we try things and they flop, we try things and they don’t work as well as we hoped.

We try things and then people react and it screws up our plan.

We use our wise judgment and we make the right decisions with input from those who we can trust.

But don’t just quit because it’s hard.  Be a honey badger and stick to your vision and your goals.

 

Be sure to comment below and to share this with your friends!

If you’d like to know more about how to transform your business or reinvent your life, contact Carol or check out how to work with Carol

What are some of the ways you keep going when others would have given up?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Enlightened Capitalists Prioritize Employee Experience

TeamLeader5 Reasons to Focus on Employee Experience (EX)

  1. Lower turnover
  2. Attract high-caliber employees
  3. Improve customer experience
  4. Increase productivity
  5. Increase profit

EX Insights

  • Gallup research also shows that active disengagement costs the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually (State of The American Workplace)
  • Only 30% of US Employees / 16% of Canadian employees are engaged; 52% of US employees / 70% of Canadian employees are not engaged and 18% of US employees / 14% of Canadian employees are actively disengaged (Gallup – State of the Global Workforce)
  • Gallup sees employee engagement built on these basic elements – “What do I get from this role? (salary, job satisfaction etc) – perceived value of my contribution – answers to the question “Do I belong here? – Can I make improvements, learn, grow, innovate and apply new ideas?“ (State of The American Workplace)
  • 75% of people quit their bosses not their jobs (Roger Herman)
  • Above average companies – those with more highly engaged employees – experienced 147% higher earnings per share (EPS) compared with their competition.  (Gallup)
  • 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies will use gamification to boost retention, revenues and engagement in 2014 (Gartner)

Employee Experience Process

  1. Understand your culture – does it support a great employee experience?
  2. Ensure your employees core values match the corporate core values
  3. Practice appreciation – informal recognition and formal recognition – Peer to peer and manager to employee
  4. Deliver honest, open communication
  5. Provide opportunities for training and advancement
  6. Create a career path
  7. Disallow toxic people in your company
  8. Pay attention to turnover, particularly with specific managers
  9. Use 360 degree feedback to improve experience
  10. Hearten contribution and innovation
  11. Encourage a caring approach to dealing with mistakes – what is the lesson?
  12. Compensate fairly, reward exceptional behaviour

Employee Experience KPIs

The 3 main Employee Experience KPIs are Acquisition, Retention and Profit

Acquisition – Recruitment costs, training costs, number of employee referrals

Retention –Employee engagement level, employee satisfaction score,average employee tenure, 360 feedback score, employee churn rate, attendance rates

Profit – Revenue per employee, safety, customer experience

5 Steps to Success

Define – Define which objectives you want to achieve, what KPIs you want to impact, prioritize your objectives, define the timing, identify resources, allocate budgets, identify return on investment expected

Discover – Find out what it’s like to be your employee.  The more trust you have generated, the easier it will be to get truth in return

Design – Use best practices, discovery insight and your objectives, design an employee experience plan

Implement – Implement your plan, educate your employees, engage in two-way dialogues with employees, encourage two-way dialogues between customers and employees

Monitor – Monitor employee responses, customer reaction, customer learning, feedback, impact to KPIs and adjust as needed

Our Role

  1. Coordinate with your project managers, senior leaders, management team,  supervisors and trainers for requirements
  2. Define – what are your objectives? … Identify KPIs, create your baseline
  3. Discover – what is it really like to be your employee? … Coordinate with HR team and test that HR insight matches employee reality
  4. Create your employee experience transition plan, employee engagement plan, employee recognition plan and incentive programs with input from all stakeholders
  5. Implement and support training, coaching, mentoring and facilitating
  6. Co-ordinate with your team to report on results and make appropriate adjustments
  7. Leave you with the insights and practices to continue to grow your employee experience

If you’d like to know more about how to reinvent your business, contact Carol or check out how to work with Carol

What are some of the ways you focus on customer experience and employee experience in your business?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

carol-showCarol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com

Enlightened Capitalists Focus on Customer Experience

5 Reasons to Focus on Customer Experience  (CX)happy-customer 300x300

  1. Increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  2. Decrease Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  3. Support an increase in employee engagement
  4. Create brand advocates and greater loyalty
  5. Differentiate your company among competitors

CX Insights

  • In the age of the customer, executives don’t decide how customer-centric their companies are — customers do.  (Forrester Research Navigate the Future of Customer Service in 2014)
  • By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Customers 2020 Report)
  • In a poll of enterprise contact centers by Deloitte, 82% view the customer experience as a competitive differentiator, and view accuracy and quality of information provided (82%), as well as ease of interaction (73%), as the most important attributes of a quality customer experience. (Deloitte’s 2013 Global Contact Center Survey Report)
  • In 2013, 62% of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences, up 4% from last year.  (Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey)

Customer Experience Process

  1. Secret-shop in person, on the phone and online – you need to know what it’s like to be your customer
  2. Understand your culture – does it support a great customer experience?
  3. Obtain Board and C-suite commitment to improving customer experience
  4. Review your customer complaints / testimonials / online mentions – where are the gaps?
  5. Ask customers what their needs are.
  6. Allow customers to state their preferences for the communication they have with you
  7. Use a combination of high-tech and high-touch – high-tech to easily disseminate data collected about each customer and to create models for ideal customers and what they may need.  High-touch to personify the customer experience.  Strive for consistency – each and every time, the customer needs to know what they will experience – regardless of employee, regardless of location, regardless of time of day
  8. Ensure that all touch points are reliable – websites, phone, in-person, email etc.  They must all deliver a consistent experience based on your brand promise
  9. Eliminate silos within your company and promote cross-department communication as it relates to increasing the customer experience
  10. Build a community around your business and your business around a community
  11. Create a Voice of Customer (VOC) program – and always be reviewing social conversations, online reviews and testimonials, customer surveys, call center and customer service feedback, and feedback from tech-support and retail reps
  12. Realize it’s a game of measures that has meaning to your customers and employees – that there is not one “perfect” measure for customer experience

Customer Experience KPIs

The 3 main Customer Experience KPIs are Acquisition, Retention and Profit

Acquisition = Goal is Lower CAC–measure referrals, social mentions, efficiency of marketing campaigns, conversion rate

Retention = Goal is Increased CLV – measure average order value, average frequency of purchase, average length of “customer” (how long they are your customers), average resolution time for a complaint, cost of loyalty programs, and mark-downs for repeat purchases or to avoid loss of customer

Profit = Goal is Lower Cost to Service – measure revenue per employee, gross profit per employee

5 Steps to Success

Define – Define what objectives you want to achieve, what KPIs you want to impact, what touch points you are focusing on for this initiative (don’t attempt to do all at once!), prioritize your objectives, define the timing, identify resources, allocate budgets, identify return on investment expected

Discover – Map your customer’s journey from the moment they first hear about you through to repeat purchases.  Be sure to include customer experience perspective from employees in all departments – not just “customer service”.  Also be sure to include data from relationship surveys and transactional surveys of your customers

Design – Using best practices, discovery insight and your objectives, design a customer experience plan

Implement – Implement your plan, educate your employees, engage in two-way dialogues with employees, encourage two-way dialogues between customers and employees

Monitor – Monitor employee responses, customer reaction, customer learning, feedback, impact to KPIs and adjust as needed

Our Role

  1. Coordinate with your project managers, VOC team, senior leaders, management team, supervisors and trainers for requirements
  2. Define – what are your objectives? … Identify KPIs, create your baseline
  3. Discover – what is it really like to be your customer? … Coordinate with VOC team and test that VOC insight matches employee insight and customer reality
  4. Create your transition plan with input from all stakeholders
  5. Implement and support training, coaching, mentoring and facilitating
  6. Coordinate with your team to report on results and make appropriate adjustments
  7. Leave you with the insights and practices to continue to grow your customer experience

If you’d like to know more about how to transform your business or reinvent your life, contact Carol or check out how to work with Carol

What are some of the ways you focus on customer experience in your business?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

carol-showCarol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com