This is a very important question to ask in customer relations. Some customers (usually a few out of the lot) will be unreasonable, unruly, dishonest, over-demanding and show total disregard for your business terms and processes.
When an incident occurs in your business and you address it with the default mindset of “the customer is always right”, you are likely to end up with a team of disenchanted and unhappy employees.
Particularly, when it has to do with an issue between an employee and a customer, ask “what happened?”. The principle of fairness should not be skewed to the disadvantage of the employees. The more employees know that you will not hear them out, the more customer service issues you will have.
Seek to resolve the concerns of the customer, but do not be unfair and unjust to your employees in your judgment.
Asking “what happened?”, communicates to your employees that you also care about their feelings, dignity, protection, and not just making money.
Imagine that you own a salon and employed someone to help manage it while you focus on your 8-5.
The manager made a request for a dedicated smartphone that will be used for social media management and other communications with customers, but you said no, the manager should use her own phone. You want to avoid the cost of buying a phone.
Customers call the manager’s phone line directly. She takes images with her phone and puts them up on her Whatsapp status to market the salon, they chat with her, and engagement with customers is increasing.
She moves on eventually to another salon and each time your customers call or chats her up, she mentions that she is no longer with your salon but directs them there, most of them insist to use her new salon. They have gotten used to interacting with her and her phone line cannot be passed on to your new manager.
The cost of losing some of your customers is higher than buying a phone that was meant to be an asset to your business.
Employees will definitely have personal interactions with customers, but the business itself should have its own communication channels – Whatsapp, Telegram, Phone Lines, etc – and devices that will remain even when employees move on.
Take your communication channels seriously.
Poor work ethic and culture is a major challenge that businesses silently grapple with, whether remotely or in the workplace. It even tends to turn some employers into very mean people.
Workers show up late at work, drag feet to get things done, hardly reply to emails, fail at deliverables repeatedly, some keep making excuses to travel for one occasion or the other at the expense of the organization, and so on.
As much as it is important to be flexible as an employer, it is more important that you don’t unknowingly indulge the fundamental problem of poor work culture.
You need to design guidelines and processes that will help workers improve their work ethic and discipline over time and those who are unwilling to improve should be eased out.
If you create penalties for late coming and other issues, follow through with implementing those penalties so that your people don’t take your systems and processes for granted.
At a restaurant brand we manage, one staff had the habit of always making something different from what the client ordered thereby wasting resources. We implemented the penalty of salary deduction for two months to replace the materials that were wasted. He does not repeat the mistake any more.
You may be scared of losing those who really know the job, but indulging a bad attitude to work will cost your business greater harm eventually.
Be fair but also be firm.
We listen keenly to business owners as they vent their frustration about the marketing team not raking in revenue as expected.
We engage them further in the conversation and it turns out that the business itself doesn’t have a clearly defined marketing strategy or plan.
They pass the buck to the marketing team to take initiative, forgetting employees can throw in the towel anytime, if they get too overwhelmed, but you are stuck with the business.
The business MUST have all its strategies in place, what employees are primarily engaged for is the execution since the business owner cannot possibly do everything by themselves.
If you leave your responsibility to employees, then you have to take what you see. Set targets to the high heavens, folks will keep exiting one after the other. Firing and re-hiring won’t help much until the actual issue is fixed. Think strategy.
What is your marketing and sales strategy for 2020?
We are here if you need support.
It appears that many entrepreneurs desire to make sales without investing in gaining visibility. We wrote this article to offer some perspective.
Unless your business is hinged solely on personal contacts and contracts, you need to keep investing in attaining better visibility.
At the point customers make a buying decision, they usually go for the options that are topmost on their mind at that time.
Visibility pushes you up to the top of people’s minds.
If you run a walk-in shop, make it obvious enough through your brand visuals – professionally designed and printed signage, WELL FRAMED banners, and so on.
If you are online, be intentional with your cover photos, DPs, e-fliers, photos, graphic images, colours, logo, and so on.
If you meet people often and give complimentary cards, make a statement with it, the right statement – clean design and print.
If your brand name is a hindrance to better visibility, change the name. An easy to pronounce name aids visibility. An easy to remember name aids visibility.
By all means possible, be more visible.
Working on visibility is like putting pipelines in place for revenue with ease.
If you need help, Mapemond is here for you.
The best relationships are not necessarily the ones without squabbles and disputes, but the ones where the partners can address the issues graciously and carry on beautifully with the relationship.
They understand that other issues will come along the way, but they maintain the same disposition in addressing the issues, not to tear down, but to understand themselves better and to keep building.
They experience fights, disappointments, hurts, pain, anger, tears, and much more, but they never shut the door against healing, forgiveness, tolerance, and peace, so long as the partners involved have a mutual understanding.
Business relationships are not immune from issues, some can be resolved and others will slip through. Some broken business relationships can be rebuilt if only we set ego aside and make that call.
We are training employees of an airline from today and our mission is to help them deal better with the frustrations they feel in trying to serve customers better.
Customers are humans.
Co-workers are humans.
Managers are humans.
You are human.
Customer relationships, handling complaints and all that can be better handled if we first zoom into human relationships.
We can build truly global brands from Africa.
At the ongoing Startup South Conference in Uyo, my firm, we hosted a session to discuss brand visibility as a means to access the market with Startups and emerging businesses.
The panelists submitted as follows:
1. Before you strive for visibility, make sure your product is good enough for the market. It may not be perfect, but let it be good enough to worth your effort.
2. Don’t be satisfied with friends and families patronizing you. Your business hasn’t really been tested until you start selling to people who don’t know you.
3. Leverage friends and families to gain referrals. Seek their feedback and urge them to mention to their friends, colleagues, neighbours, and so on. Offer an incentive if you can.
4. Say it. Nobody knows what you have to offer unless you tell them. So every opportunity you get should be used to say what you are doing. Of all your personal contacts and social media friends, how many know what you do? Talk and post more about what you do.
5. Create a brand for yourself, particularly an identity that makes it easy for people to spot you. It could be your name/moniker, hashtag, tagline, and so on.
6. Choose the right social media platforms. Go to where your targets are and publish the right content consistently.
7. Leave no stone unturned as you go along. WhatsApp status, Linkedin, physical meet-ups, target events, and so on.
8. Ask. If you need exposure on any platform, try to network your way to a contact person and be willing to exchange value.
As you seek visibility, keep working on developing soft skills like negotiation, meeting people (networking), emotional intelligence, and others.
Every viable business operation has a threshold before a breakthrough, what happens in three months for business A may take one year to happen for business B, just keep doing your possible best per time.
2. Good Business
5. Good Product
To emerge as a solid brand means that you are solving a problem, so well that people keep coming back to you for your solution. As a business brand, there are two ways you solve people’s problems, through your products or services.
If you are going to build a solid brand, then your service or product has to get so good that it cannot be easily replicated by anyone else.
Here are some quick tips to consider in creating super good products or services:
a) Quality: Strive to ensure authenticity, durability, efficiency, dependability, or top-notch expertise and professionalism in the case of services. Give customers value for their money, so they can always speak well of your product.
b) Functionality: Your product or service should be designed to address the pain points of customers. Keep it as simple as possible while it solves the problem optimally.
c) User Experience: Make it very user-friendly. Remember the product is for the customers, not for you. The guide to this is to create products and services that customers can readily use by themselves with little or no support.
d) Innovation: It does not matter how well your product is functioning presently, you have to keep seeking ways to improve it by all means necessary. A lot is changing with how people live, technological advancement, and so on, your product or service should not be stuck.
e) R & D: To improve your product or service, mind your assumptions. Do your research from the customers and the general market, so you can develop the products and services accordingly.
f) Product Branding: In every way possible way, make your product or service look good. Everything about the product should reflect the standard you are trying to attain, it helps to establish your brand as solid.
It is important to mention that all these factors may not fall in line at once, but keep improving and with time your brand will emerge as solid.
Building profitable and reputable BRANDS is what we love doing.
One more lesson coming on what makes a solid brand.
Would you identify a Mercedes Benz car even without the logo on it?
Would you identify the voices of people you know personally even without seeing their faces?
Would you recognize the taste of your favorite food brand even with your eyes closed?
Where are we going with these questions?
It’s simple. Whether done intentionally or not, every business brand takes on an identity for itself. There’s a way customers perceive and interpret your brand the more they interact with it, you need to define your identity and project it the right way to the market.
What should you do?
a) Build your name. Beyond choosing an appealing and appropriate name for your brand, you need to build a healthy reputation for your brand. This is derived from the last point we looked at, sticking to your brand values.
b) Visual identity. Your brand is an unfolding story and one of the ways it tells the story to the market in a distinctive manner is through your logo, colors, icons, packaging concepts, and so on.
c) Your brand mark. Every solid brand has certain things that are unique to it often referred to as “the XYZ way”. You have to deliberately decide how you do things in business from your designs to marketing communications, website outlook, social media strategy, product development, and more.
The central idea of brand identity is what you want to be known for because, if your business does not have any defined perception that it is projecting, it will eventually become a case of anything goes regardless of the size. Solid brands don’t take their identity for granted.
We would love to work with you on your logo identity, marketing communications, social media, and full identity system. Reach us via email@example.com
Building profitable and reputable BRANDS is what we love doing.
More lessons coming on what makes a solid brand.
There is so much power that lies in our hands, thanks to the evolution of technology. This power is acquired from the moment we purchase a gadget, connect to the internet and log on to a social media platform. With the emergence of social media, the world has not only become smaller but also several barriers have been broken to gain access to the high and mighty in society. Notwithstanding the wide use or far spread of social media, only the bold and creative minds can leverage its power to get what they want. This should be your aim as an entrepreneur or corporate personality.
A few days ago with just a single tweet, a Twitter user who is a brand identity designer, @osuolale_farouq, shared a proposed logo for the first indigenous automobile manufacturing company in Nigeria, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM). This strategic tweet alongside the expertly designed logo started a conversation that got through the digital gates to the table of the target company.
IVM took up the conversation to its platform asking its followers to choose between the company’s current logo and the proposed one by @osuolale_farouq. Eventually, this caught the attention of the CEO of IVM, Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, who asked that a meeting be fixed with the creative designer. While the congratulatory messages keep trooping, we all wait with our fingers crossed for the outcome of this meeting, and we greatly commend @osuolale_farouq not just his bravery but also his eye for detail. Let us look at some of the things that make his design unique.
@osuolale_farouq gave more meaning to his design in the breakdown of the different shapes and symbols he used. He explained that the phenomenal Eagle bird inspired the concept of the entire design. Knowing the striking attributes of the eagle, the proposed logo created a fresh identity for the IVM brand. According to him, the two characteristics that connect the IVM brand and the eagle are “…strength and the ability to sail through hard times…”
The logo designer singled out each letter that make up the company’s acronym and backed them up with a deeper meaning. He indicated that the letter ‘I’ represents the beak of an eagle which denotes strength, then the letter ‘V’ symbolizes the wings of the eagle and its ability to fly against storms, and the last letter ‘M’ depicts the eyes of the eagle which can see its target from a distance.
A notable comment concerning the logo meaning was that of HRH Oba Alao Timi Kennedy on Facebook who posted;
“I love how this man coined the PROPOSED new logo for INNOSON VEHICLES from the three letters, IVM and link it to the eagle, with suitable interpretations. This PROPOSED new logo if endorsed or accepted can increase patronage because the brand image is very important in sales and business. The eyes need to love it first before other things. It’s a great logo and I wish and pray INNOSON adopt it.”
This unfolding story could be linked to the popular saying; “when preparation meets opportunity, success is birthed”. From his skillful execution of the logo design, there is no doubt that @osuolale_farouq was prepared for this and with the ‘window’ of the opportunity provided by Twitter, he has successfully sold his idea to the world. Now that is the power of social media!
Once you conceive to take a shot at something, do not contemplate, just clear the hindrances, and take that shot!
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
Do you need a new logo for your brand? We are your guys for something inspiring and meaningful! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org