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.
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.
One of the most valuable things you can do for your organization is to seek honest feedback from your team. There is a treasure of insights lying untapped within your team, but the wall between you and them does not let them share.
You have your ears closed and they have their lips sealed.
It should not be so.
Maybe you think this does not apply to you, but are you sure your team has been honest with their feedback and opinions?
Your brand just may survive longer if employees share their reservations.
You could double profits or increase productivity if you create ways to hear their opinions.
Seek team feedback. It is free and does not change your status as Boss.
If you need an external person to help handle such a process, reach us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Building profitable and reputable brands is what we love doing.
The quality of people involved with a brand from the founder to the management team, team members/employees will ultimately shape what the brand becomes.
What you can do.
a) Work on yourself. Don’t be an obstinate entrepreneur or executive. Provide quality leadership. We helped a client recruit and onboard a team of smart young people but they are ALL on the verge of exiting because the Boss makes the work environment very toxic.
b) Profile your desired team. Determine the kind of team you want to build and the kind of persons who will best fit into the team in terms of experience, character and all other essential qualities.
c) Position your brand rightly. Put the necessary things in place to attract, onboard, and retain the right persons for the brand. Your brand should also be appealing and inspiring to employees, not just customers. Sell your brand to the people you want to build it.
d) Provide growth opportunities. If the quality of your team will grow, then you must take training and growth seriously. You can organize in-house training and also engage external trainers. Give responsibilities to team members, so they can learn and grow.
e) Provide mentorship. If you are a small business or startup, chances are that most of your people will be millennials. For you to get the best out of them, you have to mentor them and help them navigate their path to success.
f) Set guidelines. Decide the direction you want for the brand and set the guidelines for every team member to align. Everything that matters to the brand and cannot be compromised, spell it out clearly.
This is why as a brand consulting agency, we also work closely with Clients on talent recruitment and development. We work with a lot of young people and in the process, we prime them for whatever brand they may get involved with.
Building profitable and reputable BRANDS is what we love doing. Let’s help you build yours.
More lessons coming on what makes a solid brand.
There are many tools that can help make you super productive if you make use of that small computer in your hands, and a bit of research shows that these tools listed are the best productivity apps to have in 2019 that can help boost your productivity at work.
Google Drive – this is a great tool as a safe place for all your files which puts them within reach from any smartphone, tablet, or computer since it is integrated with other Google ecosystem.
Base camp – This is a powerful project management and team coordination tool that allows you to view the progress of team members as they complete to-dos and upload files. The tool also allows you to work with clients on the go.
Last Pass – This is a password vault (Manager), this security app stores you login details for various sites, this app allows you to log in faster while having the liberty of having complex passwords you don’t need to remember.
Pocket – A great offline reading tool that allows you to select and save articles, pictures and videos for later viewing.
Dropbox – Dropbox is an online storage locker for your files, documents, photos and other important data that you can access on the go.
Todoist – The world-acclaimed best to-do-list app helps to organize, plan and collaborate on projects and it is very effective for planning your day, remembering important tasks by setting timely reminders or location-based reminders and a Goal tracker.
Written by Donald
For a small business owner, taking that short break from your business may mean closing your business or a drop in sales. We both know this; you need a break and that break can energize you or help you focus on personal things and possibly help you think more strategically about your business.
So since we care too much about you, I have decided to share some tips with you, remember there is a lot to gain when you take out time for yourself. Let these steps guide you.
Plan your vacation ahead of time and start to put things in place. You would not want your business to suffer in your absence, so decide the vacation that is right for you – is it a one-week vacation or a month-long vacation?
Prepare Your Team Ahead
Start from now to prepare your staff members ahead by delegating tasks to them. This helps them get into character early enough and you just may leave some of the duties with them even when you’re back. Trust me this will give them a sense of responsibility and an opportunity to learn something new.
Prepare Your Customer Ahead
Your customers are probably also getting a breather at this time. Let them know in advance that you will be taking some time off, so you can wrap-up projects you are handling yourself or agree to postpone or preferably, introduce them to a team member who’ll be handling the project in your absence.
Don’t wait for a breakdown to take a break.
Written by Donald Alaye
If you need support with your business systems and processes, we would love to help. Contact us via email@example.com