You call your team together to roll out your strategy for the coming quarter. Everyone gathers around and all eyes are on you. You’ve spent at least forty hours over the last two weeks planning, modeling, forecasting, all in anticipation of this day. OK, take a deep breath, and begin your presentation. Five minutes in you start to notice some people drifting off, getting lost in their own thoughts. You’re not being inspiring enough. Have to up the energy…
Now more than ever, money, technology and personnel are invested in the user and customer experience. In today’s world of instant reviews and feedback, businesses are sprinting to stay one step ahead of their customer to attract their target market, intuit their needs and attempt to exceed expectations.
Why You're Frustrated and What to Do About It
Employee turnover. Customer complaints. Unplanned expenses. Competition everywhere you look. Pain in the neck vendors. An endless string of new technologies you’re supposed to learn how to use. Social #%?@! media. It’s enough to make you want to go get a job.
This isn’t what you signed up for. The whole point of this was to get in control of your life, to do something that you’re passionate about. It wasn’t about the money, but about being able to do what you love. What the heck happened?
Would you apply for a job at your business? Think about it for a moment. With where you are in your life—with your unique talents and dreams—is it the kind of place that would support you in getting closer to the life you want? Do you think you have any employees who aren’t evaluating their jobs, right this very minute, on that criteria?
There’s no substitute for being in the same place as your employees. And that’s a good thing. Part of the joy of going to work is that you get to spend your day with people you respect, and we hope, enjoy being around. And while there are some good reasons to have people on your team who work remotely, you have to address the very real gap that’s present because they aren’t. As long as you start there, there are many things you can do—best practices and powerful tools—to close it.
"We're sorry" is a terrible thing to say to a frustrated customer. That is, unless you've already fixed the problem. Apologizing before you've fixed the problem, as we all know first hand, can get things going downhill fast. Before, we were frustrated with the product or service. Now we're frustrated with your employee, and by extension, you and your brand. This is rapidly approaching common knowledge in the business world, so why do so many businesses still miss the mark in the moments that count?
There are infinite possibilities for titles and positions in your business, but there are really only three kinds of relationships between any two of them. And understanding the dynamics of these three relationships - which are, more than anything, power dynamics - is critical to the professional development of your staff, the long term health of your business culture, and the personal sanity of everyone involved. The work here is intimately tied to having a well conceived org chart, as you seek to bring out 'hidden' dynamics in your company culture before they turn toxic.
You can learn a lot about your business through market research and customer feedback. But if you're building a brand for the long term, there's a deeper story that isn't so easily quantified. It's the more personal story you're telling yourself and then to your customers that keeps people coming back. And after the early stages of a business, one of the biggest challenges isn't just staying true to that story, it's refining it, and staying relevant to both existing customers and new ones.
What are the three most popular customer service complaints you get? Behind each of those complaints is a system in your operations that's either broken, or was never created in the first place. Fixing those underlying systems is the key to turning complaints (which people tell their friends about) to rave reviews (which people tell their friends about).