One of my pet hates has always been the lack of Customer Service in the independent sector as well as the Nationals.
Poor customer service can break your business and in the current economic climate we don’t need something as basic as good customer service to slip.
I believe customer service if demonstrated and trained from the top should come as automatically as opening up in a morning.
Politeness costs nothing and serving in the service/hospitality industry is part of the job role.
My mantra has always been ‘Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself’ so it just makes me wonder how complacent we are becoming.
Customer feedback is not something to be feared but something to work with. It defines the areas of your business that need looking at to improve the experience of your clientele.
Perhaps you just need to stress the importance of customer service when you induct new staff, perhaps existing staff need a refresher on dealing with the customer.
Rewarding staff is a good way to generate excellence; its amazing the difference it can make by just presenting a Certificate to the Employee of the Month can make. Other staff members are automatically going to step up to the mark. Maybe the Employee of the Month could provide hints and tips for the Company Newsletter?
Your staff members are your reputation, their level of service can affect the balance in your till in the future, perhaps this could be the difference between staying in business or not.
What do you think?Posted in Marketing | Tags: Added Value. Business growth, customer service, training
The dynamics of Networking is changing. The businesses that used to Network to find new business are looking for more than this.
Nowadays, I am finding that they want to learn something specific to help their business grow. It might be tax related, or advice on marketing or a plethora of other things that as a group leader we have to source the information and pre-empt the thought process, continually striving to keep ahead.
For me this is where providing added value to the Membership comes in and is something that is continually worked on.
As a networker, what do you want to get out of a meeting for your money? What drives you to attend meetings? What makes a meeting complete for you?Posted in Networking
Yesterday I was pleased and surprised that a local chain of grocery stores contacted me and told me that one of their staff had been disciplined after I had complained on Twitter about her rudeness.
I had passed a comment; they got in touch, took details of my complaint and promised to get back to me. When they did it was telling me they had dealt with it and also will be looking at their staff training in that particular branch.
The most pleasing part of this being that they are on the look out for mentions of their business and are not frightened of making contact and addressing issues.
Are you as open to this form of customer service? Do you need to be more alert as to what your customers are saying about you? Are their steps you can take quickly and easily to be as on the ball as they are?
If it helps to keep customers happy and talking about you in a positive light perhaps its worth taking a couple of minutes to review your systems?Posted in Marketing | Tags: customer service, marketing, strategies, systems
Recently time has been a little limited and one of the things that has gone by the wayside has been this Blog
This is something that I will be putting to rights in the future as I am acutely aware of the benefits of blogging for business and raising awareness of the work of The Rural Meeting Place.
Using a Blog, promoting it through Facebook and Twitter as well as LinkedIn and your website can show potential clients the range of your knowledge and expertise.
With a range of consultants and business advisors in the market place it is essential to show the world what you are capable of and the approach that you take to business. I know this is the same in all professions; so show your knowledge and pen a few words on a regular basis to help promote your business.
So, I apologise for my tardiness and promise to resume blogging regularly about the A-Z of promoting your business and many other random business thoughts that come to mind.Posted in Rural Meeting Place | Tags: blogging, Expertise, raising awareness, Time Management
Keep Talking… to everyone about your business, how you can help and above all else to remind people that you are still here.
Clients/Customers will welcome a quick call, e-mail or letter from you as a reminder that you are still operating. Fitting in with the 80/20 rule this could be your lucky contact. For sales people it is important to remember that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.
When was the last time you picked up the phone to your best and your worst customers? A quick courtesy call will bring you to the forefront of their minds and wouldn’t it be great if that call ended up with an order?
You could even be brave and ask them if they know of anyone else who would be interested in your product or service… you don’t get if you don’t ask!
K.I.S.S or as we call it in a sales environment Keep It Simple Stupid… So many people are tempted to go chapter and verse on a product or service with features, benefits, pain relief etc etc (In other words everything they have heard other people talking about) and overloading the prospect who walks away not really knowing what you were there for. Sometimes this can result in you losing a ‘sale’ because you have actually talked them out of buying or even missed the signal to buy.
I find a quick overview chat is good and then asking questions and allowing the prospect to ask questions that you can then answer using the knowledge that you have stored.
I remind you of an occasion that many people have heard about when I was working with a company and we were looking for sponsorship. The poor Commercial Manager was up against the wall, needing sponsorship, and spent half the day giving chapter and verse to answerphone machines and wondering why these people were not calling him back or not available to take his call. What would you have done in their position?
It demonstrates that you only need to give enough information to whet the appetite and then you get the second chance to go in for the sale but if you give everything in the first place, the brain overloads and they then have the opportunity of not taking your call and having to say no! Resulting in you getting despondent and the prospect being wary of speaking to you at any time.Posted in Rural Meeting Place | Tags: 80/20 rule, business, Expertise, marketing, Rural Meeting Place
This is another way of showing your knowledge and encouraging people to use you and/or your business. It is also another place to keep information that you do not necessarily want to put in your website content, whether this is because of the volume of information that you have compiled or because they are your thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the view of your Company. If this is the case please make sure that you show this somewhere prominent in the Journal/Blog
This is also a way of showing your expertise in a your specific area of expertise and can help potential customers/clients make up their mind about using your business for their specific needs.
Have you got Ten Top Tips that you can share? Do you have a view on new industry news that you can share with your readers?
All of this is information that your readers will be interested in hearing and will make you stand out from your competitors.
You can also link it back to pages on your website to show more information etc and thus increasing the the chances of your potential viewers finding more out about your Business.Posted in Rural Meeting Place | Tags: advertising, Blogs, business, Expertise, Rural Meeting Place
Everybody likes to think that they have learned something from you for free so give some information to show that you know what you are talking about but do not be tempted to give too much away as you will always be looked upon as the one to go to for advice without payment. Learn to know when to say ‘OK shall we formalise this and put a date in the diary when we can talk about rates/fees’
Always have information available for your prospective clients/customers. This can be in any format but should be available to hand over if requested or suitable. If its on your website, ensure that its up to date and relevant.Posted in Rural Meeting Place | Tags: advertising, marketing, promotion, Rural Meeting Place
Who are we?
www.theruralmeetingplace.com a networking organisation offering something different to South Shropshire Business, North Herefordshire Business and North Worcestershire Business by way of convivial meetings in these areas with the aim of doing good business and increasing members profiles.
Why is the Rural Meeting Place Blogging?
To promote the benefits of networking in a rural environment and to periodically showcase some of our members. But more importantly to have fun.
Who will read this?
Members of the Rural Meeting Place and anyone else who cares to join us and develop this arena.Posted in Rural Meeting Place
One of the benefits of being a paid up Member of the Rural Meeting Place is to supply content for this Blog area. If you are a member and would like to send me something to put here please do. I am looking for material that will make people aware of you and what you do and that will add value, so some interesting Industry news would be good, info on how you can help readers ease their business pains is definitely of interest as would be news of any Industry awards that you have won or are in the running for will be of interest. Promote yourself and your business through this Blog area. If you have something to tell but do not want to write it let me know and I will put it together for you.Posted in Rural Meeting Place | Tags: Benfits of membership, Members, Rural Meeting Place
At wednesday’s meeting we discussed the merits of walking away from Clients. It was very interesting to discover that the Members present, Sole traders through to the larger business, all were of the same opinion on this matter. Our business is the one in control and not the prospective customer/client. We as individuals decide who we want to do business with and how. The how being whether we credit check the potential client first (a resounding yes), put them on a 30 day account, ask for a deposit up front or just decide not to do business with them at all. The over whelming feeling was that it is far better to take a decision prior to commencement rather than to regret a decision further down the line. All of this considered it was agreed that it is still possible to make mistakes but more bearable when a system had been followed.
Have you had to walk away from a client? How did you deal with it?Posted in Clients | Tags: Clients, Walking away