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5 Steps to Make an Unhappy Customer Happy Again

love We’ve all heard the basic rules of customer service. But they deserve repeating before we discuss how to resolve a customer complaint.

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Rule #1: The customer is always right.

Rule #2: If the customer is ever wrong, reread Rule #1.

These two rules are sufficient most of the time. However, sometimes we must realize:

Rule #3: The customer may not always reasonable.

You must know your boundaries in dealing with an unreasonable customer. If you’re a leader, you must communicate these boundaries to your people so they are effective when customers complain.

5 steps to make an unhappy customer happy again

Step #1 – Let the customer vent.
Before you can attempt to resolve the situation, you must understand it. Find out exactly what is troubling your customer. 

Step #2 – Listen attentively.
While this is really part of Step #1, it is so important that it bears special emphasis. Pay attention to what your customer is and isn’t saying. What are his or her specific objections?

#3 – Restate the complaint or complaints.
Wait until he or she has completely “unloaded”. Then, repeat back to your customer the complaints he or she has registered.

You may say, “Please let me make sure I completely understand your concerns.”  Then restate the complaint.

Step #4 – Assure them.

This is not to say that you agree with him or her. It simply lets your customer know that you recognize how they feel.  There is a difference!    You may say things like:

* “I can understand why you might feel that way.”
* “I can see your point.”
* “I can appreciate that.”

#5 – Find out what they want.

Everything has led to this point.  Simply ask the customer this question: “What would you like me to do?”

If you have handled yourself correctly up to now, you will find they will usually ask for less than you would expect.  If so, give it to them! If not, offer them a reasonable option to resolve the issue. 

Let them decide how they can be happy again.  It will be rare when you can’t find a good solution that makes both of you happy.

Complaints are an opportunity

Good things can come from a customer complaint. You can learn how to improve your procedures.

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georgeI once owned a carpet cleaning business. I remember a customer complained because we didn’t get the furniture put back exactly where she had it. We had a chair misplaced by about an eighth of an inch. From that day on, we asked every customer to look at the room before we left to make sure we had everything in the right place. Our customers were thrilled at this simple change in process!

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Remember this, if a customer is unhappy, they’ll usually do one of two things:

Take their business elsewhere or complain. Which do you prefer?

Research shows that customers, who have had problems resolved to their satisfaction, produce three times the revenue of a customer without a problem. On top of that, they are much more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.

Sounds like a good reason to try to make unhappy customers happy again!
 

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Next time, we’ll discuss what you have to do BEFORE you hire an employee. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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You Can Avoid the Mistakes that Brought this Business Down

quote There’s a great post by Roger Ehrenberg on his Information Arbitrage site. Roger was an investor, board member and leader in Monitor110, a company that planned to become the internet version of Bloomberg. The team had impressive credentials, but ultimately the business didn’t make it.

Roger spells out the reasons why. We admire him for sharing these lessons because most of us don’t like to talk about our failures. These are mistakes that any of us could make, so he provides a great opportunity to learn from others. But even more than that, it’s the way he wrote about it that impressed us – he doesn’t cast blame; he just discusses the lessons he learned in the hopes that we may benefit. And we did!

That’s why we highly recommend that you read the whole post. We’ll hit his highlights here.
 

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7 mistakes that led to the demise of this business

#1 – No single leader
Monitor110 had two leaders – a technology person who was one of the founders and Roger, who was a business person. Roger said this structure just didn’t work.

This reminded us of the number of times we’ve seen two people start a business. It’s pretty common to split everything 50/50. But it’s a recipe for disaster. In almost all cases, there has to be someone who has the final say for a business to succeed.

#2 – The technology-side drove the business
This made us think of the number of entrepreneurs who start a business in their craft. They’re technically oriented. They love their product or service, but they ignore what the customer wants and needs.

#3 – Too much PR too early
Roger’s company was featured on the cover of the Financial Times. You wouldn’t think that would be a problem, would you? But Roger says this raised the bar with everyone – customers, themselves, and financiers … which led to the next problem.

#4 – Too much money
Too much PR. Which led to too much money. Sounds like a company that’s been blessed. But Roger says the blessing turned into a curse.

  • Because of the great PR, expectations went up significantly.
  • Within the financial community, so money flowed in
  • With their customers
  • And most importantly – with the people of Monitor110.

With all these high expectations, they didn’t push a product to market because it needed to be just right. And that didn’t matter because they had a cushion of cash.

#5 – Not enough customer feedback

By now, you see how all of these mistakes were interrelated. Because of the great publicity, they were afraid to show the customers what they had. They didn’t want to disappoint them and be disappointed. But it wasn’t a problem at the time because they had plenty of money. One mistake was feeding another which was feeding yet another.

#6 – Slow to adapt to the market
On a post not long ago, we talked about a military concept called OODA loops. OODA is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. The idea behind the concept is that by getting into the loop, you gain information. Then, by adapting to what you’ve learned, you gain a competitive advantage.

#7 – Disagreements about strategy
This stemmed from the technology side and the business side not being able to come to terms. It’s also an outflow of Mistake #1 – without a single leader, it’s hard to have a clear vision.

Just get started!

All of this made us think of the saying, “You don’t have to get it perfect; you just have to get it going. That’s one of the things that we did with Bigg Success. We talked to a lot of people who had all kinds of great ideas. Some diametrically opposed to each other! We could have easily just got caught in the quagmire.

Ultimately, we just launched. It wasn’t perfect – we knew that. We’ve learned a lot. There are things we would do differently if we had it all to do over again. But by launching, we were able to learn from the most important people of all – our community. We learned from you.

We’re happy to let you know that you’ll be seeing some bigg additions in the near future. So keep checking in and let us know what you think! We’re listening!

 

 

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How to Offer Criticism Without Being Critical

Today’s blog is about an important relationship-building tool. It’s important at work and home. It’s crucial for leaders and first-time managers.

It’s about understanding when to use your “active” voice and when to use your “passive” voice. It may sound simple, but it’s amazing how many times we get it wrong.


Today, we’ll quickly review active and passive voice, and offer some tips on how to use each one effectively.

Active voice
The subject of the sentence appears before the action. Stated more simply, the noun occurs before the verb. The active voice is often more direct and easier to follow.

For example, “You performed exceptionally well on this project.

Passive voice
The action appears in the sentence before the subject, if the subject appears at all. The verb comes first, the noun comes later.

So the example above, spoken in the passive voice would be, “This project was done exceptionally well by you.”

Note that this sentence actually sounds a little strange stated in the passive voice. That’s often the case.

Use the passive voice to offer criticism.
The passive voice has its uses. For example, which of the following two statements would you rather hear?

“You performed below expectations on this project”

“Expectations weren’t met on this project.”

The first example is in the active voice. So the focus is on “you”, not the “project”. The second example does the opposite – using the passive voice, it puts the focus on the project.

The second example sounds better on this go-around, doesn’t it? Can you picture yourself getting defensive with the first sentence? Probably so, because it screams, “You screwed up!”

So when you want to discuss anything negative, use your passive voice. You’ll find that your conversation is much more productive! They won’t feel backed into a corner. They feel more like you’re on their side. You’re not fixing the blame; you’re trying to fix the problem with their help.

Use the active voice to praise people.
Going back to our original example, we’ll bet you would feel great if your boss said, “You performed exceptionally well …”

Can you imagine how your performance would improve if your boss said something like that to you in front of all your co-workers? This is an incredible tool for managers to improve the morale of their troops.

So when you want to tell someone that they did something great, use your active voice. Put them first in your sentences. You’ll feel great because you’ll make them feel great!

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Our bigg quote today comes from Abraham Lincoln:

“He has a right to criticize, who has the heart to help.”

Actively accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives with your passive voice.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to deal with a difficult co-worker. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Women Can’t Win

According to Catalyst, an organization that studies women in the workplace, gender stereotypes still play a major role in how women are judged. If they act consistently with female stereotypes, their competence is questioned. But if their behavior is consistent with that of the stereotypical male, they’re viewed as being too tough.

Catalyst has done these studies all around the world. They’ve found that the characteristics of a good leader vary from region to region. But whatever is considered ideal, women fall short.

So it would seem that women can’t win.

We understand that you can’t change people’s perceptions. To be more direct, you can’t change bias that’s based on stereotypes. You can’t control anyone else.

So why worry about it? Focus on what you CAN control – how you conduct yourself and your business. You are the CEO of the most important organization in the world – YOU, Inc.

So today we’ll offer 3 tips to overcome stereotypes, gender-based or otherwise.

Tip #1 – Be yourself.
You can’t change opinions that can’t be changed. But if people like you, or at least respect you, you’ll succeed. So if you’re a nurturing person, nurture. If you’re assertive, be assertive.

Don’t try to please everybody. Don’t second guess who you are. Don’t try to become what someone else wants you to be. And don’t ever apologize for who you are.

Tip #2 – Promote yourself.

Make sure you’re getting the credit that you deserve. Don’t be so humble. Make sure you keep document what you’ve done. Make your boss aware of it. Then you’ll be in demand – with your current company or a new one.

Tip #3 – If all else fails, find a different workplace.
If your boss or your company isn’t supporting you, move on to a company that will. If you’re not completely ready, start making preparations. And that doesn’t have anything to do with preparation H! This isn’t an easy solution, but you have to go for what you want in life.

Tip #3B – Start your own business.
Create a workplace where you’d like to work. That’s the motivation for a lot of women starting a business. And women are starting businesses today at three times the rate of men.

Turning stereotypes upside down
Here’s something that we found very interesting – traits that are often viewed as negatives in the corporate world are being turned into advantages in the entrepreneurial world.

Margaret Heffernan wrote a great book, How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business. She says that female entrepreneurs emphasize values and relationships. They create a culture that includes employees, customers, and the community at large.

The result – they are building companies that last AND make a contribution. Doesn’t that sound like good leadership?

How have you beat stereotypes, gender or otherwise?
Share it with us by leaving a Comment below!

Our bigg quote is by Anonymous.

“Some leaders are born women.”

But no one is born a leader. You have to take action, but you can do it! After all, you’ve come a long way, baby!

Next time, we’ll sit down at the negotiating table for some delicious tips to negotiate your next deal. The women are having steak … the men are having quiche … how’s that for beating stereotypes?

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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How To Be A Terrible Boss

There’s an old saying that is supported by much research – people join companies; they leave their managers.With that in mind, we thought we’d share seven ways to drive your employees away.

George and Mary-Lynn are experts at driving people away. Listen to today’s show and you’ll find out why we say that!

#1 – Be indecisive.
Postpone making decisions. Send it to committee. Call in a consultant. Wait until you have ALL the information. Analyze EVERY alternative. There all kinds of ways to do this.

Instead of ready – aim – fire, you should get ready and then – aim – aim – aim …

#2 – Don’t let them know what you expect.
Don’t have a plan that you share with them. Don’t make goals or establish priorities. And don’t ever set a deadline. After all, if your people don’t know what you expect of them, they’ll never know how they’re doing. They’ll have to rely on you to tell them.

#3 – Be inaccessible.
Don’t spend too much time at the office. When you do, keep your door shut. Or, if you do keep it open, always look like you’re too busy to talk to any of your employees. They don’t have anything important to discuss anyway, right?

#4 – Be inflexible.

Always follow the rules, without exception. They’re not in place to provide a framework –they’re the law! Business must always come first – no matter what’s going on in your employees’ lives.

#5 – Be inconsistent.
What’s your mood today? Make decisions based on your emotions, not on the plan, policies, and precedents. Don’t treat all of your people all the same – show favoritism. Don’t worry about performance; take care of the people you like.

#6 – Make them feel unappreciated.
Don’t tell them when they do a good job. And when they don’t, criticize them in front of their peers. Oh, and don’t forget – be sure to openly discuss one employee’s faults with some other employee. That definitely will drive people away.

Quickly dismiss any ideas your employees have. Better yet, don’t even listen to them. And, whatever else you may do, don’t trust them with any major responsibilities.

# 7 – Don’t lead by example.
You should have one set of rules for you and another set of rules for your staff. They should do as you say, not as you do.

We need help – how can we keep from driving employees away?
Let us know by leaving a comment at the end of our blog.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from E.M. Kelly.

“The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says, ‘Go!’ A leader says, ‘Let’s go!’”

So, if you want to drive your employees away, just keep driving them.

Next time, we’ll talk about how to reach your goals this week. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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