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Customer Disservice: Policies That Repel Customers

We've been thinking about customer service lately, inspired by a trip and a book.

 

I was in Chicago recently and I had to use the restroom. I saw this little hot dog place. I thought that I could grab a dog for lunch and use their bathroom. As I approached the door, I saw a sign. The sign said, “No Public Restrooms.” So I stopped, looked around, and noticed a McDonald’s down the street. So I went to McDonald’s.

 

I could see a business limiting the use of their facilities to patrons, because some people will just use the bathroom and leave. But to not even let your customers use it … that seems a little extreme to me.

 

I learned this lesson the hard way. One of my earliest businesses was a Ben Franklin store – the old “five and dime.” We didn’t let the public use our bathrooms. There was one particular day every year when the town held a huge community sale. We got tons of traffic on that day, many needing to use the bathroom. People would come in and walk out because we said, “No”. Why wouldn’t they? We hadn’t served their immediate need. So we changed our policy – and most people who used the restroom did buy something.

 

This makes me think of the book, Our Toilets are Not for Customers by Floyd Coates. He tells the story about shopping for light fixtures. His house had been severely damaged by a tornado. He had to buy lights for his new house, so he went to a lighting store. He was about half done with his list – having already selected about $2,000 worth of merchandise – when he got the call of nature. He asked a clerk where their bathroom was. She said, “Our toilets are not for customers.” She went on, “There’s a place a couple of blocks down the street.” So he left … and he didn’t return – they didn’t get a dime out of him.

 

One of my professors, who became one of my mentors, said that most policies are created for 3% of the people – the exceptions – rather than the 97% who are responsible for the success of the business.

 

The #1 … and #2 … ways businesses flush money down the toilet

#1 – Create policies for 3% of their customers
The hot dog place in Chicago is the perfect example of this. Would more than 3% of the people who walk through the restaurant’s doors do their business without doing business with the restaurant? Yet all of their customers are affected by this policy.

#2 – Create policies for 3% of their employees
The renegades, you might call this 3% of employees. But the other 97% suffer for it. This results in lower morale among all the employees – especially the ones who did nothing wrong. Lower morale leads to lower productivity.

What’s that sound? Oh, that’s the sound of money getting flushed down the toilet!

This 3% rule is a good thing to think about before making any policy decision that affects customers or employees.

We’ve given one example, but there are so many more. What have you seen – as a customer or an employee? How do businesses flush money down the toilet?

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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(Image by Leo Reynolds, CC 2.0)

Warren Buffet’s Single Piece of Wisdom

A bigg salute to Josh Whitford, who writes the Unconventional Marketing blog, for inspiring today’s post.

Josh read the The 4-Hour Workweek, written by Tim Ferriss, and decided to accept the challenge to contact a famous person. Josh chose Warren Buffett.


He wrote a letter to Buffett asking him for “his single piece of wisdom” and sent it along with a self-addressed, stamped postcard. To Josh’s surprise, the Oracle of Omaha responded a couple of weeks later. Buffett simply said,

“Read, read, read.”

A typical Buffett answer – short and to the point!

It’s interesting advice because a poll by the Associated Press – Ipsos showed that one in four Americans hasn’t read a single book in the last year. At least, that’s how the news reported it – we look at that and see that three out of four Americans did read a book last year!

In fact, the last Gallup poll that we saw on this subject showed that over half of all Americans have read more than 5 books in the last year!

Read, read, read … for the sake of your career (and finances)

We hear about the “haves” and the “have nots”. A study by the National Endowment for the Arts [pdf] showed the impact of reading on a person’s well-being – reading less leads to lower reading proficiency which leads to fewer (and lower quality) career opportunities.

For example, according to the study, “Proficient Readers” are 2.5 times more likely than “Basic Readers” to earn at least $850 each week. This study also showed that 44% of Basic Readers lack a full- or part-time job, two times the percentage of Proficient Readers.

So, Warren Buffett said it well … read, read, read.

Read, read, read … to expand your imagination

"When I was young … okay I’d like to think I’m still young … so when I was younger, I used to just read non-fiction, and specifically books on business and investing. Then I took a literature class with a phenomenal professor – a short-story class. It made me use my imagination in a way I didn’t do when I just read books that I thought were more practical."

And as Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than intelligence.”

What’s nice about reading, rather than watching, is that you are the director. You create a vision of the story – the characters, the setting. 

 

"Just think about how many times you’ve read a book that gets turned into a movie. So you get all excited and go see the movie … and it’s not as good as the book! For me, a great example is Stephen King’s book, It. I scared myself more reading that book than watching the movie!"

It’s much more interactive mentally and the skills carry over to your professional life. 

A simple commitment to reading that’s worked better than a college degree
We have a friend who worked his way up in a small business. In fact, he ended up buying the business from the owner. After he bought it, he wished he would have gotten a college degree. But he didn’t have the time – he had a business to run!

So he made a commitment to himself – to read one business book every week. He reads the best sellers and he talks to friends for recommendations. He has that done for years now. He knows more about business than just about anybody we know.

Do-it-yourself knowledge … that’s what Warren Buffett is talking about.

What are you reading? 

Related posts

The Fastest Way to Learn (Re-learn)

Read a Business Book Every Week

(Image by lusi)

Warren Buffet's Single Piece of Wisdom

A bigg salute to Josh Whitford, who writes the Unconventional Marketing blog, for inspiring today’s post.

Josh read the The 4-Hour Workweek, written by Tim Ferriss, and decided to accept the challenge to contact a famous person. Josh chose Warren Buffett.


He wrote a letter to Buffett asking him for “his single piece of wisdom” and sent it along with a self-addressed, stamped postcard. To Josh’s surprise, the Oracle of Omaha responded a couple of weeks later. Buffett simply said,

“Read, read, read.”

A typical Buffett answer – short and to the point!

It’s interesting advice because a poll by the Associated Press – Ipsos showed that one in four Americans hasn’t read a single book in the last year. At least, that’s how the news reported it – we look at that and see that three out of four Americans did read a book last year!

In fact, the last Gallup poll that we saw on this subject showed that over half of all Americans have read more than 5 books in the last year!

Read, read, read … for the sake of your career (and finances)

We hear about the “haves” and the “have nots”. A study by the National Endowment for the Arts [pdf] showed the impact of reading on a person’s well-being – reading less leads to lower reading proficiency which leads to fewer (and lower quality) career opportunities.

For example, according to the study, “Proficient Readers” are 2.5 times more likely than “Basic Readers” to earn at least $850 each week. This study also showed that 44% of Basic Readers lack a full- or part-time job, two times the percentage of Proficient Readers.

So, Warren Buffett said it well … read, read, read.

Read, read, read … to expand your imagination

"When I was young … okay I’d like to think I’m still young … so when I was younger, I used to just read non-fiction, and specifically books on business and investing. Then I took a literature class with a phenomenal professor – a short-story class. It made me use my imagination in a way I didn’t do when I just read books that I thought were more practical."

And as Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than intelligence.”

What’s nice about reading, rather than watching, is that you are the director. You create a vision of the story – the characters, the setting. 

 

"Just think about how many times you’ve read a book that gets turned into a movie. So you get all excited and go see the movie … and it’s not as good as the book! For me, a great example is Stephen King’s book, It. I scared myself more reading that book than watching the movie!"

It’s much more interactive mentally and the skills carry over to your professional life. 

A simple commitment to reading that’s worked better than a college degree
We have a friend who worked his way up in a small business. In fact, he ended up buying the business from the owner. After he bought it, he wished he would have gotten a college degree. But he didn’t have the time – he had a business to run!

So he made a commitment to himself – to read one business book every week. He reads the best sellers and he talks to friends for recommendations. He has that done for years now. He knows more about business than just about anybody we know.

Do-it-yourself knowledge … that’s what Warren Buffett is talking about.

What are you reading? 

Related posts

The Fastest Way to Learn (Re-learn)

Read a Business Book Every Week

(Image by lusi)

Does Barack Obama’s Favorite Music Make Him More Interesting?

Rolling Stone interviewed Barack Obama recently. He revealed his iPod play list, which included songs by:

  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Elton John
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Jay-Z
  • Bob Dylan
  • Stevie Wonder

He said Stevie Wonder is his musical hero. We learn more about him because he shared his musical taste. He’s in touch with the classics and brilliant musicians. He shows his age, yet he’s still in touch with artists of today. 


Mary-Lynn says …
When I think of Bob Dylan, I think of music with a message … that sense of activism.
When I think of Yo-Yo Ma or Stevie Wonder, I think of great musicianship.

And I think of the song, I Wish. How when I was working in radio, I was always excited when that song was coming up. I’d crank it when it was on and do my own boogie!

George replies … 
When I think of Stevie Wonder, I think about the Saturday Night Live skit where he was playing tennis! He got hit by a lot of balls!

Seriously, I think of Ebony and Ivory. I’m a lyrics guy. I can picture the keyboard with its ebony and ivory keys. And Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing it. It’s powerful!

Sharing opens up the conversation
So you see what’s happening here. Barack Obama revealed things about himself. Now we’re revealing things about ourselves. When you share, you open up the conversation because the other person finds things to be interested in. So they find you more interesting and get to know you better. And you connect with them.

So let’s take a page from the politician’s playbook – they look for every single way they can to connect with people.

George’s example:
I’m a husband, a business owner, a professor, a blogger, a podcaster, an alum of the best university in the world … the University of Illinois. And the list goes on. Kind of like Sonny & Cher’s beat!

It’s how people can relate to you, by finding things in common with you.

The more you share, the more you connect

That’s why one of our friends says that you should fill out your profile completely on social networking sites, when you join an organization, and at every opportunity. Share as much about yourself and your interests as you feel comfortable sharing.

We can learn a lesson from politicians on this – the more you share, the more you connect!

Mary-Lynn says …
As we prepared for this show, one of the things we talked about is how neither one of us has been listening to much music lately. This really surprises me about myself because I was a musician and a music disc jockey for many years. So music has been an integral part of my life.

George replied …
That begs the question, Mary-Lynn. Why aren’t you listening to more music now?

And I think I know the answer – you get to hear me sing in the shower! What more could you possibly need?

Mary-Lynn’s retort …
That’s not music to my ears, George!

I work at my computer a lot and whenever I am in the car they’re always playing the same songs on the radio. So I just flip to talk. 

Connect with yourself

Music is an opportunity to connect with others, but more importantly, it lets you connect with yourself. So make time for things that touch you deeply – in your mind, your heart, and your soul.
Whether that be music or something else.

What do you do to connect to others and yourself? Is there something you used to do that you need to reconnect with?

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Related posts

7 Ways to Tap into Your Creative Side

Does Your Hobby Work For You?

Stretch Yourself Anew

The Home Stretch

Make Your Daily Commute Productive

(Image by rollingstone.com)

Does Barack Obama's Favorite Music Make Him More Interesting?

Rolling Stone interviewed Barack Obama recently. He revealed his iPod play list, which included songs by:

  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Elton John
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Jay-Z
  • Bob Dylan
  • Stevie Wonder

He said Stevie Wonder is his musical hero. We learn more about him because he shared his musical taste. He’s in touch with the classics and brilliant musicians. He shows his age, yet he’s still in touch with artists of today. 


Mary-Lynn says …
When I think of Bob Dylan, I think of music with a message … that sense of activism.
When I think of Yo-Yo Ma or Stevie Wonder, I think of great musicianship.

And I think of the song, I Wish. How when I was working in radio, I was always excited when that song was coming up. I’d crank it when it was on and do my own boogie!

George replies … 
When I think of Stevie Wonder, I think about the Saturday Night Live skit where he was playing tennis! He got hit by a lot of balls!

Seriously, I think of Ebony and Ivory. I’m a lyrics guy. I can picture the keyboard with its ebony and ivory keys. And Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing it. It’s powerful!

Sharing opens up the conversation
So you see what’s happening here. Barack Obama revealed things about himself. Now we’re revealing things about ourselves. When you share, you open up the conversation because the other person finds things to be interested in. So they find you more interesting and get to know you better. And you connect with them.

So let’s take a page from the politician’s playbook – they look for every single way they can to connect with people.

George’s example:
I’m a husband, a business owner, a professor, a blogger, a podcaster, an alum of the best university in the world … the University of Illinois. And the list goes on. Kind of like Sonny & Cher’s beat!

It’s how people can relate to you, by finding things in common with you.

The more you share, the more you connect

That’s why one of our friends says that you should fill out your profile completely on social networking sites, when you join an organization, and at every opportunity. Share as much about yourself and your interests as you feel comfortable sharing.

We can learn a lesson from politicians on this – the more you share, the more you connect!

Mary-Lynn says …
As we prepared for this show, one of the things we talked about is how neither one of us has been listening to much music lately. This really surprises me about myself because I was a musician and a music disc jockey for many years. So music has been an integral part of my life.

George replied …
That begs the question, Mary-Lynn. Why aren’t you listening to more music now?

And I think I know the answer – you get to hear me sing in the shower! What more could you possibly need?

Mary-Lynn’s retort …
That’s not music to my ears, George!

I work at my computer a lot and whenever I am in the car they’re always playing the same songs on the radio. So I just flip to talk. 

Connect with yourself

Music is an opportunity to connect with others, but more importantly, it lets you connect with yourself. So make time for things that touch you deeply – in your mind, your heart, and your soul.
Whether that be music or something else.

What do you do to connect to others and yourself? Is there something you used to do that you need to reconnect with?

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Related posts

7 Ways to Tap into Your Creative Side

Does Your Hobby Work For You?

Stretch Yourself Anew

The Home Stretch

Make Your Daily Commute Productive

(Image by rollingstone.com)