Friday, April 25, 2008

Importance of Effective Communication or Team Communication

I am presently working with a client and we are in the process of recreating his business image. Part of this process is to train his employees' on professionalism but also in the process putting the most effective people in place to enhance his goals. So in essence, we are starting the process of reorganizing his organization to place the most effective people in the right positions for their strengths and skills.

Having been an employee of a couple of companies who reorganized, I recommended starting the process of communicating with his employees to get their feedback and opinions on the growth of the company. If an employee is allowed to give an opinion, whether it be in writing or verbally, the feeling of being part of the process is portrayed and welcomed. Everyone likes to give an opinion. It is a sign of team communication.

Your employees are your team. If you have effectively communicated your goals in the beginning of their training and they adopted the rules, they are your team. Perhaps not all employees' are part of the team. This will become evident as you open the communication with your employees.

I recently ran across a blog entry concerning communication and a chair. The essential concept is:

"Two chairs. A topic. No technology. The whole world of business broken down to its simplest form - face to face, honest communication."

"She plopped down two chairs in the heart of this busy corporate campus and put a sign over the two chairs calling out a topic for the day. She occupied one chair and then waited. And waited. And waited for another employee to sit down and discuss the topic she had posted. No technology. No motives. Just a person genuinely interested in her co-worker’s thoughts and feelings."

This young lady came up with an original idea and the efforts from her idea were a welcome format. The employees' thoroughly enjoyed sharing and talking with her. You can read the full story at The Lonelymarketer.

Have you ever considered trying a chair concept in your business? If not, why not? Perhaps it is time to gather feedback from your employees.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

10 Reasons Why Your Customer Service Fails

I receive a newsletter from Marketing Professionals and it had an excellent article called "Top 10 Reasons Why Your Customer Service Fails" by Valerie Maltoni.

Here is a brief on what she wrote:
1. You’re doing all the talking – my grandmother used to say: “we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. They are meant to be used proportionally.”

2. You are not doing anything about it – you don’t follow through with the feedback you request.

3. Your customer service reps don’t have the power to help – you are putting the most junior and least supported staff up front.

4. You have no idea of the cost to you of losing customers – if you were paying attention, you would know that good service means you retain more customers. Acquiring new customers costs more.

5. You see customer service as a cost, not a benefit – when you look at your department as overhead, you tend to under fund it and under staff it.

6. You are not keeping your brand promises – it does you no good to spend millions in advertising when customers find you difficult to deal with. A good experience is one of the best investments in your brand.

7. Your product needs help, start there – it is quite natural to think that your baby: your product or service is the best. Well, it may not be and that’s where you need to start helping customers, by providing a better one.

8. You did not notice the problem, so you’re behind on fixing it – this is how crisis get started.

9. You don’t have customer service – nobody is assigned to it, nobody owns it.

10. You don’t listen to your customer service reps – they know what’s going on and they would tell you.

She made some excellent points and all that I agree with. To view the whole article, you can visit her blog at: Top 10 Reasons Why Your Customer Service Fails. Take time to read the whole entry.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Business Plans: Five Ways to Benefit From Your Road Map

Is your business running according to your plan? What, no plan? Or perhaps you have a plan but haven’t looked at it in a while. When is the last time you went on a road trip without a map? You need the same tool in your business.

A business plan, if used properly, can be one of the most effective tools that you will utilize in your business. It is the road map for your present and future business growth. Your business plan is your business road map. It helps you to remember why you started in business, your vision for the future of the company, and the steps you plan to initiate to reach the growth expectations.

How can a plan help? Here are five ways a business plan can benefit you:

  1. It will help you to put in writing your objectives and determine how to implement them.

  2. It is a tool to share with your employees, business ventures, accountant, and others, informing them of your mission, vision, and strategies.

  3. To build upon your strengths in your business and to identify the weaknesses.

  4. To determine your cash flow needs and projections for future growth.

  5. To determine short term goals and long term goals. Short-term being a few months or year, and long-term being 3, 5, or 10 years in the future.

Many people consider starting a business and just jump in. No plan, just talk, and a dream. After the launch of the business they get overwhelmed and cannot remember why they started a business or the original idea. Somewhere along the way they lost their vision.

When you have a plan in writing it helps to keep you focused, track progress, and modify when needed. The results of your business tracking will help you to be aware of what is working and when change is needed. You learn from your experiences and modify when sharp curves are in the distance.

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” Earl Nightingale

If you have not started your plan, find a source and get started. Put your dreams, plans, and vision for your future on paper. Once written, re-evaluate it monthly. Modify when needed and keep it updated.

It may seem overwhelming in the beginning but if you take it one section at a time, your plan will be accomplished in a short time. It will be there to keep you on track and give guidance. It is always better to know where you are headed then to wonder where you have been.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Have a Marketing Dilemna? Turn it into a positive thing.

It is articles or ideas such as this that makes me know why Seth Godin is who he is. I recently ran across an entry in his blog titled The Bad Table and thought it was worth sharing with my readers. It is a great concept on how to turn a negative into a positive.

I hope you take the opportunity to read it.