The buck stops here

Ringing or not?
No customers. I thought this would be easy. Rising from my seat at one end of the counter;




“Hi”, with a pleasant smile and my $5 in front of me, “could I have a flat white please?”

“You’ll need to come down to this end of the counter where the till is (10 metres away).”




Possible responses:

1. Certainly, my apologies, I didn’t realise I was inconveniencing your business so much by bringing my custom.

2. Would it be possible for you to bring the till down here?

3. I’m sorry I must have misheard you I thought you asked me to do something for you?

4.

The last of these – I say nothing. I’m walking away. The person behind the counter thinks I’m the one with the problem. This is my clear favourite.

Businesses excel when they relentlessly lookout for their customers and ensure their personnel do as well.

‘Front of house’ can be the first or last hurdle in your business, either way it is critical. Invest, train and reward well. It is integral to your product (cars, professional services, industrial equipment, coffee – no difference).

Clients know this. If you ignore it, you’ll never know who you never knew.

Imagine if the response was:

Big smile –

Certainly Sir, have a seat I’ll bring your change. How about a yummy warm muffin with that?

Or

A large one today Sir? (Gee, do they recognise me?). Can I get you anything else? It’s a bit quiet today (Actually this wouldn’t happen; everyone would be in line for the great service).

The outcome:

You double your sale.

The customer is guaranteed to return.

Clients buy service, if you don’t believe me go and buy a new Mercedes.

Why create exceptional and sell ordinary (or worse)?

Be clear about where and how your product/service is sold – make sure the buck doesn’t stop there.

Change is not an option

Into your future?
As a leader, if you’re not creating change you are inviting certain extinction of both your role and your company.

As a Change Manager I realised ‘Change’ was a redundant qualifier.

If you are managing or leading, even a conservative role, you must constantly be looking for what needs to change.

Be nimble: change-ready and active.

Sadly however the number of leaders and managers I seeing being nimble are too few, even fewer if you required them to be pro-actively nimble.

You need to be changing yourself, changing the organisation and encouraging, supporting and cheering on everyone else to do the same.

If someone in your organisation is not changing you need to rethink your strategy, make some decisions and kick things into action.

Stuck in the mud is dead in the water.

Ideas to promote change:

Celebrate failure. You want change to be guaranteed? Sorry you won’t be nimble enough often enough.

Crash the car. Put a team on dismantling a service or product and seeing how they might build it from scratch.

Break up successful teams. Use your best when you need to, but if they really are good then ‘share the love’. Inject their skills and enthusiasm into the gaps. Elite is unproductive.

Mea culpa. Admit your mistakes, show your willingness to try, to invent, to explore, but don’t hide from the things that don’t work. Do it without shame.

Take an axe to the suggestion box. If you can’t talk to your managers and they can’t talk to their teams, then you’re nowhere near where ideas will thrive and change will be a way of life. Like an extra steering wheel in your car – the suggestion box looks like it could be handy but it only invites chaos.

Rethink quality systems. If they don’t foster change they’re unsustainable, change them, NOW!

And of course…Celebrate success.

No thank-queue

The Ghost of customers past



Ever been pleased to be in line?

Not likely.

Hospital surgery waiting lists are a rare example where queues have a benefit – in this case priority treatment, though renaming them ordering lists may be appropriate.

Ironically the most obvious example of frustrating queues is the doctors’ surgery.





For example – If a patient at the doctors is kept waiting for 10 minutes and this continues throughout the day (4 patients an hour for 8 hours), this totals 5 hours and 20 minutes of client waiting time , daily per doctor.

No wonder we are called Patients!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of giving extra time to clients when you think you have a bit to spare, but the point is – you don’t – and certainly your ‘other’ clients don’t!

The twist is – the problem is often phasing (you got behind once) not supply (Doctors) or demand (Patients).

Re-modelling the doctors’ surgery;

You ensure the first client finishes on time, the next client is quick saving you 5 minutes, the third client who could do with a bit more got 20 minutes as you got underway early, you still finish on time.

And so it goes; at the end of the day probably everyone got what they wanted, got what they needed and many will be delighted, no-one actually waited for their appointment.

It’s the same practice, clients, length of day; just a truly customer centric model. I’d go back to this one and tell my friends.

Where is the waiting room in your company?

• Unanswered phones?
• Orders not fulfilled or taken?
• Calls not returned?
• Queues?
• Appointments not honoured?
• Customers waiting for an update?
• Customers who don’t know you care?

Find your bottlenecks. Address them and you may well create a supply and demand problem!

The remedy is seldom as difficult as you think.


Next!