Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

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How to get from where you are to where you want to be

Exceeding Expectations

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” Roger Staubach

My first company had the tag line “Exceeding your every expectation”. It was printed on everyone of our name cards and it pushed us to go the extra mile many a time. It is only after some years that I have realized, it does not take much to exceed customer expectation. They do not need elaborate gestures to make them feel special, all they need is to be treated honestly and fairly, to be provided with significant value for their purchase and to have all this done in a convenient and efficient manner.

From personal experience I know that there are many service providers I go to even though they may not be the cheapest, biggest or more convenient in the market. For example, all my computer needs and requirements are dealt with at a small shop I have been visiting for years. You may well ask why anyone would do this, in this day and  age of online ordering and convenience ? It comes down to the relationship I have with the owners of the store. It is good to walk into a store where everyone knows you by name and where you know you will always get that extra attention and exemplary customer service, whenever you walk in and need it.

As part of a startup , you need to identify areas where you can add greater value to your clients. You need to show them that you care about their success as much as they do. These are some of the ways I have used to go that extra mile :

1. Remember your customer’s birthdays and make sure you send out either an ecard or an actual card to show that they matter to your business.

2. Gather as much personal data regarding the customer as possible, such as hobbies, interests, family and  other information that may help you with future conversations as well as personalizing services.

3. Remember to thank the customer at the point of purchase and to follow it up with a note via email or mail, thanking them for their business.

4. Leave extra room for you to exceed their expectations. If you promised 5 days delivery time and deliver in three days, that goes a long way. Remember to leave yourself some wiggle room.

5. Put yourself in the customers shoes and ask yourself what you can do, to make the entire process more personable and enjoyable? Treat your customers the way you would like to be treated.

Going the extra mile is a defining and differentiating factor between good and great companies. Building such a culture from the start will provide you with clear competitive advantages. 

Do you have a special story of how you were wowed by a particular vendor?

Related Posts:

Sales and Relationships

 

Filed under: Communication, Customer Service, Sales, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Learning from Experience

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates

We have all been exposed to bad customer experiences. For those of us in the business or corporate world, we have also been on the receiving end when things didn’t work out as expected. That is part of life. Trying to please every customer to their complete satisfaction is a gargantuan and uphill task. However, it is essential to learn deeply from every complaint and put into place systems, which will take care of such incidents in the future. Listed below are a few pointers which should help expedite the learning process:

1. Refrain from pushing the blame onto external circumstances. Sometimes your supply chain gets delayed, it could be a mix up which your delivery system made or bad weather which resulted in your receiving a mouthful from your client. Accept the blame rather than pushing it onto someone else in the organization because that is the last thing an angry customer wants to hear. Once you have accepted the mistake you can go about resolving the issue in a more efficient and effective manner.

2. Extensively document the mistake. This will force you to think and put into a process the actual course of events and why they occurred. I have found the discovery process extremely interesting because you are forced to map out where the entire process started, who was responsible for what, at which stage and most importantly where we need to focus to ensure that the problem doesn’t happen again. It creates ownership in a business and a team constantly striving to deliver their best.

3. Finding the most efficient and effective solution. Once the mistake has been clearly identified the team should reach a collective decision regarding how to avoid a similar issue in the future. Control measures must be put into place and ensuring responsibility for its proper execution is essential. This is a critical step which should be documented and circulated to all team members to show that a decision has been taken.

Such experiences provide a great learning opportunity for the entire team. Once a mistake has been committed there is nothing we can to do to undo it, however , we can set into motion a series of actions which will alter the way we respond to them in the future. With a fanatical focus on ensuring that you cater to your customers every need and make the experience of doing business with you as seamless and comfortable as possible, will garner massive long term benefits.

What was your last customer experience horror story and did your organization do anything about it?

 

Filed under: Communication, Customer Service, Strategy, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real

“We come this way but once. We can either tiptoe through life and hope that we get to death without being too badly bruised or we can live a full, complete life achieving our goals and realizing our wildest dreams.” Bob Proctor – Self made millionaire, radio and TV personality, and success trainer

We are now nearly all set to embark on our journey to success, fame and glory. When beginning any new venture, project, job or relationship we are going to have to confront our fears. This is just a natural progression one takes. Its usually this fear of the unknown which stops us from taking steps towards our goals. Fortunately for us these fears we face are all usually a construct of our imagination. It could be due to previous bad experiences, being too self aware not wanting to fail and a host of other reasons. Luckily we are in control of what we want to feel and imagine so have the ability to stop the FEAR as well as they are nothing but.

Fantasized

Experiences

Appearing

Real

During my journey as an entrepreneur I have faced quite a few of my fears and still have many that I want to overcome. One of them which I still struggle with is Public Speaking. I have now overcome my fear of speaking in front of say 30 odd people. Its when the numbers start to exceed 50 and you are in a large auditorium I still have a problem containing my nerves. When you identify a particular aspect that you have trouble overcoming what I like to do is first to.

1. Identify the fear and the most importantly identify what scares you about it. For me; I fear the audience will think I have no clue what I am talking about and will likely create an incorrect image of who I actually am.

2. Replace the image in mind which scares you, so I have started replicating the times when I feel I am in total control of an audience when I am speaking and I feel the connection with the group.

They key is that you have replace those scary images with its positive opposites. Then repeat until all the fear is gone.

The fact of the matter is that if you want to achieve something extraordinary in life you are going to have take some chances. You have to trust your gut and just go with it. You will be surprised how far you can get with an attitude like that. You will fall along the way but that is how you are going to learn how to pick yourself up. So take your chances today and confront the fears which have been holding you back and start to live the life you have always wanted to.

“If you can’t, you must, and if you must, you can.” Anthony Robbins

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