Monthly Archives: February 2015

Customer Service: Tasks or Customers?

The clerk behind the grocery store service counter was running ragged.  There were five customers backed up waiting to take care of business, from purchasing lottery tickets to returning merchandise and from asking about a coupon to getting a price adjustment.

When it was our turn, we made a comment about how busy it appeared to be.  The clerk replied that it had been hectic all day and that the work they’d been assigned “in the back” was not getting done.  At that point, we began the conversation about staffing the “customer service” counter.

We suggested that the reason they were there in the first place was to take care of customers, not whatever the manager assigned as chores or tasks.  There was agreement before a “but” that prompted our response to let the manager know, in no uncertain terms, that the assigned work was not getting done because they were taking care of customers.

If you are a manager or business owner, it is imperative that your employees understand their first priority:  Take care of the customers!  Reports, stocking shelves, team meetings or whatever else is on your agenda of priorities should always take a back seat to taking care of the people who want to move your merchandise and give you money.  Anything less, in our opinion, is poor management.

Consider this example;  You’re shopping in a store and hear the announcement over the  public address system that all “associates” should assemble in the men’s wear section for a team meeting in five minutes.  What’s your perception?

One could be that you have five minutes to get any help before there is no one available to take care of whatever you might need in terms of service.

Two could be that someone is going to get chewed out and made an example of in front of all the other people on shift.

Three could be the manager has a self-inflated ego about what’s important to the company.

A criminal mind might use that meeting to attempt something illegal.

While we realize it is difficult to hold team meetings when a business operates 24 hours a day, they can be conducted prior to a shift change by paying a few minutes of extra time for staff to show up early.  Consider how the workers feel when they have to stop what they’re doing and ignore customers to attend a group get together that may or may not have significance to their performance.

It is far easier to build employee morale through individual attention.  Corrective action is best achieved one-on-one and while praise for exceptional performance is appreciated in a group environment, it is also a boost when provided face-to-face.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand


Old School Advertising

Once upon a time, people looked for information about a business in the yellow pages of their local telephone directory.

Yellow PagesIf a business placed an advertisement in that directory, it was wise to be the first company listed under the desired category.  The “old school” method of naming your company, therefore, was to have a title such as All American Plumbing or AAA Heating & Cooling.  The idea was that the consumer would dial your number first because you were first in your category.

In a sense, they were following the #1 immutable law of marketing;  The Law of Leadership.

Fast forward to 2015 and the world of electronic communication.  Searching the phone directory for a business listing has been following the path of the dinosaurs for a number of years, with the end not too far away.  Today it is much faster and more efficient to look for a business using a web browser on a smart phone, laptop, tablet, or similar electronic device.

In many cases, the listing enables the online user to call the business directly from the listing, view the website, or discover the hours of operation among other choices.

So, although the old school theory of using the first letter of the alphabet to lead the way in a business listing is passe, the law of leadership still applies.

If a potential consumer does not know the specific name of your product, business, or company and chooses to search by a generic category such as “plumber” or “Italian restaurant,” it is critical that your business comes up on the first page of search results, preferably leading the way by being first on the page.  Search engines are intuitive enough to know your location, so searching for an Italian restaurant when you’re in Chicago is not likely to return a result for Poughkeepsie, New York.

The bottom line:  You want to be on the first page of search results!  Statistics have shown that 74% of users will not go beyond that first page.  If your business is not there, you are out of the picture, and will wonder why your website isn’t generating the results you expect.

How do you do it?  One way we recommend is to work with a consulting firm with a proven track record.  Just building a web presence is not enough in today’s competitive environment.  You need the right key words and strong page descriptions, but you also need to understand your market segments – not everyone needs what you offer – and provide relevant content that entices your ideal audience members to use your products and become loyal to your brand.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand