Jun 15 2015


MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESSBeing critical and judgmental of other businesses does nothing but get us a bad rep and (believe this!) make it harder to succeed. What we get back isn’t much different than the return on our investment for putting down other people. At some point, it all comes back to bite us in the butt!

When you feel a judgmental statement winding it’s way up your throat, suck it back down with a deep breath before it ever gets to your tongue. Use your teeth like gates in case it actually does get that far. Hold your tongue. Shut the gates. And mind your own business. (Oh, uh, it might hurt if you hold your tongue while you close your teeth.) If all of this is too hard to swallow, you should not be in business to start with.

Anyway, we all like to criticize. We all think we can do better. And, guess what? Maybe we can do better, but remember that no matter how great we think we might be at something we’re good at (like running a business?), it’s a no-brainer bet that someone else is even better.

It should be needless to say, but those few folks who’ve been holed up like hermits with no outside world awareness’s beyond their smartphones and tablets (is that like everyone under the age of 25?), this tidbit of caution goes –in spades–for Customers! They are the people who are NEVER wrong . . . even when they’re not right!

Real entrepreneurs exist for their customers.

Just because corporate muckity-mucks make a lot of “Love the customer” noise doesn’t mean they really care. But customers are literally the lifeblood of entrepreneurial enterprises.

I mean, just imagine:  If corporate employees were properly trained, and –no matter who called or answered whatever phone– everyone would know how to deal with every customer and no Customer Service Department would even be needed.

Companies could literally save fortunes that could be reinvested in their people . . . and their customers! Sadly, this bit of entrepreneurial thinking has not yet met with acceptance as the effective antidote it is for corporate career contamination.

So just because the corporate guys delegate Customer Service to others, entrepreneurs cannot. Entrepreneurs don’t have that luxury. Entrepreneurs, true entrepreneurs, are who they are because they–always and everywhere–tend to their customers and mind their own business.

Do you?

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

God Bless You and Thank You for Your Visit!



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May 12 2009


Train. Ask. Listen. Bend.


     First of all, there’s no reason in the world a small business needs a customer service department or customer service representatives. EVERY manager and every employee is or should be able to handle any customer complaint, concern, question or transaction. If they’re not, TRAIN them. Spend a few dollars to bring in a professional trainer (it’s cheaper than paying a rep salary or a department full of salaries).

     Periodically send a friend or relative in (physically, or by phone or email) as a “mystery shopper” to keep everyone fresh and on their toes. Tell your people of course that this will happen from time to time. You can even make a game of it with mystery shopper points for outstanding ratings, adding up to dinner for two or some inexpensive but fun reward (again, still less expensive than permanent salary or benefit increases or bonuses).

What should the training be focused on?

ASKING customers’ questions. (Not “What can I interest you in today?” or “How’s the weather outside?” or “Why don’t you want this product?”) Ask how they are or were using, or plan to use, the product? Ask what three things can you do for them right now that will help restore their confidence in your company, or how can you help them to have a positive shopping experience with your business, or what will it take to get them to return…to send their friends and relatives?

LISTENING to customers’ answers. (Not token “hearing,” but deeply listening, and understanding, and processing the comments, and paraphrasing them to make sure your understanding is correct.) The customer should do 80% of the talking. You should do 80% of the listening. Oh, and take notes. Always take notes. Nod your head. Smile. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes (empathy). Avoid crossing your arms, legs or hands. Be engaging. Use eye contact (not staring) and avoid looking past or over the person in front of you. 

BENDING to customers’ requests.This means really and truly bending over backwards to accomodate what’s asked of you. This does NOT mean you should give away the store or the farm or your sister. Don’t roll over and play dead to every request (assertive refusals can be delivered very pleasantly), but offer SOMEthing. Most people are happy with being acknowledged and listened to. Those who want more are usually happy with some token of appreciation for their forthrightness. Remember your goal needs to be to deliver exceptional attention to each customer with no exceptions. Send each one off to sell your business to others.

     If you have a small operation, with a dozen or fewer people, and want to save money, do the training yourself…but do your homework first, ask everyone to contribute a segment, and remember to practice what you preach!

     The bottom line is the old “Golden Rule” of do unto others as you would have others do unto you! There is no better approach to customer service in ANY economy. And when business is slow, there is no better approach to speeding it up! Try it! You’ll like it!     

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Send your input anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar              # # # 

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May 02 2009


“It Don’t Matter To Me!”


     That song title should be your answer (aside from the ungrammatical “don’t”) to any question about who’s to blame for this economy. All that matters in the end is what you are doing about it for your own business or professional practice.

     Whether you’re a doctor, a retailer, a small-size manufacturer, a distributor, agent, or service provider, it’s time to take a hard look at how you are dealing with your current spending plans. This, for example, is NOT the time to fold up the sales and customer service training rug and store it in the basement. Besides the fact that basement-stored rugs attract mold and mildew, there are better solutions.

     Check in with your local community college or adult education program for an inexpensive training option. Or, do it yourself! Or round-up a team of masters or doctoral students from a nearby university to put a program together for you.

     Many internship programs across the country award academic credits for firsthand real-life experiences. A combination of business and education or psychology majors should be able to package a good motivational training program for your business. Some training is better than no training!

     Just be sure you present such a program in the right light and discourage over-the-top expectations. Help your people to see such an occasion as an opportunity to foster idea exchanges and teamwork, instead of setting up training quality judgements. Point out that what they will get from any program is what they end up putting into it.

     Speaking of motivation, remember that small frequent rewards (like family entertainment arrangements and lunch invitations) are more meaningful in the overall scheme of things than high-priced permanent rewards (like salary/benefit increases).

     Look at ways to promote your business without having to bite the media advertising bullet that will undoubtedly break a tooth if not your wallet. www.BizBrag.com is a terrific free site to register with and post free news releases and newsy photos — every day if you like!

     People are selling everything under the sun on Twitter these days. Also for free. You need tenacious endurance to make Twitter work for you, but it will if you will. Didn’t tenacious endurance get you to where you are anyway? 

     Are you asking people in your family to help you with certain tasks that will help free up your time so you can be more focused on sales, for example? Maybe retired Uncle Harvey wouldn’t mind at all coming in a few times a week to do some light cleaning (in exchange for some sports tickets or a couple of dinners out) to help offset custodial service fees?

     Cover the tax-deductible cost of some business books for your college student son, daughter, neice, nephew, or cousin in exchange for some office, fieldwork or factory floor interns? Combine expenses with neighboring businesses? Shared transportation and shipping costs, even direct mail postage, advertising, clerical and website maintenance sharing are possible.

     Think it out. Tough it out. But stay focused in the process, and stimulate your OWN budget!    

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      . . . I’m open to your input anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thank you for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

FREE BLOG SUBSCRIPTION? Click on ”Posts RSS Feed” (Center Column). FEELING CREATIVE? Visit the daily growing 7-Word Story (That’s now 231 days in the making) and add your own 7 words: http://halalpiar.com/?page_id=157

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