Tag Archives: good manners

10 Tips on How Companies Can Be More Customer-Centric

17 Nov

A while back, Professor Joel Evans of Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business wrote an article about “Customer Centricity” for Promo Magazine (now part of Chief Marketer.)

The essence of that still rings true today — even more so given the level of competition faced. Here is that article (with only slight edits).

We are now in an era where the marketplace is so cluttered that it is more difficult than ever for any one firm to stand out from the competition—or even be recognized. As a result, a customer-centric approach is imperative.

Most firms promote as fact that they are customer-centric. Many even believe they are. But, one of the most abused terms in business is customer-centric. Here are three true examples to illustrate the point: (1) A leading department store branch is busy. In the women’s apparel section, the checkout line is long. In the shoe department (which is not leased), no one is waiting on line. The sales clerk refuses to ring up any apparel sales. The department store prides itself on outstanding customer service. (2) A customer buys a $100 gift card from a leading consumer electronics chain. The gift recipient spends $90 at the chain and asks for the balance to be remitted in cash. The request is refused. The chain prides itself on outstanding customer service. (3) A local bookstore promotes a policy to “beat any prices.” The policy is good for only three days after a purchase. The bookstore prides itself on outstanding customer service.

There are several things that firms of any type or size can do to truly be customer-centric. Here are 10 ways to facilitate the process:

ONE — Be your own customer. Interact with salespeople. Visit all your facilities. “Think like a customer.”

TWO. Be proactive. Use mystery shoppers to engage your employees in various types of situations. Do customer surveys. Adjust practices as necessary.

THREE — Encourage employee empowerment. A number of firms have cut back on employee flexibility in “bending the rules” for fear of hurting profitability. Yet, research shows that customers are more loyal when they feel the company listens to them.

FOUR — Small gestures can be big. Take a look at “Simple Truths of Service” and see how.

FIVE — Be as honest and informative as humanly possible. Don’t run a full-page ad with the word “SALE” if not all the items in the ad are actually on sale.

SIX — Every firm should offer a meaningful loyalty program. There’s no better way to be customer-centric than to reward continued patronage.

SEVEN — Match your sales staff requirements to your positioning. It is okay for Walmart to have a limited number of sales workers on the floor because of its low-price, self-service approach. Likewise, it is proper for Best Buy to have a lot of staff on the floor since it promotes more personal service.

EIGHT — Use customer-friendly signage. I once addressed a group of supermarket executives and made what I thought was a rather non-provocative suggestion: Have a large sign at the entrance depicting the full layout of the items in the store. My reasoning: With more men starting to shop in supermarkets, better signage was needed. The intense negative reaction to this suggestion was stunning. The supermarket executives thought this would cut down on impulse shopping. My response: If shoppers feel more comfortable and knowledgeable, there will be more impulse shopping—not less, I lost that battle. Supermarkets (and many others), for the most part, still do not have enough customer-friendly signage,

NINE — Run special-themed promotions throughout the year that are NOT price-oriented. Too often, firms view promotions only as “sales,” and run them frequently. However, promotions do not have to just focus on price. (Such tactics typically encourage customers to wait for the inevitable sale and not buy on full price). Examples of good promotions: Contests don’t only have to coincide with special events, such as the Super Bowl. Similar activities can be done at other times. Be creative!

TEN — Encourage employees to be more customer-centric. All those who personally interact with customers should have name tags—from the sales staff to senior executives. Every person who answers the phone (or makes calls) should state his or her name. Employee photos should be prominently placed. Recognition of good employee performance should be posted. One nice thing that I always observe is when a company has a parking space designated “employee of the month.” This is a signal that the company cares about people.

 

Be on Your BEST Behavior When Interviewing

3 Aug

You probably know that first impressions matter; that’s why you learned to look people in the eye and firmly shake their hands. But the art of successfully interviewing for a job is probably not something that you discussed over the dinner table. Just because you got in the door to interview for a job opportunity and put on a suit doesn’t mean that you’re a shoo-in for a job. There’s an art to a successful interview. Unfortunately, not knowing what to do during this crucial time make the difference in landing the job of your dreams.

Perhaps you know some of what it takes to successfully interview. You’ve likely done a little research on the company—but have you plotted out how you’re going to get to the location? How about questions: Sure, you might meet a human resources contact, but do you have the names of every other person who will be in the room? It never hurts to think through, practice, and make all the right steps in a job interview, and this graphic by Aiken Cloud can help.

 


 

Part 3. Being Happier — Words of Wisdom

8 Jun

To round out our three-part series on being happier, we offer the wisdom of Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Nelson Mandela, Holocaust Victim Anne Frank, and Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The wisdom expressed below is part of the UN’s Annual Day of Happiness.

To access our first two parts on happiness, click these links: “Part One. Being Happier in Life: An Infographic” and Part Two. Being Happier at Work: An Infographic”.
 

 

 

 

 

Part Two. Being Happier at Work: An Infographic

7 Jun

As we posted yesterday (“Part One. Being Happier in Life: An Infographic”), one of our key life goals should be happiness, a state of well-being and contentment. This applies to our work lives — not just our personal lives. So again, a good starting point is to ask ourselves how happy are we in our career path and in our current job? Do we understand our level of work-related happiness? What can we do to be happier at work?

According to Happify: “What do the people who are most satisfied with their jobs have in common? Learn these insider tips for being happier and more fulfilled during your 9 to 5.”

Check out the Happify infographic on happiness at work.
 

 

Part One. Being Happier in Life: An Infographic

6 Jun

One of our key life goals should be happiness. As defined by Merriam-Webster: Happiness is “a state of well-being and contentment.” So, a good starting point is to ask ourselves how happy are we? Do we understand our level of happiness? What can we do to be happier?

According to Happify:

“If there’s one takeaway from the science of happiness, it’s this: You have the ability to control how you feel — and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life.”

Happify has some interesting free activities and games to help you live a happier, more fulfilling life.

Click the Happify infographic for a larger view.

 

 

Bud Light Tackling a Big Social Issue

2 Jun

In the past (and even today), most companies have typically tried to stay out of any communications involving difficult social issues — or to even stake out a position.

So, cheers to Bud Light and Ellen DeGeneres for their joint efforts on behalf of gay marriage. As E.J. Schultz reports for Advertising Age:

“‘Gay weddings, they are just like any wedding,” Seth Rogen says in the commercial spot, which shows a wedding between two males. The ad also features Amy Schumer. The two comedians have been starring in the politically themed ‘Bud Light Party’ campaign. The first commercial [below] ran on broadcast TV on June 1 in California and New York, where it will also get paid digital support.”

“A big boost will come from Ms. DeGeneres, who tweeted to her 60+ million followers as part of a paid integration. Her Facebook page has more than 24.7 million likes. The ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ posted the spot on its YouTube channel. Bud Light has also erected rainbow-lit billboards in New York and California.”

“June 1 is the start of LGBT Pride month. It also marks the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on June 26 that legalized gay marriage nationally.  Bud Light previewed the spot with gay rights group GLAAD, with which it has a longtime partnership.”

 

 

All Are Welcome Here

2 May

The American Express OPEN Forum has produced a valuable video, All Are Welcome Here,  based on the acceptance of diversity:

“More than 10,000 small business owners around the country are sending a message. They want their communities to know that all customers are welcome to walk through their doors regardless of religion, country of origin, or immigration status. Amanda Ballantyne of the Main Street Alliance and Elana and Danny Schwartzman, the owners of the Common Roots Café in Minneapolis, tell us about the ‘All Are Welcome Here’ campaign.”

 


 
 
Here is the headline of a poster prepared by the Main Street Alliance.


 

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