Small Business Tips

Keeping Customers Happy - Even When You F*%k Up

Did you get personal with your customers last week? I hope you did!

Let’s face it, we all f*%k up sometimes. Surprisingly, a good f*%k up can be an opportunity to build trust and loyalty with your customers.

Let’s take a little lesson from love. If you’re anything like me, you can remember back to the last argument you had with your partner. If you’re lucky like me, you would have heard a genuine, heartfelt “sorry, how can I make it better” from your partner. If you’re anything like me you will always be right and should hear this a lot ;)

How quickly did a heartfelt apology and desire to rectify the problem make your anger fall away? It’s the same for your customers. If you f*%k up with your customers, apologise and try to fix it. Immediately. Even if you think they’re wrong. Bad news travels fast and if you piss off an already irate customer, that news will travel faster than all f*%k to a LOT of other potential customers.

Genuinely trying to fix the problem and taking a no excuses approach (“sorry, I f*%cked up” rather than “I f*%cked up because of…..”) will help your customer see you’re human (like them), you make mistakes (like them) and you know how to make everything better. They may remember your f*%k up but how you repair it will be foremost in their mind and will be the story they tell other people.

Think about how you handle customer complaints and how you handle your f*%k ups. What do you need to change about how you deal with it? Do you need to learn to swallow your pride? Do you need to respond to them faster?

Set a plan in place about how you will deal with them in future. Make sure your team is on board with your F*%k Up Repair Strategy. DO IT!

Jon Dale
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay
www.smallfish.com.au
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Small Business MBA

Enrolments are open for the Small Business M.B.A - a 7-week program that will allow you to develop skills, plans, action and processes to get your business on track or take it to the next level.

Unlike many online programs, this series of subjects will be interactive and will drive change in your business, due to the level of accountability placed back on you via weekly set homework, which will allow you to implement the weekly content into your own businesses system. Throughout the course, you will be developing ideas and concepts and forming the habit of working ‘on’ your own business each week.

In addition to the content and practical activities, you will have access to your lecturer Tony Ozanne throughout the program to help you when you are stuck, frustrated, annoyed or simply want some guidance, in addition to the homework feedback. You get the access, skill and advice of a Business Coach at non-business coaching pricing throughout the 7 weeks.

All participants will have an individual one-on-one discovery session with Tony prior to the course to allow him to gain insight as to where you and your business are at, and then an additional session at the end of the series to work on your ongoing actions and plans for your businesses continued growth.
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Keep Your Customers Happy By Getting Personal

Did you set up your database last week? Told you I’d be checking on you!

To keep customers happy you need to know what they want. And you get to know what they want by getting to know who they are.

When was the last time you asked your customers for feedback on your service or business? If you have face-to-face contact, when was the last time you asked them about their lives and things they enjoy?

When you know more about your customer you have more opportunities to keep them happy. Whether it’s purely for marketing purposes – these customers buy this stuff only so I’ll only send marketing materials for those products rather than bug them with everything. Too much in-your-face contact can put people off.

When you know more about your customers on a personal level you can help them in ways that may be unrelated to your business but builds trust and gratitude, both of which release feel good chemicals in the brain. Giving more than customers expect is a great way to keep them loyal. Givers, rather than takers or matchers, are over-represented in the ‘successful’ category. Isn’t that the category you want to be in? Then be a ‘giver’ to your customers.

Can you find a way you can help your customer? Can you make an introduction that would help them with an issue they’re facing? Can you solve a problem they have? Can you recommend a resource that might be useful to them?

What one thing could you do this week to get to know your customers better? Think about it then DO IT!

Here are some ideas:

  • An email or survey asking for feedback on your business, what could be improved etc.
  • A quick call to a customer at the completion of a job with the aim of finding out how it went, what keeps them happy about your work, and what else might be helpful to them.

Ask these questions via your social media marketing.

One more thing – when you get feedback, make sure you act on it. Trust is everything in small business.

Jon Dale Read More »

How to keep customers happy

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Spark Sessions - Ignite your business

How to make your emails useful

Despite the obvious fact that this is an email and you are reading it now, most of us don't bother reading them.

How many do you get every day?

I get between 50 and 100 emails every day and almost half are stupid bulk emails from people like Groupon offering me cheap towels or something. I unsubscribe often but it seems (mysteriously) not to work....
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How to make your team perform better

Last week, Jon gave a leadership talk at the Leadership Summit.   Read More »

Leadership Summit - Jon Dale Guest Speaker on Leadership for Small Business

Jon is talking at the Macro Recruitment Leadership Summit, next week.

Someone reckons he's one of the top 20 leadership experts in the world, which seems unlikely (how do you measure that stuff?).

Anyway, he believes he's got a few interesting observations to make about leading people and how important that is if you are a leader (and you are if you employ people).

He's drawing from leadership training he received when at Optus, from his experience during that time and from his experience as a business coach, where leading is a little more direct and close and real world.

Expect some simplified theory and some real world do-able initiatives for you to take in your business, to make your people perform better.
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My business is killing me - responses and further thoughts

Last weeks musing on whether you should get out of your business before it kills you got some emotional responses.

I won't name anybody (that wouldn't be fair) but one guy has had a rough year or three and is hanging on by the skin of his teeth - selling personal assets to carry the business through until orders start coming in again in a few months.

I can feel his pain as I write this. He even had a business coach (spent $60,000 over 18 months) who failed to foresee the changing markets that made life so hard (that's a whole different conversation, isn't it? - more of that one next time, perhaps)

There's still no easy answer to the problem, either - if he holds on and the deals come through and he gets his (rather interesting-looking business) back on track, I'm sure he'll be pleased and feel vindicated.

If he stops trading or finds a buyer and they make it succeed, he'll always wish he kept going.

And if he sells his last assets and fails anyway, he'll have wasted those too and end up with nothing.

Interestingly, they say that most of our most successful millionaires have been bust twice.....

So what would you do? We are interested to hear your thoughts on a situation like this, so leave your feedback in the comments below, or email them to me.

Jon Dale
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay
www.smallfish.com.au
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My business is killing me, should I sell it?

On when it's time to consider giving a business up, the question is "My business is killing me, should I sell it?"

I'm going to try and answer this question as best I can in writing.

If it really is killing you, then it's time to go. If it's a figurative killing you, then the business and the owner need closer inspection. How bad is it? Are you a bit frustrated and needing to change something or are you at the and of your tether?

Are you burning through what little cash resources you have at an alarming rate? Because if you are then exiting immediately might be best. If you aren't, then you have more time to consider your options - can you recover the situation or is it lost altogether?

The figures are important, of course but so is how you feel. If I was talking to someone really in this position, I'd be trying to understand the depth of their need for change and why they wanted change - money, stress, hating it, burnout, frustration and also, could I see a way to help them be happy there again - is it fixable.

So it's not a simple question and it requires careful consideration for each individual and their business. And anyone in this position should obviously call a business coach and request a free session to consider this very question. :)
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