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Do your employees Give Great Phone? Would they know if they did or didn’t?
What I see most often in small business is that we rush to hire and then fail to follow up with their training. We put new hires on the phone not knowing if they know how they talk to customers. Then why aren’t we following up on what the new hires say to the customers? By not praising and rewarding them on what they did right we are teaching and training them poor customer service. Your employees don’t know what they don’t know!
Clients use our program to do the following:
- Locate and identify small problems before they become bad habits
- Identify training and operational weaknesses
- Identify opportunities to serve customers more effectively than the competition
- Link incentives to performance
Telephone Mystery Shopping
We do this by listening to your staff phone calls. We report on inconsistent or incorrect answers given to customers across multiple calls. Clients can then correct inconsistencies to ensure that accurate and consistent information is given in response to inquiries.
Win more sales. Learn more about your strengths and your competition’s weaknesses. This will help you to have a more direct comparison on your services, products, and pricing.
Increase revenue by turning customer transactions into winning opportunities for employees. Instant-reward mystery shops recognize employees that Give Great Phone and reward them with prize packages. What happens when every employee knows that at any time the next customer could be a phone mystery shopper?
The only thing that separates your business from others is customer service, that type of service doesn’t happen by accident. Train yourself and your employees to excel and the results will amaze you!
We will develop a process that fits your companies’ needs, and then we will train your staff on fulfilling your customers every expectation.
Industries We Serve
- Food and Beverage
There are many ways that companies improve operations through the use of telephone mystery shops.
- Turn Calls into Sales:
Ensure that a Prospect’s Initial Point of Contact is consistently Positive: For many businesses, an employee who answers the phone is a new prospect’s first point of contact with the business. It is critical to evaluate how employees sound and what wording they are using when making a first impression. YOU spend too much time and money making the phone ring to let them fail!
- Train New and Existing Employees:
Whether you operate bank branches, restaurants or retail units, an effective way to provide guidance to employees on phone expectations is to allow them to listen to a phone interaction between an actual employee and customer. With recorded phone calls, you have that opportunity.
- Evaluate Customer Service Skills:
A mystery shopper posing as a customer can call your locations to see how employees will respond. Does your company have a specific process for problem resolution? Are you concerned that employees are not all following the process consistently? Recorded phone calls can shed some light on these issues.
- Provide Positive Feedback:
Managers listening to an employee’s phone discussion with a customer have a concrete example of what the employee sounds like on the phone. This is easier than trying to listen to an employee on the phone as you are passing by. When listening in passing, you may not remember exactly what was said, and you don’t have the luxury of hearing what the customer was saying. With recorded telephone shops, when an employee uses effective wording, sounds enthusiastic, and exceeds expectations, you have another way to provide them with positive feedback.
- Provide Constructive Feedback:
Employees do not capitalize on the opportunities that a phone conversation with a prospect may present. For example, the employee may not invite the prospect to visit the location to learn more or purchase the service/product. In this case, there is an opportunity to listen to the call together and discuss what the employee might say next time to make the interaction more effective.
Get in touch with Chris
I read an article by Tarah Marie Carr the other day and in it she talked about relationships and how important it is to be a Thermostat and not a Thermometer. Since then I have been thinking about it in a business situation and I am astonished at how many Thermometer’s I have worked for or been in contact with. Please let me explain.
First I need to talk about what a Thermostat is and does and what a Thermostat does as well. A Thermometer moves up and down with the surrounding environment, IT reacts to changes around it as they are happening. A Thermostat sits in a constant state and makes the environment around it change to meet its needs at the time. Now sometimes the Thermostat can be moved up or down if need be but not without an overriding force from outside.
I used to work for a manager that placed an empty bucket just inside the employee area and when things got stressful for him he used to come out the door and kick the bucket across the room all while pulling out his pack of cigarettes, light one up and just glare at everyone. When he was done he would just stalk away. Leaving everyone so stressed out about what was going on that we wouldn’t speak to each other for hours. Now I know this is an extreme example but it’s very true.
Have you ever worked for or with someone that as times got more stressful they started stalking around screaming at everyone and accomplishing nothing? If so you worked with a Thermometer. On the other hand have you ever worked with someone that was cool as a cucumber as the work load around them increased and things got more stressful? In doing so were they able to reduce the stress level of those working around them, being able to calm the entire group? If this is the case then you worked with a Thermostat.
It is extremely important as you mentor, lead and manage others around you that you become the Thermostat as the guiding force of the group. Now I want you to sit back and answer this question honestly, are you currently being a Thermometer? If so, why? What can you start doing today that can change the way you let your environment affect how you lead others?
As always if you need help in your business or need help personally feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Get in touch with Chris
- Get Connected- Communicate often and connect with your team. Connect with a team member for brief chats and focused discussions regularly, not just when you need something. Find a way to relate to the things that the team member is experiencing at work, at home, and in life. Take an interest in learning what is important to your team members.
- Be Direct-Communicate clearly. Make sure that what is spoken is what is heard. When a team member asks you a question, answer truthfully. Give as much appropriate information as you can. If you don’t know the answer, say so. When you have finished talking, ask questions to ensure the team member understands your answers. If there is something that should be said in the moment, say it. Don’t wait.
- Be Open-Share information and perspectives. Be Transparent. Openly share your own challenges and perspectives with a team member. Accept, without judgement, how team members view themselves or a situation. Be direct and kind. Don’t avoid the truth, but phrase it in a constructive way.
- Demonstrate Respect-Be fair, kind and civil. Give credit to others and speak about people as though they are present. Play an active role to build or mend a working relationship with a team member. Give praise, feedback, coaching and the opportunity to offer ideas and grow. If you talk about a team member who is not present, keep the conversation constructive. Uphold Confidentiality.
- Listen-Genuinely understand a person’s thoughts and feelings. (Remember that line about making sure that what is spoken is what is heard? It works both ways.) When a team member is explaining a situation or problem to you, fully listen. Don’t cut people off in mid-sentence to jump to a solution. Ask questions to be sure that you fully understand the team member’s point of view.
- Be Accountable-Walk the talk and keep commitments. No passing the blame. The buck stops with you. When you make a commitment, follow through and honor it. If the commitment is more than you have time for, find an alternative solution. Accept responsibility for the success or failure of the relationship.
- Right Wrongs-Apologize quickly, take action to make it right and be humble. If you’ve hindered someone’s success or caused unnecessary work pain, apologize and determine how you could have done a better job. Ask others to hold you accountable for doing getter the next time. Ask a team member to right any wrongs with others.
- Be Competent and Deliver Results- Make the RIGHT things happen. Understand the business and your role, and fulfill that role. Clearly and regularly communicate key measures of team members. Together, identify and discuss a team member’s strengths and blind spots.
Get in touch with Chris
If you originally learned how to delegate tasks to employees like I did, in the “old School” style, you walked through your business very rapidly barking out orders as you went along. John do this, Joe do that. If you did it correctly then you took about 3 minutes, managed to make a circle and ended up back at your desk before anyone was able to stop you. At this point you re-immersed yourself in what you were doing and then were amazed to go out an hour later only to find that none of it had been done. I am going to show you a better way. This will increase the amount of tasks that your staff gets done and when done correctly will help you build a better relationship with each individual employee and will increase morale.
What do you need to know before you get started?
- Be specific about what you want done.
Before you assign a job task, be sure to ask yourself:
- What exactly do I want done?
- What outcome do I need?
- Why does it need to be done?
- Ensure the Team Member is capable of performing the task
What is the Team Member’s level of competence in performing the task?
- Do they have the skills and experience?
- Have they successfully completed the task before?
- Have they successfully completed a similar task before?
What is the Team Member’s level of commitment for performing the task?
- Do they have the confidence to perform the task?
- Do they seem nervous or uncertain?
- Do they have the motivation to perform the task?
- Do they see any personal benefit to accomplishing the task?
- Allow sufficient time and set a deadline.
- Evaluate how much time the task should take.
- Consider skill and experience level when establishing time requirements and remember; new learners will need more time.
- What’s the deadline? Without a deadline, the task may never get done.
- Check for understanding. Avoid having the Team Member rush to complete the task at the last minute.
- Communicate Priorities.
- Employee can establish the priority of this task in relation to their other duties.
- If there’s a rush, they will know if they would drop what they are doing and work this task right away.
- Ensures the Team Member is clear on the efforts that require immediate attention.
- Check progress or establish checkpoints.
- Checking progress lets you verify the task is being performed as required or requested. If they’re off track, you could have a lot of rework on your hands.
- Gives you an opportunity to provide positive feedback.
- Allows for coaching if the task is being performed incorrectly and avoids rework or waste.
- Reinforces the importance of the task.
- Trust but verify.
- For goodness sakes, Thank them!
- Don’t forget to recognize a good job.
- Just saying “thank you” is a good start. Try telling them specifically what they did well
That was a lot to digest. Now let’s put it all together.
Key Action Steps
- Greet the Team Member.
“Hi, Joe. Do you have a minute? I need you to help me with something.”
- Describe the specific task to be done.
“I noticed that the trash cans out in the parking lot were nearly overflowing when I came in. I need you to empty them and replace the liners.”
- Tell why the task needs to be done.
“Our lot is one of the first things that our customers see when they arrive. It’s very important that we present an image of cleanliness and being proactive.”
- Establish Expectations.
“As soon as you finish what you are doing now, grab some can liners and get started. This needs to be done before 11:00 this morning. This is your most important task. Does that sound doable?”
- Let the employee know how you will check their progress.
“I’ll check on you around 11:15 to see how you’ve done. If you finish early come and let me know. If you have any problems be sure to check with me or one of the Team Leaders.”
- Thank the Team Member and express confidence in their ability.
“I really appreciate your help on this important duty. I know you can handle it just fine.”
This may sound pretty basic. Which in fact it really is, you always want to make sure that what is spoken is what is heard. This conversation should take less than a minute and when you get good at it should take less than 30 seconds. Practice, then get out there and start doing!
Get in touch with Chris
I deal with clients from coast to coast and border to border and together we have developed a marketing plan and have it implemented. We know what our car budget is for every year, quarter, month, week and day and from that we develop our marketing plan. As hard as it may be to believe some auto repair shops don’t need more cars! They just need to do a better job on their ARO or Average Repair Order.
ARO is the total dollar amount on each ticket. This has long been one of the standards for judging the health of an auto repair shop. Most clients when they come to me are doing less than $200 in ARO. Now, I know what you are thinking. What is a good ARO? Every shop is different. As a rule of thumb your ARO should be about 5X’s your labor rate. For an example, if your labor rate is 75.00 then your ARO should be about $375. If this is not the case there could be several factors that keep you from getting there. If your ARO is less than this number then there are some things that need to be fixed before we start getting more cars into your shop. If your ARO is greater than 5X’s your labor rate, then good for YOU!
If your ARO is ok it’s time to consider some things about your business. How many new clients do you get every week? How many return and how often? Where do they come from? If you don’t know any of these things then it’s time to start tracking it through your POS. If you don’t know what that is then it’s time to talk about something else as well.
Once we know how many cars we need and where they come from then we can start to put together the picture of how we get the cars we want.
What is marketing? There are several definitions but here is my favorite: Marketing is an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer and the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service. In my mind YOU are the product and you promote your services to the public. Don’t be afraid to sell yourselves and all the good things you do in your community. What makes you different than everyone else in your market?
Timing, how long does it take to reap the rewards of your marketing efforts? That depends largely on individual markets and what you are willing to do to get people to act on an offer. If you are willing to do an oil change for $9.99 then you should see an immediate impact. If not, then you should be prepared to wait 3 to 6 months for new client acquisition to pay off. There are things you can do to get your current clients to repeat more often, but that is a different article.
I currently reside in West Texas. Unfortunately with the recent oil collapse out here it seems that the radio waves have been overwhelmed with repair shops that seem to be struggling for cars or at least they think they need more cars. I can’t help but think that If they had prepared a little more and came up with a marketing calendar that they might not be struggling like they are right now.
Do you need more cars? Do you know if you need more cars? If not then contact me for a free business consultation and let’s define what your needs are and then make a plan to for SUCCESS!
Get in touch with Chris
Price, Value, Perception
Price is what you pay, Value is how you feel about the transaction and Perception is how the customer processes your company before they experience the price & value.
Recently, I had a conversation with a restaurant owner client who was having issues with potential customers understanding why his chicken wings cost more. He uses a bigger, better quality wing than his competitors. Yet, they were having problem conveying to the customer why they should buy his wings.
Problem: How do we make the customers understand that my clients’ wings are bigger, better and worth paying more money for?
During the conversation with my client on this topic we decided that he needed to do more research, so he went to every competitor in town and bought a basket of chicken wings. Sure enough every competitor’s basket of wings had more wings, but the quality on those little wings was not as good and they were less than half the size of his when we put them next to each other. So what to do? The traditional way to sell wings in the town was to sell them by the piece and that’s how everyone had always done it. My next instruction to my client was to weigh the wings in every basket including his own. We found that his 10 wings weighed about one and a half pounds. All the rest weighed less than a pound per order. So, now how do we convey that his wings were better?
Solution: We thought about the problem and we decided that we needed to change the way he sold his wings by selling them by the pound. That’s right his 10 piece order would now become the 1 & ½ pound order and so on. We could still tell the customer how many wings that our order would have in it, but now we also had the information to tell them that his competitors same 10 piece order had one pound instead of what his competitors had. In changing the terminology and by researching his competitors we found a way to change his customers Perception. Since then, his wing orders are up and he is now able to charge more for his wings instead of stooping to his competitor’s level and trying to compete on price alone.
Words of Wisdom: If you don’t like what your competitor is doing or how they are selling a product that competes with yours find how you are better and what makes you better and spin it in your favor. Then sell THAT!
Get in touch with Chris
The more I learn about business the more I realize the 80/20 rules come into play every day. The more I track and measure my clients the more I learn about how it works and how to apply it to their current set of circumstances. From everything I have read and learned one thing I know is true. Every business will have a very small set of very profitable clients and every business will have a broad set of problem customers. Please see the following lists for attributes of the best and the worst.
Your most profitable clients attribute:
- These are the most appreciative of your business and the products, goods and services that you provide.
- These are the least price sensitive. They say “just fix it” or “let’s just do it”. Or “when can we start”.
- These customers complain the least.
- These customers are most in tune with what your products are and how they affect their lives.
It is very important to identify your problem customers, the profit destroyers which you can afford to lose. Your worst customers are exact opposites of your best customers.
They tend to be:
- The most promiscuous- By this I mean they shop around and will drop you in a heartbeat when a competing business offers a special promotion.
- Price sensitive—they complain about every price option you have on your goods and services.
- Compulsive Complainers, no matter what you do or how you try you can never make these people happy.
- These customers are not aligned with your product or service because they want something more sophisticated or more basic.
- These customers are the most expensive to acquire. Mainly because they have a tendency to not stick around and are always floating to the next best thing.
The hard part is for you to identify and come up with ways to handle each group. As part of this discovery you will also be able to figure out the costs of serving them. Don’t be afraid to “fire” a customer that doesn’t fit into what your business does. By this I don’t mean scream at them to get out of the store. I mean find out what their pan points are and they will fire themselves. Either by not being in the right price point or not bending to their every demand.
*Thoughts on this post were taken from: The 80/20 Manager by Richard Koch
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So here you are at a crossroads, be it in your career or personal life and you have no path forward and no way of knowing how to develop one. What you may not know is that most all professionals have a coach that helps them develop their skills. They can also identify skills that you have that maybe you didn’t realize were within you and help you pull out and develop those skills.
What Life Coaching is:
Life Coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client’s personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make your life be what you want it to be. After this it’s time to create a path and then hold you accountable to the path and the goals that YOU set for yourself.
What Life Coaching isn’t:
Life Coaching is NOT a do it for you or silver bullet program. There is NO set it and forget it. What you get out of the program is what you put into it.
If you choose me as a coach:
I will probably feel like a really good friend, maybe even a best friend. But I am a trained professional. You can trust me to work with you on what is important to YOU.
I will let you vent like a friend, but I know how and when to help you move on. I won’t worry about hurting your feelings by pointing out things you might want to be working on. At the same time you should be able to take constructive criticism.
I won’t give you well-meaning advice, tell you what you “should” or “should not” be doing and I won’t have my own agenda for your relationship.
All successful people lose focus at some time or another along the way. During the process we will set and define goals and create a path to hold YOU accountable for your progress as we move forward together. Are you ready to move into a new career, but need someone to bounce ideas off of and hold you accountable while you get there? I will help you through the process of making your dreams come true.
How Difficult is Change?
Most of the time we all know what needs to be done but in order to do it we have to make some sort of change. Unfortunately most people would rather die a slow death than change for the better. It’s often said that change is the only constant in life. Yet humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resist change because of the risk associated with it. Despite this resistance to change, it is more important than ever.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” -Albert Einstein
So Now What?
If you are ready to make a change then there is no time like the present. If not now when? Give me a call or email me at email@example.com and I will set you up for a no obligation consultation to see if you are truly ready and where we go from there.
Get in touch with Chris
When I first started coaching I was completely baffled at how two people could spend time on the phone talking about problems and solutions and a plan of action only to find out later that we each took away completely different things as well as plans of action from that phone conversation. It was like I was speaking German and the client was speaking Latin. I relayed this to my team leader and he said to me, “Chris, you have to make sure that what is spoken is what is heard.”
After having that conversation, I now make sure to ask, “Do you understand what I just said? Please repeat it back to me. What did you think I meant? What did you mean by that?”
I don’t ask these questions because I don’t think you are listening. I can tell if you are or not. I ask the questions to make sure that “what is spoken is what is heard.”
Next time you are having communication issues with employees, kids at home, etc., I challenge you to make sure and ask clarification questions to make sure that everyone walks away on the same page and everyone is headed in the same direction. Do NOT assume that everyone has the same takeaway.